The Complete Guide to the Devon Rex Cat Breed


The Devon Rex is an unusual and eye-catching breed of cat known for its curly, wavy coat, impish personality, and resemblance to an alien. Originating in England in the 1950s, this breed has grown popular across the world for its soft coat, playfulness, and affectionate nature.

This article provides an in-depth overview of the Devon Rex cat, including its history, physical features, personality traits, grooming needs, health, costs, and more. With proper facts sourced from credible publications and associations, those interested in the Devon Rex can learn all about this unique feline.

Origins and History of the Devon Rex


The story of the Devon Rex begins on a farm in Devon, England in 1960. As described by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), a stray cat gave birth to a litter of kittens fathered by a curly coated tomcat. One of the kittens named Kirlee had the same thick, curly coat as her father [1].

Intrigued by this unusual mutation, Kirlee’s owners Brian and Beryl Cox worked with a geneticist to see if the curl gene could be passed down. Kirlee was bred back to her curly coated father to produce more curly kittens, founding what became known as the Devon Rex breed.

Early Breeding and Promotion

Additional breeding in the 1960s concentrated on preserving the Rex coat qualities while improving factors like health, conformation, and temperament. Outcrosses with domestic shorthairs and British shorthairs introduced desired traits into the gene pool [1].

Cat breeder Betty Dobson acquired one of Kirlee’s curly great-grandsons and played an integral role establishing the Devon Rex as a recognized breed [2]. Dobson provided breeding cats to other enthusiasts around the world, increasing the population size.

The Devon Rex breed gained attention through cat shows and breed clubs starting in the late 1960s. In 1967, the Devon Rex was granted full breed status by The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) followed by other associations over the next decades [3]. While still relatively rare, the popularity of the Devon Rex continues to grow.

Appearance and Physical Traits

The Devon Rex is a medium sized cat distinguished by its soft, curled coat, slender body, oversized ears, and striking facial features. Here are some of the key physical traits of the breed.


  • Medium in size, long and slender but muscular build [1]
  • Weighs 6-9 lbs as adults on average [2]
  • Hind legs slightly longer than front legs [1]

Head and Facial Features

  • Triangular wedge-shaped head [4]
  • Prominent cheekbones and large eyes [4]
  • Short muzzle with maxilla forward protrusion [1]
  • Oversized, low-set ears [1]

Coat and Coloring

  • Thick undercoat covered by an outer layer of soft waves and curls [4]
  • Coat described as “rex” meaning tightly curled [1]
  • Shorter coat on face, paws, and abdomen [5]
  • All coat colors and patterns possible [1]

The Devon Rex coat texture coupled with the alien-like facial features create a look unlike any other cat breed. Their wide-eyed curious expression contributes to their futuristic, elf-like appearance.

Temperament and Personality

The Devon Rex exhibits a lively, acrobatic, and mischievous personality befitting its alien-like looks. While individual personalities differ, some general characteristics associated with the breed include:

  • Highly intelligent and easy to train [4]
  • Active, athletic, and agile [1]
  • Thrives when provided climbing structures and interactive toys [6]
  • Affectionate, bonds closely with family members [4]
  • Seeks out human interaction and lap time [6]
  • Confident, friendly personality [1]
  • Playful, kittenish energy lasts well into adulthood [5]
  • Often dog or monkey-like in behavior [4]
  • Engages in fetch, learning tricks, leash walks [6]
  • Curious, gets into mischief if bored [4]

The Devon Rex forms close bonds with family and gravitates toward the most interactive household members. Their energetic, silly antics provide endless entertainment.

Grooming Requirements

The Devon Rex coat is low maintenance compared to many other Rex breeds. The coat consists of a soft, dense undercoat covered by an outer layer of curled waves [5].

  • Requires weekly combing and light brushing [5]
  • Bath only when dirty using a gentle shampoo
  • Sheds minimally [4]
  • Hypoallergenic to a degree but not completely [7]

Their fine coats lack the harsh outer guard hairs that commonly trigger allergies [8]. But no cat is 100% hypoallergenic. Those with allergies should spend time around Devon Rex cats to determine their reaction.

Health Considerations

According to the Devon Rex Breed Council (DRBC), the breed experiences few serious hereditary health issues [9]. Reputable breeders screen their cats to minimize risk. Some conditions to be aware of include:

  • Hypotrichosis – sparse hair coat due to hair follicle abnormality [10]
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca – dry eye disease [10]
  • Skin irritations in cats with sparse coats [11]
  • Ectropion – outward rolling of eyelids [11]

Providing excellent nutrition, regular vet exams, dental care, exercise, environmental enrichment, and safety precautions will help ensure a long, healthy life. Lifespans average 14-15 years [4].

Devon Rex Kittens and Breeding

Devon Rex kittens available from reputable breeders range from $1000-$2000 USD depending on lineage and breeder reputation [12].

Ethical breeders:

  • Vet potential buyers to ensure suitability
  • Screen breeding cats for hereditary issues
  • Provide health guarantees on kittens

Avoid backyard breeders or kitten mills. Seek breeders registered with cat associations that follow responsible practices. Devon Rex breeders can be located through organizations like The International Cat Association (TICA).

Are Devon Rex Cats Right for You?

The active, mischievous Devon Rex thrives in a home that provides consistent daily interaction, environmental enrichment, and outlets for exercise. Their athletic nature means they often play fetch and learn tricks readily. Devon Rex cats suit families with older, considerate children and other pets when properly introduced.

Their social nature makes them unsuitable for owners frequently away from home. Devon Rex cats should be adopted only with a commitment to devote time to play and affection daily. For the right owner, the Devon Rex provides a quirky, entertaining, loving companion.

Quick Facts Summary

Fact Description
Origins Devon, England, 1960s
Original Cat Kirlee, born 1960
Breed Founders Beryl Cox
Governing Associations GCCF, TICA, CFA, FIFe
Size Medium build
Weight 6-9 pounds
Coat Thick undercoat covered by curly outer coat
Coat Colors All colors and patterns
Lifespan 14-15 years
Activity Level High
Temperament Intelligent, playful, mischievous, affectionate
Price $1000-$2000 USD
Shedding Minimal
Hypoallergenic To a degree
Family Friendly Yes, with supervision around young children


In summary, the Devon Rex is an energetic, loving, and uniquely curly-coated cat breed for the right owner. Their distinctive appearance coupled with their playful yet affectionate personality make them a one-of-a-kind companion. Provided proper care, exercise, attention, and nutrition, the Devon Rex is sure to delight and entertain families for years to come. Those seeking an quirky, devoted feline friend would do well to consider welcoming a Devon Rex into their home.


[1] Cat Fanciers’ Association. “Devon Rex.”

[2] International Cat Association. “Breed Profile: Devon Rex.”

[3] Governing Council of the Cat Fancy. “Breed Standards: Devon Rex.”

[4] Vetstreet. “Devon Rex.”

[5] Hill’s Pet Nutrition. “Devon Rex Cat Breed – Facts and Traits.”

[6] Petfinder. “Devon Rex.”

[7] Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. “Cat Allergy.”

[8] Dirscherl, L. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. “Are Cats with Hairless Breeds Truly Hypoallergenic?”

[9] Devon Rex Breed Council. “Breed Related Health Problems.”

[10] Baldan, M. BMC Veterinary Research. “Congenital Hair Loss Disorders: Rare but Not Too Rare.”

[11] Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. “Ectropion in Cats.”

[12] Lancaster Puppies. “Devon Rex Price: How Much Does a Devon Rex Cost?”