Meet the Brainy, Dog-Like Devon Rex Cat Breed

Check out how curlicue genetics and a lot of brains set these unique little cats apart.

Updated December 5, 2023

The Devon rex cat looks a bit more like a woodland gnome than an actual cat, with their big bat ears, pointy face, and curly coat. But there’s a lot to learn about this fascinating breed. Not only is their hair the result of a genetic mutation, but they’re really low shedders and tend to act like little cat-dogs. Discover more about the unusual Devon rex cat, although be warned, you might just fall in love with this breed.

Devon Rex Cats Are New to the Scene

As their name implies, the Devon rex came to be in the county of Devon, England in 1960. The first cat who showed their unusual curly coat was a stray kitten named Kirlee. Eventually, the Devon rex was recognized as an official breed in 1979 and has become the breed we know and love today. 

They Have Curly in Their Genes

Devon rex cats are curly everywhere, including their whiskers and eyebrows! This adorable hair texture is a result of a genetic mutation in the gene Keratin 71 (KRT71), which is the same gene affected in hairless Sphynx breed.

Cornish Rex vs. Devon Rex

So what’s the difference between the curly Devon rex and the Cornish rex? Surprisingly, a lot, but they’re all pretty subtle differences. The Cornish rex is more wavy than curly, and their head is egg-shaped and slender compared to the Devon rex’s wide-set face. Can you tell the difference between these two unique cat breeds

Devon Rex Are Low-Shedding, But Not Hypoallergenic

Unfortunately, no cat is truly hypoallergenic, but a lot of allergy sufferers appreciate the Devon rex breed because they're low shedding cats

Hold the Hairbrush

Brushing and combing isn't required or even recommended for Devon rex cats due to the fragile structure of their fur. Instead, you can wipe them down once or twice a week or bathe them if your veterinarian recommends it. 

They're the Feline "Dennis the Menace"

If you want a sedate, quiet lap cat, the Devon Rex is not the breed for you. They are social, active, and immensely silly cats. Many Devon rex lovers call them "dog-like" because they'll follow you around and interact with you more like a member of the canine species than the feline.

Fast Fact

The Cat Fanciers' Association describes the Devon rex as a mix of "a cat, a dog, a monkey, and Dennis the Menace."

Devon Rex Are Smarty Pants Cats

Along with being silly and outgoing, this breed is also incredibly smart. This trait makes the Devon rex the ideal candidate for clicker training and learning tricks and behaviors. 

And They're Excellent Jumpers

These spunky cats are also acrobatics and excellent jumpers, so providing them with plenty of cat trees and shelves will make them very happy cats

Devon Rex Cats Need a Lot of Enrichment

Devon rex cats need a lot of play and entertainment to keep them occupied and out of trouble. Interactive toys they can play with on their own as well as toys they can enjoy with you, are a must. 

A Cat of Many Colors

The Devon rex comes in most available coat colors including solid black, blue, chocolate, cinnamon, cream, fawn, lavender, red, and white. Patterns they come in include tortoiseshell, calico, tabby, bicolor, tricolor, mink, sepia, shaded, smoke, van, and pointed. 

Quick Tip

Devon rex kittens all have blue eyes when they're born, but they can mature into any possible cat eye color

Devond Rex Are Generally Healthy and Long-Lived

Devon rex cats live an average of nine to 15 years, with most living to their mid teens. The oldest known Devon rex (who was actually a mix of Sphynx and rex) was named Granpa Rexs Allen. He lived to be over 34 years old! 

But They Are Prone to a Few Health Concerns

Even though Devon rex cats are generally healthy, there are some breed-related medical conditions owner should be aware of, including: 

Expect High Prices For This Prized Feline

The Devon rex cat breed is one of the most expensive ones out there because they're pretty rare. A Devon rex kitten can run between $1,000 and $2,500 USD or more, depending on their color, pattern, and pedigree. 

Finding a Devon Rex Cat

Instead of buying a Devon rex, consider rescuing one of these awesome cats. Search for adoptable cats through a specialized Devon rex rescue, like The Devon Rex Breed Club Rescue, or look on Petfinder or Adopt-a-Pet to browse all-breed cat rescues and public animal shelters. Another option is to contact breeders who may have retired cats to place or cats that were rehomed with them. Good luck, and we can't wait for you to find your new best friend! 

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Meet the Brainy, Dog-Like Devon Rex Cat Breed