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BaxterBoo Blog
June 28, 2013

Meet the Cat Breed: The Selkirk Rex, a New, Rare 'Poodle' Cat

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A cat in sheep's clothing? That's what people are calling this ultra-plush, curly-coated kitty. This trait first appeared in 1987.

Physical Characteristics:

The Selkirk Rex is one of only four curly-coated cat breeds including the Devon Rex, the Cornish Rex, and the LaPerm. Unlike the other two Rex breeds that have missing or reduced hair, the Selkirk Rex has thick, plush, densely-curled fur that can either be long or short. This breed does shed, however, and is not recommended for those with allergies. The body style is cobby and sturdy. The head is round, with large, rounded eyes, medium-sized, wide-set ears. The muzzle is half the length of the width of the muzzle.

History of the Breed:

The original poodle cat, Miss DiPesto, was named after the curly-haired receptionist in the old TV series "Moonlighting." Miss DiPesto was discovered in Montana by Jeri Newman, a Persian cat breeder who became aware of a litter of rescue cats at a Bozeman shelter. Within the litter was a kitten with an usual curly coat, which Ms. Newman was intrigued by and eventually adopted. She crossed Miss DiPesto with her own black Persian, which produced three curly-haired kittens and three straight-haired ones.

Nine generations later, scientists have declared this curly-haired trait to be a distinct genetic mutation that is dominant, which means the coat is replicated through cross breeding. This is good news for the budding breed, making the health and color variations robust. All Selkirk Rex cats can trace their genetic heritage to Miss. DiPesto. 


The personality of the Selkirk Rex reflects the nature of the breeds it has been crossbred with, which commonly are Persians. Exotic Shorthairs and British Shorthairs. They are laid back, reserved, yet playful and cuddly. They are very patient and tolerant.

  • Best suited for: Anyone wanting an unusual looking, friendly cat, who is not concerned about cat allergens. The Selkirk Rex gets along with children, the elderly and other pets. 
  • Preferred living conditions: This cat is adaptable and easy to get along with.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Combing twice a week will keep this coat looking nice. This cat does shed quite a bit. Some cats have a greasier coat that needs occasional bathing.
  • Exercise needs: Enjoys regular play but is fairly mellow.
  • Life expectancy: 10-15 years.
  • Health concerns: May have incidents of polycystic kidney disease from the Persian outcrosses as well as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy from the British Shorthair. This breed is considered to be generally healthy, however. Perfect Pairings: Dry Clean Waterless Cat Bath

Have any stories about a Selkirk Rex? Please share!

Adopt a Selkirk Rex by clicking on this Petfinder link!

Photo courtesy of Martie2303

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This entry was posted by Mary.

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