Cornish Rexes are a breed of cat that is known for having extremely low-allergy fur. This is because their coat comprises only a soft down, rather than the multiple different hair types making up the coat of most cats. Cornish Rexes are a relatively new breed, having appeared in the 1950s in Cornwall, UK as the result of a genetic mutation. The breed is related to the German Rex, another variety of cat that is known for its curly coat. The Cornish Rex is not related to the Devon Rex despite the resemblance between the two.

The history of the Cornish Rex

While short-coated, curly-haired cats have been found throughout the United Kingdom for many years, the first documentation of a curly-coated kitten was in Cornwall in the 1950s. The kitten, Kallibunker, had a red, curly coat that resulted from a genetic mutation. The kitten was back-crossed to ensure that the mutation would continue, and the breed was thus established.

The appearance of the breed

The Cornish Rex is a medium-sized cat with a slender yet muscular build and a distinctive short coat. The breed has long legs and a curved body, and the tail is usually long and slender. The breed resembles a feline version of the whippet dog, and is similarly quick and agile. The breed’s head is small and unusual, with distinctively high cheekbones and large, oval eyes. The cat’s soft, downy coat is short and wavy, and the cats have curled eyebrows and whiskers. The breed can be found in a variety of colours.

Looking after your Cornish Rex

The Cornish Rex is a robust and healthy cat, with no known major health issues. The breed usually lives to around 15 years of age. The breed needs little grooming, and it is recommended that owners do not brush the cat using a brush or comb, but rather that they simply stroke the cat’s coat with their hand. This helps maintain the gloss and the wave of the coat.


A friendly and outgoing cat, the Cornish Rex is also known for being highly intelligent. The breed enjoys family life, and is warm and affectionate around its owners and other family members. They are usually friendly around children and around other cats. Though quiet, they are energetic, and enjoy being included and attended to.

Cornish Rex cats also love playing games, and enjoy climbing and jumping. Being social animals, they dislike being left alone for long periods of time, and are best suited to households where someone is home on a regular basis. Purchasing a second Cornish Rex may help to ensure that the cat is given enough room to socialise.

Factors to consider before buying

Cornish Rex cats have only a very thin coat, and can feel the cold quite easily. This means that they’re best suited to indoor environments. The breed tends to shed very little, and for that reason is considered a low-allergenic cat. This makes it a viable choice for pet owners who suffer from cat-related allergies. Still, the allergy prone should always test that they are not allergic to their potential pet before making a purchase. Cornish Rex Cats are quite active, and they’re not the best choice for owners looking for a quiet, low-key pet.

Veterinary Surgeon, London at Blue Cross UK | + posts

A London based Veterinary surgeon, Sanja is also an avid writer and pet advocate.