German Rex

By PetMD Editorial on Feb. 5, 2010

As the name suggests, this breed of cat originated in Germany. It bears a striking resemblance to the famed British Cornish Rex. However, the German Rex is not as popular as the Cornish Rex.

Physical Characteristics

It is medium-sized cat with with long, slender legs and a round face. Although muscular, it is heavier than the Cornish Rex. The German Rex is also blessed with well-developed cheeks, large ears, and affectionate, alert eyes. Its whiskers, meanwhile, have a slight curl and its nose exhibits a small break.

The most remarkable feature of the German Rex, however, is its short, silky coat with extremely short awn hairs. Unlike the Cornish Rex, the awn hairs are thicker than the hair in the undercoat, which makes the cat look woollier.

Personality and Temperament

This is a friendly, lively cat that will brighten up your day. It gets along well with everyone, including children and other household. Active and playful, it can be taught to play games such as fetch. In fact, the German Rex is so intelligent it can be taught to perform acrobatic tricks on cue.

Though active, this breed has tremendous patience and is extremely loyal. When not playing with its owner, it enjoys lying down and being petted..


The short-haired German Rex does not require much grooming. In addition to regularly examining its ears and eyes for infections, requires only a weekly brushing with a bristle or fine comb to smooth its hair.

Because German Rex cats lack sufficient hair to absorb oil secretions, they easily greasy and need to be bathed frequently. Wrapping the cat in a towel immediately after bathing will make it easier to dry its hair.

History and Background

The history of this cat can be traced to Germany in the mid-1940s (some argue 1946, while others say 1947 or 1948). However, it was not taken seriously by most breeders until 1951, following the discovery of the Cornish Rex Cat in 1950.

According to experts, the first German Rex was a female feral, black-colored cat discovered shortly after the end of World War II. Dr. R. Scheuer-Karpin rescued her after she saw her wandering the gardens of the Hufeland Hospital amongst the ruins of war-torn East Berlin, and named her Lammchen (Lambkin). Lammchen possessed the same wavy-haired gene that is prevalent in Cornish Rex cats and produced many litters over the years. In 1957, she was crossed with one of her children. The first litter of German Rex kittens appeared as a result of this mating.

As the years passed, more German Rex cats made an appearance. In 1960, two female Rex cats, Marigold and Jet, embarked on a new adventure when they found themselves transported to the United States. A black male named Christopher Columbus followed in their footsteps. These cats laid the foundation of the Rex breed in America.

Until 1979, the Cat Fanciers' Association only recognized cats which resulted from a union between the Cornish and the German Rex cats. As they resembled each other, it was natural that one breed would overshadow the other.

The Cornish Rex continued to capture public interest, while the German Rex participated in shows in its native land as late as the '80s. However, fewer German Rex cats exist today.

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