Other names: Longhair Selkirk Rex, Sheep Cat
The Selkirk Rex is a different breed to the Devon Rex and Cornish Rex, as their curls are not genetically identical. Also, they have significantly more hair than their Devon/Cornish counterparts. Their hair is also different to LaPerms, as their coat is more reminiscent of that of a sheep, thanks to the shape of their curls. Therefore it is unsurprising that they gained the nickname “Sheep Cat” !
Key facts about the Selkirk Rex
Life expectancy :
Type of coat :Naked Short Long
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Origins and history
In 1987 in Wyoming, USA, a naturally curly haired kitten was born, who was named “Pesto of No Face”. She crossbred with a Persian and gave birth to six kittens. As three of them had curly hair, this proved that the gene responsible for their curly hair was a dominant gene, (unlike in breeds such as the Devon Rex or Cornish Rex). Further crossbreeding proved that the mother carried both the short hair gene and the long hair gene. So, when the breed was officially recognised, both the "Shorthair" and the "Longhair" Selkirk Rex were acknowledged.
The Selkirk Rex did not arrive in Europe until 1990 and it still remains a rare breed.
Physical characteristics of the Selkirk Rex
Female : Between 12 and 12 in
Male : Between 12 and 13 in
The “Sheep Cat” reaches adult size at the age of 1, however it takes 2 years for their coats to fully develop.
Female : Between 7 and 9 lb
Male : Between 9 and 13 lb
This breed comes in all colours:
Black / seal, blue / grey-slate, chocolate, lilac / lilac, cinnamon / cinnamon, fawn / fawn, red, white, tortoiseshell
Type of coat
There are 2 varieties of the Selkirk Rex. One is known as the “Shorthair” and the second is called the “Longhair Selkirk Rex”.
Blue, aquamarine, yellow, green.
The Selkirk Rex can have a wide variety of eye-colours.
Selkirk Rex have the curliest hair of any cat in existence. Their round heads and short noses accentuate their big round eyes, that are set well apart from each other. Their fur is dense (particularly the Longhair), and their body is broad and muscular.
Good to know
Their curls vary depending on the season, their age and also their hormones. Also, it is not until the age of two that their curls start to take on their adult appearance.
Their whiskers are also curly.
“Sheep cats” are very affectionate towards their owners.
They are very muscular and will regularly show this off.
They are generally very calm cats, as long as you tire them out by letting them play, or by playing with them.
Selkirk Rex quickly learn their owners routines, and will adapt their own lives accordingly to make sure they get enough human attention!
Fearful / wary of strangers
In general, these cats are very curious, however some are more curious than others. It’s a good idea to create hiding places for these beautiful cats, so they are able to observe new people and things. This should help them to get used to the aforementioned.
These cats can look after themselves and are also reasonably independent even when their owners are present. You just have to make sure they are left with enough activities to stimulate themselves with!
Behaviour of the Selkirk Rex
In general, these cats aren’t known for making much noise. However, they will still meow to try and get their owners’ attention!
Need for exercise / Sporty
There is no better way to overcome boredom than with a daily dose of physical exercise! It’s a great way to keep a Selkirk Rex happy.
Tendency to run away
This breed generally adapts really well to living in an apartment.
Greedy / Gluttony
This breed generally has a big appetite and therefore their owners must pay close attention to the amount of food they consume.
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Selkirk Rex and cats
When a new cat arrives in the Selkirk’s home, it often stresses them out and puts them in a bad mood! Properly introducing the cats to one another and ensuring their first encounters are positive are key to these relationships.
Selkirk Rex and dogs
It isn’t easy for cats to work out the body language of a different species. However, they normally adapt very well to dogs, as long as the dog is well-trained and the cat has some high hiding places!
Selkirk Rex and children
As they are both playful and calm at the same time, they are generally very good with children. However, the child must learn how to be respectful towards their four-legged friend. Selkirks do sometimes needs their own space where they do not like being disturbed. Learning and respecting their independence is the key to a beautiful relationship between cats and humans, no matter how big or small they are!
Selkirk Rex and the elderly
Some members of the breed are calmer than others, and as they get older they all become less boisterous. In these circumstances, Selkirks make excellent companions for the elderly.
On average, a Selkirk Rex kitten costs between £300 and £600. This price may vary depending on their breeder, lineage, age at purchase and even their sex.
It costs on average £25 / month to provide for a Selkirk Rex.
A light weekly brush should be enough to remove the dead hair and to allow the cat’s curls to keep their form. Particular areas, such as their bellies and under leg should also be brushed weekly.
It is also advisable to regularly check and clean their ears to avoid wax accumulation. Similarly, their eyes should be checked regularly and in some circumstances, a vet may provide saline to cleanse their eyes.
The effects of their moulting depends hugely on whether they have mid-length or short hair.
Nutrition of the Selkirk Rex
To keep them healthy, a high quality diet is recommended.
Health of the Selkirk Rex
Life expectancy of 12 to 20 years.
Strong / robust
The density of their fur and the presence of an undercoat makes them fairly resistant to cold and hot weather, however they adapt better to cold situations.
Tendency to put on weight
To avoid weight gain, close attention should be paid to the nutritional quality and quantity of food given to a Selkirk Rex.
Selkirk Rex can develop the same illnesses as all other cats, such as oral diseases. However there are some diseases specific to the breed:
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the thickening of the heart muscle. This disease can lead to heart failure due to arrhythmias, lung oedema, arterial thrombosis etc. Screening is done by means of an echocardiography examinatination, which is usually renewed annually. Treatment can be administered according to the results of the echocardiograph to improve the cat’s quality of life.
Polycystic kidney disease is a disease that results in the development of cysts that prevent the kidney from functioning normally, and lead to incurable kidney failure. Veterinary care and a specialised diet can delay the disease and improve the quality of the cat’s life so that they can live longer.
On average, females give birth to 3 or 4 kittens.