Cats are often referred to as long-haired or short-haired but some are actually considered hairless. These breeds can range from completely bald to having a fine downy coat. Anyone looking to bring home one of these unique kitties has a few breeds to consider.
The Sphynx is a breed with a fine downy coat. It's often described as being the same texture as chamois. Their skin has a pattern just like their fur would have if they had any. It will appear to be solid, tabby or even another pattern. This breed was created in the 1960's by selective breeding of naturally hairless cats. They have large ears, a wedge shaped head and large lemon-shaped eyes. They are very muscular with a medium size body. Sphynx cats are extroverts who love attention and are very affectionate.
The Bambino is considered an experimental breed. It was first registered with the International Cat Association in 2005. These cats were created by crossing a Sphynx with a Munchkin, a breed with a reduced leg size and large upright ears. This typically produces a hairless cat with short legs. Their skin is usually white or pink so protection from the sun is necessary. Being hairless also means they are vulnerable to the cold.
The Donskoy was first registered in 1987 and originated in Rostov-on -Don, Russia. It was officially recognized as an international breed in 1997. It has a similar appearance to the Sphynx but the lack of hair is caused by a different gene. These are medium sized cats with almond shaped eyes, large ears and a muscular build. Their skin is oily due to their lack of hair so some grooming is necessary.
The Peterbald is another created breed from Russia. This breed is a cross between a Donskoy and an Oriental Shorthair. They have the looks and body shape of an oriental breed but are hairless. They are recognized by their slim muscular bodies, almond shaped eyes, wide set big ears and wedge shaped muzzle.
The Ukrainian Levkoy has a very different look than any other cat. It has ears that fold inward similar to the Scottish Fold as well as being hairless. It is mainly found in the Ukraine and Russia and only recognized by the Ukrainian and Russian cat clubs. This is perhaps the strangest looking cat you'll ever see.
The Lykoi was developed in Memphis Tennessee. It is a naturally occurring mutation of a domestic shorthair. They are black with a wedge shaped head and sleek elegant body. It is typically hairless with markings that resemble a werewolf, giving them their name.
Being hairless does not mean these cat are low maintenance. They need protection from the sun as they can suffer from sunburn and are very susceptible to the cold. Even though they don't have hair, they usually require bathing or washing. Their bodies still produce sebum, a substance used to keep fur in good condition. If not cared for, it can cause dry, flaky skin and sometimes sore spots.