The Ukrainian Levkoy cat is a relatively new breed that is still not very well known in the west. With the rise in development of ‘hairless cat breed’ has come the inspiration of the Ukrainian Levkoy. This breed is considered a creation of Elena Vsevolodovna Birjukova, a Russian cat breeder, who started the development in 2000. To achieve her ideal standard, Elena crossed a male cat with lob ears – similar to that of the Scottish Fold cat – with a female Sphynx. In 2004, Elena finally achieved her goal and she named the breed “Ukrainian Levkoy” after the Levkoy plant, which is characterized by its bent leaves, thus reflecting also the unique feature of the cat’s ears. In Russia, this breed is also known as the Levkoj or Levkoi and is being recognized by most of the cat associations in Russia and Ukraine. However, it might need more time for its popularity to spread before being accepted for registration by cat registries in the west.
Physical appearance and attributes
The Ukrainian Levkoy is a medium sized breed that weighs between 11 – 15 pounds and possesses a very original appearance. It has a rather long body that is slightly rectangular in form and disposes of good muscularity and slenderness. The back line of its body is slightly arched and its chest is of an oval shape. It walks in long and strong boned legs that are well-proportionate to the body. Complementing the legs are oval paws with long mobile toes. Another arched line can be traced along its muscular neck from the shoulder to the base of its skull. Balancing the body is a tail of medium length that tapers to a fine tip.
Its head shape reflects a soft outlined of a pentagon and is a little longer than it is broad. It has a low forehead and the top of the skull is long and flat. The angular outline of the face is contributed by its prominent cheekbones and brow bone. The nose is broad and long and when viewed in profile, the line continues from the flat top skull with very minimal change in angel except for a slight break below the eye level. The muzzle appears almost cylindrical if not for the distinct muzzle break. Atop the head is a pair of rather large ears that are set high and wide apart. About 1/2 or 1/3 of the ear is roundly folded forward from the tip without touching the head. The ears are considered one of Ukrainian Levkoy’s characteristic features. Ukrainian Levkoy has large and distinctly almond shaped eyes with the outer corners, presenting a slant towards the base of the ears. While any colors are allowed for the eyes, they should be deep and bright.
The Ukrainian Levkoy is not an entirely hairless breed as it might wear a coat of very fine hair that is between 1 – 3 mm or the hair might also appear on its points. However, the totally bare skin would still be ideal for this ‘hairless’ breed. This might happen as the cat grows in maturity. Wrinkles become more apparent on this breed and they appear in the groin, legs, belly, on the neck, above and under the eyes and on the head. Any coat color will be acceptable.
Personality and temperaments
Ukrainian Levkoy is a sweet tempered cat. Coupled with this nature is its high intelligence that makes training to walk leash and learning of tricks easy. Mischievous, playful and moderately active, the Ukrainian Levkoy can usually be seen running and playing around the house for a few hours daily. This is also a very loyal and affectionate breed. Thus, it definitely will enjoy cuddling in your lap and following you around the house. It loves to be pampered and loves all forms of attention. Even though it can be a demanding breed, it is not as strong-headed as many other oriental breeds. Most Ukrainian Levkoys are vocal and would make themselves heard.
Care and health issues
As a relatively new breed, the lifespan of the Ukrainian Levkoy is still undetermined. However, as a cross between the Sphynx and Scottish Fold, it is safe to guess that it can live up to an average of 15 years. This cat has been observed to be prone to gum disease and tooth decay. It is still early to determine if this breed, like the Sphynx, is susceptible to any hereditary or genetic diseases such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Regular dental and health check up is recommended in order to maintain its overall good health. Do ensure that the cat is being bred under responsible and qualified breeder who is able to produce a written health guarantee upon your purchase of the cat.
Despite being hairless, the Ukrainian Levkoy is not a low-maintenance cat. Its skin will sweat and accumulate dust and oil. Thus, daily sponging is recommended and a monthly bath is advisable. Trim the nails whenever necessary and efforts can also be put into cleaning its paws, nail beds and in between the toes. Do also check the folded ears and clean it with a damp cloth whenever necessary to prevent infections.
The ideal home
This breed is ideal for indoor and apartment living. If it is being brought outdoors, make sure to protect it from extreme weathers by either keeping it warm with cat clothing or applying sun block to prevent sunburn. Create an adventure zone that is filled with cat toys, gyms and scratching posts to prevent boredom and to encourage a hearty growth. Most Ukrainian Levkoy can do well with other household cat and dogs. It can also get along well with children who know how to care and handle it with gentleness. Otherwise, this breed is considered best suited for all adults as well as seniors and retirees. The family will need to ensure that it receives the adequate care and attention. The Ukrainian Levkoy will not fail to return double the love shown.
Photo by Alena Ivanchuk - CC BY-SA 3.0