German Rex: The Quirky, Curly-Haired Cat with a Lot to Say

Stella Noble
Written by Stella Noble

Most cats are highly independent and undemanding. However, not everyone is looking for that in a cat. If you have children or are looking for a feline companion for someone who’s elderly, then you want the cat to be affectionate and playful. With that being said, you may consider getting a German Rex.

The German Rex have excellent immune systems and minimal health issues. Of course, each cat has their own personality, however, generally speaking, this breed finds a way to communicate with their owner quickly. You’ll often hear them “talking” to you through purrs and meows.

Not only are their curly locks of hair extremely charming and unusual, but they’re also extremely friendly and intelligent. Though they’re affectionate, they’re also self-sufficient and adapt quickly to new surroundings and rules. These cats can be kept either indoor or outdoor as long as they’re given an adequate amount of attention through play and affection.

Picture of a german rex cat sitting

If you’re curious about the German Rex, in this article, we’re going to provide you with everything you need to know about this breed. From personality to size, health and origins, you’ll quickly develop a full picture of the German Rex and will fall in love with them immediately.

Breed Characteristics

  • Adaptability: High

  • Grooming: Low maintenance

  • Health: Very good

  • All Around Friendliness: Excellent

  • Exercise Needs: Above average; needs daily activity

Cat Breed GroupShort-Haired, Mixed Breed
WeightLess than 8 lbs
Lifespan9 - 14 years

The first sighting of the German Rex was of a cat named Munk, who was owned by the family of Erna Schneider in the 1930s. The Schneider family lived near Koenigsberg—meaning that the German Rex was historically discovered in the territory of East Prussia (today’s Kaliningrad, Russia).

The German Rex also go by the name Prussian Rex because of their origins. As discovered, Munk’s appearance was due to mixing the breeds Russian Blue and Angora cats together. Though the other curly-haired kittens in the litter were castrated, Munk was not. Thus, he was able to breed with the other cats in his village.

German Rex cat streching on the bed

Though, German researchers do not agree with this claim. Instead, they believe that Munk didn’t breed. Thus, he’s not related to the German Rex breed. However, in 1951, a doctor called Rose Scheuer-Karpin came across a curly-haired cat in the garden of a hospital. This cat was called Lammchen, meaning “little lamb.” Lammchen was the first breeder-owned Rex cat with the maternal ancestor being the German Rex.

The breed itself is of small to medium size, weighing no more than 8 lbs. They’re quite muscular in build, shaped similar to a rectangle. Their paws are slender and slightly oval in shape with the hind legs usually a little longer than the forelegs. They also have well-defined cheekbones with large ears which aren’t very mobile, unlike other breeds.

The main characteristic of the German Rex which makes the breed unique is the fur—which is short and silky, however, curly. In addition, they have curled whiskers and a flattened nose. The German Rex can have a combination of orange, red, black, and white fur, with the color evenly distributed.


The German Rex has an extremely playful and friendly temperament. Their playful nature is what makes them such great companions for children. They work hard to develop a common language with their owners. In addition, this breed is ideal for those who suffer from cat allergies, yet love cats. This breed has no undercoat, so, they’re very low maintenance and almost non-allergenic.

If you’re choosing to have your German Rex as an indoor cat, the only concern you’ll have is making sure they don’t become overweight. This breed, on average, lives up to 15 years, however, that’s directly linked to their diets. Other than that, this breed is known for its good health and immune system.

Main Highlights

  • Munk was the first cat of the German Rex breed to be discovered (arguably, depending on who you ask). Munk lived with a German family near Koenigsberg.

  • German Rex is also known as the Prussian Rex as the territory where Munk lived in was historically East Prussia.

  • The German Rex is extremely playful and energetic. Daily exercise and attention are needed to maintain their health.

  • They work hard at establishing a common language between them and their owners. Hence why they’re considered highly talkative.

  • Their playful and energetic energy makes them ideal for those with children.

  • The German Rex has no undercoat, so, if you’re suffering from allergies, this breed is ideal as they don’t shed.

  • They have large ears which are erect, however, not as mobile as other breeds.

  • The health of this breed is directly correlated to their diet. Thus, you need to keep an eye on the amount of food you feed your cat.

  • During molting, you’ll want to add Vitamin B to their diet. That way, it prevents the appearance of bald spots.

Breed History

The German Rex is a relatively new breed as it was first discovered in the 1930s, in Germany. However, it was recognized in 1951 only after the Cornish Rex was discovered in 1950.

Though the first German Rex, Munk, was first found living with a German family in 1930, scientists did not recognize it. Officially, the first German Rex was a feral cat that was found by Dr. R. Scheuer-Karpin in East Berlin. She was named Lammchen which means little lamb. Lammchen shared similar features to the Cornish Rex, as they both had short wavy hair.

Bonny German Rex kitten

Lammchen produced several litters throughout her years of life. Though, in 1957, she bred with one of her offsprings, thus, producing one of the first pure litters of the German Rex breed.


The German Rex can range in size from small to medium. Usually, both males and females are approximately around the same weight which is less than 8 pounds. In general, they tend to have rectangular and muscular bodies with a broad and rounded Thorax.

Personality and Character

The German Rex is highly well-known for their playful, energetic, and friendly disposition. They love their owners more than anything and are extremely loyal and affectionate.

Highly social by nature, the German Rex gets along with everyone from children to the elderly and even other household pets. If you have dogs, the German Rex adapts quickly to their new environment, so, they’ll get along just fine with your other pets.

Orange german rex cat looking at something

Though they’re energetic and lively, they’re also extremely patient. Snuggling and cuddling are some of their favorite activities. They are happy just as long as they’re spending time with their family.

You will often hear them making noises at you. They are highly talkative cats and love communicating with their owners.

Health and Potential Problems

The German Rex is overall a healthy breed with limited health issues. The breed itself has a relatively short history. Much of what we know about the German Rex starts from the 1930s. Thus, the genetic diseases they may be prone to—if any—are yet unknown.

Prussian Rex cat in the yard

Though this breed is generally healthy, it’s recommended that you still vaccinate your cat for all common feline diseases. In addition, make sure your cat goes to regular vet check-ups. Illnesses that you’ll want to monitor your cat for to prevent or catch them early include:

  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is a disease where the muscle of the heart is replaced with scar tissue. However, it can easily be detected during a regular vet exam. The first indication of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a heart murmur. As this condition gets worse, more symptoms will show such as increased heart rate, lethargy, and a build-up of fluids within the stomach.

  • Lyme Disease is a condition that’s transmitted to cats by infected ticks. Now, if your cat is kept indoors, then you won’t have a problem. If your cat is an outdoor cat, there’s always a possibility for them to be bitten by a tick. A tick bite can cause infection, and in severe cases, kidney failure. The symptoms of Lyme disease include lethargy, high temperature, and stiff walking. Though, if caught early, it’s treatable. To prevent this, check your cat’s coat regularly for ticks and have them treated with tick repellent.

  • Obesity is highly common in cats, especially indoor cats. The German Rex is known to have weight issues which is why it’s so important to plan a strict diet for them. If your German Rex is an indoor cat, make sure that they have enough space to run around in. In addition, make sure that you interact with your cat as much as possible.

Care Features

The German Rex is naturally a friendly, playful, and energetic cat. They get along with everyone around them, from young to the elderly. Their energetic personalities require them to have daily physical activity.

If they’re indoor cats, make sure that they have enough room to run around in and toys to play with. If they’re outdoor cats, make sure that they get to go outside for a minimum of 15 minutes a day. Or you can install a cat door, so they can come in and go out as they please.

Prussian Rex kitten near a cat tree

Overall, they love spending time with their owners as much as possible. Thus, they’ll love snuggling with you and be petted. Whether you’re playing or cuddling with them, they absolutely love the attention and connection with people, specifically their owners.

Feeding Schedule

German Rex cats are predators. Thus, the food you want to be feeding your cat should be meat-based. This breed shares much of their DNA with pumas, tigers, and lions. Thus you want to keep their diet made up of mostly protein and fats. Stay away from feeding your German Rex carbohydrates as they’re not able to process them properly. Too many carbs can lead to weight issues and diabetes.

Your cat’s feeding schedule depends greatly on them as an individual. Are they an outdoor or indoor cat? Has your cat been sterilized? These two questions play a huge role when it comes to their nutritional requirements. In this case, we recommend that you speak to your veterinarian who will provide you with a tailored meal plan.

Orange cat lying down

If your cat can control their appetite, we recommend that you put food out for them all day and refill when necessary. The German Rex love eating small meals or snacks throughout the day. Your cat will most likely come to her food bowl, grazing when they feel like it. When it comes to treats, give them sparingly or else it’ll affect their nutritional requirements.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

Unlike many other breeds, the German Rex has no undercoat. This means that they do not need to be groomed frequently. Although, this could be a double-edged sword. Since they have no undercoat, they don’t have enough hair to absorb oil that is naturally produced by the skin. Thus, your cat’s hair may start to feel greasy.

Picture of a German Rex cat

To prevent this oil buildup, you’ll want to bathe them regularly. In addition, you’ll want to regularly clean their ears, sharpen their claws, and check their eyes.

The coloring of the German Rex comes in a variety that includes white, black, chestnut, blue, brown, red, cream, seal, and cinnamon. In addition, their patterns are also unique as they can be solid, tabby, calico, pointed, bicolor, or tortoiseshell.

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

This breed is well-known for their connection with children. Since the German Rex is playful and energetic, they do very well around children. In general, they love being surrounded by children, specifically children who are active and playful. So, having your child interact with a German Rex will benefit both of them. The German Rex is also compatible with other pets—be it a dog or another cat—provided they introduced carefully and in a controlled environment where they won’t be able to harm each other should the first meeting not go as planned.

Wrap Up

The German Rex—though a somewhat mysterious breed—is highly intelligent and affectionate with their owner. Their energetic and playful nature proves to be an amazing addition to any household with children. If your children are energetic and love to play, the German Rex will have no problem keeping them occupied.

For cat lovers that are looking for a cat that stands out in the crowd, this breed always attracts eyes. The German Rex is unique in appearance in comparison to other breeds as their short curly hair adds charm and quirkiness to their already playful personalities. This is why the German Rex is a favorite for many people; it’s a unique breed.

Black german rex cat sitting ion the grass

In addition, they’re great for those prone to allergies as this breed has no undercoat. Thus, the German Rex is almost non-allergenic. The lack of an undercoat makes them a low-maintenance breed which is ideal if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands.

Are you attracted to the German Rex’s curly hair? Or maybe you find cat breeds with curly ears more enticing? Let us know what you think in the comment section below. If you already have a German Rex, we’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with this unique breed!

About the author
Stella Noble
Stella Noble

Stella Noble lives in Warren, Michigan with her family and three cats. She is a Certified Cat Trainer and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.