As a newer cat breed, the Peterbald cat’s history is somewhat limited. The breed was first developed in 1994, when a Russian breeder named Olga S. Mironova crossed an Oriental Shorthair cat with a Don Sphynx cat. The resulting breed, later called the Peterbald after it rapidly grew in popularity throughout St. Petersburg, Russia, is today recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA)--however, it remains a relatively rare purebred or pedigreed domestic cat breed.
The small- to medium-sized Peterbald retains a few unique characteristics from the Don Sphnyx, including its varying amount of hair, dexterous front paws, and wrinkly skin. The elegant breed took its long and lithe body type and oblong head shape from the Oriental Shorthair. One unique feature about Peterbalds is that they have long front toes with webbing, which allows them to hold and manipulate toys and other items. They generally have a friendlier, more social personality than typical Oriental or Siamese cats.
The Peterbald’s hair varies in type, from a velvety, fuzzy velour coat to a completely “nude,” hairless cat. There’s even an “ultra-bald” type that doesn’t even have whiskers or eyebrows (and their skin often feels sticky to the touch). Potential Peterbald owners may also be interested to know that the coat one of these cats has at birth may not represent his or her forever fur--their coats can change significantly throughout their first two years of life, and their hair texture can be either altered, gained, or lost.
The Peterbald breed was accepted by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1997, and was recognized for championship status in 2005. TICA accepted the breed's brush coat variety for championship status in May 2008; one of the first brush coat Peterbald cats to achieve championship status was named Blue Belle, and is an anomaly amongst Peterbald cats as she has a gray body color with vibrant blue eyes.
Peterbald's come in every color and pattern as the Oriental Shorthair. Why? Because, if you remember from the history lesson, oriental shorthair cats were used to start the Peterbald breed. Oriental Shorthairs crossed with the Donskoy Sphynx (not the same as the Canadian Sphynx) make the Peterbald breed. The Peterbald also has a few different coats. There is the Straight Coat (basically an oriental shorthair, full coat of fur), Brush Coat: Wirey, fuzzy coat, Velvet Coat: almost hairless, soft skin, except the cat may have some fuzz and usually have whiskers, Hairless: sticky, no fur and no whiskers.