A beautiful, medium length curly-haired cat sometimes referred to as the ‘Cat in Sheep’s clothing is the Selkirk Rex. The rarest of the Rex breeds, the Selkirk Rex can be traced back to a single individual born with long hair. A blue-cream and white female, she was born in 1987 amongst a group of otherwise unremarkable kittens. At maturity, she was bred to a black Persian resulting in a litter of 6 kittens, three which retained the curly hair of their mother. The gene differs from the Devon and Cornish Rex gene in that it’s a dominant gene.
The breed was further developed by outcrossing with other breeds, mainly shorthairs, including the British, American and Exotic Shorthairs. It an emerging breed but was accepted by The ICA in 1992, the ACFA in 1998, and the Australian Cat Fanciers’ Association in 2000. Whilst the breed is still being developed (as of the writing of this article – 2014) outcrosses are scheduled to be discontinued in 2015.
The Selkirk Rex is a medium to large cat, sturdily built with lengthy, well-boned legs. They have a roundish head which is full cheeked, gently round at the top. They are short of muzzle, with a clearly pronounced nose stop.
Their medium-length ears are pointed and set well apart, their eyes are well spaced as well. The coat is soft, thick and medium in length with its trademark loose curls prominent mostly around the next and tail but also extending down their legs.
This is an extremely rare, emerging breed but its unique appearance is almost certain to ensure its further development and growth in popularity.
Health and Care
Because the gene that causes the coat curling is dominant, they have not had to be inbred greatly to create the type, so regardless they can be traced back to a single female, the breed appears at this stage to lack genetic issue and is a healthy breed.
Their curly hair requires some extra care. It tends towards being slightly oily so Selkirk Rex cats will need to be washed more often than most cats. The curly hair will also require brushing as your cat’s tongue won’t be able to deal with the resulting tangles. Curly hair in their ears can irritate and cause inflammation and an increase in ear wax production so best to keep this hair short and clean.
They are a rare breed worldwide but especially rare in Australia.