Bizarre Breeds: The Lykoi

By Brooke Stevenson Jan 10, 2017
Bizarre Breeds: The Lykoi

This is one of the most bizarre cat breeds I think I personally have ever seen. The name ‘lykoi’ means ‘wolf’ in Greek and it’s a perfectly fitting name. The lykoi looks just like a werewolf because of its lack of undercoat.

The lykoi is a result of a genetic defect over a few generations, then breeding two cats that have the gene present. Even then only a third of the kittens produced will tend to have the correct characteristics to be called a real-lykoi (because this is a genetically recessive condition).


1.    Appearance

The lykoi has a low body weight with a very angular triangle shaped head. Notably it has no undercoat and tends to have a soft fuzzy possum like coat. So its coat appears coarse when it is present and is a dark grey-black color almost similar to a possum. Because the only coat is the over-coat when it sheds it can go completely bald. This occurs when normal cats shed their coat over the change of season.


2.    Personality Profile

Because of being a very new breed, it is a little challenging to find information about the temperament of this cat. They are assumed to very affectionate and loyal to their owners. However the bonding between the owner and cat can also be related to the requirements of the owner to care for the skin of the cat.

People have compared the lykoi to being more like a dog than a cat, they have a keen sense of smell and seem to be driven by scent. They tend to follow their owners as well.


3.    Genetics

The lykoi doesn’t have the same genetic profile as the Devon rex or the sphinx. The lykoi was also recently skin tested at the University of Tennessee to assess for any skin conditions related to the genetics of the lykoi. They didn’t find and negative abnormalities, but they found the hair follicle is smaller than the skin opening meaning the hair falls straight out of the skin (for undercoat only). They actually are an ancestor of the domestic shorthair.


4.    Controversy

The lykoi is a new breed and it tends to be linked with the concept of designer breeds that tend to be involved with the associated problems with genetic problems.

Because of the rarity of the breed they can cost up to $2500 per kitten. Note there are only 7 actual registered breeders in the world, caution must be taken to only purchase through these breeders to avoid having any in-breeding present within the kittens.

The Lykoi isn’t a guarantee, meaning that because the coat is from a genetic mutation and recessive gene there is a high risk that if you pre-order a kitten you may not actually have a hair-less kitten to show. On average every litter may have about 30-50% of the litter having the characteristics of the lykoi.


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