Colour: All Colours
Appeared in the USA in Wyoming in 1987 and quickly developed as a new Rex breed. Aptly described as 'The Cat in Sheep's Clothing', or a 'Sheepcat'.
Domestic Breed. Appeared in the USA in Wyoming in 1987 and quickly developed as a new Rex breed. Aptly described as 'The Cat in Sheep's Clothing', or a 'Sheepcat'.
Appearance: It has the characteristic curly coat and curled whiskers of a Rex Cat, but unlike the other Rex breeds, the Selkirk has a bulky appearance with a rectangular, muscular body. The head is wide and rounded with a short muzzle. The ears, which have ear-tufts, are smaller than those of a typical Rex Cat. Coarse guard-hairs are present and these, as well as the awn and down hairs, are curled. Selkirk kittens are born with curly coats, but these disappear at about six months, to be replaced by a temporary covering of sparse, wiry hair. Then, at about ten months, the plush, thick, curly adult coat appears.
History: The first Selkirk Rex was spotted in 1987 as a curly-coated, dilute calico female kitten in an otherwise normal, straight-haired litter of non-pedigree cats. This litter, along with their straight-haired mother, had been deposited in an animal shelter as unwanted pets.
The curly kitten was noticed as something out of the ordinary by Peggy Voorhees of the Bozeman Humane Society in Wyoming. Because the animal's coat was so unusual, she was adopted by Jeri Newman, a Montana breeder of pedigree Persian Cats. When fourteen months old, this young female, now known as Miss De Presto, was mated with Newman's champion Black Persian called Photo Finish, and on July 4th 1988 produced a litter of six kittens. Half of these displayed their mother's curly coat. One was a black and white male, another was a black female and a third was a tortie female.
It was soon clear to those involved that they were witnessing the birth of an exciting new breed and it was decided to give it the name of Selkirk, after the Selkirk Mountains in Wyoming, which were near to the spot where the foundation cat, Miss De Presto, had been discovered.
Further matings, including back-crosses to Miss De Presto, were organized. There were also out-crosses to various shorthair breeds as well as longhairs. Other Rex breeds are not, however, to be introduced into the Selkirk development programme, because it is clear that the Selkirk is the only type of Rex that is genetically dominant. This means that the Selkirk Rex cannot be related to any of the other Rex genes, and there is therefore no point in mixing them.
Encouraged by the success of the Selkirk programme, the breeders involved formed a Selkirk Rex Society and in August 1990 two American cat associations agreed to give official recognition to this new breed. There is now also a Selkirk Rex Breed Association in Canada.
Personality: Terms used to describe this breed include: patient, tolerant, laid-back, cuddly, playful.
Colour forms: Those recorded so far include: Black Tortie Smoke; Blue-Green; Tortie. Pointed coats are known, inherited from the foundation cat. Burmese and 'mink' colours have also been recorded.
Selkirk Rex Breed Club. Publishes a quarterly newsletter called Woolgathering. Address: 3555 South Pacific Highway No.3, Medford, OR 97501, USA.
Selkirk Rex Breeders. Address: P.O. BOX 21282, Concord, CA 94521-0208, USA.
Selkirk Rex Society. Address: 231 S. D St., Livingston, MT 59047, USA.
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