About Selkirk Rex
The Breed began in 1987 from a female cat in a shelter in Sheridan, Montana and one of her kittens. A local breeder (Jeri Newman) was asked to look at the "strange" kitten which exhibited a slight curl on the coat. Jeri, who had an interest in feline genetics adopted the kitten and later bred the kitten to one of her cattery Persians, Photo Finish of Deekay. On July 4, 1988 the year-old "kitten" by then named Miss DePesto of NoFace delivered 6 kittens. Surprisingly, 3 of the 6 kittens had a curly coat and the other 3 were straight-hair kittens.
This 50% ratio of curly offspring is exactly what would be expected from a dominant gene for curl. This created even more interest by Jeri in exploring the development of a new breed based on the curly-coat trait. Jeri selected the breed name Selkirk to keep the same theme as the Cornish and Devon Rex regional names; the Selkirk mountains and a stream by the same name were nearby, so Selkirk it was. After several years of exhibition showing, the Selkirk Rex was admitted to Championship status by TICA in 1994.
The Selkirk Rex is produced by a (complete) dominant gene affecting the guard, awn, and down hairs. The curl is most prominent around the neck, underside, and the rear in both coat lengths. Guard hairs tend to have a coarse texture especially over the back, but the coat is very dense and overall soft and plush. The whiskers are curly as are the eyebrows. The Selkirk Rex is a medium to large cat with body longer than legs, in good balance, with a slight rise to the rear. Heavy boning gives the cat surprising weight. Females are less massive than males.
Kittens are curly at birth (especially the whiskers) and may lose their coat and begin to develop an adult curly coat at 8-10 months of age. The coat continues to develop until about 2 years of age, so kittens with moderate coat type or length should be evaluated mostly by head and body type. Whiskers become brittle and often appear broken off stubby hairs. Some Selkirks also moult, and coat texture is often seasonal and affected by hormonal influences.
The first Selkirk Rex cats arrived in Britain in February 2002. They were three siblings bred in Austria at the home of Christiana and Karl Aichner from their Dam Db Gr Ch Serenitie Betty Boop of Courtlycats (Dilute Tortie & White SH Selkirk) X Sire RW SGC Conan Von Ebenthal of Courtlycats (Blue BSH). There were four kittens in the litter with three curly kittens & one variant, the three curly kittens made their way to the UK. Angela & Jim Mann (Kresant) imported Courtlycats Count Basie, a longhaired Cream male and he was driven over the channel by Jim on the 7th February. Basie later went on to live with Janet & John Brett in West Sussex (Witchwillows).
The two girls TICA Gr Ch Courtlycats Call Me Madam, a blue and white shorthair owned by Linda Davison (Toreska) and TICA Ch Courtlycats Cookies n Cream, a longhaired blue-cream owned by Lisa Peterson (Trueblu) flew into Heathrow under the PETS Passport Scheme on the 8th February.
The breed appeared on the show bench in the UK in 2004 and quickly shot through the ranks to Championship Status with the GCCF in June 2009. Breeders are now working to consolidate type and keep a good healthy wide genepool. Importance is placing on maintaining substance, correct bites and lovely soft coats coupled with the correct head type and sweet, open expression.