Selkirk Rex Cat Breed Information And Pictures

Russell Cargill

Selkirk Rex Cat Breed

Sometimes referred to as a “sheep cat,” the flat faced Selkirk Rex is a very new but popular cat breed. Many cat lovers appreciate the cat breed for their teddy bear-like appearance or ‘bad hair day’ look.

The breed’s long lifespan and friendly nature make them very revered and sought after. These are some of the reasons that the breed has become widely popular in North America.

Selkirk Rex Breed Overview
Height9-11 inches (23-27 inches)
Weight6-16 lbs (2.7-7.2 kg)
Lifespan15-20 years
ColorsVaries, but can include: brown, silver, blue, gray, black, white, red
Suitable forFamilies with children, other pets, or seniors
TemperamentAffectionate, playful, and gentle
Breed Traits Overview

History Of The Selkirk Rex Cat Breed

Originating in Montana, the Selkirk Rex was the result of a natural genetic mutation. The breed wasn’t discovered until 1987, when one kitten out of a litter of six had an unusual coat. All the other five kittens had the coat of a domestic shorthaired cat, which made the one curly female stand out. 

The kitten was then brought to the attention of Jeri Newman, a local Persian breeder, who ended up adopting the curly-haired kitten. Once the kitten, Miss DePesto, was an adult, Newman bred her to a black Persian. The result was three curly-coated kittens and three straight-coated kittens. 

Subsequent breedings confirmed that the gene for this coat type was dominant. This sets the breed apart from similar curly coat breeds, like the Cornish and Devon Rex, whose coat is the product of a recessive gene. 

Newman gave the breed the name Selkirk Rex after the successful breeding attempt. The name Selkirk was after her stepfather, and she included Rex in the name to show that the breed had a curly coat. Newman and other breeders then began crossing the breed with Persians, Exotics, American Shorthairs, and British Shorthairs for genetic diversity. 

The breed was recognized by The International Cat Association and the American Cat Fanciers Association in the 1990s. Registration with the Cat Fanciers Association began in 1992, and the association officially recognized them in 2000. 

Today, the flat faced breed is popular and available around the United States and Canada.

How Much Does The Selkirk Rex Cost?

There are pros and cons to a breed that’s popular with good breeding success. One of the upsides is that the pricing of the cat can be lower than other designer breeds. The average cost is now between $600 and $1,500 (£430 and £1,085, €500 and €1,270, and A$805 and A$2,010). 

One of the major downfalls is that many illegitimate breeders aren’t taking proper care of their cats and kittens. Many breeders won’t do health tests and will sell the kittens before they’re old enough to be weaned from their mothers. This impacts the health of the cat throughout the rest of its life. Thus, rather than shopping by price, be sure to vet breeders for quality of care thoroughly. 

By finding a reputable breeder you’ll be sure that your kitten has had health tests performed and was with its mother for at least 12 weeks. This time is crucial for proper learning and development. Since this breed can be prone to health issues, getting a health report from a breeder before purchasing is critical.

Suppose you’re not sure of any reputable breeders near you with Selkirk Rex kittens. Ask a local veterinarian as they’ll be more aware of high-end breeders that have good practices and maintain healthy genetics. 

Many adult cats are surrendered and end up in need of a loving home. Adopting a cat from a shelter costs a lot less as you’re not paying breeding fees. If you buy an adult cat, the cost will be on the lower side of the range mentioned above. This can range up to about $300 depending on if the cat still needs sterilization or not. 

selkirk rex kitten

Personality Traits Of The Selkirk Rex

This flat faced breed has a great temperament and is tolerant, adaptable, and loving. While the breed enjoys playing, they aren’t very vocal or demanding.

They should have toys, a scratching post, and a cat tree to optimize their ability to play independently. Be sure to also engage in play with the breed to maintain a good bond and increase their exercise. 

They’re also extremely intelligent and will enjoy playing with toys that challenge them. If you don’t give them enough mental stimulation, when left alone they may become mischievous.

With that said, the breed is a lap cat and will enjoy cuddling up with you and sleeping more than anything else.

One essential aspect of this breed is that they can get very lonely and experience separation anxiety. Because the breed thrives with constant human attention and interaction, they won’t do well being left alone for too long.

The Selkirk Rex is safe to be around babies and young children and will adapt well in a household with other pets. With that said, always teach your children how to properly socialize and interact with pets to avoid any stressful encounters for the cat.

How To Take Care Of A Selkirk Rex

Caring for a Selkirk Rex is relatively easy. They’re low maintenance, but do have some health issues to be conscious of throughout their life. 


With this large and lazy breed it’s essential to note exactly how much you’re feeding them. If you overfeed, they will be more prone to developing obesity, diabetes, and arthritis as they age. It’s vital to have feeding schedules for your cat and provide healthy portions. 

If your cat always has food in its bowl with refills every time the bowl becomes empty, your cat is going to overeat. One great way to better regulate food intake is through an automatic feeder. This will encourage portion control and keep your cat on a strict schedule. 

If your cat is rapidly gaining weight, be sure to consult with your veterinarian and talk about making the switch to a weight control diet. This will help you get their body condition back to baseline.

Even if your cat is healthy and fit, always consult with a vet before making any diet switches. Not all cat foods are packed with the correct balance of nutrients to keep your cat healthy.


Due to their long curly fur, they do need more grooming than a shorthaired cat. Luckily, the breed’s pretty easy to groom and won’t shed a lot around your home.

Since their wavy coat is so curly, it keeps hold of the loose straight hairs. This is beneficial for cutting back shedding, but not for your cat if you aren’t brushing them properly. 

Without regular combing you’ll find that they get knots or matted hair due to the loose hairs that get caught up in the coat. Therefore, do a light brushing with a wide-toothed comb a few times per week. A wide-toothed comb is the best choice for maintaining their curls while still getting the excess fur off. 

Apart from hair maintenance, this breed is very prone to mite infestations in its ears and coat. This can be uncomfortable for your animal and is avoidable with proper grooming.

By bathing and brushing your cat when needed, you’ll avoid mites on the body. By cleaning their ears at home, you can prevent mites in the ears. If you do find that your cat has mites, begin a home treatment right away or bring your cat to the vet to receive treatment.

Always be sure to maintain your cat’s nails to avoid scratching the furniture when they jump and climb. Since this breed isn’t as active as some, they’re more prone to having longer overgrown nails. If you start with nail trimming at a young age, your cat will get used to the process. You can then add this grooming task to weekly brushings. 


With such an intelligent breed like the Selkirk Rex, training is pretty straightforward. Unfortunately, the breed isn’t going to be very eager to learn tricks which will be your major obstacle.

They can pick up on what you want them to do quite fast, and it’s just a matter of them also wanting to do it. Your cat will have no problem with easy tasks like litter box or scratching post training.

Especially when done at a young age, they can pick up on these tasks easily. You can also keep your cat engaged by offering them puzzle toys to continue training their mind as they age. 

Make sure to give training a try at a time when they’re eager to interact and have some energy. This will make new tasks easier for them and less frustrating for you! Take note of your cat’s mood and adjust your expectations from there. 


There are several minor conditions your cat can develop. These include mites in the ears, separation anxiety, and weight gain when not eating a well-regulated diet. However, there are a few more severe conditions to be aware of in this breed. 

Since this flat faced breed comes from Persians they develop many of the same health issues. This can include polycystic kidney disease, brachycephalic, and arterial thromboembolism. 

Many of these more severe issues can be avoided by finding breeders with high-quality genes. These breeders will do thorough health tests and breed these conditions out of their cats to give you the healthiest kitten possible.

However, there’s no health guarantee with a breed like this. You may end up spending a considerable amount of time and money on a veterinarian if these kinds of conditions develop. 

Be sure to keep up with your cat’s annual veterinary visit and more frequent checkups if you think they may have an issue.

This will ensure that any problem they do have gets sorted out as efficiently as possible. You can also avoid any more health issues by sterilizing your cat if you don’t intend to breed and staying current on their vaccinations. 

Physical Attributes Of The Selkirk Rex

This flat faced breed has many similar physical characteristics to other flat faced breeds like Exotics and Persians. Of course, they majorly differ from these breeds in one feature: their dense coat. 

  • Head: They have large rounded heads. They’re pretty proportionate to the body size with a smooth skull and flattened muzzle.
  • Body: Medium in size with a broad chest. Although they can be prone to obesity, when kept lean, they have an athletic build. 
  • Ears: Their ears sit wide on their head but aren’t very large. They come to a rounded point at the top and usually have a tuft of hair inside.
  • Eyes: The Selkirk Rex’s eyes are large and round. The color can differ by fur color but are often in yellow tones.
  • Legs and Paws: Their legs and paws are both thick and stocky. The breed sits low on their legs which can make their legs look short for their body size. 
  • Tail: The tail isn’t long but remains proportional to the length of the body. 
  • Coat: As kittens, the coat of this breed is very wavy or curly. It’ll then start to straighten out on it’s own as the kitten grows. Their straight hair will begin to curl again will then come back once the cat is between eight and ten months old as their growth slows down. 
  • Color: Color can vary depending on the parents of the cat. Many individuals in this breed are brown, black, white, beige, blue, gray, red, or orange. There’s no typical color or pattern.

Conclusion On The Selkirk Rex

The Selkirk Rex may be the perfect fit for those searching for a unique but gentle and loving cat! As an incredibly adaptable breed, you’ll find that this breed looks and acts like a living teddy bear.

Before purchasing, the most significant consideration is finding the most reputable breeder possible. This will help you avoid any potential life-threatening health issues impacting your cat.

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