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The Donskoy ( Don Sphynx / Russian Hairless) Cat

| January 29, 2011

 

The Don Sphynx Cat Stepan

The Don Sphynx Cat

The Donskoy Cat also known as Don Sphynx or Russian Hairless Cat

Character and Care: 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.

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.

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.

Different Coat Types: Born Bald, Brush point, Velour

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.

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.

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.

 

Copyright & Credit:
Breed Profile  and Photos copyright & courtesy: Sherri Mossop at Possoms cattery – Home of the: Donskoy, Peterbald & Savannah

Category: Feline Resources

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