Magnoliachat Kitten Caboodle Peterbalds

The Peterbald is a new breed of hairless cat, and has existed as a breed only ten years. Breeders are not 100% positive what we have in this new cat. This is what we know so far.

Prior to 1988, the sphynx was the only known hairless cat. The sphynx is an autosomal recessive trait; that is, you must breed two cats carrying the sphynx trait in order to get hairless kittens. In 1988, in Moscow, Russia, a new breed was discovered in the form of a female cat who steadily shed her fur without regard for any medical treatment designed to prevent her hair loss. She then amazed her guardian by delivering a litter with both hairless and normal coated offspring. By definition, since only one parent carried the trait for hairlessness, this was an autosomal dominant trait, and unique in the world of cats. The cat's name was Varya and she was the source of both the Don Hairless and the Peterbald cat breeds. The Don Hairless was developed by outcrossing to European shorthairs. The first Peterbald was created from an outcross to the oriental shorthair in 1993.

When Peterbalds first came to the United States, breeders were told that the Peterbald trait was a dominant gene for hair loss. After breeding several litters, I believe this is not the case. First of all, we have kittens that are born totally hairless - you cannot have a gene for the loss of something you do not have, can you? A better description of Peterbald inheritance is this: the Peterbald trait is a genetic coding for an altered and diminished coat. The diminishment is simple: a Peterbald kitten having one copy of the gene (heterozygous) will have either guard hair or down hair, but not both. The absolute quantity of hair present seems to be decreased by about 50%. A kitten with two copies of the gene (homozygous) will be born totally hairless, having neither guard nor down hair. The alteration in the coat is as follows: hair will be abnormally short, tends to very loose attachment, and may be irregular in texture. Kittens having only guard hair who retain their coat will feel wiry and rough. The skin may be seen through the coat. If the guard hair coat is lost, the kitten becomes a suede or velour coated cat. Kittens having only down hair in their coats tend to retain that downy coat which is soft as cotton balls and very short, close lying, and without nap. These kittens, in my experience, rarely become totally bald, but if they do, they are very bare indeed.
In addition, some litters tend to be very small, consisting of only one or two kittens. Kittens tend to be fragile at birth and many have been lost by inexperienced breeders.

In practical terms this means that Peterbald kittens are scarce and will remain scarce for several more years. Scarce and rare types of cats are expensive. The cost in the United States ranges from $500 to $3000, depending on the amount of coat present and the location of the cat.

My aim in breeding Peterbalds is simple: I want to be part of the development of this lovely animal. I intend to breed for oriental body type. I am mainly interested in solid colors and van (pointed) cats. I hope to breed exclusively for blue eyes and a loving temperament. I am very grateful to Gary Bramlett, Elaine Krocker, and Cynthia Barnes for their help.

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