- Country of origin: USSR
- native breed: Yes
- What felinological organization is recognized?: FIFe, WCF
- Year of origin of the breed: 1986
- General form: muscular body, devoid of hair, silky and hot to the touch skin, high, slender paws with long and thin fingers
- The size: average
- Weight, kg (cat): 4-5.5
- Weight, kg (cat): 2.7-4.5
- Wool: naked – completely hairless skin; flock – the skin of an animal is covered with very short soft hairs that are almost invisible to the naked eye; velor – hairs are longer (2-3 mm) and noticeable; brush – have a rather long, stiff, crimped and sparse hair (like an old brush)
- Wool length: without wool
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The Don Sphynx is a popular Russian breed of hairless cats, distinguished by its good character and unusual appearance. Animals are strongly attached to the owner, not prone to aggression. They are good pets for families with children and single people.
Today, the Don Sphynx cat breed is recognized by the international felinological federations WCF, FIFe. But its history began in the USSR in 1986. In the city of Rostov-on-Don, an unusual kitten was picked up on the street, which, as it grew older, lost all the hair on its back. From a mother with such a non-standard appearance and a European shorthair cat in 1990, offspring were obtained.
Among 3 kittens, one turned out to be almost hairless. The cat was named Chita. It is she who is today considered the founder of the breed. Further selection was carried out by felinologist I. Nemykina, who managed to consolidate unusual breed characteristics by back-crossing. One of the sons of Chita – Hannibal – is found in the pedigrees of all modern Don Sphynxes.
In subsequent litters there were kittens with velor wool. They received the prefix myth – by the name of the nursery I. Nemykina. The first completely naked babies were obtained by inbreeding from Chita and Hannibal. The Don Sphynx was officially registered in 1996. And already in 2000 the first representative of the breed received the title of World Champion.
Hairless cats have a special appearance that distinguishes them from other members of this family.
In cats of the Don Sphynx breed, hairlessness is due to the presence of the Hbl allele in the genotype. Each litter can contain 1 of 4 types of kittens:
- Rubber, or naked. Kittens are born without hair, with skin that has a slightly sticky texture, reminiscent of rubber or plasticine. The body is strongly folded. This type is considered the most valuable for breeding.
- Flock. Animals have soft, very short and thin hairs on the body, resembling fluff, similar to the skin of a peach. By the age of 2, flock kittens become almost naked.
- Velours. This type of Don Sphynx is characterized by the presence of rather long, up to 2-3 mm, hairs on the skin. As the animal matures, they may fall out or be partially preserved.
- Brush. Cats that do not have exhibition value, but are actively used as producers. They are born with a hard and rather long curly coat. The hairs are sparse, which is why sphinxes resemble an old brush.
To obtain healthy offspring, naked individuals are not crossed with each other. If this rule is violated, mutations leading to the death of animals are possible. Tribal marriage for the breed of the Don Sphynx is considered to be undershot more than 2 mm, inversion of the eyelids. Also, animals with a head without a wedge shape, short-eared and short-tailed animals are not allowed for breeding.
Character and behavior
Don Sphynxes are very loyal cats with a developed intellect. They have not lost their hunting instincts, they actively show them when they are free-range. At home, these cats are playful, active and energetic. They show affection to the owners, friendly with other animals. Don Sphynx are often referred to as aristocrats – for restrained behavior, tact, delicacy.
Cats are not jealous. Easily put up with the lack of attention during the day. Trained successfully. They easily get used to the tray, but they are whimsical in choosing a place for it, they are clean. Young Don Sphynxes are quite curious, tend to actively explore the world around them. Adult animals become calmer, cats have a well-developed maternal instinct.
Advantages and disadvantages
The Don Sphynx has a number of obvious advantages. Representatives of this breed:
- have an outstanding appearance;
- have very unusual, pleasant to the touch skin;
- do not shed;
- able to learn many tricks;
- moderate in food.
There are also disadvantages. So, hairless cats are able to choose the most unexpected places for the toilet. They need a large, comfortable litter box with high, closed sides to create privacy. Also, the Don Sphynx has rather sharp, long claws. They require regular hygiene procedures, special complexes for climbing.
Maintenance and care
Don Sphynx do not require complex care, they are suitable for apartment maintenance. They become good companions for children, hypoallergenic. These are excellent pets for people with hypersensitivity to wool.
- In caring for naked individuals, the main difficulties lie in the periodic removal of brownish secretions from their skin with wet wipes. Especially carefully you need to take care of the folds, otherwise the cat’s body will exude a specific smell. Bathe cats weekly, with the addition of an extract of string and chamomile to the bath, at a water temperature of about +40 degrees. You can use special shampoos for hairless pets.
- The cat’s eyes require special attention. They are not covered with eyelashes and need daily treatment. They are wiped with a cotton swab dipped in a solution of chlorhexidine, chamomile decoction or a special lotion.
- Don Sphynx also need regular ear cleaning. Sulfur is removed from the outer part of the sink with a cotton swab. You should not delve into the auditory canal. Nail clipping is also done weekly. But the nail bed is treated with a solution of chlorhexidine every day.
- The Don Sphynx are shown brushing their teeth. It is carried out once a week, with a special brush and paste. If the pet resists, the removal of bacterial plaque is performed using cleansing gels. Special sticks, veins and granules help to remove rough deposits from the enamel.
This hairless cat breed has a fast metabolism and loses more heat during the day. The normal frequency of feeding for her is 3-4 times a day. Industrial rations are selected only in the holistic class. Natural food is heated to a temperature comfortable for the cat.
The diet of the Don Sphynx is made up, including in it:
- lean boiled meat – veal, beef, turkey, rabbit meat, about 150 g;
- offal, up to 2 times a week;
- sea fish (boneless fillet) weekly;
- porridge made from buckwheat, millet, rice, oats with the addition of vegetable oil;
- unsweetened dairy products;
- quail eggs;
- vegetable stew;
- oat or wheat sprouts.
Kittens are allowed to give milk porridge. Legumes, sweet fruits, garlic and onions are prohibited for the Don Sphynx. Do not give smoked meats, processed meat products, lard and bones. Whole milk is contraindicated for adult animals.
Health and disease
The Don Sphynx is a breed with not too good health. His bare skin is prone to irritation, allergic reactions. The eyes often suffer from manifestations of conjunctivitis. In cold weather, cats can suffer from diseases of the respiratory system and throat.
Genetic diseases are the main problem of the breed. Due to inbreeding in animals, underdevelopment of the thymus occurs in offspring. Kittens live no more than 5-10 days, are born weak. Also, intestinal pathology, vasculitis, microphthalmos, malocclusion can be inherited.
Don Sphynx with their big eyes and ears, soft bare skin resemble unearthly creatures. These magnificent cats are similar to their fluffy counterparts except for their behavior. But even here there are certain subtleties that are characteristic only for this breed.
- Don Sphynx sunbathing. They love to bask in the sun, but too much exposure to its rays can cause burns. It is important to dose the ultraviolet baths taken by the pet, providing him with shade during the hottest hours.
- Cats are long-lived. Many remain active until the age of 18. But the average life span is a little more modest, limited to 13-14 years.
- Tendency to hack. Representatives of this breed easily cope with bolts and latches, pull out drawers, learn to turn the window handle. To keep such a pet, you will need to strengthen the home security system.
- Sensitive skin. Petting Don Sphynx cats is often not recommended. They may experience pain when touched.
- Lazy eaters. Animals don’t chew their food very hard. Food for them is better to grind especially carefully.
The Don Sphynx is an amazing breed of cats that can become loyal friends. Despite all the difficulties, the pet will bring a lot of positive emotions to both adults and children.