Donskoy vs Sphynx-What’s The Difference?

Hairless cats have become a part of our lives. More cat owners are falling in love with these beauties as time passes.

Not only do they grab the attention of the room but they have great qualities that make them excellent pets.

If these special beauties tickle your fancy, you have good company.

Some of the most popular hairless cats include the Sphynx and the Donskoy. Both breeds are similar in many ways albeit different as well.

If you have trouble deciding which one to go with, we are here to help. We have prepared a detailed guide to help you make the right decision.

Origin of The Breeds


Donskoy, also called Russian Donskoy, Don Sphynx, or Russian Hairless is a moderately-sized cat with a reputation for being totally bald.

The breed’s story goes way back to the 20th century when a Russian professor called Elena Kovaleva came in contact with a breed member for the first time.

Turns out that Mr. Kovaleva caught sight of kids kicking a bag with something in it.

He got curious and decided to look inside the bag. To his shock, he discovered that the kids were actually playing with a kitten.

He rescued it and after a while of owning it, the feline started losing his hair.

She later gave birth to her litter with some having hair and others with a few strands that disappeared at some point.  

One of the kittens was adopted in a certain shelter in Russia and later became an internationally recognized breed by the International Cat Association (TICA) in 1987.


While Donskoy has its roots in Russia, Sphynx originated from Canada.

The first hairless kitty by the name of Prune was born in 1966 in Toronto.

Cat enthusiasts tried to reproduce more hairless cats after it but their efforts were successful at first.

A few decades of breeding Devon Rex cats and other hairless breeds gave rise to the Sphynx.

These hairless felines later made their way to the United States and the rest of the world.

The breed was recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association in 2002. Three years later, it was recognized by The International Cat Association.

Physical Appearance


The Donskoy is a cute medium-sized kitty. Weight ranges from 6-12 pounds while height stands at 11-12 inches.

The body has little or no hair and is mostly covered in wrinkles just like human skin. Because of this, this kitty attracts a lot of attention everywhere.

Its body is solid and muscular complete with a straight back and narrow shoulders.

 The cat’s head is wedge-shaped while the cheekbones and eyebrows are well developed.

The muzzle is rounded and of medium length, while the ears are large and tower above the head.

Finally, the eyes are medium-sized and almond-shaped with a slight slant. Eye colors are varied and all are permitted by the TICA.


Sphynxes are sophisticated cats in appearance and character.

They were named after the Egyptian sphinx and truly live up to the name.

Like Donskoys, they are medium-sized weighing 6-12 pounds. Height from head to tail is 13-15 inches. 

Although they are referred to as hairless, Sphynxes are not totally bald. They do have downy fuzz on their coats. Their coats are not plush but are suede-like.

Despite having hair strands, Sphynxes do not have whiskers and eyelashes.

The skin is wrinkled especially as kittens. Like Donskys, cats of the breed have large ears, a wide chest, and long hairless tails.

Their tummies protrude a little giving them the appearance of a cat that just had a heavy meal.

Coat Colors and Patterns


Donskoy’s come in different coat types.

  • Rubber bald: these are born bald and remain so throughout their lives.
  • Flocked: kittens born with somewhat of a coat that resembled soft fuzz. The little strands of hair may remain intact or fall out as the kitten grows older.
  • Velour: cats born with bald spots on their heads. As they grow older, the short wiry coat may remain or become hairless. In other instances, the body will retain patches of hair.
  • Brush: these varieties have the most hair on their bodies. Their coats are short and wiry and remain so for the rest of their lives.


Like most cats, Sphynxes feature different coat colors and patterns.

From tabbies to tortoiseshells to calicos, you will find many variations in the breed.

That’s not all – these cats come in many colors such as black, red, chocolate, white, and lavender.

Related Post: What Exactly Is a Torbie Cat?



Not only are Donskoy cats astonishingly beautiful but they are also charming.

They have a good temperament. From being gentle, to sociable and loving, these kitties are wonderful family pets.

Whether you have kids, other pets, or none, they will get along with them all.

The breed is also intelligent and loves being entertained all the time.

If you plan on leaving yours for long periods, consider buying him toys to keep his mind stimulated. When you get back in the evening, be sure to provide plenty of companionships.


Even with little to no fur on their bodies, sphynx cats are some of the warmest.

They make good cuddle buddies. With a naturally high body temperature, they are warm to the touch.

Snuggling with them especially in cold weather is a joyful experience.

These cats are affectionate and fun to be around. Like Donskys, they love and crave human attention.

Grooming and Care


As mentioned, the Donskoy is mostly hairless. As a result, grooming is of utmost importance.

The cats need to be wiped down daily to remove oil buildup. A weekly bathing routine is also necessary.

Most importantly, these beauties are at the risk of getting too cold or too cold when climatic conditions are extreme.

When the mercury drops, consider adding a layer of clothing over your kitty.

Oppositely, when it’s blazing outside, consider using sunscreen to protect the skin.


With little to no fur to absorb body oils, sphynxes need frequent grooming.

Bathing should happen at least weekly to get rid of buildup.

A wipe down of their wrinkled skins is also necessary between baths.

Thankfully, these cats are four degrees warmer than other cats. Still, they can easily freeze or overheat in extreme conditions.

Exercise Needs


If you love a playful and active cat, this breed is the right fit for you.

Donskoys love playing with toys such as mice, feathers, balls, and treat toys. They are also into exploring their spaces. 


Due to their timid and dull cat-like appearance, many people assume that Shynx cats are boring to own.

Not the case. These kitties are affectionate, curious, playful, and high-energy.

They are very chatty and are always getting into mischief.

As for exercise, these kitties do not need much of it. They can keep themselves busy for hours before needing a buddy to play with.

If you have two cats at home, they will entertain themselves even in your absence.



Because of being hairless, Donskoy cats are prone to sunburn, weather sensitivity and several other skin-related conditions. These can cause itching and a host of infections.

Other than that, watch out for tooth and gum issues.


Like Donskys, Sphynx cats are sensitive to the sun and should be protected from too much direct exposure. If possible, they should stay indoors for the most part.

They are also susceptible to gum disorders, muscle weakness (hereditary myopathy), and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (thickening of the heart’s muscles).

Which Breed Is Right For You?

Clearly, both the Donskoy and the Sphynx are wonderful pets. The right breed depends on your preferences and needs.

Both are people-oriented, affectionate, playful, and high-maintenance.

For people that don’t mind a completely hairless cat with a high appetite for attention, the Donskoy is a perfect choice.

Caring for your cat will be tasking but you will be rewarded with plenty of love and affection.

On the other hand, if you prefer a cat that knows how to entertain himself, one that has some fur on the coat, is warmer than most cats, and loves to snuggle, the Sphynx is a good fit for you.

Determine your needs and make a good choice based on them.