The Devon Rex is known for its soft, short, naturally curly coat and large ears and eyes that give it a pixie-ish appearance.
The Devon Rex originated near a tin mine in Devon, and is distinct from the Cornish Rex, though the coat mutation appears similar. The first Devon Rex was born in 1960, ten years after the first Cornish Rex had been born in Cornwall, England. A Miss Beryl Cox spotted a curly coated tomcat living in an abandoned tin mine in Devon, England. Miss Cox also happened to take in at this time a tortie and white pregnant stray who gave birth to a litter of kittens. In the litter was a curly-coated male kitten which she kept as a pet and named Kirlee.
Beryl Cox had seen pictures of the Cornish Rex and had assumed that Kirlee was related to that breed. She contacted one of the Cornish Rex breeders, a Mr Stirling-Webb, and allowed him to use Kirlee in a breeding program with Cornish queens. When Kirlee's kittens were born straight haired, it became clear that although Kirlee had curly hair, a new Rex gene had been discovered.
They decided to discontinue tests amongst the Cornish and the newly found Devon Rex. Instead, tests began with Kirlee and British Shorthairs, which resulted in straight haired kittens. When Kirlee was put with his straight
haired daughters, 50% curly coated kittens resulted. This then became the foundation for the Devon breed. All Devons today should be able to trace their ancestry back to Kirlee, the first Devon Rex.
The Devon Rex is a breed of unique appearance, having large impish eyes, a short muzzle, prominent cheekbones and huge, low-set ears. They are fine to medium build, medium sized cats with a deceptively muscular body type. When handling a Devon Rex, one is surprised at the density of muscle and the sense of weight for their size. Devon females average six to seven lbs and slightly larger males average eight to nine lbs.
Another striking feature of the Devon Rex is its coat. Devons have a short, rippling coat, which is either fairly loose with a slight wave in the fur, or tight with a definite kink. The coat is velvety soft, being mainly "down" fur, although there are a few guard hairs which break the smoothness (these guard hairs are also softer than those found in other cats). Devon Rex kitten coats usually thin out (moult) one or more times during kittenhood, although a kitten born with a nice, curly coat will usually have a curly coat as an adult. The coat requires little grooming with just a pat or stroke with the hands or a damp cloth and an occasional bath.
The Devon Rex is alert and active, and shows a lively interest in its surroundings. They love to be with their humans and enjoy playing fetch or other games. They are also extremely agile cats with an inquisitive nature and will explore every corner of their homes. Devons, like dogs, follow their humans from room to room. They chat gaily in subdued chirps, chortles and trills. Never wishing to left out of any activity, besotted Devon owners find the breed very intelligent, affectionate, loyal and fun-loving.
The Devon Rex is also a good potential choice for people who are allergic to cats. While no cat can be truly hypoallergenic, many people with allergies to cats discover they can live comfortably with a Devon Rex.
The Devon's distinctive soft, wavy coat comes in a variety of patterns and in every colour of the rainbow, including pointed, solid, shaded, tortoiseshell, calico, smoke colours as well as the tabby pattern. They are accepted for competition in all colours and patterns. Large and wide set, oval shaped eyes sloping towards outer edges of the ears are found in all colours.
Devon Rex Breed Club CFA affiliated club dedicated to the Devon Rex.
IDRA Italian Devon Rex Association.
Scottish Rex Cat Club GCCF affliated club for enthusiasts of Rex cat breeds.
RCA Rex Cats Association.
SARA Sphynx and Rex Association.
Planet Devon Comprehensive resource for people interested in the care, exhibition and breeding of the Devon Rex.
Devon Rex Cat by Stuart A. Kallen.
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