Hairless cat breeds are incredibly unique, not just in looks but in temperament, history, and more. Hairless cats can be traced as far back as the Aztec period, but in the last several years they have become incredibly popular and sought after by cat lovers.
While some are completely bald, most hairless cat breeds are actually covered in very fine and soft down-like fur that you can’t spot until you get up close. Sometimes this fur can be a light coating across the entire body, while other breeds may just have it on certain parts of the body, like their tail or their toes.
Because of their unique hair/skin situation, hairless cats require a lot of maintenance. They need to be regularly bathed with the best cat shampoo because they don't have hair to absorb oils from their skin, so a weekly bath is necessary. They also need to be protected in the colder months with a sweater or coat, and given a nice layer of cat-friendly sunscreen during the summer as they can burn easily in the sunlight.
Hairless cat breeds are also not hypoallergenic, as the proteins found in the skin and saliva can trigger allergic reactions, not the hair itself. However, because hairless cats shed less, some allergy sufferers do find they can coexist well with these breeds.
So, while hairless cats do require a fair bit of attention to ensure they thrive, they’ll also reward you with their playful spirit and affectionate natures. Most also make great lapcats, so if you’re looking for a kitty that will snuggle up with you, they’re a great choice. Here are eight of our favorite hairless cat breeds…
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Seven hairless cat breeds
Sphynx cats are probably the most well-known of all the hairless cat breeds. They are extroverted, energetic, super-intelligent, highly curious, and overflowing with affection that it just loves showering on their owner.
Elegant in appearance with lemon-shaped eyes and a fine-boned body, the Sphynx craves attention, so they’re the ideal buddy for you if you’re looking for a feline friend that will always want to be where you are. They are also incredibly talkative, so expect them to be chatty when they're tailing you around the house. Be prepared to spend a lot of time playing games and undertaking other enrichment activities as this is one kitty that needs a lot of stimulation.
In terms of their coat, Sphynx cats vary in their degree of hairlessness with some having a fine fuzz all over their bodies and others having it just on their extremities. They’re generally healthy, although they are prone to rashes and fungal infections, so they will need to be bathed or sponged regularly.
Developed in 2005, the Bambino is the result of the Sphynx being bred with the Munchkin - when you mix the recessive hairless gene of the former with the short-legged gene of the latter what you get is a rather cute almost bald dwarf cat. Like most hairless breeds, the Bambino (which means ‘baby’ in Italian) isn’t completely bald and is instead covered in a light peach fuzz that makes them feel like suede to the touch.
Highly social, the Bambino loves being with its people and it adores lap time too, so if you’re wanting a snuggle buddy, this little guy is a great choice. They love other animals (including dogs) and get along great with kids, making them the ideal family pet.
This cat is a true sweetheart, but don’t let their loving hearts fool you - this curious kitty is more than a little mischievous and is forever seeking out adventure, so you’ll find them in all sorts of weird and wonderful places as they look to explore their environment.
Originating from Russia, the Peterbald is easy to spot thanks to its oversized ears and whip-like tail. It's the result of breeding between the Donskoy and the Oriental Shorthair. Created in 1994, it was first popular in St. Petersburg, hence it being given the name Peterbald.
This breed comes in five different coat types with varying levels of hairlessness and its coat can change in the first few years of life, either growing or losing fur. They are highly vocal, loving, loyal, and affectionate and they develop incredibly strong bonds with their family members.
The Peterbald is an easy-going housemate - although they like to play and climb, they’re most content following their humans from room to room chatting all the way. They’re unlikely to leave your side, so be prepared to be supervised in everything that you do.
Another breed that hails from Russia, the Donskoy (also known as the Russian Hairless or the Don Sphynx) is a friendly and active cat who is well known and loved amongst pet parents for its extreme loyalty, which many say resembles that of a dog.
Sweet natured, energetic and playful, the Donskoy is highly intelligent and therefore very easy to train. You’ll want to have plenty of interactive cat toys on hand for those times when you’re busy as this is one kitty that likes to be kept busy.
This breed loves children and other cats, so they’ll do beautifully in a busy household with plenty of people to lavish them with attention. But that being said, as long as you have bucket loads of time to devote to them, they’ll be equally happy living with a single person or a couple.
The Donskoy comes in four coat types - the Rubber Bald, Flocked, Velour and Brush. The Rubber Bald is born bald and remains that way throughout its life, the Flocked has a light fuzz that can disappear as it gets older, the Velour has a bald spot on the top of its head and the Brush is bald on the head, the upper part of the back and the neck.
What do you get when you cross the Munchkin with the Sphynx and the American Curl? Why, the Dwelf of course! Known for its elf-like features and dwarf-like stature, the Dwelf may be a mix of three cats but it looks most like the Sphynx with a strikingly similar appearance.
This is a very interactive cat, so like with most hairless cat breeds, you’ll want to have plenty of time on your hands that you can devote to this little guy who loves giving and receiving love and affection.
With either short or non-existent whiskers and eyelashes, the Dwelf is hairless with the exception of a light coating of fluff that covers their entire body and feels like suede to the touch. They come in natural or dark gray coloring and because they’re known as a designer breed, be prepared to spend a pretty penny to welcome one into your family!
Derived from cross-breeding the Munchkin, Burmese, Sphynx and Devon Rex, Minskin cats are tiny, weighing no more than four pounds which make them look eternally like a kitten. With large eyes and a round head, the Minskin has short legs and a stocky body.
Although they first came into existence in 1998, in 2005 there were still only 50 of them in the world and even today, they’re known as a rare and exotic breed. Outgoing and playful, they’re flexible and adaptable so will slot right into any kind of household.
Because they’re so tiny, it’s vital the Minskin is kept inside to avoid them being confronted by predators and if you’ve invested in the best cat food, you’ll want to get a scoop to go with it to ensure your Minskin is getting the right portion - their tiny stature means they can’t afford to put on weight.
7. Ukrainian Levkoy
A cross between the Donskoy and the Scottish Fold, this inquisitive little kitty will be happy living just about anywhere as long as there’s a human or three there to shower them with attention!
Playful and super affectionate with their family members, they love children, other animals and strangers - so basically, pretty much everyone. They’re highly intelligent and moderately vocal, so if you’re not wanting constant chatter, this hairless cat breed hits the sweet spot with not too much and not too little.
The Ukrainian Levkoy can live for up to 15 years, is medium-sized in length and weighs around 10 pounds. You’ll want to invest in a decent cat tree and one of the best cat scratching posts as this breed loves to climb and explore.
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Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past three years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with a very mischievous Cocker Spaniel and a super sassy cat, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.