What is the newest cat breed in the world?

Montana, USA - Few cat breeds are as fluffy and adorable as the one that only recently got recognized as real. What is the newest cat breed in the world, though, and why is it so special?

The Selkirk rex is the newest cat breed in the world.
The Selkirk rex is the newest cat breed in the world.  © IMAGO/Pond5 Images

There's something special about a cat so sweet and fluffy that its fur seems more like a cuddly blanket than the coat of a cat.

Yet, for this particular breed, its fur defines it, but its recent history is what makes it extraordinary. These cats are big stocky creatures, but they certainly don't have a big or a stock past. In fact, much to the contrary.

So which cat breed holds the animal world record for being the newest in the world right now? What is the newest cat breed, what should you know about it, and how did it come into being?

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Dogs Dog and her piece of "emotional support toast" are best friend goals

Let's take a look.

What is the world's newest cat breed?

The Selkirk rex, otherwise known as the "poodle cat" is officially the world's newest cat breed, according to Guinness World Records. Having been recognized in 2013, the Selkirk rex originates from Montana in the United States, having been bred from a number genetically mutated cats originally found in the 1980s.

Characterized by thick and curly hair which closely resembles the kind of coat you would expect on a long-haired dog or a poodle, the Selkirk rex appeared after a genetic mutation was discovered in Montanan cats in 1987. Since then, a breed was slowly engineered to be genetically distinct, before being officially recognized by the International Cat Association, the American Cat Fanciers Association, and the University of Veterinary Medicine in the US.

They are strong and stocky cats, often referenced as being similar to British shorthairs in their shape and look, but have a wooly look to their fur that could even be mistaken for a sheep. These soft little bundles of happiness come in all sorts of colors, which it celebrates with a relaxed mood, playfulness, laid-back nature, and an intense desire for cuddles.

Nowadays, the Selkirk rex is not particularly well-known. While loved by those who have adopted them, these fluffy little creatures are still relatively rare and quite expensive to adopt. Still, they're worth looking out for.

Despite the Selkirk rex's short existence, it has won many awards.
Despite the Selkirk rex's short existence, it has won many awards.  © IMAGO/SNA

How was the newest cat breed bred?

The Selkirk rex originally appeared in 1987 Montana, when a litter of kittens were given to breeder Jeri Newman. With strange, curly hair, these little dudes became the foundation cat, a combination two still-unknown breeds that conspired to create a cat so adorable that you'd happily give your heart to their loving stares.

Once the original kittens had grown up healthily, Newman bred the foundation cats with a black Persian tomcat, producing what we now know as the Selkirk rex. Their name "Selkirk" originated from the breeder's stepfather, making them the first and only cat breed to be named after a person.

The Selkirk rex currently comes in two distinct varieties. One has a long and extremely fluffy-curled-coat, and the other has similar levels of curliness, but with a much shorter length. The fur itself feels like wool to the touch and is almost certainly the defining characteristic of the breed.

While they were originally discovered and bred in 1987, it wasn't until 2013 that the Selkirk rex existed in as high a number, and as a breed sustainable enough to be made official. This is also when they became an animal world record holder.

New cat breeds are constantly appearing

Long-haired Selkirk rexes are some of the fluffiest cats around, and have fur like wool.
Long-haired Selkirk rexes are some of the fluffiest cats around, and have fur like wool.  © IMAGO/Pond5 Images

While the latest cat breed to be officially acknowledged is the Selkirk rex, it is likely not the newest breed to exist. New cat breeds appear all the time, made simply of inherited characteristics from cats having mated and reproduced multiple times over generations.

Every cat is unique in its own way due to these factors, and that's worth noting.

There are likely to be all sorts of unusual cat breeds out there in the world right now which are just as likely to become official as the Selkirk rex.

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It's just a matter of time until another gets recognized, and a new world record is born.

Cover photo: IMAGO/Pond5 Images

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