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  • Post published:27/05/2021
  • Post last modified:27/05/2021
hairless cat lying on a bed

Hairless cats are a sight to behold. First, they’re rare, so they’re not something you see every day. Also, there are several recognized breeds, and they’re each special in their own way. Some hairless cats have very fine peach fuzz while others are truly smooth to the touch.

Tip

Some people assume hairless cats are hypoallergenic, but that’s not necessarily true. Usually, the cat’s most triggering allergens are on a cat’s skin or in kitty saliva. Many hairless breeds develop skin conditions—so instead of shedding hair, they shed dead skin—problematic for those with allergies.

Breed Characteristics

Hairless breeds are the result of genetic mutations that have done away with their protective fur. These cats need specific care. They often have difficulties staying warm, requiring sweaters and cold weather gear. And if your cat spends any amount of time lying out on a window sill, their skin needs sunscreen. Additionally, some hairless kitties will need regular baths to prevent oil buildup on the skin. Hairless cats also tend to be more active, with a higher rate of metabolism, often requiring a little more high-quality food to meet their energy needs.

Here are 10 breeds to consider, if you’re interested in adopting a hairless cat.

  • 01 of 10

    Bambino

    hairless bambino cat sitting on couch

    The bambino is a pint-sized hairless cat, as its name, meaning “baby” or “child” in Italian, suggests. This dwarf feline is a cross between the sphynx and the munchkin. Some might have a little fur, primarily on the face, ears, legs, and tail. And others are totally hairless. These cats tend to be outgoing, affectionate, and quite playful.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 7 to 8 inches

    Weight: 5 to 9 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Hairless or light fuzz; stocky body; large ears

  • 02 of 10

    Donskoy

    donskoy cat breed on furniture

    Also known as the Russian hairless, Don hairless, or Don sphynx, the Donskoy is uniquely different from the sphynx. The sphynx gets its hairlessness from a recessive genetic mutation. Meanwhile, the Donskoy gets its hairlessness from a dominant gene. Interestingly, some Donskoy cats develop a partial winter coat when the weather cools, and they shed it once the temperatures warm up. 

    Breed Overview

    Height: 10 to 12 inches

    Weight: 7 to 15 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Hairless; wrinkles around cheeks; muscular body

  • 03 of 10

    Dwelf

    The dwelf comes from crosses among the munchkin, American curl, and sphynx cat breeds. Several mutations created this breed’s hairless, compact, and elf-like appearance, contributing to health issues, including skeletal problems. Still, these cats tend to be highly outgoing and engaged with their families. They love to play.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 6 to 7 inches

    Weight: 4 to 9 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Hairless or light fuzz; short or absent whiskers and eyebrows; short legs; curled ears

  • 04 of 10

    Elf

    hairless elf cat on a blanket

    When you cross a sphynx and American curl breed, the product is the friendly and playful elf cat, a larger version of the dwelf. These cats typically have a downy feel to their soft skin, similar to peach fuzz. Some have light patches of hair over the ears, nose, paws, or tail.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 10 inches

    Weight: 10 to 15 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Hairless; muscular body; prominent cheek bones; wrinkled skin; curled ears

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Lykoi

    Also known as the werewolf cat, the lykoi isn’t always hairless. Some lykoi cats are entirely covered in the breed’s distinctive black-gray coat, while others are predominantly hairless. Most of these cats lack hair around their faces, on the backs of their ears, and their legs and feet. 

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 10 inches

    Weight: 4 to 7 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Partially hairless (sparse on face and legs); short tail; black-gray coat

  • 06 of 10

    Minskin

    The minskin is a short-legged, hairless cat developed from a cross between a munchin and a sphynx. The Devon rex and Burmese cat breeds were later worked into the establishment of this breed. These cats often have sparse, fine fur on their bodies, especially at the “points” (the nose, ears, legs, and tail). Their bellies are almost always hairless.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 7 to 8 inches

    Weight: 4 to 6 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Short legs; sparse hair only on the points (ears, nose, legs, tail)

  • 07 of 10

    Peterbald

    peterbald cat

    The Peterbald is an elegant feline with prominent features and long limbs. It originated from a cross between the Donskoy and Oriental shorthair. Not all Peterbalds are born hairless. Some kittens have a fine, downy coat that they either shed or retain for life. Occasionally, a Peterbald is born with a full coat like a typical cat.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 10 inches

    Weight: 6 to 10 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Hairless or short fuzz; almond-shaped eyes; large, pointed ears

  • 08 of 10

    Sphynx

    sphynx cat on a wood floor

    The most well-known hairless cat breed is the sphynx, which originated in Canada in the 1960s. Resulting from a naturally occurring recessive genetic mutation, the sphynx was developed through crossbreeding with shorthair cats to create a healthy, broad gene pool. Some sphynx cats have a downy coat or patches of hair, primarily on the face, legs, and tail.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 10 inches

    Weight: 10 to 12 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Hairless; wrinkled head; lean build

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Sphynx Hybrids

    Breeders continue to use the hairless mutation in sphynx cats to produce new hybrids. For instance, the sphynxiebob is a cross between a sphynx and an American bobtail, which emerged in 2015. It looks nearly identical to the sphynx, but it is either tailless or has a short, bobbed tail. Although most hybrids aren’t officially recognized breeds, they broaden the range of hairless cats.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 10 inches

    Weight: 10 to 12 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Hairless; wrinkled head; bobtail (sphynxiebob)

  • 10 of 10

    Ukrainian Levkoy

    With its hairless body and inward-folding ears, the Ukrainian levkoy has a unique appearance. These cats were the result of a cross between the Donskoy and Scottish fold cat breeds. They tend to be quite friendly, intelligent, and playful, and many can even get along well with other pets.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 7 to 10 inches

    Weight: 8 to 12 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Hairless or light fuzz; inward-folding ears; slender, long body

Breeds to Avoid

If cat hair is your archnemesis, then you likely want to steer clear of breeds that are fluffy or shed a lot. Some of the highest shedding felines include the Persian, Maine coon, Norwegian forest cat, Himalayan, Manx, and Cymric. 

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