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12 Ugly Cat Breeds (That We Still Love): Pictures, Info, Traits, & More

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By Misty Layne

Exotic Shorthair Cat sitting by the window

When you think of cats, you probably think of cute, cuddly kitties like the ones found in commercials. But there are tons of different cat breeds in the world, and some are a little less cute and cuddly. In fact, some people think they’re downright ugly. These felines aren’t ugly, though; they just look a bit different from what people consider the typical cat standard.

Whether it’s because they lack hair or have unique features, these 12 “ugly” cat breeds are ones that we still love. And we think you’ll love them, too! Check out these beautiful and unique felines to see what we mean.

The 12 Ugly Cat Breeds

What constitutes an “ugly” cat breed? In a lot of cases, the cat breeds are hairless, which admittedly makes them look much different than your normal household cat. In other cases, the cat breeds simply have a unique feature that makes them look unlike you’d expect a feline to look. But beauty is subjective, and one person’s idea of an “ugly” cat breed won’t match another’s.

1. Cornish Rex

cornish rex sitting indoor
Image Credit: absolutimages, Shutterstock
Origin: Cornwall, UK
Lifespan: 11 to 15 years
Height: 8 to 12 inches

The Cornish Rex isn’t a hairless kitty but has short, curly hair due to a recessive gene. This makes them look almost entirely hairless—add in extra large ears, a super thin tail, and a rather gaunt face, and you have one interesting-looking feline! The Cornish Rex’s body tends to look fairly thin, too, but don’t let that fool you; these kitties are extremely athletic and acrobatic and have energy to spare! And because this feline adores hanging out with humans and other animals alike, the whole household will get pulled into their antics.

Two other things to know about the Cornish Rex are that the breed tends to retain the curiosity and mischievousness of a kitten their whole life, and the oils on their skin produce an interesting, gourmet cheese-like odor (that owners say isn’t very noticeable, but definitely there).


2. Devon Rex

Devon Rex cat standing in gray background
Image Credit: Seregraff, Shutterstock
Origin: Devon, England
Lifespan: 9 to 15 years
Height: 10 to 12 inches

If you think the Devon Rex looks very similar to the Cornish Rex, you’re right, but there are differences! Both breeds have short, curly coats and large ears that look like a pixie, but the Devon Rex’s coat is due to a different gene than the Cornish Rex’s. The Devon Rex also has a thicker tail than the Cornish Rex and a face shaped slightly differently. Minor differences, but they’re there!

Like the Cornish Rex, the Devon Rex is also full of energy, but these felines are a bit sillier. They become incredibly close with their human families, to the point they can get a bit needy; this means they dislike being left on their own too often. The more companionship these kitties have, the better off they’ll be.


3. Donskoy

Donskoy cat on rock
Image Credit: Kekyalyaynen, Shutterstock
Origin: Rostov-on-Don, Russia
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Height: 11 to 12 inches

When you think of hairless cats, chances are you picture a Sphynx (like Mr. Bigglesworth from the Austin Powers films), but a few other cat breeds are also hairless. One such cat breed is the Donskoy, an extremely rare breed. All cats from this breed can be traced back to a single Russian kitten from 1987. Interestingly, whatever gene makes these kittens hairless makes it so some kittens are born with hair but lose it as they age.

Like most hairless felines, the Donskoy cat is only of the cuddliest around. Because of the lack of hair, they can have trouble staying warm, so they’re more than happy to curl up with you to steal some body heat any time. The breed is also more active than a lot of cat breeds and endlessly curious, so you’ll need to provide this cat with plenty of engagement!


4. Dwelf Cat

dwelf cat lying on grey blanket
Image Credit: Jenni Ferreira, Shutterstock
Origin: United States
Lifespan: 8 to 14 years
Height: 9 to 12 inches

If you’re looking for a feline with a truly unique look, the Dwelf Cat is for you! This rare and relatively new breed has only been around for about 20 years and was created from breeding a Sphynx and an American Curl. The delightful result was a hairless cat with curled ears that closely resembles Dobby from Harry Potter!

This cute breed is a bit high-maintenance—not only because their hairlessness requires some special care, but because they need and thrive under their human’s attention. This is one kitty that will protest if left alone for too long. This need for companionship makes them an excellent choice for homes with multiple pets, though, as they can play to their hearts’ delight!


5. Exotic Shorthair

Origin: United States
Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
Height: 9 to 12 inches

Here’s one cat you’re probably at least passingly familiar with—the Exotic Shorthair! This breed came about in the 1950s as a short-haired version of the Persian, which is why they look so similar (just without those long, lovely locks!). Besides looks, the Exotic Shorthair and Persian also share the breathing issues that can come with the smooshy face (also known as brachycephalic); this breed will require a bit more care because of that.

You’ll love having an Exotic Shorthair in your home; this is one calm feline with a relaxed attitude and a laissez-faire approach to life. While they do enjoy playing, Exotic Shorthairs will more likely be found cuddling someone or napping and don’t tend to get jumpy or worked up over small things like some other cat breeds. This makes them an excellent addition to homes with children, in particular.


6. LaPerm 

Laperm sitting on a black couch
Image Credit: Linn Currie, Shutterstock
Origin: Oregon, United States
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Height: 6 to 10 inches

We honestly have no idea why some find the LaPerm to be “ugly”; with their curly coats, they’re cute as a button! (And if the name of this breed brings up flashbacks to permed hair from the 1980s, that’s because the name comes from the way their coats resemble a perm.) The LaPerm has only been around for roughly 40 years, so they, too, are a newer breed.

The personality of this cat is fabulous and incredibly well-balanced. While they enjoy playing and can be high-energy, the breed is equally fond of affection and cuddles. They’re highly friendly, so they make great pets for almost anyone!


7. Lykoi

black lykoi werewolf cat
Image Credit: danilobiancalana, Shutterstock
Origin: Virginia, United States
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Height: 8 to 10 inches

If you’re looking for a fantastical feline to add to your life, look no further than the Lykoi, aka the “werewolf cat”! This kitty has large ears and black or gray patchy fur, which makes it resemble the mythical werewolf, giving it an intriguing look. This is another new and rarer breed; finding one of these cats can be difficult, and you’ll likely pay big bucks for one.

If it’s a lap cat you want, though, this isn’t the breed for you. Lykois are highly active and skilled hunters, so they’re always on the go. That doesn’t mean they aren’t loving, but they’re more likely to enjoy running around and playing than desire a cuddle.


8. Minskin

bambino munchkin
Image Credit: Jaroslaw Kurek, Shutterstock
Origin: Massachusetts, United States
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Height: 5 to 7 inches

The Minskin may not be a breed you’re familiar with, but it’s one adorable kitty! This cat breed is another hairless one, but this cutie has short legs, big eyes, and a stocky body that give it an almost alien-like appearance. The Minskin has only been around since 1998 and is still super rare, but if you manage to locate one, you’ll have one of the friendliest cat breeds in the world in your home.

This cat breed is sociable with humans, cats, dogs, and everything in between and highly engaging with everyone it meets. They adore spending time with others and playing but are also perfectly happy to curl up in your lap when they finally tire themselves out. This is one cat breed that is absolutely perfect for families!


9. Oriental Shorthair

Ebony Oriental Shorthair in the grass
Image Credit: jojosmb, Shutterstock
Origin: New York, United States
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Height: 9 to 11 inches

This feline has been around since the 1970s and looks similar to the Siamese because they’re closely related. This kitty has the head and body of a Siamese, but the breed comes in pretty much every color and pattern imaginable—minus Siamese cat colors. There’s also an Oriental Longhair, which has a long, beautiful coat.

Oriental Shorthairs are one of the smartest cat breeds, so they’re incredibly easy to train. Their intelligence and inquisitive natures may sometimes cause them to get into mischief, though! The breed is also highly talkative; these cats will talk to you day and night, so be prepared. As sociable creatures, they need plenty of attention and love, so they will do best in homes with other animals or where someone is home more often than not.


10. Peterbald

Peterbald with black background
Image Credit: Seregraff, Shutterstock
Origin: Petersburg, Russia
Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
Height: 8 to 10 inches

This is another cat breed discovered at the tail end of the 1990s; their name is a combination of “Peter” from “Petersburg” and “bald” because when you first see this cat, it appears to be bald. They’re not entirely hairless, but they have minimal fur to cover them. However, there are actually five different coats this breed can have, one of which includes thick fur. The Peterbald’s coat can change over time, though, and they can end up losing that hair.

The Peterbald is one active kitty, so if yours doesn’t get enough physical and mental stimulation, they could end up getting a bit destructive. They love to play and hunt; plus, their natural curiosity means they’re constantly exploring. This cat adores hanging around its people, so you can expect to have a tiny shadow with one in the house. But the Peterbald is also quite independent and prefers to do things their way!


11. Sphynx

canadian sphynx cat sitting in a dark background
Image Credit: Sviatoslav_Shevchenko, Shutterstock
Origin: Toronto, Canada
Lifespan: 8 to 14 years
Height: 8 to 10 inches

The Sphynx is most likely the cat you picture when you think of hairless felines, but these cats actually do have hair! These kitties have a fur coat that’s more like suede that gives them their distinct look (and is incredibly soft to the touch!). That coat doesn’t keep them very warm or protected from the elements, though, so this breed requires a little extra work on your part.

If you have the pleasure of meeting a Sphynx, you’ll find that they are an absolute delight. These felines are bright, inquisitive, friendly, and a bit clownish at times. They aren’t high energy (though some play is required) and love cuddling up to steal your body heat. The breed requires frequent baths or wipe-downs because of their unique coat, so be prepared for that.


12. Ukrainian Levkoy

Ukrainian Levkoy
Image Credit: Oleksandr Volchanskyi, Shutterstock
Origin: Ukraine
Lifespan: 15 to 20 years
Height: 8 to 10 inches

Unlike most hairless felines who have larger ears, the Ukrainian Levkoy has folded ears. This is because the person who created the breed crossed a Donskoy with a Scottish Fold. The overall effect gives the Ukrainian Levkoy an interesting but adorable look that sets it apart from other cats.

This breed is one of the sweetest and friendliest around, so they make excellent pets for almost anyone. They’re outgoing, friendly, and love to play with their favored humans. They’ll even enjoy meeting new people and pets! This is one feline that is an absolute delight to have around.

Conclusion

There are many cat breeds that people tend to find “ugly”, but personally, we think they’re all lovely. Each cat breed on this list has a unique look that differentiates them from the typical “cute and cuddly” kitty. If you’ve been on the hunt for a cat that will really stand out, why not adopt one of these breeds? You’ll end up with a friendly and adorable feline sure to turn heads!


Featured Image Credit: Wutlufaipy, Shutterstock

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