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German Rex

German Rex

Place of origin

Germany

History

In 1951, a curly-coated stray known as Laemmchen (Lambkin) was found in the grounds of a Berlin hospital, although she was believed to have lived there since 1946. (It is unclear whether she was related to Kater Munk, the Prussian Rex.) In 1956, Laemmchen mated with one of her own sons, producing more Rex-coated cats. By then, the Cornish Rex was being established, and test mating between German and Cornish cats found them to have the same genetic mutation.

In 1961, German Rex were exported to the United States and attracted much interest. However, breeding of German Rex ceased in the States in 1970; instead, they were used to expand the gene pool of the Cornish Rex. The German Rex was almost lost in their own country as well. Laemmchen bore her final litter in 1962, and by 1968, only three of her direct descendants were known, all in East Berlin, where the breed was maintained using European Shorthairs as outcrosses.

Although the FIFe recognized the German Rex in 1982, by 1999 only two breeding females were known to exist. Then a Swiss breeder managed to locate a male and a female in 2000, when a former breeder closed his breeding cattery. Unfortunately, the male panicked and fatally injured himself while the pregnant female miscarried and had to be spayed. The remaining few cats were sickly and almost feral. To make matters worse, one of the two remaining breeding females developed a womb infection as a result of not being bred. To save the breed, she was mated to an Abyssinian male, and one of the offspring was bred to the remaining German Rex female. By chance, in 2005, more German Rex were located in northeast Germany and turned out to come from known breeding lines. Since then, the German Rex has been developed using European Shorthairs.

Physical appearance

The German Rex is muscular, but medium in size and conformation, with a medium-length tail that tapers to a rounded tip. Its head is rounded like that of the European Shorthair, and the ears are medium in size. The short, curly coat has a velvety texture and either lacks guard hairs or they are highly modified and indistinguishable. The whiskers are also curly. Today's German Rex has a thicker coat and more moderate conformation than the Cornish Rex.

Temperament

The German Rex is a friendly, lively, and intelligent cat. It bonds closely with its owner.

Activity level

Moderate.

Vocal level

Low. Although it shares a coat-type mutation with the Cornish Rex, it does not share any Siamese ancestry and has a softer voice.

Special needs

The abnormality in the hair follicle that causes the hairs to curl or kink also interferes with skin secretions (sebum) being pulled away from the skin. Some Rex cats may need to be bathed frequently and their ears cleaned regularly to prevent these secretions from accumulating in the hair follicles or ear canal and causing skin problems.

Variations

Semi-longhaired German Rex can occur due to recessive genes. The Angora German Rex remains an important part of German Rex breeding programs.

From The Cat Bible, Copyright by Sandy Robins, licensed through ContentOro, Inc and used by arrangement with I-5 Press

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