Pedigree Cat Breeds - Cornish Rex

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Cornish Rex, are a natural breed which evolved from a natural mutation in domestic cats, on Bodmin Moor, in Cornwall in 1950. There is a theory, that this mutation may have been caused by radiation from the local tin mines. The history behind the Cornish has always fascinated me, and maybe this is why I started keeping and breeding this wonderful cat. On the 21st July 1950, Nina Ennismore's tortioshell Queen Serena, gave birth to a litter of 5 kittens. Amongst these kittens was an unusual red tabby wavy coated male with curly whiskers, the others were all straight coated. This kitten was given the name Kallibunker, and became the founding father of all Cornish Rex. Nina Ennismore, interested in this mutant, contacted A C Jude, a well known British geneticist. On his advice, Nina Ennismore mated Kallibunker to his mother.

© Myskanco Rex
This mating produced a litter containing, one straight coated kitten and two curly coated kittens. A second mating between the two again produced curly coated kitten. Sadly Kallibunker died soon after this, but his son Poldhu having been purchased by Mr Stirling-Webb in 1958, was kept as a stud. There was a certain amount of controversy over Poldhu as he is reported to have been a blue-cream and white male, and tortoiseshell male cats are usually sterile. Poldhu was later mated to his mother, grandmother and other relatives and rex kittens were born. It has been suggested, that Poldhu was in fact a blue tabby and white. One of the resulting female kittens, 'Lamorna Cove' (a solid blue) was mated back to Poldhu and then exported pregnant to America, along with her red rex coated half brother 'Pendennis Castle'. In American she gave birth to four Rex coated kittens, and it is believed she founded the Rex breed in the USA.


© Myskanco Rex
Cornish Rex cats make excellent pets as they are charming, intelligent, affectionate, and have playful natures. They are very gentle and full of mischief, never appearing to grow old. The breed is agile, active, and demand constant companionship. They are extremely curious about their surroundings, and may indulge in cat acrobatics, and floor speed racing/chasing.
Most of the early Cornish were dilutes, i.e. Blue, Cream, Blue-Cream, Blue Tabby etc. however, today they are bred in every imaginable colour and colour combination. The Cornish Rex is a medium sized cat, with a short coat and slender build. The legs are long and the tail is long and tapering. Although it is a fine boned cat, it is muscular.
The coat is wavy and should full into marcel waves. There are 3 types of hair, guard hairs, awn hairs and down hairs. The Cornish Rex coat lacks the guard hairs, and this gives the coat its curl.
Head - Medium wedge with high cheek bones. Head length about one-third greater than the maximum width, narrowing to a rounded muzzle and strong chin. In profile a flat skull curving gently at the brow and continuing in a straight line to the tip of the nose.
Ears - Large, set rather high on head but not vertical, wide at base, tapering to rounded tips.
Eyes - Oval shaped, medium in size. Top line set almost straight with slight slant to the outer edge of the ear. Any colour accepted.
Head, neck and body - Elegant neck. Body hard and muscular, slender and 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 and dense and silken in texture, without guard hairs and of even length on the body. The coat must curl, wave or ripple particularly on the back, sides and tail, waving may also extend down the legs, the coat on the head and neck, over the shoulders and on the legs and paws is sometimes too short to wave. Rexing in these areas is desirable but absence of it is not a witholding fault. Due to the lack of guard hairs some allowance should be made for slight stud tail in males and females providing it is clean. Whiskers and eyebrows crinkled and of good length.

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Photos & texts on this page © 2007: Carole Gwyther - Myskanco Rex

*Breed standards may vary according to cat governing body

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