The origins of this breed, despite its extraterrestrial look, are not at all otherworldly. It started its development in the early 1990s in St Petersburg, Russia, with a cross between a Russian Hairless cat called the Donskoy and an Oriental Shorthair. The offspring quickly found favor and gained popularity in St Petersburg, which led to it being donned the name Peterbald. To further develop its form and character, the breed was bred with the Don Sphynx, Oriental Shorthairs as well as the Siamese. The introduction of these breeds added much elegance to the Peterbald’s body type. In the years that followed, the Peterbald cat breed gained acceptance by the Russian Selectional Feline Federation (SFF), The International Cat Fancier Association (TICA), the World Cat Federation (WCF) and the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA). It was accepted for championship class competition in the 2000s. Peterbald continues to remain as a rare and much desired breed.
Physical appearance and attributes
The Peterbald is a medium sized cat that weighs between 6 – 10 pounds. It has a long body with well-developed musculature and medium – fine boning. Taking after the Siamese, the body lines dispose of elegance with the hip and shoulders being equal in width. The legs are long and slender, with the hind legs being slightly longer than the forelegs. They taper well into a medium sized oval paws with long prominent toes. Balancing the body is a long, strong and whippy tail.
The head is long and shaped like an inverted triangle measuring from the ear tips to the blunted muzzle. The angular shape of the face is contributed by the high cheekbones. Viewed in profile, the forehead is flat and the nose is long, thus forming two distinct flat planes that meet midway between the eyes in a convex angle. The muzzle appears strong with no whisker pinch, composing also of a firm chin that is in alignment with the tip of the nose. Whiskers are usually crinkly and kinky and may appear to be broken. Atop the head is a pair of extra large ears that are broad at the base and taper slightly to a rounded tip. Eyes of Peterbald are medium in size and oval in shape. They are obliquely set and are less than one eye’s width apart. Flushed with the skull, they are neither protruding nor recessed and the eye color is independent of the coat color. The head is carried on a long, straight, slender neck.
The Peterbald’s coat can come in two categories, namely, the bald coats and the hair coats. Its coat is the single most important feature of its attributes. Under the bald coats category, there is the ultra bald or sticky bald, which is completely hairless; the chamois, which has hair that measures 1mm or less and is smooth and silky to the touch; and the velour, which has hair that ranges from 1 – 5 mm in length and may appear hairless from a distance. The velour hair may be sparse, short and slightly wavy such that it bares the skin slightly. Otherwise, it may be dense, giving the coat a sleek and shinning look. The chamois is in fact the most desirable coat type.
Under the hair coats category, there are the brush coat and the normal coat. The brush coat comprises of wiry or almost curly hair that measures more than 5mm in length. It may be sparse or dense, giving it a coarse or soft texture. The normal or straight hair coat consists of a normal short hair coat that does not carry the Peterbald gene and does not lose become bald.
Personality and temperaments
The Peterbald cat is a highly intelligent, sociable and affectionate breed. It loves attention and is gregarious, entertaining those around with its amusing and playful antics. Coupled with its curiosity and athleticism, the Peterbald may seem to be perpetually active. However, it does enjoys just relaxing by its loved ones or being cuddled by them as long as it is not left in solitude. The Peterbald cat can be considered a highly vocal cat and would interact by “talking back”. Life is never dull with the Peterbald around.
Care and health issues
This is a healthy breed with no known health issues, living up to 12 – 15 years if it is well-cared for. It is important to ensure that it has undergone health checks by responsible breeders when purchasing the cat.
Grooming would require some efforts. As there is minimal or no hair to absorb skin oil and sweat, daily sponging is recommended. A regular bath would be necessary to remove accumulated dirt. Trim the nail and clean the ears whenever necessary. To prevent periodontal diseases, brush the teeth regularly with vet-approved toothpaste.
The ideal home
The Peterbald is an indoor cat as it is prone to extreme heat and cold. Sun block will need to be applied if it is being brought outdoors. To prevent boredom, do create an adventure zone that includes cat gyms, cat toys and scratching towers. An indoor garden with non-toxic plants would be ideal too. It is a breed that does not tolerate solitude, and the family will need to be prepared to shower it with care and attention. Being sociable, friendly and playful has allowed it to get on well with children as well as other cat-friendly pets that know how to handle it with gentleness. The Peterbald will not hesitate to show its affection under the proper care and love.