No hair? No problem. Most cats are celebrated for their lush fur and soft coats, but hairless cat breeds uniquely captivate cat lovers with their seemingly otherworldly appearance. These hairless felines have a special allure and their distinct charm has made them an increasingly popular choice among cat enthusiasts. And the best part is, they don’t shed!
From the widely recognized Sphynx to lesser-known breeds like the Ukrainian Levkoy, these hairless cat breeds bring a touch of the extraordinary to the world of pet ownership.
Parade Pets had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Laura Cauthen, DVM, to gain her insight on the various hairless cat breeds and what you need to know before adopting one yourself.
Are There Different Types of Hairless Cats?
The first hairless cat breed that likely comes to mind is the popular Sphynx. The Sphynx, with its smooth and wrinkled skin, is undoubtedly the poster child for hairless cat breeds. These affectionate, playful cats have won over countless admirers with their furless appearance.
However, the world of hairless cats is far more diverse than just the Sphynx! With a growing number of breeds and unique traits, don’t limit yourself to this hairless cat breed only.
Dr. Cauthen tells Parade Pets, “There are several types of hairless cats, with the Sphynx and the Donskoy being the most common two.”
She continues, “Other varieties include breeding a Sphynx with a Munchkin, resulting in a Bambino, or breeding a Donskoy with a Scottish Fold, resulting in the Ukrainian Levkoy.”
What Is the Difference Between Ukrainian Levkoy and Sphynx?
Although they may look somewhat similar, Ukrainian Levkoy and Sphynx stand apart in their origins, coat textures and physical characteristics.
“The Ukrainian Levkoy is a relatively new breed that originated in Ukraine. They have folded ears which give them a distinct look,” says Dr. Cauthen.
Additionally, Ukrainian Levoy cats may have a fine layer of fuzz or bald spots, making their appearance distinct from the Sphynx. Conversely, the Sphynx, a more established and iconic hairless breed are celebrated for their nearly hairless bodies, characterized by a peach-fuzz-like layer of hair.
“The Sphynx cat originated in the 1960s in Canada. They have large ears and a wrinkled body,” adds Dr. Cauthen. “Both breeds are known to be affectionate and sociable.”
Related: 25 Small Cat Breeds
How Rare Is a Sphynx Cat?
You certainly don’t see sphynx cats every day, so it may pose the question in your brain: ‘How rare is a sphynx cat?”
Dr. Cauthen explains that sphynx cats are rare compared to the general cat population, but they’ve grown in popularity in the last few years.
“I personally see pet Sphynx, Munchkins and Dwelfs quite often,” she says.
With their increase in popularity, sphynx cats are now more common compared to some other hairless cat breeds. They can be found in many countries and are often available from reputable breeders.
Related: 10 Things People Do That Cats Actually Hate, According to Vets
11 Hairless Cat Breeds
“Sphynx cats are sought after by cat enthusiasts because of their rarity, uniqueness and distinctive appearance,” Dr. Cauthen says. “They do come with a higher price tag and sometimes more frequent health-related issues, but they do make great and affectionate pets.”
Dr. Cauthen urges anyone interested in getting a Sphynx cat to do their research and find a reputable breeder who follows ethical breeding practices.
The Bambino is a pint-sized hairless cat breed that results from a cross between the Sphynx and the Munchkin, according to Dr. Cuathen. These little felines are known for their short legs and their nearly hairless bodies, along with being social, outgoing and full of curiosity.
The Donskoy cat hails from Russia and boasts a unique appearance characterized by its wrinkled skin. What sets the Donskoy apart is its ever-changing coat, which can shift from hairless to a soft fuzz as it ages. These friendly and outgoing cats are known to form strong bonds with their human families.
The Peterbald is another hairless cat breed that originates from Russia. These cats exhibit various coat types—from completely bald to having a short coat. Peterbalds are known for their intelligence and sociable nature—although some are more reserved and shy than others.
5. Ukrainian Levkoy
“The Ukrainian Levkoy is a relatively new breed,” Dr. Cauthen tells us.
They are named after the Levkoy plant, which is known for its distinctive folded leaves. It’s fitting since these hairless cats are characterized by their folded ears!
Elf cats are another newer hairless cat breed, which is a hybrid of the Sphynx and American Curl cat breeds. Similar to the Ukrainian Levkoy, they have curled ears and cute, hairless bodies.
Elf cats are extroverts at heart and love to jump around and play with their owners. If you’re considering adopting an Elf cat, make sure you’re ready to keep up with their playful needs!
Being one of the more common hairless cat breeds that Dr. Cauthen sees in her practice, Dwelf cats are a popular hairless cat breed choice. Dwelf cats are a combination of the Sphynx, Munchkin and American Curl breeds.
These small, hairless cats have short, stubby legs and curled ears, adding to their adorable appearance. Dwelf cats are known for their playful disposition and affectionate nature with their owners.
Minskin cats are the result of crossing the Sphynx and Munchkin breeds, creating small-sized felines with hairless and nearly hairless bodies. Though they are small and short, their personalities are big—making them an irresistible hairless cat breed choice for many cat lovers.
Unlike many of the hairless cat breeds on this list, Kohana cats originate from Hawaii and are a mutation of the Sphynx cat. Kohana cats are docile and endearing, making them a popular choice for households with young children and other animals.
10. Oriental Shorthair
Oriental Shorthair cats are known for their striking coat patterns and colors. Though most are not totally hairless, some members of this breed may carry a hairless gene—resulting in a nearly hairless coat.
This cat is long and muscular: a long slender body, long tail and long neck, and is known to move gracefully around the home. They are highly intelligent and affectionate but require attentive cat owners.
The Lykoi, also known as the “werewolf cat,” has an appearance characterized by patchy, sparse fur and a slightly wild, shaggy look. Lykoi cats are a breed of cat derived from a natural mutation causing a form of hypotrichia found in domestic short-haired cats.
Next: 11 Designer Cat Breeds
Connect With Dr. Laura Cuathen, DVM