Refined & Regal looking Peterbald

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Susanna Shon
The first thing one notices about Peterbalds is how elegant, refined and regal looking they are! Being a combination of Siamese-Oriental and crossed with Donskoy, they exhibit the streamlined elegance and very exotic look with an even more unique coat.
 
I began showing Siamese cats in 1988, added Oriental Shorthairs in 1991 and after that, since 2007 I have exclusively been showing and breeding only Peterblads.
 
Why bald?
Unlike the Sphynx, Peterbald has a unique hair losing gene, which means they are not always naked. Actually, they come in a variety of coat types. The next thing about the breed most commonly noted by spectators visiting cat shows is ‘they look like Oriental Shorthairs and sound like Siamese’ and yes indeed, they really do! While they do have similarities to Oriental Shorthairs and Siamese, they are shown and judged as a breed entirely themselves.
Crossed with Donskoy
Donskoy is a Russian breed. It is believed that in 1987 a Russian woman found a tortoiseshell kitten crying in a bag. That kitten had what she considered a unique coat that began to change when she was estimated to be around four months old. The kitten’s hair started to shed beginning from her head, then her back and so on. Cross-breeding with the breed eventually brought Peterbald
into being.
 
Coat types
The coat types of Peterbald range from completely naked to fully coated. The kittens may be born hairless and those generally stay that way are sometimes referred to as ‘sticky bald’ as well. I have had several born curly coated kittens who lose most of that coat by the time they are 12 weeks old and end up with a fine dusting of coat that is suede like to the touch, and they are called ‘flock’ or ‘velour’ coated. Further, those Peterbald kittens left with a slightly longer and more wiry feeling are called ‘brush’ coated. And those born with perfectly normal coats are called ‘straight coated’ and not often used in a breeding programme. All kittens born with the Peterbald (hair losing) gene will have some amount of balding on the tops of their heads referred to as a ‘cap’ at birth.
 
Balding process
Typically the loss of hair in Peterbald kittens begins at the top of their heads and works its way down the back and body. Some have curly whiskers and eyebrows but I have also had some with perfectly straight whiskers and eyebrows on nearly naked kittens.
 
Graceful cat
When you see a Peterbald in motion you should be looking at a refined, muscular and very agile, elegant and long bodied graceful cat. By nature they are highly intelligent and can be vocal like their Oriental/Siamese relatives. They have been described as being very dog like in nature; they love to fetch and play and are extremely people oriented therefore making fantastic lifelong companions.
 
Interactive breed
Day-to-day life with a Peterbald is nothing short of entertaining, they are an interactive breed, extremely outgoing, loving, playful, loyal and intelligent. They are social and love to be around people, their inquisitive nature makes them intriguing and entertaining and they only have to do something once in order to perfect it. Their charming nature has captured the hearts of many in the short time that they have been recognised as a breed and more are seen in cat shows around the world each year.
 
Current status
At present, Peterbald in North America is accepted for Championship (Competitive) status with TICA (The International Cat Association) with ACFA (American Cat Fanciers Association) as well as with FIFE (Fédération Internationale Féline) and WCF (World Cat Federation) in Europe.  The TICA standard calls for a medium boned cat with firm musculature, high on their legs with a long triangular head and a blunter muzzle than their riental/Siamese relatives have. Ears are large, flared and may fall below the wedge of the head; eyes are medium in size and described as almost almond in shape. Judges look for a long straight profile that may be two planed and a strong chin is a must.
 
(Susanna Shon is TICA Judge, a long-time breeder and President of ‘Cats and Sin City’. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with her husband and breeding partner Steven. Together, they breed under the cattery name of Purrsia Cattery and to date, they have had the only International Award Winning Peterbalds in TICA’s history).