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Selkirk Rex


Section 3 – BRITISH – Group 2

The Selkirk Rex is an easy-going relaxed cat that resembles a soft, stuffed toy that you just want to pick up and hug. The largest of the rex-coated (curly) breeds, Selkirk Rex have a tousled disarray to their dense coats that leads makes them to look as though they are having a bad hair day!

Sometimes called the cat in sheep’s clothing, these gentle cats bring a smile to your face. They are plush-coated, medium-sized cats with solid boning and bodies that fill your arms when you pick them up for a quick hug and cuddle.


The Selkirk Rex first came to being in the US in the late 1980s, with a litter born to a rescued cat. The only unusually coated kitten in the litter was ultimately placed with a breederand this foundation cat was bred to a black Persian male, producing three Selkirk Rex and three straight-haired kittens. The first Selkirk Rex cats arrived in Britain in February 2002; they were three siblings bred in Austria. Their popularity was immediate and they soon became a regular sight at cat shows

Appearance and Colours

Selkirk Rex come in both long and shorthair coats. The shorthairs have a dense, plush curl to the coat that mphasises the density of the coat and a similarity to a teddy-bear; longhairs have an even more tousled and unstructured look that emphasises the similarity to a woolly sheep. Both hair lengths come in a rainbow of colours and patterns. The curls are most prominent on the flanks, undersides and neck. The thick, plush coat is very soft and falls in loose curls. From birth, their whiskers are also curly and have a tendency to break off when they get too long – or may be chewed by an over-zealous feline companion!! They are a medium to large cat with strong, heavy boning giving them a substantial feel but take time to develop to their full maturity. The head is rounded with large round eyes and a sweet expression. head. The muzzle is of medium width with well-padded whisker pads giving a rectangular impression and is clearly visible beyond the cheeks when viewed in profile. The body is slightly rectangular and very muscular, resulting in a firm feel under the soft coat.


These are loving, patient cats reflecting the temperaments of the breeds used to develop the Selkirk Rex. The British Shorthair contributed the laid-back personality, the Persian added the cuddly nature and the Exotic Shorthair brought an impish playfulness to the package. Visitors are always intrigued by the cats and want to touch their coats and owners have incredible urges to pick up and hug their cats; fortunately, the Selkirk Rex is a patient cat that accepts these human foibles with great tolerance.


The Selkirk Rex cat tends to shed a fair amount of hair! This cat needs to be gently or lightly combed twice a week to remove loose hair and to detangle the coat and undercoat. Over-grooming will reduce the curl, so do not be tempted to groom too often. Some cats are prone to a greasy coat which may require the occasional bath. They do have an unkempt appearance but this does not mean the fur should be matted. The cat’s ears need to be cleaned weekly to avoid excess wax build- up. Weight differs between male and female cats but, on average, they should weigh between 9 and 16 lbs. Generally speaking the average life expectancy for these cats is about 15 years.


Some Selkirk Rex may have a tendency towards excessive greasiness of the coat, requiring increased frequency of bathing.  Other health problems may be inherited from the outcross breeds used, including Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) from Persians and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) from British Shorthairs.  Responsible breeders screen their breeding cats for these conditions to minimise their impact on the breed. In the UK all Selkirk Rex registered with the GCCF for breeding are genetically tested for Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) or are from two genetically tested parents.