History & Overview
The first Selkirk Rex was discovered by shelter worker Peggy Voorhees of the Bozeman Humane Society animal shelter in Wyoming in 1987. The kitten had an unusual coat that resembled lamb’s wool. It had an appealing personality too.
Jeri Newman, a breeder of Persian cats, became interested in this unusual kitten, bred the adult cat to a black Persian male. Newman went on experimenting with the new breed combining Exotic, British and American Shorthair into her Selkirk bloodlines.
Curly, exquisitely plush, with a coat that cascades in colorful spirals, the Selkirk Rex is perfect if you like the permed look. While often described as a cat in sheep’s clothing, this breed is gaining a quick recognition from cat associations and admiration from cat lovers throughout the world. Since its discovery in 1987, the Selkirk Rex has achieved acceptance in:
- American Cat Association (ACA)
- American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA)
- The Canadian Cat Association (CCA)
- The Cat Fanciers’ Association, Inc. (CFA)
- The International Cat Association (TICA)
- United Feline Organisation (UFO)
This is quite an accomplishment for the breed.
Because of the outcrossing used, the Selkirk Rex possesses a cobby body style – stocky, muscular, substantially boned, with a rectangular torso. The full cheeks and large, round eyes contribute to the breed’s characteristic sweet expression. Of the four Rex breeds, the Selkirk Rex is the only one with the cobby body type.
As for the unique coat, all three hair types (guard, awn, and down) are curly, with the curl more pronounced around the neck and tail. The guard hairs are slightly coarse, but the overall effect is a soft and plush coat. The hair has a soft, elegant, flowing feel, and the texture is very light. The curl goes all the way down to the skin.
Short vs Longhair
Considerable differences exist between the shorthair and longhair varieties. The coat of the shorthair Selkirk is plush, medium in length and curls over the entire body. In the longhair, the dense, semi-long hair hangs in loose, individual ringlets and has a more dramatic look. The curls are particularly prominent around the neck and on the tail. IN both hair lengths, the fur is soft and dense. All colors and patterns of the cat spectrum are accepted.
The coat goes through several stages as it develops. Selkirk kittens are curly at birth, then around four months of age, suddenly lose their curls. The curls come back again, beginning at about eight months. The coat becomes curlier every month until the cats are about two years old. The amount of curl varies from cat to cat. Climate and both seasonal and hormonal changes can also influence the coat’s curliness. A humid climate increases the curliness of the fur.