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Cornish Rex Breed Description

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Breed Organization

TICA Executive Office

The Cat Fanciers' Association

Native Country
Great Britain

Other Names

Coat Length

Life Expectancy
No Information Available

General Description

The coat of a Cornish Rex is extremely fine and sometimes curly, the softest of any cat breed. However, their light coat means that they are best suited for indoor living in warm and dry conditions, as they might get hypothermia if they stay outdoors in the winter. Their body temperature of 39 C (102 F) is slightly higher than that of most cats. Often the breed is referred to as the Greyhound of the cats, because of the sleek appearance and the galloping run characteristic of the breed. These cats tend to stay playful and kittenish throughout their long lives. Some Cornish Rexes like to play fetch, race other pets, or do acrobatic jumps. The Cornish Rex is an adventurous cat and is very intelligent. It can readily adapt to new situations and will explore wherever it can go, jumping into refrigerators, examining washing machines, etc. The Rex is extremely curious, seeks out the company of people and is friendly towards other companion animals. It is a suitable pet for timid children. Cornish Rex cats come in a wide variety of coat colors and patterns, outlined in the breed standard: solids, including white, black, chocolate, orange and the dilutes blue, lilac and cream; all forms of tabby including classic, mackerel and ticked tabbies, bicolor "tuxedo" coat in many colors, tortoiseshell, "smoke" colors and the color-point pattern standard in the Siamese breed.

Breed Standard

Head: Length greater than width, moderately wedge-shaped. Egg-shaped skull. Roman nose. Straight line from middle of the forehead to tip of the nose. Straight nose. Definite whisker break. Strong chin. Curly whiskers and eyebrows.
Eyes: Medium to large in size, oval in shape, and slanting slightly upward. Color, which should be clear, shiny, and intense, appropriate to coat color.
Neck: Of medium length. Slender, but muscular.
Body: Small to medium, rather long. Full, deep chest. Very arched back. Rounded rump. Very fine bone structure. Firm, powerful, and long musculature.
Paw: Long and straight. Fine bone structure. Firm muscles. Small, oval paws.
Tail: Long and slender, covered with a wavy coat.
Coat: Short, dense, and wavy with uniform waves over the entire body. Waves are desirable on tail and legs. Absence of guard hairs, resulting in an extremely soft, fine satin or silklike coat. Coat grows slowly. Colors: Any color. The Siamese pattern variety is called Si-Rex.
Fault: Overly large or long head. Small ears. Massive, stocky body. Tail that is too thick, short, free of hair, or shaggy. Large hairless areas, except at temples and on the tail. Coarse, straight hairs.


The first Cornish Rex was a male named Kallibunker born to Serena, a tricolor housecat, in 1950 on the Ennismore farm near Bodmin in Cornwall, England (hence the name Cornish Rex). His curly coat resembled that of Rex rabbits discovered on a French farm in 1919. In order to preserve this recessive mutation, the breeding program combined inbreeding with outcrosses to Siamese, British Shorthairs, and Burmese. In 1967, the Cornish Rex was officially recognized in England. In 1960, Professor E. Letard brought a Rex couple from Germany to France. Only the green-eyed male, Marco, survived the trip. He was mated with a Burmese queen. The kittens were black and straight-coated, proving that the gene responsible for the Rex coat was indeed recessive. Letard inbred the mixed-breed offspring and in 1962, finally obtained a male Rex - Lisko, a descendant from the French Rex line. In the United States, a breeding program began in 1957. Crosses with Siamese and Orientals resulted in a lighter, oval-headed cat, while the English Cornish Rex was heavier and had a more triangular, rather than long, head. This breed is highly prized in the United States and Europe.


This playful, lively, rather eccentric acrobat is always in motion. The good-natured Cornish Rex enjoys other cats and dogs, and dislikes solitude. This affectionate, gentle cat makes a loving companion, albeit with a rather strident voice. Females cycle frequently and are quite prolific. Their appetite is phenomenal, and kittens develop rapidly. Weekly brushing will help maintain the wavy coat. This breed hardly sheds.


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