The Selkirk Rex is a one of the most recent natural additions to the purebred cat fancy. This breed is known for its extremely soft curly hair and its curly whiskers, yet it is distinct from all other curly-coated breeds. Unlike the Devon Rex and Cornish Rex, the coat of the Selkirk Rex is thick and dense, and there are longhaired and shorthaired varieties. This breed comes in a rainbow of colors, with the quality of its coat being of the utmost importance in the show ring. The curly coat of the Selkirk Rex must be plush, with a woolly feel and look, sometimes referred to as being in tousled disarray or resembling a “bad hair day.” The loose, unstructured curls are most prominent on the cat’s flanks, belly and around the neck. They are least prominent on top of the back. The dramatic curled locks on longhaired Selkirks are more noticeable than those on the shorthaired variety. Straight-haired Selkirks can be born in the same purebred litter as curly-haired kittens. The littermates can be distinguished at birth, because curly-coated kittens will also have curly whiskers. The Selkirk Rex – sometimes referred to as a cat in sheep’s clothing - is a medium-to-large, muscular, solidly built cat somewhat similar in type to the British Shorthair. It has stocky legs, big paws and a heavy, rectangular body. Selkirk’s have rounded heads with no flat planes or harsh angles. Their large, prominent round eyes can be any color. They have medium-sized, widely-spaced ears, chubby cheeks and a distinctly short, square muzzle. An extreme break, or stop, in the nose - like that so highly prized in the Persian - is a fault in this breed.
The temperament of the Selkirk Rex reflects that of the breeds used in its development: a purebred Persian and a non-pedigreed, short-haired, mixed-breed housecat that probably derived in part from American, British and/or Exotic Shorthairs. Selkirks are incredibly loving, patient and kind. These are important traits for these cats, because their unusual teddy-bear appearance makes them intriguing and practically irresistible to all who meet them. They have many of the laid-back, gentle qualities of the American and British Shorthair. They also carry the cuddly nature of the Persian and the playfulness of the Exotic Shorthair. They are tolerant of children and other pets and make affectionate, affable companions.