Catster logo

German Rex Cat Breed Info: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

German Rex
Image Credit: Prasanna photography, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Christian Adams

Click to skip ahead:

Height:12 – 18 inches
Weight:4 – 8 pounds
Lifespan:10 – 17 years
Colors:White, fawn, black, brown, blue, seal, tortoiseshell, bicolor, calico, tabby, points, ticking, smoke
Suitable for:Families who are home enough to provide plenty of attention for their German Rex
Temperament:Friendly, active, energetic, playful, smart, balanced, patient, loyal

With a curly coat of silky locks and a friendly demeanor, the German Rex is a feline that any cat-lover would go crazy for. These loving pets are incredibly rare, but if you can locate one, they make incredible pets. They display levels of loyalty reminiscent of a canine with intelligence that allows them to be trained to do some of the same things, such as playing fetch.

Like most cats, German Rex love attention and affection. They’ll spend hours curled up on your lap accepting your love. But these are patient felines that won’t bug you for your attention, though they’ll show their pleasure whenever it’s given. German Rex want to spend all of their time with their people.

These cats have very long, slender legs with a muscular body perched on top. They come in a wide range of colors and patterns. In terms of appearance, they’re similar to Cornish Rex, though German Rex have much woolier coats.

German Rex Characteristics

cat face divider 2

German Rex Kittens

3 cat face divider

3 Little-Known Facts About German Rex

1. The Breed’s Mother Was a Stray

The story of how the German Rex breed was started is quite interesting. While many breeds are created intentionally through selective breeding, the mother of the German Rex breed was actually a stray. This feral cat was found in a hospital garden by a doctor who worked there. This doctor, Dr. Rose Scheuer-Karpin, took the cat home and named her Lammchen, which means little lamb.

But this was no ordinary cat. Lammchen was a black and white cat with curly hair, similar to the coats that Cornish Rex wear. The doctor took this cat home and began breeding her.

2. They Were Created Through Inbreeding

But Lammchen’s finding isn’t the whole story of the German Rex. It still took a few more steps to get from feral cat to established breed. Lammchen’s first litters all displayed straight hair. But eventually, two cats were born to her that also had curly coats. Lammchen was then bred with one of these curly-coated offspring, creating the first German Rex as we know them today. But there were some problems with the offspring, which led to further crossing of the German Rex with the more well-known Cornish Rex.

3. They’re Still Grouped with the Cornish Rex

While German Rex got their start in the mid-1940s, it wasn’t until the 1950s that they were truly recognized and given some attention. In 1950, the Cornish Rex made its first appearance, which spurred interest in the similar German Rex. Following this, the German Rex breed was recognized by The International Feline Foundation. But the Cat Fanciers’ Association still groups them in with the far more popular and known Cornish Rex.

yarn ball divider

Temperament & Intelligence of the German Rex

German Rex have incredibly pleasant temperaments, so it’s a bit surprising that they’re not more popular! These are some of the friendliest felines around. They can get along well with pretty much everyone. Grandparents and toddlers alike will find friendship in the German Rex, so long as they provide a little attention and love!

This breed is known for exhibiting loads of patience. They’re incredibly affectionate and want all of your attention, but they’re non-demanding and will patiently wait until you freely provide all the love they want. At that point, expect your German Rex to curl up beside you until you move.

While not all cats love to be handled, for the most part, the German Rex does. They love physical touch and want to be touching you as much as possible. They’re also known for being very adaptable, so they can fit well in a variety of situations.

These are also quite active cats. Your German Rex will spend lots of its time exploring and hunting for rodents. This means that they love toys; especially ones that move or react. Your German Rex will love chasing a laser pointer or attacking a mouse toy.

Are These Cats Good for Families?

Because these cats are so affectionate and get along with everyone, they make excellent family pets. They don’t discriminate with their love. If you’re part of their family and you’re giving plenty of love to your German Rex, then they’ll love each of you in turn.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

German Rex can get along with other cats just fine; particularly if they were raised together. While they can do well with dogs also, this is quite dependent on the dog. These cats can do fine with calm dogs that aren’t aggressive, but if your dog is aggressive at all, then a German Rex might not be a great fit for your family.

3 cat divider

Things to Know When Owning a German Rex:

Food & Diet Requirements

When it comes to nutrition, German Rex are quite simple. They don’t have any special dietary needs, so you can feed them just like any other feline. These cats thrive on a diet that consists of both dry and wet cat food, ensuring that they get plenty of protein.


German Rex are rather active cats that will expend plenty of energy on their own. You won’t need to provide any specific exercise for your German Rex. However, they love to play and will be thrilled if you spend a bit of time with a mouse toy or laser pointer, instigating your cat to attack and chase!


Like most cats, German Rex can easily learn about using the litter box. But these cats are highly intelligent and are more trainable than many other breeds. You can even teach a German Rex to play fetch. And unlike most breeds, they love it! They’ll happily play fetch with you just like a dog; until you get tired. If you want to train your German Rex for other commands or tricks, they’re a very capable breed. You’ll just need plenty of patience and positive reinforcement, but they’re smart enough to be trained for many things.

Grooming ✂️

Covered in curly locks, you might expect the German Rex to take a lot of brushing and grooming. Luckily, these are actually very easy cats to care for. Though that coat looks difficult to deal with, it only requires a little bit of brushing to keep in top shape. That said, their hair is fragile, so you’re better brushing them with a glove or cloth than a brush.

Because they have relatively short hair, German Rex require more bathing than other breeds. Their natural oils can build up in their coat, causing them to feel greasy. When this happens, simply bathe them to remove the excess oils.

Health and Conditions

Overall, the German Rex is a very hardy and healthy breed. They’re not susceptible to many common health concerns, though there is one minor issue to keep an eye out for.

Minor Conditions
  • Alopecia
Serious Conditions
  • None

Minor Conditions

  • Alopecia: Similar to humans, cats with alopecia will lose their hair. Though it has its own name, the hair loss associate with alopecia is actually due to another underlying disease; most often flea allergy dermatitis.

cat paw divider

Male vs. Female

There aren’t many differences between male and female German Rex. While males are often slightly larger, they’re still generally under eight pounds, so noticing a physical difference can prove difficult. Temperamentally, they’re also quite similar, though similar to many cats, males tend to be friendlier while females are often shier and more reserved.

cat + line divider

Final Thoughts

Friendly, affectionate, loving, and patient, German Rex has all the qualities that make for an excellent housecat. They’re smart enough to be trained much further than most felines, and they have a playful demeanor that makes them fun to be around. Best of all, these cats get along with everyone from the youngest children to the oldest grandparents, making them a great choice for families of any size, so long as they have lots of love to give!

See Also: 

Featured Image: Prasanna photography, Shutterstock

About the Author

Christian Adams
Christian Adams
Christian is the Editor-in-Chief of Excited Cats and one of its original and primary contributors. A lifelong cat lover, now based in South East Asia, Christian and his wife are the proud parents of an 11-year-old son and four rescue cats: Trixie, Chloe, Sparky, and Chopper.

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.


Follow Us

Shopping Cart