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RSSBreeding and Genetics

Rex and Wirehair Cats

| November 6, 2010
Rex and Wirehair Cats

Curly coated cats have appeared Europe and America from time to time. Some have been bred, some were considered curiosities and have been lost. Several have proved to have the same type of mutation, others look similar but are genetically different

Curly coated cats have appeared Europe and America from time to time. Some have been bred, some were considered curiosities and have been lost. Several have proved to have the same type of mutation, others look similar but are genetically different. Curly coated cats are known as Rexes after the Rex type of rabbit. This term has therefore been applied retrospectively to early curly-haired cats which died out within a single generation as a recessive gene became hidden again.

In “The Book of the Cat” (1903), Frances Simpson quoted H C Brooke “A cat called the Mombassa cat, from the East of Africa, is said to have a short coat of wiry texture.” This sounds like a Rex or wirehair cat and is also reported by Helen Winslow in “Concerning Cats”. In “Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication” Charles Darwin had written: “On the opposite coast of Africa, at Mombas, Captain Owen, R.N. states that all the cats are covered with short stiff hair instead of fur”.

A curly coated cat now known as the Prussian Rex was discovered in Konigsburg, East Prussia in the early 1930s. Called “Munk” (or “Kater Munk”) his name has been linked to the first German Rex cats which appeared in 1946. Munk was owned by Frau Schneider and was the offspring of a Russian Blue/Angora cross. Another Rex-type, known as the Karakul Cat, appeared in the USA also in the 1930s. Though a novelty, the trait was never established as a breed in either case.

Perhaps the oldest established Rex variety (as opposed to breed) is a curly coated Russian variety which has been found in the middle Urals region since the Second World War, but which was not recognised as a breed until 1991. The Urals Rex has a wavy coat of short or medium length, body is strong and muscular. The gene causing the Urals Rex has been shown to be dissimilar to the Cornish Rex; its relationship with the gene for Devon Rex is unknown. The Urals Rex may have a tufted tail tip. The semi-longhair version has a looser coat, but is less popular.

According to some sources, the German Rex may initially have occurred in 1946 and had it not been for interest in the Cornish Rex, the German Rex and Urals Rex would probably have been lost. The Italian Rex discovered in Italy in 1950 also vanished after three Rexed kittens were born to a non-Rex mother (probably recessive gene). The Ohio Rex occurred in the USA in 1953 (other sources indicate 1944) but was lost. It appears to have first emerged in 1944, but was ignored because of World War II. The gene was not lost and in 1953 a curly coated male kitten was born to a domestic cat owned by Mary Medderman of Plainsville, Ohio. Called Toni, this cat died young from an infection, but 3 more curly coated kittens were born to the same parents. No serious programme was established and the mutation died out – somewhat unfortunately after it had survived for almost 10 years since its first discovery.

So although curly coated cats have appeared from time to time, the first formally recognised Rex breed was developed from a curly-coated cat discovered in 1950 in Bodmin, Cornwall, England. Kallibunker became the founding father of the Cornish Rex breed. Cornish Rexes are lean with whip-like tails and a long, large-eared face. The fur falls into close-lying ripples as though the whole body surface has been crimped. There appear to be no guard hairs, although more recent studies have suggested that guard hairs are present, but in very modified form. The Longhaired Cornish Rex exists but is not very popular; longhaired cats turn up from time to time as the gene for longhair is recessive. To avoid confusion, these are sometimes known as British Cornish Rexes or European Cornish Rexes since the American version has diverged greatly from the original Cornish Rex. It was originally known as the English Rex until the Devon Rex appeared a few years later.

In America, the Cornish Rex has been developed to be quite different to the ancestral British Cornish Rex. The American Cornish Rex has a different look and different genetic history and should, perhaps, be considered a separate breed. It started as a hybrid between Cornish and German Rexes but this lost the Cornish Rex body type so it was crossed with Orientals resulting in a more delicate and long-legged version than the British Cornish Rex. This also produced the Si-Rex which is recognised as a separate breed in America. In the UK, colourpoint Rexes are simply a colour pattern.

The German Rex was discovered a year later in 1951 at Berlin’s Hufeland Hospital by Frau Dr Scheuer-Karpin. A curly-coated stray cat known as Laemmchen (Lambkin) had reared kittens in the hospital grounds. Some reports give 1946 as the date, which pre-dates the Cornish Rex and Laemmchen was possibly a descendant of Munk. If so, Laemmchen was then just a curiosity and there was no attempt to deliberately breed curly-coated cats until the 1950s, probably prompted by the discovery of the Cornish Rex. In any event, Laemmchen mated with one of her own sons in 1956, producing more Rex-coated cats. Test matings demonstrated that the German Rex was caused by the same recessive gene which caused the Cornish Rex. It is similar to the Cornish Rex but with a thicker coat and different body shape from mating with European Shorthairs. The Angora German Rex (Longhaired German Rex) is an important part of the German Rex breeding programme.

A Rex-coated black and white male cat turned up as a spontaneous mutation in Sieburg in 1979. Named Pushkin (renamed Kater Preu) he was used in the German Rex breeding programme but turned out to have a different mutation to the German Rexes he was bred to. As a result, Kater Preu was neutered. Sadly, no-one thought to investigate his mutation further and the Sieburg Rex was lost.

The California Rex (better known as the Marcel Cat) was first discovered in California in 1959 cats in a rescue centre in San Bernadino. These were a female odd-eyed Tortie (Mystery Lady of Rodell) and her Red Tabby son which were later bred together. The California Rex had a wavy-haired coat, but with longer fur, giving it the look of ‘marcel-waving’ hence its alternate name. The Marcel Cat mutation was found to be the same as the Cornish Rex and it was not pursued as a new breed, instread being bred with Cornish Rexes. The Oregon Rex found in the USA in 1959 is another vanished mutation. Like the Ohio Rex, the Oregon first emerged in 1944 and was ignored due to the war. In 1959, Mrs Stringham of Werrenton, Oregon found a wavy coated black-and-white female kitten in a litter born to her tortoiseshell cat. She called the kitten Kinky Marcel. It proved to be a recessive gene, but cross-breeding with both Cornish and Devon Rexes produced non-Rex kittens.

The second Rex breed to be formally recognised was the Devon Rex (formerly the Butterfly Rex) discovered in Buckfastleigh, Devon, England in 1960 and named Kirlee. This was a curly-coated grey male kitten in a litter born to a tortie female. Its discoverer had previously seen a cat with tight curls in and around a tin-mine in the area which suggests it was the kitten’s father.

For some years a local variety known colloquially as the “Buckfast Blue” was reported in the area of Buckfast Abbey, Devon. This was a strain of free-ranging (mostly stray and feral) grey-blue cats with slightly woolly, wavy coats. These were apparently a familiar sight in the 1950s and considered nothing more than an attractive curiosity by locals. The Buckfast Blue may have been longer coated versions of the Devon Rex; the colour was probably coincidental though it is interesting that Kirlee was grey. The Buckfast Blue strain has since been lost through random breeding – the one reference I found was a reminiscence in an old Cats Protection League newsletter and lamented its disappearance.

Kirlee was initially assumed to be a Cornish Rex since the two are neighbouring counties, but when mated to a Cornish Rex, only straight-haired kittens resulted. This meant it was a different genetic mutation. The Devon Rex has very large, low-set ears and a short face giving it a gremlin-like appearance. The body is slender with a broad chest. The wavy coat is a looser and less rippled than the Cornish and the whiskers are twisted. The Longhaired Devon Rex, caused by a recessive gene, has a shaggy coat but is not currently pursued as a breed. Some consider its thicker coat to be more attractive than the sometimes sparse coat of the traditional shorthaired Devon Rex. Note for US readers: the proper name of the English county is “Devon” not “Devonshire”.

Test mating between Devon and Cornish Rexes in the 1960s led to some crossing over of genes. A British breeder with both breeds also had an accidental mating between a Devon Rex and a Cornish Rex; such a mating would normally only produce straight haired kittens, but the litter contained two Rexes, something that could only happen if one of the parents carried the gene from the other breed. That gene would have been inherited from one of the test matings and passed down over many generations. These are sometimes called Double Rexes as they have both genes. Some of the progeny from test-matings were left in their respective genepools and occasionally a difference in the coats is noticed and may be due to the double Rex effect.

The American Wirehair was discovered in Vernon, New York, America in 1966. The founding father was Adam, a red-and-white kitten born to two farm cats. Adam’s coat was dense, harsh and springy. The breed was recognised in 1977. Unlike the Cornish, German and Devon, the wirehair is due to a dominant gene and therefore does not always breed true. The fur is crinkled and coarse, with hooked or bent hairs, like that of a Fox Terrier dog and this breed does not seem to have attracted the same popularity as the Cornish and Devon Rexes and has grown slowly.

The Dutch Rex first appeared in the Netherlands 1969 but vanished. This (or a similar type) reappeared in 1985. The 1985 Dutch Rex had a coarse wavy coat with a brittle texture. A curly coated cat was discovered in the Victoria area of London, England in 1972, but this Victoria Rex was never established as a breed. A hair sample taken from the Victoria Rex proved to be different from the Devon Rex. Named Tuoh, the Victoria Rex was described by Peter Davis in the 1972 Cats Annual noting that no matings with Cornish Rex had yet been achieved. Other related cats also had curly coats, but nothing more was heard of the breed after that. The Bohemia Rex (a Rexed Persian) first appeared in 1981, but not established at that time. In the 1980s some Rex-coated Persians appeared in Britain, but the breeder who had bred the kittens decided not to continue the variety. Whether these were related to the Bohemia Rex isn’t known.

The Poodle Cat (Pudelkatze) was developed by Rosemarie Wolf,a German Scottish Fold breeder, in 1987 (a date of 1994 is also given) in Starnberg, Germany from crossings between Devon Rexes and Scottish Folds. It is a large, healthy cat with folded ears and a curly coat resembling lambswool. It is chunkier than the Devon Rex and has a denser coat. Recent German rulings prohibiting the breeding of cats with defects (the Scottish Fold may suffer skeletal defects) may curtail the breeding program in Germany, but there is interest in Poodle Cats elsewhere in Europe. The next stage of development is to use Manx cats to introduce the tailless trait. Some interested breeders have proposed crossing the Poodle Cat with the short-legged Munchkin to produce a breed to be known as the Poodlekin, but this is currently theoretical only.

The Selkirk Rex is a chunky cat with a thick coat. Selkirk Rex Longhair and the Selkirk Rex Shorthair arose from Miss DePesto, a cat discovered in Wyoming, America in 1987. Adopted by a Persian breeder, the original calico Rex cat produced 3 curly-coated kittens in a litter of 6, indicating a dominant gene. Selkirk Rexes were bred with Persians and Exotics to produce a chunky cat with loose wavy curls and a plush, thick coat. It was recognised in 1990 and is now a well-established, popular breed.

The Czech Curly Cat or Bohemia Rex was discovered in 1981 in Liberec, The Czech Republic but not recognised until 1994. Persian breeders discovered curly kittens in pedigree Persian litters. The parents of the kittens traced back to two blue Persian males imported from Germany in the 1970s. Either the gene arose from a spontaneous mutation or because Persian cats had been used in a German Rex breeding program and some of their progeny had been registered as Persians. Like the German Rex, the gene is recessive. One test mating of a Cornish Rex and Bohemia Rex produced curly-haired kittens, but another test mating produced straight-haired kittens. This suggests that some, but not all, Bohemia Rexes have the Cornish (German) Rex gene in addition to a new unknown Rex gene and that other Bohemia Rex have the unknown gene on its own. Czech Curly cats are basically Persians with the fur falling in tight ringlets and crimps on the body and looser curls on their backs. At first there was little interest in longhaired Rex cats because the fur was untidy and unruly. Following the success of the Selkirk Rex Longhair, there seems to be renewed interest in the Bohemia Rex.

The LaPerm (formerly the Dalles LaPerm) also comes in Longhaired and Shorthaired varieties. These trace to a group of farm cats in Oregon. A kitten born in 1982 was bald at birth, but developed a coat of curly fur and was named Curly. Curly’s offspring inherited this trait and as more and more curly kittens arrived, a serious breeding programme began. . The LaPerm was recognised in 1995; the names Indian Rex and Native American Rex having been rejected. LaPerms are lean semi-foreign cats with silky single coats. The longhaired variety has ringlets while the shorthairs have tight curls.

Like the Devon and Cornish Rexes, the LaPerm has become a foundation breed in another variety. The Skookum (formerly LaMerm) was developed by crossing LaPerms and Munchkins to produce a Rex-coated Munchkin with either long or short hair. It is described as the Shirley Temple of the cat world.

The Dutch Rex (Wirehair Rex) reappeared in 1985 and has a bristly, wavy coat with a brittle texture. It was reported in Dutch cat fancier magazines but little has been heard about this variety in recent times. Meanwhile, the Si-Rex achieved recognition in the USA in 1986, but is simply a colourpointed Cornish Rex. Elsewhere it is necessary to define whether a “Si-Rex” is A Cornish Si-Rex or Devon Si-Rex since both exist as colour varieties of the main breed.

The Maine Coon Rex or Maine Wave appeared in pedigree litters in a number of breeding lines in the 1980s, causing huge controversy in the very conservative and inflexible British cat fancy and Maine Coon Cat Club. It has fine, frizzy, crinkled fur. Many were immediately neutered by breeders despite the interest shown by others and by the public. Maine Waves is a pet name for those Rexed Maine Coons born from test-matings in a Rex elimination Programme. The Rexed Maine Coons appeared in a number of breeding lines and the few test matings with Devon and Cornish Rexes were inconclusive, but indicated that this was either a recessive or incomplete dominant gene and was not a result of recent outcrossing to established Rex breeds. Several imported cats were implicated as carriers but were no longer available for testing, besides, only British breeders had encountered the trait. There were accusations of undeclared crossing with Cornish Rexes even though test matings suggested different genetics.

Where widely used breeding cats are retrospectively found to carry a recessive anomaly, inter-breeding will already have resulted in a rash of the same anomaly and can expect to see more. Breeders are faced with trying to preserve the breed while eliminating the undesirable recessive gene. By the time the link to the original carrier is established, it may be impossible to eliminate the gene. The British Maine Coon Cat Club declared the Rex gene to be deleterious on the basis of one or two early deaths in Rexed Maine Coons (others remain healthy). In the 1990s, it was decided to neuter male carriers (no test matings allowed) and restrict female carriers. Due to the use of undetected carriers in several breeding lines, the recessive “taint” will persist, hidden, in the breed. It will skip generations, only to resurface by chance years later.

Under UK cat fancy rules, they cannot form a New Breed because they are 100% pedigree Maine Coons and can therefore only ever be recognised as a Maine Coon New Variety. This is a shortcoming of the British system (highly inflexible and also inconsistent). In America, the new variety of Maine Coon would probably have been greeted with some enthusiasm and kept separate from mainstream Maine Coons and given an appropriate name which may or may not have referred to its Maine Coon origins. In Britain the matter was to be swept under the carpet. Even more ludicrously, the club demanded that breeders should declare in writing that the term “Maine Wave” should not be used in any publication in any context. Maine Waves have been shown on the Continent and won certificates. They are very attractive cats and, regardless of cat club politics, bureaucracy and short-sightedness, they deserve recognition in their own right as a breed separate from the Maine Coon. The opportunity to develop this gene may have been lost as a result. It can only be hoped that the mutation will show up again (due to undetected carriers), but will do so in a country with a more progressive attitude to the appearance and handling of new mutations.

The Urals Rex finally achieved recognition in 1991. Previously it had been a long-established informally recognised variety, but only when Russia developed a cat fancy following glasnost and perestroika, could cat breeds be properly developed, recognised and shown competitively. Under the strict communist regime, cat breeding was seen as a capitalist affectation. With its long history, it is considered to be the first homegrown Russian breed. Urals Rexes occurred as spontaneous mutations in feral cat populations in and around Yekaterinburg. Both occurrences were developed separately as breeds and not interbred, but they may prove to be genetically identical. Both breeding populations are reported to be highly inbred. The gene involved is known to be different to the German/Cornish Rex gene.

The Missouri Rex appeared in the early 1990s. it is shorthaired cat with smooth wavy fur, a semi-cobby body, large low set ears and “loopy” non-brittle whiskers. Its coat is due to a recessive gene. By the late 1990s there were only three Missouri Rex in existence due to financial mismanagement of the breed which led to most being destroyed. Missouri Rex have been test-bred to Devon and Cornish producing only straight-haired kittens demonstrating that it is a different mutation to either of these. If it still exists, its future is uncertain. The Dakota Rex also appeared in the late 1990s and there are plans to establish this breed although breed development is very much in its infancy.

The Iowa Rex mutation was reported in 2001 when a male cat sired curly coated kittens in several litters, including longhaired Rexes. The longhaired version has fur which hangs in “dreadlocks”. Iowa Rex have long whiskers and are large, muscular rangy cats. They have a distinct head type with well developed broad muzzles. The discoverer hoped that an experienced breeder would take over these cats as foundation cats for a new breed.

The Ruffle appeared in the early 2000s among pedigree American Curls. Investigation showed it to be derived from the Cornish Rex. According to one source, in an attempt to improve the ear size of American Curls, one breeding line introduced the Cornish Rex. This had the side-effect of introducing the recessive gene for curled fur. The gene lay hidden, resurfacing as curly coated American Curl kittens some generations later. The rippled effect of the fur reminded the breeder of a type of potato snack hence the name Ruffle. Unfortunately the breeder’s circumstances changed and further development of a ruffle breed could not be funded. According to a different source, it resulted from a deliberate attempt to create a new breed combining the curled ears with a curled coat. Regardless of its origins, it is a Rexed version of American Curl (longhair and shorthair) apparently having the Rex gene from the American Cornish Rex. It has curled ears and a curled coat. Face is a modified wedge curled ear and a curled coat. Hind-legs are longer than forelegs. The description suggests a curl-eared Cornish Rex rather than an American Curl with curly fur.

A rexed version of the Himalayan (Colourpoint Persian) has also occurred; either as a spontaneous mutation or due to carried from a historical outcrossing to cats carrying Rex genes. In 2002, a Dutch source mentioned the Scottish Rex, which might refer to a Rexed Scottish Fold or Pudelkatze.

In 2002/2003, several curly-coated cats were found at a farm in Saskatoon, Canada. A colony of curly coated cats had apparently been breeding for up 10 years. Being farm cats, they were healthy and vigourous. A LaPerm breeder took on the cats. Since the mutation has not been identified, it is not advisable to introduce the gene into the LaPerm breed. At present it isn’t known whether it is a new mutation or identical to an existing one (and therefore valuable new blood for an existing breed).

In 2003, some “Wirehair Rexes” (or Brooklyn Rexes) were born in Brooklyn, USA, but unfortunately died from infection. The sire was a cat with wiry rex coat and the mating is to be repeated. The gene appears to be dominant as the kittens were curly. The effect is a rippled coat with all hair types and bald kittens which grow coats i.e. a gene which gives a rippled effect like a Cornish or Devon Rex, but behaves more like the LaPerm gene in that kittens may be born bald. The sire is described as having curly guard hairs and hardly any undercoat. Straight-haired cats go on to have coarse, wavy fur. It is a dominant gene mutation and some are also blue-eyed, carrying the Ojos Azules gene. Also in 2003, a magazine featured a truly odd almost hairless cat. Described as the result of inbreeding, it was bald apart from long whiskery guard hairs all over the body.

In December 2003 a Manx Rex strain was reported in Australia and New Zealand. Some Manx breeders found curl coated kittens in their breeding lines. They liked the look of the cats and rather than take the Maine Waves approach and vilify them, decided to research the variety. The gene is recessive and produces a frizzled, relatively thick coat with guard hairs. When test-mated to Devon Rexes, only straight-haired kittens were produced. It also appears different to the Cornish Rex gene as the cats have visible guard hairs while Cornish Rexes lack. The Manx Rex cats can all be traced to an outcross mating in Australia using a cream Persian male with some European ancestry. This led to the suggestion that the gene is the same as that which causes the Bohemia Rex (discussed earlier).

In 2004, a curly-haired female and her four curly kittens were found in Indianapolis, USA, having been abandoned by the owner. Dubbed the Hoosier Rex, the female had short, but loose, curls while all four kittens had curly fur ranging from tight curls to loose waves. The kittens were curly-furred from birth. This could have been a new dominant mutation although it was possible that the female was from LaPerm stock. All five were relinquished to a shelter where there was a legally binding neutering rule, so it was not possible to research the gene further.

There is one other possible historical Rex. In the 1800s, the term “Cypress Cat” or “Cyprus” cat was used in East Anglia (Norfolk/Suffolk area of Britain). This was reported by Frances Simpson in 1903 as being the local name for tabby cats. Cyprus/Cypress was defined in the mid 1700s as being a fine curled stuff, similar to hair or fur and reddish or reddish-yellow in colour although “Cypress Cat” was not restricted to orange tabby cats. Though it is far too long ago to know, it is possible that this term might originally have been applied to a curly-textured cat. Certainly “broken-coated” (rough coated) cats were reported in Simpson’s book.

Finally there are two mistaken identity “Rexes”. The Colorado Rex and Tennessee Rex appeared as names on a survey of Rex cats. There is no record of either of these occurring as feline mutations (one appears to be a rabbit!).


Potentially, any of the Rex breeds could be crossed with any other breed of cat to produce Rexes with bobtails, no tails, extra toes, different ear shapes, Abyssinian Rexes, Hemingway Rexes, Rex-Bobs or any other combination of physical traits. Whether these are desirable is another matter entirely and many experimental cross-breedings are not pursued as breeds.

Meanwhile, curly-coated cats continue to appear in unexpected places – some as a result of mis-matings many generations ago and others as entirely new mutations. Some are the result of existing Rex mutations combining with other genes which modify their effect on the fur. Some of these curly coated cats will be picked up by breeders while others go unnoticed. A few prove to have mutations identical to established Rex breeds. Only time will tell which of these goes on to achieve the same sort of popularity as the pioneering Cornish and Devon Rex breeds. Modern genetic methods may allow “new” rex mutations to be matched to/differentiated from existing mutations, avoiding the necessity of test-mating.

Copyright & Credit:
Copyright 2009, Sarah Hartwell – MESSYBEAST.COM

Photo copyright and courtesy: Janačka

The Donskoy & Peterbald – History and General Characteristic

| December 26, 2011
Brown tortie tabby brush coat Peterbald

Abrodiel 2 hot for u. Peterbald, Brown tortie tabby brush coat. Breeder: Christina Schroede, Owner: Roeleen Bloemohf

The Donskoy & Peterbald – “Russian hairless cat” History and General Characteristic

In 1987 a female brush coated kitten was found in a small town called Rostov-on-Don in Russia. She was the foundation female of the two Russian Hairless breeds known as the Donskoy/Don Sphyxn/Don hairless and the Petersburg Sphynx/Peterbald. A blue tortie kitten named “Varya”, who was rescued by “Irina Kovalyova”. At the time it was thought that Varya was seriously ill, as she appeared to have lost almost all of her hair coat. After long-term treatments with antifungal medication Varya didn’t appear to be getting any better. In fact, despite otherwise good health, Varya continued to lose what hair coat she had leaving only hairs on her legs and tail with a little fuzz on her face. It soon became obvious that Varya was not suffering from a disease at all, but was a result of a new genetic hairless gene.

When [appr. 1989] Varya was old enough she was mated to a neighboring male tomcat. A healthy litter resulted but several kittens in the litter were born with the same hair type as Varya! One of Varya’s kittens {a blk female by the name of Chita} went to the cattery “Myth” {owned by Irina Nemykina} where the first true breeding of Russia hairless cats had begun. At Myth cattery, Chita was bred to a European short hair cat that was the foundation breed of the first established Donskoy Sphynx.

There was no cat club in Rostov-on-Don in those days, so Irina kept studbooks for herself. Of course, they were far from precise, yet very helpful from a genetic standpoint. According to these documents it was determined that the new gene for hairlessness is dominant to the gene for normal coat lengths. This was evident because when heterozygous hairless cats were mated to normal coated cats, a number of hairless kittens always resulted in the litter. The hairless cats of Myth Cattery were bred exclusively to European Shorthairs and Domestic Shorthairs.

The foundation cats, which resulted from the first out crossings to European Shorthairs, were, of course, heterozygous for the gene for hairlessness. Since the breed is relatively young, we are still working towards developing more homozygous lines. In some litters a number of straight haired kittens continue to be born along with the bald kittens. Along with velour and brush coated kittens. We have found the truly bald homozygous cats; if breed together the hairless gene becomes a lethal gene and died kittens arrive from the breedings. It is always best to breed homozygous cats with a cat of velour or brush hair types. Homozygous bald born kittens do come from these types of breedings.

First mating of Donskoy cats with Oriental/Siamese cats were started in St. Petersburg, Russia and in Moscow, Russia in 1993. These types of breedings were the foundation of the hairless breed called Peterbald Sphyxn. The Peterbalds were unpopular in Moscow, but they became very popular among St. Petersburg breeders.

Peterbalds were the results of out crossing a very classy tortie Oriental female {Radma von Jagerhof} with a brown mackerel tabby Donskoy, male {Afinogen Myth}, whose bone structure was a bit light, but who had a wedge-shaped head. All in all, he was a good choice for breeding with Oriental cats. This male was also mated with Russian blues. The litters from such matings were considered to be Donskoy, but some of the kittens were elegant and used to make Peterbalds. And they have become the founders for developing Peterbalds throughout Russia and USA.

In the summer of 2000 Sherri Mossop of Possoms Cattery in Warren, Michigan USA started looking into a hairless breed of cat. The American Sphynx was the only breed of hairless cat she was aware of. While surfing the yahoo classifieds, she came across an advertisement for rare Sphynx cats. Sherri replied to the ad, only to find out the ad was for a Donskoy Sphynx. She was told they were very rare, came from Russia and were better than the American Sphynx due to their dominant hairless gene. The Sphynx is still a relatively new breed of hairless cat. With out knowing the Donskoy Sphynx was any different than the American Sphynx, Sherri Mossop purchased her first Don Sphynx “Egor”. “Egor” is better known by his American name, “Stepan Out of Possoms”.

On her way home with her new cat, Sherri proceeded to look over Stepan’s paper work. What she found to her surprise was all the paper work the breeder had given her on Stepan was written in Russian from a club called World Cat Federation (WCF). She had never heard of WCF. Upon arriving home, she began to surf for the WCF club. She found the club operated out of Germany. She became acquainted with those in the WCF and a friendship developed between her and the Vice President. She made every effort to learn all about the WCF and how it was ran.

Very impressed with the Donskoy Sphynx, Sherri Mossop started to look for other Dons in USA. None was to be found. Stepan stood alone as the only Donskoy Sphynx in the USA. It was not until a year later she found some living in another state. They were all either spayed or neutered.

With the knowledge that Stepan stood alone as the only whole Donskoy Sphynx in the USA, Sherri Mossop began to talk to breeders in Russia. She wanted to learn all she could about bring this new hairless breed to the US. She found the true name of the breed to be Donskoy Sphynx. It was later 1998 that the name was shortened to Don Sphynx.

Sherri Mossop was fascinated with the breed, the more she learned the more she wanted to know. She had gathered a lot of information, and wanted to share the information she had gathered and help teach other breeders in the USA about the breed. She started a Donskoy Federation of America Club. It was a tribute to the Donskoy Sphynx here in the USA.

In the Year 2001, Stepan Out of Possoms started showing up at Mid-Michigan cat shows. He was the first Donskoy to attend a CFA cat show.

In the Year 2002 the Donskoy was accepted in the TICA registry as the Don Hairless. The Don Sphynx had its name changed.

In the Year 2003, Stepan’s offspring, attended CFA and TICA shows. They were shown in the HHP classes and did very well. Since then there have been few others being shown HHP in California.

In the Year 2004, the Don Breed group really started to grow. Now there are 4 USA breeders and 2 Canadian.

In the Year 2005, Don Hairless Breed Club was formed. This year Sherri Mossop turns the breed club chair over to Evelyn Jacobs a Canadian Donskoy breeder. Together they stayed strong about the Fact that the Don hairless in TICA was really a new bald breed and that the True Russian name is a Donskoy. So a Donskoy members vote was taken and as a group we were able to get TICA to change the name Don hairless to Donskoy for those who wanted to stay true to the Russian breed.

In 1996, the Peterbald was accepted by one of the Cat Associations in Russia. One of Nocturne iz Murino’s daughters, named Dauphine Extra Fine, Jacoja (Fanya,) is known as the first Peterbald to be brought over to the United States to start the Peterbald program here. Several breeders before going to her current home owned Fanya at Magnoliachat. Her son, Magnoliachat Durango (Endy), formerly of CowboyClaws, is still involved in development of the Peterbald. At CowboyClaws, we imported our original Peterbalds from 4 different Russian breeders to develop our own lines. We ran our Peterbald program concurrently with but not a part of the group who were attempting to get the Peterbald accepted in TICA. When the first few attempts at acceptance failed, most of the first USA breeders pulled out of the program. Other breeders have dropped off along the way so that at this point in time, CowboyClaws is one of the longest running Peterbald programs and is one of the most experienced breeders working with the widest variety of coat types.

We have worked with the new American TICA breeders in activities such as giving kittens, exchanging kittens, to expand bloodlines as well as mentoring several new catteries and being available for questions or concerns. Two Peterbald cats imported from Russia by CowboyClaws were later sent to start the first Peterbald breeding program in Canada at Parminous Cattery. Because of these types of activities, nearly all of the kittens being shown in North America have our lines or our cats, in their pedigrees.

Genetics of the Russian hairless cat:
Originally the name “Sphynx” was attributed to hairless cats, bred on the basis of the mutation revealed in Canada. Canadian mutation is appointed to a recessive allele – hr. Specimens that are homozygous for this allele (hrhr) do not always display hairlessness in its’ full expression: sometimes they have thin residual coat with a corrupted texture, that is more prominent on legs, muzzle and tail (these are so-called Points).

Russian mutation behaved in some other way. It revealed itself as early as in the first generation bred from two cats – normal and hairless. The results of such mating were quite mixed: some of heterozygous offspring had a residual curly coat at birth, which could be extremely short (“velour”) or of normal length but rare, and shafts of hair were thin. These coat texture abnormalities often came together with a bald spot on the crown, resembling a monk tonsure. These kittens lost their coat as grew older – hair bulbs died on some regions or on all surface of skin (except for points). The “shedding” happened in the period from 2 months to 2 years of age.

Other heterozygous kittens were born covered with thick curly hair of normal length. Most of them stayed completely “coated” for their lifelong. Cat specialist conditionally called this variety “brush”.

Among the second generation, i.e. animals born from both “shed” parents or one – of “brush” variety and another – a “shed” cat, there was one more type of kittens – completely hairless at birth. They even could have no whiskers and their elastic “large” skin was wrinkled.

However the new mutation did something more to the general appearance of animals than just a disruption the coat development. Among the offspring, especially velour-coated, there were kittens of a very specific type: with a shortened muzzle, clearly seen cheekbones and widely set up eyes, separated with a breath. These features were tightly bond to the coat development and almost never been displayed in a “brush” type specimens. The balder the kitten was the more vivid were the mutant type features… though this happened only in the kitten hood – in contrast to “velour” animals, which kept the specific mutant features in adult age.

Adult hairless at birth Donskoy had a wedge-head of medium length, slightly defined (not prominent) cheekbones. The only peculiarity seen in the skull of these specimens is a “cut” chin, which is typical for most of bloodlines, though not required and, in fact, not desired.

Such complex mutations as hairlessness, no doubt, have effect on physiology along with morphology. In this sense, the most evident Donskoy feature is reduced growth (which also correlates with the coat development): hairless and sometimes “velour” animals grow noticeably slower than their “coated” siblings. In the adult age the former are virtually of the same size as the latter.

This kind of atrichosis (hairlessness) also influences the cat’s behavior: it was noted that Donskoy very well resists emotional stress.
Inna Shustrova, Candidate to Doctor of Biology sciences
Taken from “FRIEND: for cat fanciers”, # 2 (1999)

General characteristic of the Donskoy:
Donskoys are quite elegant and sturdy with strong boning. Males as a rule are generally larger than females. The Donskoy is a very intriguing, unique, softhearted and social cat of medium size with soft hairless wrinkled skin that feels hot and velvety to the touch. The Donskoy is very active, friendly and highly intelligent. The Donskoy is very good-natured and gentle, easy to groom and handle as a result of their loving and amiable disposition.
Distinctive attributes: Donskoy’s open their eyes early. The Donskoy can be born with its eyes open; other Donskoy’s will open their eyes within the first three days of its life. Sleepy eyed, contented is the Donskoy look.
General characteristic of the Donskoy

General characteristic of the Peterbald:
Peterbalds look a lot like Oriental Shorthair cats. Peterbalds are energetic, well tempered, and peaceful cats that love attention, and need to be communicate with their family. They are an excellent companion and family pet, as they live with people, other cats, and other animals in harmony.
The overall impression of an ideal Peterbald is an elegant and intelligent cat. The Peterbald has a sturdy, lean elongated body that contributes to its graceful movement.

General characteristic of the Peterbald

Health issues:

Donskoy and Peterbalds are relatively new breeds and we have yet to discover a specific prevalent health issue to this breed. However, there is emerging evidence that all hairless breeds, including hairless dogs, pigs, and rats, seem to have issues with gums and teeth. In essence, this is logical as the teeth are formulated out of a hair, and when you are dealing with a gene mutation that affects the hair, you can expect to see teeth issues. Hairless cats are therefore at high risk for teeth and gum issues, and owners need to use vigilance and regularly check the teeth and gums. Additionally, for very obvious reasons, Hairless cats are more likely to get sunburns and chills.

*Some illnesses/diseases that have been found within some breed lines:

Juvenal cataract
Haemophilus felis
Feline Uveitis (Intraocular Inflammation)
Lower immune systems
Lowered sperm counts
Sudden kitty death syndrome {bald to bald breeding found to be Simi-lethal gene}
Crystallized liver in newborn kits under 4 weeks of age, mostly seen in full bald births
Eye infections {due to lack of eyelashes}
Ringworm, fungal bacteria’s {can pick up easier, due to lack of hair}
Yeast infections in ears {due to no ear hairs, germs get in easily}

We have found the balder the kittens, the higher the body temp. they run. Kittens run at 101 to 103. They need higher protein diet since they burn more heat off their body than a hair coated kitten.

Over bathing can cause the skin to produce more oils than necessary and become a problem. Most breeders have found bathing when only truly needed is necessary. Once every 2 months is great for the skin. You can just use a washcloth or pet wipes to remove unwanted dirt build up between baths.

Copyright & Credit:
Sherri Mossop at Possoms cattery:  Home of the: Donskoy, Peterbald & Savannah “Possoms Cattery & rescue”
Linda Usher at Cowboy Claws Cattery:

Photo copyright and courtesy:  Roeleen Bloemhof ,  Mistbesque Cattery

Thirteen Questions to ask a Breeder

| November 6, 2010
Thirteen Questions to ask a Breeder

Thirteen Questions to ask a Breeder

There are many questions you might wish to ask a prospective breeder. However, there are many questions you might not think to ask if you have never purchased a pedigreed animal before. It’s important for you to understand your legal rights, your own responsibilities, the breeders’ responsibilities, and areas where misunderstanding occur most. In the vast majority of cases, the breeders you encounter will be ethical, responsible folks trying to do the best by their cats. These questions will help you make sure this is the type of person you are dealing with.

Down load the Thirteen Questions to ask a Breeder pdf file.

Copyright & Credit: Annie Conway – Maine Coon Interest Group of SA –

Photo copyright & courtesy: John Nyberg – stock.xchng

Top Cat Breeds And Tips On Responsible Cat Breeding

| December 26, 2011
Top Cat Breeds And Tips On Responsible Cat Breeding

Breeding cats involves scientific and systematic concepts. Producing cats involves only common sense. Breeding cats has an emotional aspect to it.

Cat breeding is not as easy as just letting cats mate. Breeding is not just about choosing cats to produce adorable kittens to earn money. To breed cats is not the same as to produce them. Breeding encompasses that stage.

Breeding cats involves scientific and systematic concepts. Producing cats involves only common sense. Breeding cats has an emotional aspect to it. Fulfillment does not come from mere moneymaking. Sacrifices have to be made to achieve the breeder’s goal: to safeguard the welfare of the cats.

A lot of things must be taken into consideration before breeding cats. Here is a guide to help us better understand the dynamic process of cat breeding.

A cat breeder’s concern is the preservation or improvement of cat pedigree.

This is a serious matter. Selection of the parent cats is done on the basis of health, quality traits and reproducing capability. A breeder will never pair cats carelessly.

A cat breeder is dedicated to learn more about cats.

A lot of things must be learned regarding cat breeding. Latest researches must be employed to properly select the cats to be bred. The welfare of the cats depends on how much the breeder knows.

A cat breeder makes plans.

Breeding does not involve hasty actions.

A cat breeder has to follow rules set by the government.

Breeders are obliged to register their cats to their respective breeds. Certain taxes are imposed to hobbyists and to businessmen alike.

A cat breeder’s primary motive is to take care of cats. Monetary motives come after this.

A cat’s life is more important than money. And it is more rewarding to see the kittens grow. The money earned is just an additional reward.

A cat breeder’s responsibility to the cats does not end.

His care for his cats does not end when the kittens were sold.

A cat breeder holds the future of the cat’s offspring.

Whatever a cat breeder does affects the life of the kittens, thus extra care must be given by cat breeders when making decisions.

A cat breeder knows when to stop breeding.

Breeding is not just about having many cats. It is about taking care of all of them.

After learning about these things, it can be concluded that breeding is an arduous task indeed. However, for those who are cat breeders at heart, all these hardships are worth the kittens they bred (not produced)!

Cats are best bought from responsible cat breeders. Hobbyists choose to own purebred cats because their temperaments are more predictable than cats with unknown pedigrees.

If you are getting a cat from a cat breeder, ask him about the number of cat breeds that he has so you can choose from them. Also, ask him how many years he has been breeding cats and whether he can give you a health guarantee and complete papers for the cat.

Top cat breeds:

If you want to show off your cat then it is best to choose from among the top five cat breeds throughout the world.

1. Persian-Persian cats are called Persian for their country of origin. Persians have a long coat, sweet personality and have the ability to blend into the household. These are the qualities that made Persians one of the top choices of cat lovers. However, its long coat requires daily combing to avoid tangles.

2. Maine Coon-These are long-haired cats with good mouse hunting skills. These cats are good companions for children.

3. Exotic-This breed can offer you the better of two worlds. The Exotic cat has the look of a Persian cat, but it has short hair, making it easy to groom. They look like teddy bears with their thick and short coats. These cats are sweet and good companions like the Persians.

4. Siamese-Siamese cats originally came from Siam or Thailand. This cat possesses an aristocratic head, looks almost like a deer because of it’s stiff ears, and has a short coat. Siamese cats have long bodies, long legs and long necks.

5. Abyssinian-These cats are very elegant-looking, much like the cats portrayed in Egyptian sculptures. Abyssinia is the former name of Ethiopia. However, Abyssinian cats did not originate in Ethiopia. They got the name because the first cats of Abyssinian breed, which were exhibited in England, were from Abyssinia.

No matter what your choice of a cat breed is, make sure that your cat is healthy and that it has already been weaned. The ideal age to get a kitten is about 14 weeks, when their immune systems are already developed.


Copyright & Credit: Top Cat Breeds And Tips On Responsible Cat Breeding | Ken Charnely is webmaster at two of Internet’s popular article directories. For more articles on this topic and for free content for your website visit and

Photo copyright and courtesy:Debora Cordeiro

Understanding The Differences Between Savannah Cats And Bengal Cats

| December 26, 2011
Understanding The Differences Between Savannah Cats And Bengal Cats

The Savannah Cats and Bengal Cats may be late arrivals on the domestic cat scene, but they both bring distinct personalities and unique genetic traits to the table. The popularity of the breeds is growing testimony to their compelling personalities and domestic adaptability.

The Savannah Cats and Bengal Cats may be late arrivals on the domestic cat scene, but they both bring distinct personalities and unique genetic traits to the table. The popularity of the breeds is growing testimony to their compelling personalities and domestic adaptability.

When distinguishing between the two cats, think of their ancestral lineage. The Savannah Cat is a descendent of the African Serval Cat (ASC) and on occasion approaches the size of a Golden Retriever, almost 56 inches from nose to tail. The African Serval Cat’s natural habitat is the East African Savannahs. The name has Portuguese derivatives and means Wolf-Deer, which aptly portrays the ferocity and size of the Savannah’s ancestors. Some Savannahs weigh as much as 30 pounds, an unthinkable size for a Bengal Cat.

Bengal Cats are descendents of the small Asian Leopard Cat (ALC). Bengal Cats are medium sized, muscular with females typically in the 7 – 10 pound range and males in the 12-16 pound range. An unusually large male may tip in at 20 pounds. Bengal Cats are muscular with large bones and continue to grow until reaching two years.

Bengal Cats have a their own distinct appearance. The head is broad, with small, round ears and distinct whisker pads. The eyes are rimmed and feature mascara markings around the rim. The Bengal’s tail is thick with a black tip, which fits well with the gorgeous thick, soft coat. Bengal coats have either a marble pattern or a spotted pattern. One of the distinctive attributes of the Bengal Cat is the striking glittered appearance that looks like a handful of gold dust sprinkled over the coat. Bengals are brown, snow or silver.

Comparatively, the Savannah Cat is tall, lean and graceful with bold black spots accented by either a golden, silver, smoke or black background. The coat’s texture is a reflection of the Savannah’s domestic outcross. The International Cat Association (TICA) has approved the Egyptian Mau, the Ocicat, the Oriental Shorthair and the Domestic Shorthair as acceptable domestic breeds. Savannah Cats have upright, pointed ears and long, sleek, athletic legs. Savannah’s eyes are green, gold or brown and are shaped like a boomerang. Typically Savannah Cats have a tear stain that runs from the corner of the eye down the sides of the nose.

Savannah Cats have unique personalities. Some owners say their conduct has canine similarities. Savannahs are outgoing, active, loyal and play well with other pets. The Savannah responds well to leash training and shows affection with its unusual head-tap. Both Savannahs and Bengals love water. Savannahs enjoy affection and are quick to show their contentment. They are nimble, like their ancestors who could run 45 mph and jump almost 12 feet, and capable of incredibly athletic accomplishments. Savannah’s are curious and want to solve the riddle.

Bengals are lovers and snugglers. They will purr their contentment while on the lap or against a leg. Bengals love children and pour affection out as easily as they accept it. Bengals are involved and engaging. They are interested in all activities around them. They entertain themselves well and accordingly provide hours of entertainment for their families. Bengals are intelligent and respond well to routine. These fascinating pets will go through periods of extreme activity and playfulness and just as suddenly call it quits settling in for long periods of affection giving and taking. Bengals always pursue affection.

Bengals like high places where they can observe their territory. And, they do not miss much. Owners may want to establish a perch rather than let the Bengal choose its own. Both Bengals and Savannahs want scratching posts and a dangling cord is always a temptation. These two great pets have their similarities but are as different as their ancestors. Let them be themselves and they’ll shower you with love.


Copyright & Credit:

Article Source: Roberto Garabell: Urban Safari Cattery is home to the finest savannah cat and bengal kitten breeding with information regarding the history and development of this beautiful breed. Visit online today. – Visit Animal Pets & Friends for more pet and animal articles.

Photo copyright and courtesy:

What Is Your Siamese Trying To Tell You?

| February 22, 2011
What Is Your Siamese Trying To Tell You

When it comes to cats, many cat-lovers will do just about anything to please their feline companions. However, one of the most perplexing aspects of owning a cat is the attempt to try to decipher its various body movements and meows.

When it comes to cats, many cat-lovers will do just about anything to please their feline companions. However, one of the most perplexing aspects of owning a cat is the attempt to try to decipher its various body movements and meows. After all, like a baby, a cat’s meow can mean just about anything — from hunger to frustration to general irritation.

In fact, this is particularly true of Siamese cats. This breed of cat is one of the most vocal cats in the world. Interestingly, when it comes to communication, cats almost always match up their body language with their meows to communicate their commands.

Are you curious to know what your Siamese cat is thinking? Here are some general clues to help you figure out what your feline friend is trying to
tell you:

  • Purrs can mean different things: According to Gina Spadafori, author of “The Ultimate Cat Lover,” a cat’s purr can range from appealing for food to letting you know they are content or in pain. Listen to the pitch of the purr as well as the length and their general body expression as they are purring. A happy, content purr will usually be accompanied by snuggling or rubbing; a painful purr will usually be paired with a general sluggishness
    not normal for your cat.
  • According to Spadadori, it’s all in the eyes: If your Siamese has dilated pupils, they are probably fearful of something in the immediate vicinity. Meanwhile, an irritated Siamese will likely have pupils the size of small pinpoints, while a content cat will purr with half-closed eyes.
  • Pay attention to their tail: If your Siamese is flicking their tail from side to side in a somewhat rapid motion, they are probably agitated for some reason. If the tail is stretched out behind the body, they are contented. If the tail is wrapped tightly around the body or tucked underneath it, that might indicate some nervousness.

While most gestures and vocal expressions from your Siamese tend to be commands of some sort — pet me, feed me,— sometimes, it may be your cat’s way of telling you that something is wrong. For example, Siamese cats tend to meow longer and at a higher pitch when they are in pain. You should also pay attention to moments when your cat is mewing differently, as that can be a sign that something is wrong.

It is a well-known fact that Siamese cats will meow for just about anything, though food and attention are usually top priorities with this breed. Moreover, contrary to popular belief, they are one of the friendliest cat breeds, particularly when it comes to their primary caretakers, and they thrive on the closeness they develop with their human companions.

Paying close attention to the personality of your Siamese cat, and their various vocal points and body language will help you to better understand when — and what — they are trying to communicate to you at all times.

A Siamese cat may not be as big as a lion, but they move like phantoms in the night just like the big cats and their color can be similar to a tiger. And Siamese cats can be just as wicked awesome.

Copyright & Credit:

Thank you to for letting us use their resources.

Photo copyright and courtesy: Reimen

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