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Category: "Don sphynx"

Donskoy

by Ed  

The Donskoy (or Don Sphinx) is a highly intelligent, beautiful and friendly cat breed type which originated in southern Russia in the city of Rostov-on-Don (near the Sea of Azov) in 1987.

Cat of the Month ~ October 2012

A young Donskoy ~ not always bald at birth

Photograph: petsphoto.com

The story goes that Elena Kovaleva, a professor of the nearby State Pedagogical Institute, saw some young boys playing with a bag. When she heard a kitten inside the bag squealing in fear and pain, Elena took the bag from the boys and brought the young kitten home. She named the kitten Varvara, but over the following months the kitten grew up like no other cat she had seen. It lost its hair and was treated (in vain) for this seemingly fatal condition. The cat thrived however and a few years later gave birth to both haired and completely hairless kittens. Strangely those kittens with hair also began to lose it, just as their mother had done years before.

Many thought that these hairless kittens were unhealthy and should be gotton rid of. However, a local enthusiast and professional cat breeder by the name of Irina Nemikina, rescued one of these kittens and in several years had managed to breed a completely new type of Russian cat (a hairless one) which she named the 'Don Sphynx'. 'Don' after the river which Varvara was found beside and 'Sphynx' because it was hairless just like the sphynx breed. It was The International Cat Association which gave this unique cat type the name of 'Donskoy'.

An adult Donskoy, a loyal and good-natured companion

Photograph: unknown

The Donskoy is a very elegant, highly inquisitive, and social cat. They are also very active and almost always extremely friendly. For owners the Donskoy is very loyal, good-natured, gentle, and easy to groom and handle. Their coats are warm and soft to the touch making then wonderful to hold and cuddle. They have a well balanced personality, show a lively interest in their surroundings, and enjoy making up & playing games. Donskoy are extremely affectionate and they have an irrepressible curiosity (even more evident than in other cats). Their social skills are also transferred to other animals to which they will offer companionship. It is recommended that these highly sociable cats are found companion pets and should not be kept in isolation with just humans. Owning a Donskoy you will find they will love to be a part of all your activities and they will be easy to train to follow your voice commands.

A young Donskoy will have a coat of one of four types in a range of colours. All but one of these coats usually results in hairlessness in later life. This is due to the Donskoy carrying a dominant hair loss gene that causes their birth coat to fall out (if they have one) in later life.

Their coats are:
Rubber Bald -- The rubber bald is born bald and remains that way throughout its life.

Flocked - The Flock coat appears to be hairless and has the texture of soft chamois leather. The Flock coat can sometimes disappear and the cat can sometimes become bald.

Velour - The velour coated kittens are born with a bald spot or Monk's cap on the top of the head. Their wool-like coat becomes wiry and disappears gradually within the first year or so with some residual hair remaining on the face, legs and tail. The Velour can also completely lose their coat and become bald over time.

Brush - Brush type coats lose only a portion of their coat over time. Their coat can be bristly, soft, wavy, and often wiry on their whole body with bald areas on the head, upper part of neck or on the back.

The Donskoy is further unique in that it can grow a winter coat (fine wool on the chest and hairs on the end of the tail) which it will lose when the weather warms. Their skin is similar to human: it sweats when it is hot and it can also become tanned by the summer sun.

Pages: 1· 2

Sphynx

by Ed  

The Sphynx (also known as the Canadian Hairless) is one of the newer cat breeds. It is reported that the first Sphynx was born in Canada in 1966, in Roncesvalles, Toronto when a hairless kitten named Prune was born. The kitten was mated with its mother (a process known as backcrossing), which produced one more naked kitten. The lack of hair on the Sphynx is caused by a genetic imbalance and occurs about once every fifteen years.

Despite the Sphynx appearing to be a hairless cat it is in fact not truly hairless. The skin will have the texture of chamois leather or a ripe peach. This covering is a very soft, fine down, which is almost imperceptible to both the eye.

Sphynx
Sphynx cat with typically large ears.

Lack of a thick coat makes the cat quite warm to the touch. Hair in the form of Whiskers and eyebrows may be present or may in some extreme cases be totally absent. It is said that the skin of this feline is the color their fur would have been had it been present, and all the usual cat marking patterns (solid, point, van, tabby, tortie, etc) may be found in Sphynx too. This is a very unusual trait.

The personality of the Sphynx is generally warm and friendly, highly intelligent, inquisitive and extroverted. They are also very affectionate and social animals. If kept as a pet the Sphynx should always have the company of others (be they other Sphynx or humans) so that they have companionship throughout each and every day. It is said to be cruel to keep a sphynx isolated for long periods.

Many people with typical allergies to cats with full fur coats find that they tolerate the Sphynx breed well. Because Sphynx don't leave hair all over the house this is thought to make them an easier cat to keep. This is not strictly so! Their lack of hair results in increased body oils so regular bathing is often necessary, which is an inconvenience most cat owners dont have to deal with. Also the Sphynx will be going outdoors as often as your 'common' domestic cat (if at all) Care should be taken to limit the Sphynx cat's exposure to outdoor sunlight as they can develop a sunburn, similar to that caused in humans. In general, Sphynx cats should never be allowed outdoors unattended, as they have limited means to conserve body heat in colder temperatures, and their curious nature can take them into dangerous places or situations.

A semi-coated Sphynx showing skin markings.

The Sphynx breed is known for a sturdy, heavy body a wedge-shaped head and an alert friendly temperament. Although hairless cats have been reported throughout history (hairless cats seem to appear naturally about every 15 years or so), and breeders in Canada have been working on the Sphynx breed since the early 1960s, the current American and European Sphynx breed is descended from two lines of natural mutations:

Other hairless breeds might have different body shapes or temperaments than those described above. There are, for example, new hairless breeds, including the Don Sphynx and the Peterbald from Russia, which arose from their own spontaneous mutations. The standard for the Sphynx differs between cat associations such as TICA, FIFE and CFA.

Sphynx hairlessness is produced by a 'strain' of the same gene that produces the Cornish Rex, which has only one of the usual two fur coats. The Sphynx strain (or allele) is incompletely dominant over the Devon allele; both are recessive (or revert) to the wild type. Sphynx were at one time crossbred with Devon Rex in an attempt to strengthen this gene, but unfortunately this led to serious dental or nervous-system problems and is now forbidden in most breed standards associations. A genetic heart defect was also introduced by the Devon Rex breed. The only allowable out-cross breeds in the CFA are now the American Short-hair and Domestic Short-hair. Other associations may vary. In Europe mainly Devon Rex has been used for out-crosses.

One of many 'Dr. Evil' cats, The Sphynx 'Mr Bigglesworth'