The Cornish and the German Rex share the same gene for curly hair. This was proven after breeders in the US cross mated the German and Cornish Rex in 1970.
The Cornish Rex were more “oriental” type with lesser coat quality, the German Rex were more sturdy type cats with better coat quality.
The more elegant Cornish type was preferred, according to the standard that was used for all Rex cats at that time in the US. Kittens from these matings were used in Cornish breeding. There are no pure German Rex left in America.
Although they share the same gene for curly hair, they are two separate breeds. Kallibunker, born in 1950 in Cornwall, UK, is the foundation cat of the Cornish Rex.
Lämmchen, found as an adult in Berlin, Germany, is the foundation cat of the German Rex, she was probably born in 1946 or 1947.
They are distinct breeds, with their own unique look.
The standard of the Cornish Rex requires a slender, muscular cat, on long legs, an egg shaped head with large upright ears.
The German Rex is a cat without any extreme characteristics, the type resembling the European Shorthair or Domestic, with a curly coat.
Another obvious difference is the coat quality. Cornish Rex have very short and thin coat, ideally with a tight wave, like a washboard.
German Rex have thicker coat, a bit longer than the Cornish and less tidy curl.
When stroking a Cornish Rex, you can feel the waves in the coat.
When stroking a German Rex, you feel it is more woolly, fluffy and dense.
Cornish Rex have been bred for many years, on a fairly large scale and the type is established in many generations.
The German Rex however has been bred on a very small scale and is still in its infancy, a lot of work has to be done by the breeders to achieve more unity in the look, to improve the type and at the same time increase the gene pool.
In the past, as well in Cornish- as in Devon- and German Rex breeding, the different Rex mutations are mated to each other and used in breeding. Could be experimental or ignorance.
In German Rex you don't have to search far in the pedigree to find Cornish and Devon ancestors; that is why many German Rex show features of Devon- or Cornish Rex.
I have experienced that the Cornish type is dominant over the German type, when crossing the two breeds.
The type of the German Rex, in the past and present, is very inconstant. The breeders have the responsibility to breed towards the standard en create more unity in the looks of the German Rex. Not an easy task, because outcrossing is still necessary.
In the beginning of the Cornish breed outcrosses were done to Siamese and Oriental type cats, to get the wanted look of a slender muscular cat with large ears. It is important in German Rex breeding to also use a type of cat, for outcrossing, that is close to the standard of the breed.
To me that is the European Shorthair or domestic.
In pure bred cats, breed characteristics are established for generations, and therefor difficult to correct when used in German Rex breeding.
Apart from the different exterior, the character is also different.
Both breeds are affectionate and love their humans, but the Cornish Rex is more lively and active and will demand for attention, whereas the German Rex is more moderate and relaxed and capable to entertain themselves.
© Marianne Gerver
Paw Prints Adam, kitten from a
Cornish x German Rex mating
Paw Prints Amy
Profile German Rex
Profile Cornish Rex
Lämmchen, foundation queen
off all German Rex
German Rex: rounded face, medium sized ears.
Cornish Rex: egg shaped face, large and high set ears.