Don Sphynx Cat Breed Guide

Gentle | Affectionate | Hairless. Much like the love-hate relationship that hoomans have with coriander, the Don Sphynx cat is a divisive breed of kitty. They’re fondly known as Donskoy cats and are adored by their owners due to their affectionate purrsonalities, particularly in the colder months when they need to snuggle up for warmth. Although they may share a resemblance with the similarly nude Sphynx cat, they don’t share any genetic relation. Below we’re going to dive into the naked world of the Don Sphynx cat, and who knows if you’re a hater, by the end of reading this article your mind might be swayed on this hairless floof. 

Donskoy Sphynx cat sitting on a sofa


Average Lifespan: 12 - 15 years

Average Weight: 3.5 - 5.5kg 

Coat Length: Non-existent - short and patchy

Colouring: Faded grey, cream or white

Shedding: Low - none


The origins of the Don Sphynx cat is a heartbreaking tale so bear with us for a moment. The tale of the Don Sphynx cat begins in 1987 in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, when a local professor named Elena Kovaleva rescued a hairless kitten that was being kicked around by a group of children. 

She took the frightened floof home, who she named Varvara, and nursed it back to good health. At first, Elena believed the hairless trait to be an illness however after many failed medical treatments she gave up, letting Varvara live her best naked life. 

Varvara went on to have her own litter of kittens, with half being hairless and the other half with patches of hair. Eventually, the haired kittens too lost all of their fur, and friends of Elena encouraged her to get rid of the cats as they were believed to be diseased. 

Luckily, for the survival of this unique cat, a breeder named Irina Nemikine adopted one of the kittens and went on to develop the Don Sphynx breed, calling it so after the Don river that Varvara was found next to, and the similarly hairless Sphynx cat. 

The Don Sphynx gained TICA recognition in 2005 under the name Donskoy, however, they are yet to do the same under the GCCF due to the health implications that are linked with hairless cats. 

Donskoy Sphynx cat


Don Sphynx cats have an other-worldly appearance, to say the least. Of course, they have a hairless naked body, but they also have huge adoring eyes, large ears and webbed toes which give them an almost amphibious look. They don’t have whiskers and their skin is wrinkled and elasticated, particularly around their face, neck and chest. 

There are four different types of Don Sphynx cats and some of them are born with very light and often patchy coats that shed at different times of their lives. However, nearly all will become hairless eventually with just their rubbery skin left which ranges in colour from a faded grey colour to cream and even white.  


Other than their unique appearance, Don Sphynx cats are renowned for their outgoing, gentle and affectionate purrsonalities. They have many dog-like traits and thrive on time spent with their hoomans playing with feather wands, cat teasers, and even fetching small mouse toys or ping pong balls. Although they may not have much of a floofy cuddly coat, they are extremely affectionate and take any chance they can to cozy up with their pawrents. Don Sphynx cats don’t do well on their own so ideally should be kept with another furry (or fur-less) friend.

Due to their unique hairless appearance, they have equally unique grooming needs. They obviously won’t need to be brushed however they will require regular bathing at least once a month and a daily wipe down with warm water or a vet-approved antibacterial soap. This will prevent embarrassing cat acne and oily marks left on your sofa from their skin.  


There are four types of Don Sphynx cats, based on their coat type and nakedness. 

These include:

  1. Rubber Bald Donskoy: born completely bald and remains that way fur-ever.
  2. Flocked Coat Donskoy: born with a light yellowy coat that slowly falls out as they age.
  3. Velour Donskoy: born with bald heads and a short wiry coat on their body that falls out over the first year of their life. Sometimes some patches may remain on their face, tail and legs. 
  4. Brush Coat Donskoy: these guys are also born with a short bristly coat that remains for their whole life. They do have bald patches though usually on their head, back and neck. 
Donskoy Sphynx cat close up


Due to their forever naked bodies, it’s impawtent that Don Sphynx cats are fed a nutritionally balanced cat food that has adequate levels of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Omega 3s are high in fatty fish such as salmon and will help to keep your Don Sphynx cat’s skin clear and smooth. 

Many Don Sphynx cat owners report that their floof’s tummies are more sensitive than other breeds, so finding a pet food that has added gut-health goodies like pre and probiotics is a great way to help manage this. 

Don Sphynx cats have also been linked with a high incidence of cat dental disease, therefore it’s impawtent to make sure that the cat food you’re feeding your Donskoy doesn’t have any added sugar which is harmful to their teeth and gums. Some top-tier pet food brands (hint Scrumbles) offer Cat Dental Treats which help to keep plaque at bay and freshen breath. Dry cat food can also be helpful in rubbing away plaque through mechanical abrasions and is a good option for Don Sphynx cats. 

Nevertheless, nothing is better for your cat’s teeth and gums than regular brushing of their teeth and vet dental check-ups which should be scheduled yearly to monitor your cat’s pearly whites. 


Cat with Scrumbles cat food

When our cat Boo was struggling with a sensitive tummy, we found it hard to find a pet food that was formulated with gut health in mind. We saw a gap in the market and decided to develop our very own gut-friendly cat food

Our cat food is purrfect for the equally sensitive Don Sphynx cat because:  

  • We Avoid Common Allergens and Nasties: Some Don Sphynx cats are more sensitive than others and have food allergies. That’s why we avoid common allergens such as dairy, soy, gluten and egg to keep our recipes kind on sensitive tums. We also never use artificial additives, or preservatives or add unnecessary salt and sugar which is detrimental to your cat’s general health and dental hygiene. 
  • Added Probiotics or Prebiotics: We add gut-loving prebiotics to our wet cat food, and probiotics to our dry cat food to improve the digestive health of Don Sphynx cats and make for pretty poops at the kitty litter.
  • Added Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Our Salmon Dry Cat Food includes salmon oil which is an excellent source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids to keep the skin of your Donskoy clear and silky smooth.
  • High Levels of Quality Meat: Like all cats, Donskoys are obligate carnivores and need a diet high in animal meat to thrive. That’s why we load our recipes with up to 77% human-grade meat to provide all of the essential nutrients and minerals your cat needs to keep them purring.
  • Tooth-Friendly Treats: Our popular cat dental treats are the purrfect post teeth brushing treat. With cat-safe peppermint oil to freshen breath and SHMP, a compound clinically proven to reduce plaque, they’re the ideal adjunct to a well-rounded cat dental routine.  

Whilst you're here, why not read:

1. Can Cats eat sweetcorn?

2. Dandruff in cats

3. Snowshoe Cat Breed Guide

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