The Peterbald may appear to be hairless; but not so, he is actually covered in short, fine down. Like the Sphynx, Peterbalds are more furless cats than actual baldies. The body of a Peterbald feels warm and soft to the touch. He feels like suede. His skin should not be nor feel oily.
Peterbalds vary in their degree of hairlessness. It’s not uncommon for kittens in the same litter to have a variety of hair types. Some may be ultra bald while others sport a full, straight coat. (It all depends on the parents’ genes.) The genes responsible seem to be more of a hair loss rather than hairless gene. Kittens can and do change coat types as they age. They will lose or gain hair coverage for up to two years. (So don’t fret if you come across a full-coated kitten.)
There are five distinct coat types: ultra bald, chamois, velour, brush and straight. Ultra bald Peterbalds are hairless; they have no whiskers or eyebrows and never grow any kind of coat. Their skin is warm and sticky to the touch. Chamois Peterbalds are 90% hairless. They have no visible hair and feel smooth to the touch (but not sticky). Their whiskers and eyebrows may be kinked, curled or broken. Velour Peterbalds are 70% hairless, their coat is up to a millimeter in length. The coat resists when stroked. As these Peterbalds age, they may change to a Chamois Peterbald. Brush Peterbalds have wiry hair up to 5 millimeters long. The coat may be wavy to almost curly and has an irregular texture. Whiskers are curled and kinked. Straight coated Peterbalds do not have the Peterbald gene and have short, close lying hair with straight whiskers. If that isn’t confusing enough, any Peterbald may have a combination of coat types. (These crazy cats tend to have longer, dense hair on their extremities.)
The Peterbald is a medium sized cat with visible wrinkles over most of his body (assuming he has a short enough coat to display his wrinkles). Wrinkles should appear on the head, at the base of the neck, the base of the tail, at the top of the legs and down both sides of their body to their underbelly. (Fun fact: All domestic cats are actually wrinkled, but most cats have fur to cover up their wrinkles.) The Peterbald body is long, sturdy and lean.Their muscles are firm. Legs are long. Feet are oval and medium in size with long, agile, prominent toes. Tails are long, straight and whippy. The neck is long and slender. The head is shaped like a long inverted triangle. Extra large, oversized, pointed ears are broad at the base. The forehead should sport several vertical wrinkles. The
chin is strong with the tip of the nose in line with the tip of the chin. Whiskers and eyebrows (for those who have them) are wavy or broken. Eyes are medium in size and almost almond-shaped. Males weigh 8 to 10 pounds,females weigh 6 to 8 pounds.
Peterbalds are also known as Petersburg Sphynx, though they have no connection to the North American Sphynx breed. The Peterbald is the newest recognized hairless breed, created by mating the Russian Don Sphynx (also known as the Donskoy or Don Hairless) with Siamese or Oriental Shorthairs to produce a hairless cat with a Siamese head and body shape. Until the 1980s, the Russian government discouraged citizens from owning household pets. After 1987, these restrictions were lifted and several clubs and organizations popped up and many cats were finally brought inside.
The Peterbald came into its name change thanks to a Saint Petersburg breeder who in 1993 proved that the hairlessness gene is dominant, unlike the Sphynx’s recessive gene. When the Peterbald began increasing in popularity, his name was changed to reflect his new city of origin. To increase the gene pool, Peterbalds were mixed with bloodlines from Don Sphynx, Siamese and Oriental Shorthairs.
Because the Peterbald is still under development, personalities vary depending on bloodlines. Generally, Peterbalds are trusting by nature and approach humans with curiosity and playfulness. They are an active, loving, friendly, frisky breed that gets along well with pretty much everyone. Any age of youngster needs a proper introduction. A Peterbald is an affectionate, outgoing cat. They crave human love and attention. They will wrap you up in their agile paws to lick you chin or give you a forehead press. Don’t be surprised if he follows you around the house, helps with your chores then hops into your lap when the work is done. After a day at work, he’ll most likely be waiting for you at the door, wag his tail and tell you all about his day.