The Selkirk Rex has very curly hair and whiskers, but unlike other rex cats the hair is of normal length and not partly missing. Also unlike other rex cats the Selkirk’s gene for curls is dominant.
The breed originated in Montana in the late 1980s when an unusually coated kitten was placed with a Persian breeder. Miss DePesto (the kitten) after being bred to a black Persian male had half a litter of Selkirk Rex kittens, and half straight-haired kittens, which showed that the gene had an autosomal dominant mode of inheritance.
The Selkirk Rex can come in two coat lengths, long and short (medium). Built like a British Shorthair, the Selkirk Rex is large and solid. The head is round with medium sized ears, large eyes and a distinctly short muzzle (but not quite that of a Persian). The coat of a Selkirk Rex feels soft and wooly, and can be any color. This particular breed of rex sheds much more than the others, and is not recommended for allergy sufferers.
These cats have no known health problems that are breed specific, although their curly fur can cause ear irritations because of wax buildup. Some problems may be inherited from the outcross breeds used, although most outcrossing of the Selkirk Rex will stop by 2015.
The Selkirk Rex is laid-back and reserved, cuddly and playful. As a breed the Selkirk Rex is a patient, tolerant and loving cat, which reflects the temperament of the breeds used in its development.
The temperament of the Selkirk Rex reflects that of the breeds used in its development. They have a lot of the laid-back, reserved qualities of the British Shorthair, the cuddly nature of the Persian, and the playfulness of the Exotic Shorthair. They are very patient, tolerant, and loving.