• Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Why Do Hairless Cats Exist? Breeding Practices Explained


May 5, 2023
hairless cat sitting on the sofa


hairless cat sitting on the sofa

Cats are one of the most beloved pets in the world, and over the years, breeders have created many different breeds, each with unique characteristics. Among these breeds are hairless cats, known for their distinctive appearance of having no or almost no hair on their bodies. Hairless cats are often the subject of curiosity, and many people wonder why they exist. The simple answer is they exist because breeders started creating them in the 1950s.  Keep reading while we dig in and find out more about the answer to this question and look into the breeding practices that led to the development of these unique cats.


Origins of Hairless Cats

Hairless cats exist today because breeders found naturally occurring ones and bred them with other cats to create a new breed of hairless cats. They found the first hairless cat in the early 1900s in a litter of otherwise normal cats in Mexico. The kitten was named Prune, and her offspring were also hairless, but they didn’t recognize it as something they could develop into a breed. In the 1950s, breeders discovered a hairless cat named Nudie in Toronto, Canada, which they thought was also a genetic mutation. They began breeding it with other cats, and it became the Sphynx, which is still one of the most popular hairless breeds.

sphynx cat kitten
Image Credit: David Tadevosian, Shutterstock

Breeding Practices

Breeding hairless cats is a complex and controversial practice involving much genetic manipulation. Breeders use various techniques to produce hairless cats, including selective breeding, inbreeding, and genetic testing.

Selective Breeding

Selective breeding is the process of choosing certain cats with desirable traits and breeding them together to create offspring with those same traits. For example, in the case of hairless cats, breeders select cats with hairless characteristics and breed them together to produce more hairless cats.

Sphynx with different eye color
Image Credit: Lisitskiyfoto, Shutterstock


Inbreeding is the practice of breeding closely related cats together to strengthen desirable traits and create a more uniform breed. In the case of hairless cats, inbreeding produces cats with a consistent hairless appearance. However, inbreeding can also lead to genetic defects and health problems, increasing the likelihood of inherited diseases.

Genetic Testing

Genetic testing is a relatively new technique used to identify specific genes associated with certain traits or health conditions. In the case of hairless cats, breeders use genetic testing to identify cats with the hairless gene so they can selectively breed cats with the hairless gene and avoid breeding cats that do not carry the gene.

Sphynx cat with odd colored eyes, Shpynx cat with heterochromia
Image Credit: Wildlife World, Shutterstock

Ethical Concerns

There are many ethical concerns about breeding hairless cats just for their appearance. For example, inbreeding and selective breeding can lead to the expression of harmful recessive genes, and the cats are more susceptible to skin infections and sunburn as they lack the protective layer of fur that other cats have. Some breeders may also prioritize the cat’s appearance over its health for profit, and many argue that we shouldn’t treat cats as objects we can mold to our desire. However, many owners of these cats insist their pets live happy and fulfilling lives.

How Many Hairless Cat Breeds Exist?

There are quite a few hairless cat breeds available in 2023, including the Sphynx, Peterbald, Donskoy, Bambino, Ukrainian Levkoy, Kohana, and many others.

Portrait of grey sphynx cat
Image credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock

Are Hairless Cats Hypoallergenic?

While hairless cats might be more friendly to people who suffer from allergies because they won’t be leaving dander around the house, the same protein that is found in dander that causes allergies exists in a cat’s urine and saliva. So they can still trigger an allergic reaction and are not hypoallergenic.

Can Hairless Cats Go Outside?

Unfortunately, hairless cats cannot go outside unsupervised because the lack of fur leaves them susceptible to sunburn. They can also get scratched and bruised easily and have no tolerance for warm or cold temperatures.

Image Credit: Pexels, Pixabay


Hairless cats exist because breeders started creating them in the 1950s, and they quickly became popular, which caused breeders to continue to look for ways to develop healthy breeds. They use interbreeding, selective breeding, and genetic testing to find suitable cats, and many new breeds exist today because of their work, including the Sphynx, Peterbald, and Kohana. While many hairless cat owners insist their pets are healthy and happy, many concerns surround their creation. Inbreeding and selective breeding can lead to genetic defects and health problems, and the demand for hairless cats could lead to the creation of designer cats for profit.

Featured Image Credit: Peterpancake, Shutterstock

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *