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Near Buckfastleigh in Devonshire, England around 1960. The first Devon was born. An ordinary domestic cat had a litter of kittens to a strange and unusually curly coated tomcat. Miss Beryl Cox was so taken with this kitten that she kept him and called him Kirlee. At that same time, the Cornish Rex was also being established as a breed in England. Other Rex breeders at the time were very excited to hear of the news. They persuaded Miss Cox to let them use Kirlee as part of their Rex program. It was assumed that the mutation was the same gene. But between the two types of curly coats, it resulted in all straight-coated kittens. They were therefore forced to the surprising conclusion that, despite of the geographical closeness, the wavy haired gene in the Devon Rex was not the same as the one in which was causing wavy hair in the Cornish Rex.
The two recessive genes were therefore named: Gene 1 (Cornish) Rex, and Gene 2 (Devon) Rex. Because of this difference; the only way to establish the Devon Rex as a distinct breed was to in-breed from Kirlee.

In 1967, Great Britain's Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) recognized the distinction between the two breeds, and wrote standards to allow each of them into competition as distinctive breeds of cat.
Some people with allergies to normal-coated cats can live with Devon's, because they have little or no guard hair and shed very little. However, there are still a percentage of allergy sufferers who cannot live with a Devon. The Devon Rex is very friendly, lively, affectionate, playful, intelligent, mischievous, impish, enterprising, active, inquisitive and extrovert. This breed is known to have several dog-like qualities; it retrieves; it follows its owner and wags its tail when pleased. The Devon Rex is considered a rare breed. There are not very many breeders or kittens available compared to some of the older, more established breeds.
Devon's are addictive.... You can't just have one.  Some people, who are allergic to "normal" cats, can live with a Devon or Cornish Rex without any problems. They are not allergy-free cats, especially since people can be allergic to different things such as saliva and dander hair.  Because of their different coat, they shed minimal amounts of hair compared to other breeds and cause little or no problems to some allergy sufferers. However, it is wise to test your tolerance to living with these breeds before committing to adopting a Rex cat. Visiting a Rex-only household and spending time in close contact with the cats can do this.

 

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