The history of this breed can be traced back to the mid 1940s – 1950s, and as the name suggests, its place of origin hails from German. According to records, the first German Rex was discovered in the year 1951. It appeared as a black colored female feral wandering in the gardens of Hufeland Hospital before it was taken in by Dr. R. Scheuer-Karpin. Dr. Scheuer-Karpin’s decision to name it Lammchen (Lambkin) was most probably due to its coat of wavy hair. This wavy-haired gene was later determined to be also prevalent in the Cornish Rex. Subsequently, Lammchen had her own litter of kittens, which all possessed straight-hair coat. It was not until 1957, when she was crossed with one of her children that another discovery was made. The mating resulted in a litter of four kittens, two of which had straight hair and the other two had wavy hair. This led experts to establish the gene that produces the wavy coat as recessive. Thus, to hold the chance of producing a German Rex, both mates would need to carry this recessive gene.
Development of the German Rex continued, and in 1960 a few were being transported to the United States. It then began appearing in exhibitions and shows with the help of cat fanciers and breeders. Until 1979, the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) only recognized cats that result from the mating between the Cornish and German Rex. However, the Cornish Rex, for some reasons, captured more attention from the public than the German Rex. It could be due to poor breeding that led to the decline of the German Rex; and by the end of 1970s, the German Rex was said to be virtually unheard of. Thankfully, events took a turn in the early 2000s, when several European breeders decided to start working on re-establishing the breed. Today, the breeders of the German Rex are located in Denmark, Finland, German, Holland, Russia and Switzerland. Concerted efforts are certainly being made to prevent the German Rex from extinction.
Physical appearance and attributes
The German Rex is a medium sized cat that weighs an average of 12 pounds when it is mature. Its medium length body is strong and muscular with a rounded chest and a level back. Extending from the body are fine medium length legs with well-developed rounded paws as well as a well-proportionate tail that is thick at the base and tapering into a rounded tip.
This cat has a wedge-like head with rounded contours and a good breadth between the ears. The ears are medium – large in size, wide at the base and slightly rounded at the tips. The exterior is well-furnished with fine hair with the interior being slightly covered. It has high cheekbones and a well-developed muzzle. The whisker pads are slightly prominent with shorter than usual and slightly curly whiskers. The nose is broad and present gentle break between the eyes. German Rex has large almond shaped eyes that are set at a good distance from the nose. They gleam brilliantly in a color that harmonizes with the coat color.
German Rex wears a coat of short wavy hair that is soft, silky or velvety to the touch. There is no guard hair except for awn and down hair. Unlike the Cornish Rex, the awn hairs are denser then it down hair, which makes the German Rex look woollier than the Cornish Rex. The coat can come in varieties of solid colors and patterns
Personality and temperaments
The German Rex does not adapt easily to new environments and might appear a little reclusive when it's been brought to a new home. Patience and care will need to be given during the adapting period. Once the German Rex has warmed up, it will start exhibiting its friendliness and sociability. Strangers will be warmly welcomed by the cat and it has no issue sharing its living space with other household pets. Its friendliness extends to children, and the German Rex does enjoy being the playmate of children who know how to handle it with care. While it is even-tempered, tolerant and patient, it is far from being passive. The German Rex is considered an active and agile cat that is full of energy. It has the ability to perform surprising feats and coupled with its intelligence, the German Rex can even respond to trick commands. This breed does not hesitate to love and is ready to display its affection to its favorite owner, who would love it just the same.
Care and health issues
This is a hardy and rare breed with no specific hereditary health issues. However, the German Rex can still be susceptible to all other common feline ailments. A healthy German Rex can have an average life span of 13 years. It is important to obtain a written health guarantee from a qualified breeder when purchasing the cat. This would ensure that the cat is healthy and is not contracted with any diseases.
The short-haired coat does not require much grooming, A weekly brushing with a fine or bristle comb to smooth the hair will suffice. However, as it lack sufficient hair to absorb oil secretions, it is advisable to bathe it regularly to remove accumulated dirt. Other grooming practices should include frequent teeth brushing with vet-approved toothpaste. Also, the nail beds should be clean and trimmed whenever necessary. Check the ears for redness or odor and clean it with a damp cloth if needed.
The ideal home
The German Rex is suited for indoor living. While letting it out to outdoor gardens is possible, such spaces must be safe and escape proof. To prevent indoor boredom, especially for an active and agile breed, an adventure zone would need to be created. Provide the cat with cat toys, cat trees and cat gym sets to promote a hearty growth. Training sessions in tricks can also be given considering its high level of intelligence. The friendly German Rex with its even-temper and affections will not fail to add joy and adventure to the home. Its ability to get along well with children and other friendly pets certainly makes it an ideal cat for most types of household, provided that it receives the necessary care and attention.
Photo by M.Gerver - CC BY-SA 2.0