Russia is a huge country with diverse landscape and a varied population so it isn't surprising that the breeds of domestic cats that have come from the country are also varied and diverse. Here we look at the most famous ones.
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The Siberian is a landrace of domestic cats that has been found in Russia for centuries and has been developed into a domestic breed since the 1980s. It is formally known as the Siberian Forest Cat and is similar to the Norwegian Forest Cat. It is the national cat of Russia.
The Siberian is known to be a particularly agile jumper and is a strong, powerfully built cat. It has strong hindquarters and large paws as well as barrelled chests. Their ears are of medium size with broad foreheads and a stockier build than most domestic breeds.
The Russian Blue is a beautiful silvery-blue cat that occurred naturally in the port city of Arkhangelsk, so are often known as Archangel Blues. These cats were believed to have been taken to the UK and Northern Europe as early as the 1860s with the first recorded appearance of one outside Russia coming from the cat show in Crystal Palace in 1875. After World War II, the breed continued to be developed in Russia and Scandinavia and to be taken to the US.
These cats have green eyes and a shorthaired coat that is caused by a gene that dilutes the black color to the blue shade. They are very intelligent cats that are very curious but also described as very calm and tranquil to live with. They are shy around strangers but play fetch with their owners and are very sensitive to their human's emotions.
The Donskoy, also known as the Don Sphynx, is a breed of hairless cat that started from a single hairless cat found in the city of Rostov-on-Don by breeder Elena Kovaleva. It is unrelated to the Sphynx breed, the hairlessness in which is caused by a recessive gene while the Donskoy's is caused by a dominant gene.
The breed was officially recognised by the World Cat Federation (WCF) in 1997 and by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 2005. The show standard of the breed is a medium sized cat that is muscular with large ears, almond shaped eyes and long, webbed toes. Despite their lack of coat, they still require frequent grooming to manage the oils on the skin but over-bathing can increase the oiliness problem.
The Peterbald is the result of a crossing between a Donskoy and an Oriental Shorthair female in St Petersburg. The breed was adopted by the Russian Selectional Feline Federation (SFF) in 1996 and was adopted by TICA in 1997, with the WCF acceptance coming in 2003.
The breed resembles the Oriental and Siamese breeds in its body shape but is hairless as the Donskoy is. It has a long muzzle, large ears and a long, elegant body with long legs. The coat comes in all colours and markings and can vary from complete baldness to a flocked or velour type coat or even a straight coat.
The personality of these cats is described as sweet tempered, affectionate, curious and smart. They are quite vocal, though not as much as Siamese, and tend to follow their owners around the house, taking part in what they are doing.