Cornish Rex Breed Description

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Cornish Rex cats

In appearance, Cornish Rex are most noticeable for their coat, which ideally falls in marcel waves. However, the coat can wave, curl or ripple. It should be very short, close lying to the body and very soft to the touch. They come in all coat colours, patterns and colour combinations, including any white markings on any coat pattern.

Rex cat have no guard hairs, which are the long firm hairs which make up the outer part of a normal cat's fur. The quality of coat can vary, between siblings, from a very close, tight marcel wave to a deeper more softer rippled effect. With some rex's it take eighteen months or longer before their coats achieve its full potential. But once you have felt a Cornish Rex coat, nothing else feels the same.

The Cornish Rex is extremely affectionate and people oriented. They are very active cats who never lose their kitten like antics. They can be taught quite quickly to fetch, a screwed up piece of paper.

In spite of their elegant, sophisticated appearance, Cornish Rex are anything but. They will make perfect pets for anyone who wants an active companion to share in their life.

Because of their extremely short, fine textured coat, many people believe that the Cornish Rex does not shed hair and is hypoallergenic. All breeds of cats, are constantly renewing their coats as old hairs are replaced by new ones. Whilst Cornish Rex hairs, are not easy to find on clothes and furniture, they are still being shed. In comparison to some other breeds though, the shedding is minimal.

In research it has been found, that most allergic people are bothered by the dander (dead skin cells) and the saliva, both of which are present in Cornish Rex cats.

Female Cornish Rex weight approximately 6 lbs, and males weigh in heavier at 8 lb.

Breed standard of points (GCCF)

Head – medium wedge, head length about one third greater than the maximum length, narrowing to a rounded muzzle and strong chin.

In profile, a flat skull curving gently at the forehead, and continuing in a straight line to the tip of the nose.

Ears – large, set high on head, wide at base, and tapering to rounded tips, and well covered with fur.

Eyes – oval shape, medium in size and any colour acceptable.

Neck, body an legs - Elegant neck. Body hard and muscular, slender of medium length. Legs long and straight, giving an overall appearance of being high on the legs. Paws small and oval.

Tail – long fine and tapering, well covered with wavy fur.

Coat – short, dense and silken in texture, without guard hairs. The coat must wave, curl or ripple, particularly on the back, sides and tail. Waving may also extend down the legs. Whiskers and eyebrows crinkled and of good length.

Colours – all coat colours, pattern and colour combinations acceptable, including any white markings on any coat pattern.

(Carole Gwyther) 05:08:2004

Coat Qualities

The Cornish Rex and the Devon Rex cats are good potential choices for people who are allergic to cats. This is because both breeds carry a recessive mutated gene that changes their coat type and length. Both breeds don’t shed hair like other breeds of cat, although the amount of hair loss varies between different individual cats.

In a typical cats body coat there are three main types of hair, which are the guard hairs, awn hairs and down hairs. The guard hairs and the awn hairs are together called the topcoat. The guard hairs form the protective topcoat. They are the longest and the thickest of the body hairs and serve to protect the under fur from outside elements, keeping it dry and warm. The awn hairs form the middle coat they also help insulate and protect the body from the elements. The down hairs are the closest to the skin. Their job is to keep the cat warm and to conserve their body temperature.

The Cornish Rex coat is made up almost entirely of down hairs, there are awn hairs but they are greatly reduced in length and type. The Cornish Rex doesn’t shed as much as other breeds of cats either but variations in the breed shed can shed more or less. The coat of the Cornish Rex feels so soft because of their lack of the guard hairs.

The Devon Rex coat has all three types of body hairs, guard hairs, awn hairs and down hairs. All these hairs are reduced to the quality of the down hairs by the Devon Rex gene. The coat of the Devon Rex doesn’t feel as soft to touch of that of the Cornish Rex because of their guard hairs. Kittens go through a few moulting stages up to adult hood and may look a little bare from time to time. The Devon Rex are prone to have bare areas especially around the neck, chest and stomach in adults it is as a fault.

Hypo-allergenic Cats


The Rex cat is a good potential choice for people who are allergic to cats. While no cat can be truely hypo-allergenic, the Rex does not aggravate allergies in many people with cat allergies. Allergic people are encouraged to visit a breeder to determine their own tolerance for the breed. Where as a normal cat has three layers of hair, the Cornish Rex have only the down hairs (undercoat), which will ease the degree of suffering for people who are allergy sufferers, and for people who don't like alot of cat hair lying around the house. The Cornish Rex cat shed the least, so they deposit less allergen laced hair around the house. Many people who are allergic to cats can tolerate a Rex. This does not mean, however, that the breeds are "hypoallergenic". Some people also have a reaction to the Rex coat. The very short hair does not hold dust, dander and saliva as well as a normal coat does. Whether or not a reaction occurs probably depends a great deal on the type and severity of the allergy. Often a mild reaction can be prevented by having another person bathe the cat regularly. I recommend that a person with allergy problems spend some time visiting with and handling a Rex before deciding to try to live with one.

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Carole Gwyther