The Cornish Rex is distinguished from all other breeds by its extremely soft, wavy coat and racy body type. Even the whiskers curl on a Cornish Rex. As the name implies, the breed originated in Cornwall, England and is distinct from the Devon Rex, though the coat mutation appears similar to the untrained eye.
The Cornish Rex breed is the result of a spontaneous natural mutation, which occurred in non-pedigree cats in Cornwall in 1950. It all started with the birth of Kallibunker. Serena, a tortie and white short hair pet cat belonging to Mrs Nina Ennismore and Miss Winifred Macalister gave birth to a litter of five kittens. Four kittens were normal coated, but the fifth kitten was born with a curly coat and whiskers. This kitten was named Kallibunker, and was the original Cornish Rex.
Nina Ennismore had formerly bred and shown Rex rabbits and knew that Kallibunker's spiral coat was the work of a mutated gene. On the advice of cat fancier Brian Stirling-Webb and geneticist A.C. Jude, Ennismore bred Kallibunker to his mother. A litter of three came from this mating in August 1952, a female and two males. The female was normal-coated; the males were both Rex. One of males died at seven months, however the other male, named Poldhu, joined Kallibunker as one of the early fathers of the Rex breed, called the Cornish Rex after its place of origin. All Cornish Rex today trace their ancestry to the original Cornish Rex, Kallibunker.
In appearance, the Cornish Rex is long and slender, all contours of its body are gently curved. The body has been compared to a Whippet dog's because of its arched back, barrel chest, small waist and very long, fine legs. In spite of their dainty appearance, these small to medium sized cats are extremely hard-bodied and muscular. With their very well developed hips and hind legs, they are capable of amazing speed, quick starts and incredibly high jumps.
A pleasing confederation of curves, the unique Cornish Rex also has a long, graceful neck that leads to a comparatively small, narrow, distinct egg-shaped head. They stand high on long slim legs with long fine tails. Their large ears are set rather high on the head almost like a crown and their eyes are large and oval-shaped. The fine and almost delicate appearance of the Cornish Rex totally belies their tremendously athletic body and deceptively dense weight.
Another distinctive feature of the Cornish Rex is a short, remarkably soft and silky coat characterised by a relatively dense, tight, washboard wave, lying close to the body and extending from the top of the head across the back, sides, hips and tail. The Cornish Rex coat is incredibly soft to touch prompting comparisons to crushed velvet, karakul lamb, rabbit fur or silk. The short coat is easy to groom with hand grooming normally sufficient to keep their coats in good condition.
By nature, the Cornish Rex is extremely affectionate, friendly, alert and people-oriented. They are also active cats whose kitten-like antics last for their lifetime. Cornish Rex are also known for their self-confidence, their desire to interact with people, and their agility. They are perfect pets for the owner who wants active cats to participate in family life. Aristocratic in appearance, they are charming, acutely intelligent, very affectionate and gentle while full of mischief.
Cornish Rex owners appreciate the breed's jolly personality and are extremely devoted to the active, amazing, agile and interactive Cornish Rex.
The Cornish Rex is also a good potential choice for people who are allergic to cats. While no cat can be truly hypoallergenic, many people with allergies to cats discover they can live happily with a Cornish Rex.
The Cornish Rex coat comes in a wide variety of colours and patterns, including solids, bicolours, smokes, shadeds and tabbies. Eyes are medium to large in size, oval in shape, a full eye's width apart and slant slightly upward. Eye colour is clear and intense and appropriate to the coat colour for the breed standard including blue, gold, green, hazel and odd eye.
RCA Rex Cats Association.
SARA Sphynx and Rex Association.
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