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Peterbald Vs. Sphynx Cats – Differences And Similarities

Peterbald Vs. Sphynx Cats – Differences And Similarities

Peterbald cats and Sphynx cats are both very different from their fellow felines considering they are mostly hairless. Despite this similarity, the breeds do have a few differences. So, what are the key differences between a Peterbald vs Sphynx cat? 

Peterbald cats have longer heads, almond-shaped eyes, and lower ears compared to Sphynx cats. Sphynx cats have broken or no whiskers while Peterbald cats have a mustache. Peterbald cats have 5 coat layers while a Sphynx is entirely hairless.  Peterbald cats possess a dominant hair gene while a Sphynx cat has a recessive gene. 

Let’s take a look at these two unique breeds, how they are similar, and how they are different.

Similarities Between Peterbald and Sphynx Cats

The most significant thing both of these breeds are known for is their lack of hair. Not every Peterbald cat begins its life hairless. But they do have a hair loss gene, and eventually, they lose the bulk of their hair. They will still have a very thin layer of hair on their body, but it’s difficult to see. The hair they start with at birth is not the hair they will have as adults.

Their coat can be in one of the five standard lengths, varying from hairless to a short coat with normal whiskers. They can even have their version of a mustache. Sphynx cats are born without natural hair and remain that way throughout their lives. Like Peterbalds, they look hairless, but they too are covered with a thin layer of hair. The “fur” of a Sphynx can be likened to peach fuzz.

Both are also lovingly called a “dog-like” breed. They greet their owners when they arrive home, are very friendly to strangers, and highly intelligent. They exhibit the outgoing qualities attributed to dogs rather than the aloof qualities attributed to cats.

Are Peterbald Cats Hypoallergenic

Despite their lack of hair, Peterbald cats are not hypoallergenic. It isn’t possible to have a hypoallergenic cat. The misnomer about cats and allergies is that people think an allergy to cats is an allergy to their fur. This isn’t the case. Cat allergies are triggered by reactions to the Fel d1 protein found in their saliva, dander, or even urine. Cats with less fur tend to produce less of the allergen since they have less fur to clean. But even with their minimal fur, Peterbalds still produce some level of this allergen.

The same can be said about Sphynx cats. While they have even less fur than Peterbalds, they aren’t genuinely hairless either. They just look that way because the “peach fuzz” fur they have isn’t apparent. A cat with less fur should, in theory, produce less of the allergen that triggers an attack. But that isn’t a guarantee. Also, some humans are so sensitive to that allergen that they aren’t able to tolerate any kind of feline– even felines like these two that are considered “hairless.”

What Does A Peterbald Cat Look Like

Peterbald cats have similarities to a few other cat breeds. Their body resembles the Oriental Shorthair. It is thought that they could have originated from this breed and later mixed with a cat with a hairless gene, or there is a defective gene for hair loss present in some Oriental Shorthairs. Their build is very slim and muscular.

Their ears are enormous in comparison with their long head. Their ears are also placed very far apart on their head. This look is similar to that of a Siamese cat. Their eyes have almost an almond-shape. Their eyes tend to be close together, but some may have eyes set farther apart on their face. Their tails are almost like a thin whip. The most defining feature is their webbed, oval-shaped feet. These feet give the Peterbald the ability to grasp objects and open doors.

This breed is still very new to the cat world. It was accepted to championship cat shows for the first time in 2009. The breed was developed in Russia in 1994, although some places think it could have been created in the late 80s. Regardless of timing, the breed is the result of experimental breeding.

A Sphynx cat can exhibit some of these same physical characteristics, including the style of their body and the shape of their tail. Its head would be closer to the Devon Rex as opposed to a Siamese or Oriental. It also has no whiskers or eyelashes. They still exhibit the same large ears, but they are closer to the cat’s head than the Peterbald. This breed is much older as well. There are examples of this cat going as far back as the 1960s. But to the untrained eye, these cats will look very similar and share many of the same physical qualities.

How Long Do Peterbald Cats Live

The life expectancy of a Peterbald is similar to many other cat breeds. With proper care, these cats can live anywhere from 12-15 years. Make sure to get your cat regular checkups and feed them the appropriate diet for their specific needs. Unlike other pure breeds, these cats do not seem to have any breed-specific health issues.

And while this is not a health issue like heart problems or diabetes, Peterbalds like a warmer environment. If they are too cold, they are quite unhappy, and they will let you know all about it. If they are too cold, this could open them up to colds and other illnesses of that nature.

The life expectancy of a Sphynx is a bit different than their Peterbald friends. Sphynx Cats can be expected to live 8-14 years. They have other genetic and health issues that can shorten their life spans.

Do Sphynx Cats Have Health Problems

Unlike their counterparts with very few health issues, Sphynx cats do have several health issues that potential owners should be aware of. Some are because of their lack of hair; others are genetic in nature.

These cats are prone to respiratory issues, especially as kittens, due to their lack of hair. Without hair, they are cold all the time, and this triggers multiple health issues. There are fewer of these as they age, and their fuzz-like hair grows in. But helping these cats stay warm is essential in assisting them in warding off this issue.

This cat is also notorious for having a sensitive digestive system. Owners of this cat must be cautious about the foods they feed their Sphynx. Many brands have developed food specific to this cat, so that should help avoid digestive problems.

Other medical issues that can occur in this cat are hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease, and hereditary myopathy, which harms muscle functions. Due to their lack of hair, the breed is also prone to sunburns when exposed to too much direct sunlight.

While not a medical problem, Sphynx cats can sometimes have an odor or a layer of oil on their skin. It has nothing to do with grooming or medical issues. All cats are known for their attention to grooming, and a Sphynx is no exception. But for some reason, some Sphynx cats can have quite the aroma.

To solve this issue, just bathe them as needed, usually once per week. In early seasons of the show Real Housewives of New Jersey, castmate Dina Manzo had a Sphynx cat named Grandma Wrinkles. Grandma got regular baths in the kitchen sink because she exhibited a funky odor from time to time. Dina equated her smell to cheese! While that isn’t a bad smell, it is a weird one for a cat to have.  

Unlike their Sphynx friends, the Peterbald isn’t known for having chronic or hereditary health issues. The breed is remarkably healthy. The primary issues you will run into are issues that arise from Peterbalds being too cold. Since they also lack hair, they can also encounter problems if they get too much direct sunlight.   

To Summarize

Some may confuse the Peterbald for a Sphynx cat because of the lack of hair. That would be an error! While these two cats share many similarities in terms of build, they have many differences as well. However, both are amiable cats who do well with families, multiple pets, and strangers. Just make sure you give them the proper care that they need, and you can enjoy your cat for many years to come.