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How to Differentiate Between a Peterbald and a Sphynx Cat

Here is a comparison of two popular hairless cat breeds - the Peterbald vs. the Sphynx. CatAppy explains the major differences between the two, by the means of a side-by-side comparison, along with pictures, and some useful hints to identify each.
CatAppy Staff
Last Updated: Feb 21, 2018
Fast Fact
Sphynx cats, prior to their renaming, were referred to as 'Moonstones' or 'Canadian Hairless'.
Both, the Peterbald and the Sphynx are very popular as pets around the world. With looks and temperaments very similar to each other, it is very difficult to tell one from the other. Although the appearance is similar, both these breeds have peculiar differences with respect to genetics and physical characteristics.

A total of 6 hairless cat breeds exist including these two; the Ukrainian Levkoy, Lykoi, Donskoy, and the Bambino. Though these breeds are categorized under the hairless breeds, most of them like the Donskoy have fur during infancy, but eventually lose all of their hair, leading to baldness. The absence of a hairy coat, unlike regular cat breeds, makes them vulnerable to extreme temperatures. Hence, these cats are necessarily indoor cats; apply some sunscreen if you need to take them out on a sunny day, or give them a cozy rug during winter.
Following are the differences between these two cat breeds, and a comparison chart for better understanding.
Comparison Chart
Sphynx Peterbald
Canada Russia
10-15 Years 10-12 Years
8-10 lb (M), 6-8 lb (F) 6-11 lb
Activity Level
High - Like to socialize High - Like to socialize
Regular bathing,
and cleaning ears
Regular bathing,
and cleaning ears
  • The first major difference is genetic, and determines hairlessness in both Peterbalds and Sphynxes. In the former, it is caused due to a dominant gene, whereas, in the latter, a recessive gene is responsible for the absence of hair (in case of a Canadian Sphynx, and reverse in case of a Don Sphynx).
  • The eyes of a Sphynx, if observed carefully, resemble more of a lemon shape, whereas that of a Peterbald looks like almonds.
  • Although called hairless, both breeds aren't completely bald. Peterbalds have very thin hair all over their body, and a long mustache. Sphynxes, on the other hand, have broken whiskers or no whiskers at all. For body hair, they have very fine projections, and feel like a warm peach when touched. However, in some Sphynxes, the hair is completely absent.
  • A Peterbald has a long, narrow head, unlike the Sphynx who has an elf-shaped, wide and short head, with an 'always-worried' expression.
  • The Sphynx is a much older cat breed as compared to the Peterbald. As a matter of fact, the Peterbald is a result of several crosses between the Don Sphynx and the Siamese/Oriental.
  • The ears of the Peterbald are long, but not broad based like that of the Sphynx.
  • The skin of the Peterbald cat is slightly thinner than the Sphynx. The head and limbs are slightly wrinkled in the former, while wrinkling is more in the latter.
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Spot the differences in these two pictures:
  • Look at the shape of the eyes
  • Notice the whiskers
  • Check the shape of the ears
  • Also, observe minutely, the presence of any hair on the body
So, the next time you see a hairless cat, you'll be able to figure out whether it is a Peterbald or a Sphynx.
Sphynx Cat
Sphynx Kitten
Peterbald On Hayloft
Sphinx Kitten
Donskoy Cats
Cute Sphynx Kitten