Russian Feline is a Family Favorite
The Peterbald is a cat packed with personality and charm. Full of life with an endless eagerness to play and perform tricks, the breed is also graced with a svelte, elegant build that contributes to its high-flying aerial antics.
A pushover for some TLC, the cat seems oblivious to its one standout characteristic: it’s usually bald.
The Peterbald is a relatively new breed of cat. In 1993, a brown mackerel tabby Donskoy—a hairless cat breed, was bred with a tortoiseshell Oriental shorthair cat in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The resulting offspring looked like hairless Oriental cats and were named Peterbalds. The line quickly developed as breeders crossed Peterbalds with Donskoys, Oriental shorthairs and Siamese cats.
The cross-breeding means the Peterbald carries the Donskoy’s dominant hair-loss gene combined with a similar appearance of an Oriental or Siamese.
The International Cat Association (TICA) accepted the new breed in 1997 and then granted it Championship status in 2005.
The Peterbald is an affectionate cat that prefers the companionship of family, including children and other pets. The breed is known to “shadow” family members and demand attention, often loudly vocalizing its demands. The Peterbald can also show its devotion by holding the face of a family member in its paws and gently caressing.
Smart and sweet-tempered, these cats are also energetic and agile, and enjoy playing with toys and climbing up furniture and cat condos. They may often entertain you with their enthusiasm for life—and the occasional aerial ballet performance.
The Peterbald has slim, muscular build that is often compared to Oriental shorthair cats; cat fanciers describe the breed’s appearance as “graceful.” The breed has a long tail and a narrow head topped off by large, wide-set ears often described as “bat wings.”
Born with a hair-losing gene, Peterbalds can be bald at birth, or have a flocked (90% hairless), velour (feels like crushed velvet), brush (wiry, curly hair) or straight coat. Those born with a flocked, velour or brush coat can lose their hair over time. With or without hair, the Peterbald can be born in any color with any possible markings.
Despite their hairlessness, Peterbalds are not a hypoallergenic breed. Anyone allergic to cats can still have an allergic reaction to a Peterbald, triggered by different proteins in the cat’s saliva, coat and dander.
Interesting fact: the Peterbald has webbed, oval-shaped paws. This feature provides these cats with the ability to grasp objects and even open levered doorknobs.
Your Peterbald will not necessarily develop the condition listed below. Choosing a reputable breeder from which to purchase your pet will help minimize the risks.
Because many Peterbalds are hairless, they require additional care during colder climates to keep them warm. Cat sweaters and blankets provide necessary warmth. In addition, Peterbalds need regular bathing to remove oil and dirt to prevent it from building up on their skin. Limited exposure to direct sunlight is recommended as the breed can sunburn.
- Feline ectodermal dysplasia, which causes problems including poor dentition (such as missing and malformed teeth) and lactation issues, is suspected to be linked to the dominant gene mutation that causes hairlessness in Peterbalds.
As with any pet, be sure to regularly consult a veterinarian for routine care and medical advice for your four-legged friend.