Selkirk Rex

The Selkirk Rex is considered one of the more intelligent of the cat breeds with a healthy dose of natural feline curiosity. This means that they are both easy to train and that they need regular stimulation and interaction from their owner or from another cat to prevent them becoming bored and unhappy.


In 1987 a shelter worker spotted a strange kitten in a litter: unlike its siblings it had a curly coat. This little cat was shown to a local breeder, Jeri. She was named DePesto. Breeder was enchanted by the kitten and decided to breed her to a dark Persian when she was old enough.

DePesto, or Pest, produced a 6 kittens, some of them had the same curly coat as their mother. The other kittens were straight haired. This showed that the curly coat was thanks to a prevailing gene unlike with other Rexes who get their curly coats from a recessive gene. Breed also carried the genes for both a pointed coat and long hair. All Selkirk Rexes trace their roots back to her. "Rex" indicates that the coat is curly.

The breeding program make the cats even more attractive.


Not surprisingly, the nature of the breed has been influenced by the breeds used to create it. They have the gentle character of the Persian, the relaxed but slightly restrained features of the Shorthair and the playful exuberance of the Exotic and American Shorthairs.

These are really sweet natured cats that are very affectionate, sociable and intelligent. While not all Selkirk Rexes are lap cats, they all love people, other animals and the attention and company of others. They are active and cheerful cats who adore being played with. In fact, this breed stays kittenish, playful and curious.

Selkirks are not clingy cats but they are very loving and loyal towards their family. However, if they feel ignored or neglected they will, in their quiet voices, ask for some attention or may just want to have a chat. These cats fit in well with others including children, as they are gentle and tolerant.

The Selkirk Rex practically house trains itself. These cats can be taught to play fetch, to sit, run an agility course and use a toilet.

Because they are curious and intelligent, these cats need mental stimulation. You can keep your cat mentally active by giving it puzzles and toys or by doing agility training with it. You will be surprised by how eager your cat will be to solve puzzles and go through an agility course.


When describing the appearance of this breed it makes sense to start with the most eye-catching and distinctive features: the gorgeous curly, dense coat. Because of their woolly-looking hair and thick undercoat, the Selkirk has been described as being like a teddy bear. The curls are loose and soft.

The Selkirk Rex is a stocky, muscular build. The males reach 11 to 16 lbs (5 to 7.25 kg) and the smaller females weigh between 6 and 12 lbs (2.5 to 5.5 kg).

The coat and eyes come in a wide range of colours. In addition, the Selkirk Rex can have either a long or short coat.

The ruff and tail help to establish hair length. These cats have curls on their tails that stand out. All Selkirks also have curly whiskers.

This breed is medium to large and a heavy boned, powerful cat.


The life span for a Selkirk Rex is about the same as for any other breed of purebred domestic cats. These cats have been known to live for as many as 15 or 16 years. If you take good care of your cat you should be able to enjoy its company for at least 14 years.

Gallery of Selkirk Rex