Selkirk Rex cat
Federations: LOOF, CFA, ACF, ACFA, TICA, WCF, FIFE (provisional)

The word Rex is generally used to refer to curly-haired cat breeds, while the first term is simply the name of your stepfather. The Selkirk Rex It, Therefore, the only race in the world named after a person.
Photo Wilkipedia


Characteristics "Selkirk Rex cat"

Coexistence is important that you have with your new friend. Before considering the acquisition of a cat of the breed "Selkirk Rex cat" you know certain factors. You must take into account their character, their need for exercise, their interaction with other pets, your care and if you have young children, their level of tolerance towards them.


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Activity level

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Friendliness to other pets

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Friendliness to children

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Grooming requirements

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Need for attention

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Affection towards its owners

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In 1987, a litter of kittens, whose mother was straight-haired and whose father was unknown, was abandoned in a Wyoming shelter, United States. Among them was a small curly-haired cat. It was adopted by Jerri Newman, a Persian breeder from Montana who was attracted to unusual-looking felines and was immediately fascinated by the little curly-haired animal. He called out to the little blue and white cat with alert green eyes that looked like a little lamb. Miss Pesto of NoFace . When he reached sexual maturity, decided to cross it with Photo Finish of Deekay, one of his black persians.

From this mating six cubs were born, three of which had curly fur. After studying the genetics of cats, Jerri Newman realized that his cats' curly hair was the result of a spontaneous genetic mutation (namely, without human intervention, randomly and naturally), and that the gene for curly hair is dominant. In other words, it is enough for an individual to inherit the mutated version of the gene from only one of their parents for them to also have this particularity.

In this first litter, one of the kittens was long-haired, which meant that the lady Pesto of Noface she was also a carrier of the recessive gene for long hair; in other words, was heterozygous for the short hair gene.

Jerri Newman decided to create a breed of curly hair (short or long) who you called Selkirk Rex. The word Rex is generally used to refer to curly-haired cat breeds, while the first term is simply the name of your stepfather. The Selkirk Rex It, Therefore, the only race in the world named after a person.

To fix the characteristics of this cat, and in particular the hair that gives it the appearance of a sheep, Jerri Newman decided to mate the lady Pesto of NoFace with one of her children with curly white fur. He also used this son to write the breed standard. Three of the four pups that were born from this union met the desired criteria: a solid body, but also and above all a curly coat, either short or long.

So he surrounded himself with other breeders who shared his passion for the sheep cat and worked with them to further develop the breed.. To expand the breed's gene pool and avoid inbreeding problems, that could lead to health problems, but also to obtain graceful looking cats, they decided to cross the Selkirk Rex with the American shorthair cat, the British Shorthair cat, the Persian and the Exotic Shorthair. The first two are very similar breeds, short-haired and balanced character. The Exotic Shorthair is a cross between the Persian and the British Shorthair cat (among others). Both the exotic as the Persian they are long-haired and have a friendly and homely character.

In the following years, Jerri Newman and other breeders developed the breed and quickly began the process for it to be recognized by feline organizations.

The recognition of “Selkirk Rex”

The Selkirk Rex it is a recent breed of cats, but the quality work done by Jerry Newman and his collaborators has allowed it to be recognized very quickly around the world.

Already in 1990, the International Cat Association (TICA) was the first official body that took the step of recognizing the Selkirk Rex with a provisional status reserved for new breeds. Just four years later, in 1994, granted to Selkirk Rex full recognition, thus opening the doors to feline exhibitions organized under their auspices.

The Canadian Cat Association (CCA) followed him in 1997, and the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) did the same in 2000.

The import of Selkirk Rex to Europe in the years 90 it also allowed him to gain the support of local organizations. In France, where it was introduced in 1991, the Official Book of Feline Origins (LOOF) recognized her in 2003. El Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) did the same in 2004.

In 2017 it was the turn of the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFé), that coordinates organizations of no less than 40 countries - including Felis Belgica in Belgium and the Fédération Féline Helvétique in Switzerland-.

If we add to this that it is also recognized by the World Cat Federation, we can see that the Selkirk Rex is now recognized by all major international and national feline organizations.

Popularity of “Selkirk Rex”

Selkirk Rex
Selkirk Rex

The Selkirk Rex is a relatively new breed. However, is already well established, especially in North America and Europe.

In United States, their country of origin, appears around the stalls 20 and 25 of the classification established by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) depending on the number of annual registrations in the organization.

In canada, the Canadian Cat Association (CCA) registers an average of about 70 births per year, what places the Selkirk Rex around the tenth place among the other breeds recognized by the organization.

In France, the number of registrations of the Selkirk Rex in the Official Book of Feline Origins (LOOF) has increased considerably since 2006. Although until then he had not exceeded twenty per year, suddenly rose to about sixty, and then to a hundred at the end of the decade. It continued to increase throughout the decade of 2010, up to the 200, but this evolution is mainly due to the long-haired variety, which represents three-quarters of births, whereas before it was a minority. The curves crossed at 2013, and from then on the Selkirk Rex Shorthair continued to decline both in relative and absolute terms, having peaked in the early 1990s 2010 With almost 100 births per year only.

In addition, organization statistics also show some 60 annual inscriptions of copies of non-curly hair, that cannot be shown in exhibitions but can be used as reproducers. If they are also taken into account, the total number of births per year is between 250 and 300.

In Switzerland, was not up 2015 when the first Selkirk Rex shorthair on Fédération Féline Helvétique (FFH). The long-haired one followed in 2017, but in total they barely exceed a dozen annual registrations. Therefore, the breed has made its entry into the country, but it is still very little established there.

In Great Britain, it's even in clear decline. In fact, the number of annual registrations in the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) was around the 70 at the end of the Decade of 2010, while only 10 years before it was 3 - 4 times greater. The explosion of the race between 2004 and 2008, less than 50 registrations per year to almost 300, it's clearly a thing of the past.

Physical characteristics

Selkirk Rex
Selkirk Rex

Its curly coat gives the Selkirk Rex an atypical and highly recognizable look. The Selkirk Rex it is a medium to large size cat, stocky and semi-thick.

Its body solid and rectangular is built on well-developed musculature and strong bones. The shoulders and hips are of equal width. The legs are size medium, good muscular, and end in feet wide and round that give a good base.

The tail it is thick and of medium length, tapering to a rounded tip. In short-haired individuals, has fluffy curls that cover it completely. On the other hand, in semi-long hair, hair is feathered.

The head of the Selkirk Rex rests on a neck short and thick. The head it is well rounded and wide, with a well rounded skull that continues in a slightly concave curve.

This appearance is enhanced by the fact that the ears are well separated in the skull. Medium-sized, broad at the base and rounded at the tips.

The eyes they are very separated, large, round and open, which gives this cat a very soft and soulful look. All colors are possible, but the most appreciated are the intense and bright.

Inherited from Persian, the nose is short, wide and straight. A slight stop is allowed.

Tame well-filled whisker pads, which gives the appearance of a snout slightly square. The chin is in line with the tip of the nose and well defined.

The Selkirk Rex has a undercoat dense and comes in two varieties, depending on the length of the top layer: individuals of shorthair and semi-long-hair. Apart from this aspect, share the same characteristics, both physical and behavioral.

In both cases, the fur is dense, soft and curly all over the body. The length of the curls can vary depending on the season, but they are more prominent on the neck, the throat, belly and tail. Mustaches and eyebrows are also curly, but often fragile.

In individuals of shorthair, the coat is fluffy and the curls are regular all over the body. In those of semi-long-hair, they grow in all directions. The ruffled curls are especially long and frame the head well..

Regardless of the length of the coat, the kitties Selkirk Rex they are born with a curly coat, but this can become smooth at 2 or 3 months of age, and then curls are formed again at the 8 or 10 months. Below, keep growing, and the cat has its final coat around two years of age.

In addition, the different standards accept all colors and coat combinations.

Last but not least, there is no sexual dimorphism real in this breed. In particular, males and females are very similar in size and build.

A physical characteristic due to a dominant gene

In the Selkirk Rex, the genetic mutation that causes curly hair is linked to a dominant gene. For an individual to have this characteristic, it is enough that he inherits the corresponding gene from only one of his parents. In other words, Yes it is Heterozygosity in the gene associated with the appearance of hair, namely, carries a gene of “normal hair” and another from “curly hair”, it is necessarily the latter that imposes itself and expresses itself. Of course, Yes it is homozygous, namely, if you are a version carrier “curly hair” of the gene twice, will also have this particularity.

In this sense, the Selkirk Rex differs from most other curly-haired cat breeds, in which this characteristic is due to a recessive gene. In the Devon Rex, the Cornish Rex, the German Rex or the Ural Rex, both parents must have transmitted the genetic mutation in question and, therefore, the individual must be the carrier of two copies of the version “curly hair” of the gen (namely, ser homozygous for this gene), to really have that fur. If he is heterozygous, namely, if you have a gene for “curly hair” and another from “normal hair”, inevitably it is the latter that prevails and, Therefore, the fur is not curly.

Having a dominant gene allows, Obviously, that the population of Selkirk Rex grow much faster. If an individual is crossed homozygous with another Heterozygosity, all kittens have curly hair. In addition, the mating of two heterozygous results in a litter in which an average of three-quarters of the kittens have curly hair. A mating between a Heterozygosity and a straight-haired cat will give rise to an offspring with half the curly-haired kittens.

Size and weight

  • Size: 30 cm.
  • Weight: Of 3 - 5 kg

Breed standard

The breed standards are documents established by official bodies that list the conditions that a dog must meet. Selkirk Rex to be fully recognized as belonging to the race:

Varieties of "Selkirk Rex cat"

"Selkirk Rex cat"

Selkirk Rex
A selkirk rex à poil long à l’exposition féline d’HelsinkiHeikki Siltala, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Selkirk Rex it comes in two varieties:

  • The Selkirk Rex shorthair;
  • The Selkirk Rex semi-long hair.

The length of the coat is the only thing that differentiates them: for the rest, their physical characteristics and character traits are identical regardless of the length of their coat. In addition, the official organisms that recognize the race accept both varieties.

Both kittens Selkirk Rex shorthair Like the ones of semi-long-hair they can be born in the same litter. In addition, even though both parents are Selkirk Rex and, Therefore, have curly hair, they can be heterozygous for the genetic mutation associated with this trait: in this case, a quarter of their offspring are straight-haired.

Therefore, These Selkirk Rex “straight” they can have a short or semi-long coat and are accepted as breeding aid, namely, are allowed to breed and can give birth to kittens of curly hair. However, they are not allowed to participate in the various championships.

Crossings allowed

Considering that the breed's population is still relatively limited, and in order to expand your gene pool to avoid the health problems that inbreeding could cause, the International Cat Association (TICA) authorizes the crossing of Selkirk Rex with :

In France, the Livre Officiel des Origines Félines (LOOF) it's a little more restrictive, since it only allows marriages with three other races:

In canada, the Canadian Cat Association (CCA) only accepts matings with him Himalayan cat. Until 2015, it also allowed to cross the Selkirk Rex with the British shorthair cat, the Exotic Shorthair shorthair, the Exotic Shorthair longhair and the Persian cat. However, with the development of the breed, these crosses were no longer necessary or desirable.

Character and skills

Selkirk Rex
Selkirk Rex – Nickolas Titkov from Moscow, Russian Federation, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Selkirk Rex it's a cat that looks like a little curly stuffed animal, but do not confuse it. It has a balanced character that gives it both the calm and cuddly side of the Persian or British Shorthair cat, but he's also playful and mischievous.

He especially likes being around humans and interacting with them, which makes it an ideal companion for the whole family. They are especially good with children.: they are playful enough to have fun with and be a good playmate, while being patient and tolerant of them. However, This does not mean that they should not be taught to be respectful and gentle, since they can lose patience if they are mistreated. In any case, for the safety of both parties, a cat - whatever its breed- should never be left alone in the company of a small child without the slightest supervision of an adult.

Although they are attached to all members of their family, the Selkirk Rex they tend to have a special affection for the person who cares the most for them. They enjoy sleeping with them, sitting with them on the couch or spending long periods snuggled on their lap.

Extremely cuddly and loving, He loves to be caressed and asked for pampering, but he does not stop giving it to them in return. During these moments of affection, does not hesitate to express his satisfaction by purring. He also knows how to make himself heard if his requests for sweetness are not heeded., meowing softly until he gets his way.

The proximity of Selkirk Rex your family also means that you are always willing to participate in family activities, and hates to stay out. It also bothers him that he is left out of the family for long periods of time..

Letting him live with a partner or a dog is a great way to avoid loneliness.. As long as acclimatization is done gradually (especially if the two protagonists are already a certain age), that coexistence usually goes well, and both are usually delighted to have a partner to play with or relax with. However, if he Selkirk Rex you have to share your home with a canine representative, of course it is better to choose a breed of dog that is compatible with a cat.

The Selkirk Rex it can also live under the same roof as a bird or even a small rodent, as long as each one has their respective corner. The Selkirk Rex does not have a true hunting instinct and, therefore, he is quite placid with them.
He is also usually placid when he meets strangers., since he is not a bellicose guy. Therefore, if there is a confrontation, the other cat is likely to be the cause.

The Selkirk Rex feels very comfortable with all family members, both humans and animals, and can become just as comfortable with strangers, since it is a sociable cat. In any case, not one of those who freaks out as soon as a new person crosses the threshold of home.

Having said that, like any feline worth its salt, be grateful to have a high place (for example, a tree for cats) from which you can scan your environment at any time. In fact, although he is cuddly and playful, it is not overly intrusive either; he also likes his moments of independence and isolation while observing what happens.

In addition, like all cats, has an irrepressible need to fix its claws, so you must have a scratching post that you can indulge in, especially if you live indoors. But, furniture or curtains are equally acceptable solutions for him.

Grooming and caring for the "Selkirk Rex cat"

Selkirk Rex
Selkirk-rex – Flickr

Whether short or long, the curly hair of the Selkirk Rex is dense and requires special care, especially since it breaks easily. To prevent it from being damaged and to take proper care of it, it is important to invest in a comb with wide and fine bristles.

An individual from Longhair should be combed every two days to avoid knots and remove dead hair. During the shedding periods in autumn and spring, the cat loses a lot of hair, and a daily brushing is necessary.

For a shorthair cat, two brushing sessions a week are usually sufficient. During the molting season, brushing should be done every other day.

In any case, brushing prevents the cat from ingesting too much hair when licking, which then regurgitates in the form of hairballs. Once the brushing is finished, Running your hands through your cat's fur will serve both to air out the fur and to put him in a good mood for the rest of the day and the next session., since at Selkirk Rex loves pampering.

However, their fur tends to get greasy, as sebum stays at the base of the coat and makes the skin oily. Therefore, it is necessary to bathe him from time to time, making sure to use a hydrating shampoo specially designed for felines and to proceed gently, so as not to damage the fur. Below, let the hair air dry, since the use of the dryer will make the hair frizzy.

Like any cat, the ears of the Selkirk Rex they should also be cared for regularly. Therefore, it is essential to check them once a week and clean the dirt with a damp cloth to avoid infections (otitis, etc.).

This is also an opportunity to check the eyes and, if required, wipe the corners with a damp cloth to remove dirt. This will also reduce the risk of infection..

Keeping your cat's teeth clean is also important, as it helps prevent plaque build-up, that can not only cause bad breath, but also more or less serious diseases. Brushing once a week with a special toothpaste for cats is essential, but the ideal is to do it more often, even daily.

It is also important to ensure that its claws are not too long: not only could they bother you, or even break and hurt you, but also hurt his owner when he jumps on him, how much you like to do. For a cat with free access to the outdoors, natural wear and tear will work, but it's not always enough: it is better to check once a month and cut them manually when needed. For an indoor cat, this is usually how often it needs to be trimmed. In any case, whether the animal has access to the outside or not, a scratching post is essential: otherwise, it is very likely that it will fall back on the furniture to make its claws.

Coat care, the ears, the eyes, teeth and claws is not complicated. However, to carry out maintenance of a Selkirk Rex in the best conditions, it is better to master the different gestures perfectly, in order not only to be effective, but also to avoid injuring or even traumatizing your cat. So that the maintenance sessions are moments of tenderness and complicity instead of a torture feared by each of the protagonists, It is therefore useful to learn these gestures from a professional veterinarian or groomer the first time..

These deals become privileged moments that reinforce the bond between the owner and his animal., since at Selkirk Rex likes to be paid attention to and handled tenderly. The more used the Selkirk Rex grooming from an early age, more likely it will go well.

Indoor or outdoor cat?

As long as the area is large enough for you to stretch your legs, the Selkirk Rex can live both in an apartment and in a house with a garden. On this last case, the ideal is to install a cat flap, so you can come and go as you please.

In addition, generally better adapted to a change in environment than peers. This flexibility is also illustrated by the fact that she does not mind traveling with her family and is well tolerant of car trips..

How much activity does the "Selkirk Rex cat"?

Sweet and endearing, he is also playful, curious and intelligent. This makes him very fond of interactive toys to develop his skills. He is also a good student for anyone who wants to teach their cat tricks., and he is also perfectly capable of learning certain things on his own, how to open doors or cabinets. In addition, has a bit of insanity that often leads him to jump on the back of the person he is playing with without warning. To avoid this being a problem, it is best to check the length of your claws every month.

Health and nutrition

Selkirk Rex
A selkirk rex à poil long à l’exposition féline d’HelsinkiHeikki Siltala, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Selkirk Rex is generally in robust health.

In addition, regardless of the length of its coat, its dense undercoat helps it withstand cold temperatures well. However, it is short enough to prevent you from suffering too much in the heat. However, they don't feel comfortable when it's hot, and it is essential that they have permanent access to a shaded and ventilated area.

As all cats, are especially prone to certain diseases. In this case, the top three threats to your health are inherited from your ancestors:

  • The Hip Dysplasia, a deformation of the joint that causes movement difficulties and often leads to osteoarthritis as the animal ages;
  • The hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which also especially affects British shorthairs and Persians. This disease corresponds to a thickening of the heart muscle, which can cause breathing difficulties, fatigue and intolerance to exertion. A genetic mutation may be the cause of the problem, and a DNA test can detect it. However, this does not predict when symptoms will appear or how severe they will be;
  • The poliquistosis renal, an inherited disease to which Persian and British Shorthair are also susceptible. It manifests as cysts in one or both kidneys and leads to chronic kidney failure. There's no cure, but certain treatments and changes in the cat's diet will allow it to maintain a better quality of life for longer.

On the other hand, the Selkirk Rex he is a greedy cat, so it tends to be overweight or even Obesity if nothing is done to prevent it. Not a problem to be taken lightly, given the number of health problems that being overweight can cause or worsen.

Using a serious and competent breeder is the best way to adopt a Selkirk Rex which is probably healthy and balanced. A professional breeder not only makes sure that kittens are well socialized and have good living conditions from the first weeks of life, He also wants them to be born and raised in good health. To do this, ensures genetic testing is performed on future breeders, in order to rule out any hereditary conditions that they can transmit to their offspring. Therefore, must be able to present the results of the various tests carried out to the parents (or even the young animal), in addition to a certificate of good health drawn up by a veterinarian and the details of the vaccinations received by the young animal, registered in your health or vaccination card.

Once the adoption is done, it is the owner's responsibility to do everything possible to keep the cat in good health for as long as possible. One way to do this is to get into the habit of taking your cat to the vet for a complete checkup at least once a year., and even more as he gets older. These appointments can help diagnose any problems as soon as possible., to be able to treat it in the best possible way. They also offer the opportunity to carry out the necessary booster vaccines.

At the same time, to ensure that your pet is always protected against parasite-borne diseases, you should try to repeat antiparasitic treatments throughout the year. This is true even for an indoor pet.: may have less risk, but not totally safe from infestation.


"Selkirk Rex cat"

Selkirk Rex
This is a picture of my cinnamon tabby Selkirk Rex Pollo – Wikipedia

Like any other cat, the Selkirk Rex you need a diet perfectly adapted to your nutritional needs. I.e., both in terms of quality and quantity. Must be age appropriate, the health and activity level of the cat.

A good quality industrial food can perfectly satisfy your needs. On the other hand, unless they are carefully selected, it is better to avoid giving them food intended for humans. For example, give your cat a habit of picking up a small portion of the owner's food, or even eat leftovers, or have a free hand to rummage through the garbage, it is not a service for him, especially since some of the foods in question can be really toxic to cats.

This is true of any cat., but even more with him Selkirk Rex, given their greed and tendency to be overweight. The latter explains why, unlike most cats, it is better not to leave food out all day, as it may not be able to regulate. Fixed meal times are a better way to feed him.

Regular weight control, weighing himself once a month, it is also essential to protect yourself from obesity. In case of an increase that is confirmed in several consecutive measurements, it is necessary to seek professional advice. Only a veterinarian can make a reliable diagnosis to determine if the problem is due to an inadequate diet, to lack of activity, to a reaction to the medication, to a disease, etc. Once this is done, tell you how to remedy the problem.

Last but not least, like all cats, the Selkirk Rex you need fresh water at all times, especially since it is prone to renal polyquistosis.

Buy a "Selkirk Rex cat"

The price of a kitten Selkirk Rex usually oscillates between 800 and 1300 EUR.

In all countries, the asking price varies depending on the reputation of the kennel and the lineage of the animal, as well as its intrinsic characteristics, especially the physical ones. This last aspect justifies the fact that within a litter there can sometimes be significant price differences.

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