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Cornish Rex vs. Devon Rex: Can You Spot The Difference?

Cornish Rex vs. Devon Rex: Can You Spot The Difference?

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Among all of the cat breeds, there are a lot of them that look alike or that people find tricky to tell apart. Cornish Rex and Devon Rex cats are frequently mistaken for one another because they are so similar.

As well as looking alike, these two cat breeds share the name Rex in common.

Many people think that the name Rex means they are the same breed, but actually it’s simply a descriptive term for their beautiful coats. Both Cornish and Devon cats are characterized by their soft, curly hair that sits close to the cat’s skin.

The Rex part of their name comes from Rex rabbits that have almost the same type of coat.

While these two cats share a lot of things in common, they still differ in certain things. So, read on and learn more about both cat breeds so that you can learn how to tell the difference between them.

Each of these cat breeds have certain characteristics that mean they won’t suit everyone, so check them out carefully! Compare the Cornish Rex vs Devon Rex, and see which one of these two feline breeds is the best for you!

Cornish Rex Vs Devon Rex: Differences And Similarities

devon vs cornish comparison

Both of these cat breeds are unique but they can both make great pets. They may have differences but we can all agree that both of these cat breeds have an fascinating appearance (sometimes described as alien-like), and beautifully soft, curly hair which is quite different from typical domestic cats.

As far as their personality and activity level is concerned, most cat lovers will agree that they’re quite unusual cats that often behave like little puppies.

Keep reading to find out everything about these two cat breeds, such as what kind of personality they have, whether they are good pets for families, what health issues they may have, and some basic background information like where they originated.

After you learn all of that, the only decision left is which one would you choose: Cornish Rex vs Devon Rex?!

Cornish Rex Vs Devon Rex – Quick Breed Info

Cornish Rex Devon Rex
Weight6-10 pounds 6-9 pounds
Height9-11 inches9-12 inches
Grooming needslowlow
Colorswhite, black, red, orange, blue, gray cream, chocolate chocolate, white, black, red, cream, beige, cinnamon, lavender, gray

Patternscolor point, bi-color, tabbysolid, bi-color, tabby, calico, color point.

The Origin Of The Breeds

Cornish Rex

The origin of the Cornish Rex cat breed is quite unusual and cannot be fully explained. However, we do know the exact date of the Cornish cat’s origin, and it’s July 21, 1950, in Cornwall, hence the name.

On that day, a farm owner called Nina Ennismore got a big surprise. Her tortoiseshell cat, Serena, had a litter of kittens, but one of the kittens was not like the others; it was cream colored and it had unusual curly hair.

That kitten was male and she named it Kallibunker. As the kitten grew, more differences between him and his littermates became noticeable.

ANina took the kitten to the vet and wanted to neuter him, but the vet didn’t agree; he had discovered that the kitten’s unique traits were due to a genetic mutation, according to the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA).

Therefore, Nina brought Kallibunker back home and bred the unique cat. The breed became popular very fast thanks to its unique appearance and coat type.

The new cat breed was imported to the USA in 1957, where the breeding program continued.

Devon Rex

The Devon Rex breed was discovered after the Cornish Rex breed, somewhere in the 1960s in Devonshire, England, as the name suggests.

The first Devon kitten was discovered by Beryl Cox, however, at that time, no one knew much about the Devon cats; it was just a unique-looking cat.

Cox named the kitten Kirlee. She initially thought that it was a sort of Cornish Rex cat. Therefore, Kirlee was bred with Kallibunker descendants, but the result was disappointing, and quite weird; all of the kittens had a normal coat!

Further examination revealed that Kirlee had a completely different wavy-haired gene than those of Cornish cats.

Therefore, Kirlee is considered to be the first example of the Devon Rex breed of cat, and because of that, cross breeding between the two breeds was discouraged.

Which Breed Has A Better Personality?

cornish vs devon

Cornish Rex

The Cornish Rex breed of cat is simply adorable. It attracts cat lovers with both stunning looks and great temperament. These cats are known to be very intelligent, confident, loving, and friendly.

Sometimes, cat lovers describe them as the dogs of the cat world because they’re quite easy to train. They’re also very playful so they need at least one hour per day of intense play time, a bit like a dog!

This extremely energetic cat may demonstrate a behavior change during the colder months. As a consequence of the type of coat that the cat has, the cat will look for warmer, more cozy spots where it can snuggle in and stay warm.

So, if you want a calm cat breed, then you’re on the wrong page, as these rex beauties are especially charming when they’re the center of attention.

These cats are not shy, I warn you! Therefore, don’t be surprised if they start expressing themselves by loud meowing and similar sounds.

Once you bond with your Cornish Rex, trust me, you’ll have a furry friend for life as they won’t leave your side as long as they can follow your steps!

Devon Rex

On the other hand, the Devon Rex breed is quite different from their Cornish Rex relatives. These cats are much calmer than Cornish Rex cats but they do also adore being the center of attention.

Devons are extremely affectionate, loving, and friendly. They are extremely loyal to their owners; they just adore cuddling with their humans, or having a relaxed play session.

If you cannot find your Devon feline, you shouldn’t worry; your pet is probably sleeping in some warm and cozy place.

Sometimes, they may be highly active and demanding attention but most of the time they are relaxed and enjoy interacting with their humans.

Which Breed Has A More Attractive Appearance?

Cornish Rex

cornish rex walking

Most cat lovers often consider the Cornish Rex cat as fragile because of their slim and athletic body. However, Cornish cats have strong muscles and bones which means they are actually very energetic and sturdy.

The Cornish Rex cat is characterized by striking features, it has high cheekbones, large eyes, and two large ears that make them look very unusual. Besides that, the most distinct feature of these cats is their curly, wavy coat.

Most cat breeds have several coat layers, however, these cats have only one layer – the undercoat – which is very soft and curly. The Cornish Rex only has the undercoat which lies close to the cat’s skin and is very soft.

Another thing that makes them different from other cat breeds is their back curve, a special feature in Cornish cats. If you ever see a Cornish cat with straight back, you will know that it’s not a purebred one.

Although hypoallergenic cats don’t exist, some cat breeds are considered to be close to hypoallergenic. Both Cornish and Devon Rex cats are on the list of possibly hypoallergenic cats.

However, the trigger for allergic reactions is actually a protein called Fel d 1 that cats produce in their scent glands, urine, and saliva.

As they groom themselves, they leave that protein on their fur which dries and becomes dander, which is the main cause for allergic reactions in humans.

The reason why they’re sometimes considered hypoallergenic is because they have short coats so they shed less dander.


Cornish Rex cats look very slim, athletic, and different from most other cat breeds. Their size may vary, so for example, their height may vary from 9-11 inches, while their weight may vary from 6-10 pounds.

It all depends on the individual cat, as well as on gender, because usually male cats are larger than females.

Colors & Patterns

Besides the interesting body shaping and other distinct features of this breed of cat, they may also have different colors and patterns.

That is actually great for cat lovers who appreciate specific colors and patterns, as they can choose their favorite cat breed in the exact color pattern they want.

The possible colors of a Cornish Rex cat are:

• White

• Black

• Orange

• Blue

• Cream

• Chocolate

Besides these beautiful colors, you can find Cornish Rex in three possible patterns:

• Tabby

• Bi-color

• Color point

Devon Rex

tabby devon rex

Just like the Cornish Rex breed of cat, the Devon Rex is a medium-sized cat with an interesting and unusual appearance. They’re often compared to elves, or even aliens, due to their large eyes and ears.

These cats also have distinct features such as big eyes, high cheekbones, large pointed ears, and a slim-looking body. However, as it’s the case with Cornish Rex cats, the most famous characteristic of these cats is their curly coat.

Devon cats don’t actually have guard hairs, just an undercoat which consists of curled hair, giving the cat a beautifully soft, wavy coat.

Just as with Cornish Rex cats, most cat lovers consider them to be close to hypoallergenic due to low shedding.

Still, people with severe allergies should avoid pet cats, or at least try spending some time with one of these cat breeds in order to see how it goes, before getting one for themselves.


The Devon Rex is a medium-sized cat, quite similar to the size of a Cornish Rex cat. Devon cats may weigh 6-9 pounds, while their height may vary from 9 to 12 inches. Male Devon cats are bigger than females, as is almost always the case.

Colors & Patterns

Devon and Cornish cats have a lot in common, and one of these things is that they can each appear in several colors and patterns. You can choose your Devon Rex in one of the following colors:

• Cinnamon

• Chocolate

• Blue

• Orange

• Lavender

• Cream

• Black

• White

Devon cats can have several possible patterns, such as:

• Tabby

• Color Point

• Bi-color

• Calico

Which Breed Is More Active And Energetic?

cornish vs devon rex walking

Cornish Rex

The Cornish Rex cat is a very active and energetic breed. When this activity level combines with their high intelligence, you get a turbo cat!

Therefore, the Cornish Rex is a cat that learns very quickly. They’re able to learn certain commands and tricks and they adore play time especially when it includes running and climbing on trees or furniture!

This is why it’s a good idea to provide your Cornish Rex cat with several cat trees that will keep them occupied.

However, these cats adore lounging around as well, therefore a window hammock is great for a cat to rest and enjoy the view.

These cats might not be interested in simple cat toys, but you should provide them with puzzle toys or something similar in order to keep them active all the time, both mentally and physically.

Devon Rex

Even though Devon rex cats are much calmer than Cornish rex cats they still have a medium activity level and enjoy their playtime, as long as they’re not alone all the time. These cats function better in active homes as they are playful, cuddly and loving.

On top of everything, they’re very smart, therefore they’re able to learn tricks and understand certain house rules in the blink of an eye.

They enjoy playtime, or playing with their favorite toys, or even entertaining children. The Devon Rex breed gives you the best of both worlds. It’s playful, but it will also love to cuddle with you.

Who Is Healthier And Who Requires More Grooming?

cornish rex at the vet

Cornish Rex


The Cornish Rex is a healthy cat breed in general, this can be concluded from their long lifespan of 10-16 years.

These cats aren’t prone to common hereditary or genetic health issues. However, they may suffer from some other conditions which are common for many other cat breeds such as kidney disease, heart problems, or even arthritis, especially in older cats.

Even though Cornish Rex cats aren’t prone to serious genetic or hereditary issues, because of the other conditions that may affect them, it’s important to take your cat for regular vet visits, at least preventively.

Remember that cats are famous for not showing their pain, which may result in bigger problems later on.


The Cornish Rex, along with Devon Rex cats, are one of the cat breeds that are very easy to maintain.

Because of their short,soft hair, they don’t require special combs or similar. It’s simply enough to brush them with a soft regular brush from time to time, or just pet them!

However, the skin of these cats tends to produce a lot of skin oils, which is why it’s a better option to bathe them regularly in order to remove these oils and keep their skin and coat in a good and healthy condition.

Furthermore, due to their short coat, you should provide a Cornish cat with plenty of warm and cozy places around your home so that it won’t be cold.

Additionally, you need to pay attention to the other parts of their body and clean their ears regularly, as well as brushing their teeth and trimming their nails in order to prevent claw infections.

So, if you choose the Cornish Rex cat, don’t worry, you won’t have a lot of work when it comes to grooming. You can simply pet your cat and keep it well-groomed and gorgeous.

Devon Rex


The Devon Rex, on the other hand, is prone to certain health problems. However, they’re still generally healthy cats with a lifespan of 9-15 years.

With proper diet and care, as well as regular vet visits, these cats may have a very long and healthy life.

Some of the potential health issues include:

Hip dysplasia – a condition involving a misaligned socket and ball, which leads to difficulties with moving.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) – a common condition in cats, which causes thickening of the muscular walls of a cat’s heart.

Congenital myasthenic syndrome – a condition causing muscle weakness, characteristic for Devon and Sphynx cats.

Luxating patella – a condition that causes kneecap popping.

Congenital hypertrichosis – balding issues due to a specific genetic mutation.

Because of these characteristic health issues, it’s important to only buy kittens from reputable breeders as they test their cats and kittens for genetic diseases, make sure that their kittens are completely healthy and take good care of them in their early life.

Besides these most common health issues in this cat breed, they may also have certain skin problems such as Malassezia dermatitis, urticaria, and pigmentosa, but these are usually treated with specific medications and a good, balanced cat diet.


Grooming the Devon Rex cat doesn’t differentiate a lot from the Cornish Rex cat, even though Devons have slightly longer hair.

A weekly brushing with a soft comb will be enough to keep their coat in good condition, of course with regular baths.

Also, you should pay more attention to the cat’s coat during the colder months as they may need warm and cozy places or cat beds in order to stay warm.

As well as brushing, you need to pay attention to nail trimming, ear cleaning, and teeth brushing, to reduce the risk of possible infections.

What About Nutrition?

devon rex cats eating

Cornish Rex

Because of the high activity level of Cornish cats, they require a special diet. As they burn their energy up quickly, they need a diet with a high calorie level.

That doesn’t mean that you need to overfeed your feline friend; that’s actually a big NO. If you don’t know how often you should feed your kitten or cat, try consulting with your vet.

It is usually best to provide your cat with a few smaller meals a day, with food that is designed for a more active kitty.

Always provide your Cornish kitty with top-quality wet and dry food and of course plenty of fresh water all the time.

Wet food will provide your cat with all the necessary nutrients, and it will help them stay hydrated because wet food is high in moisture. On the other hand, dry kibbles may be good for other things, such as dental health.

Devon Rex

Just like the Cornish Rex cat breed, Devon cats also need top-quality nutritive food that will help them keep their energy up.

So, provide them with both wet and dry food as well as with fresh water to make sure that their nutritional needs are fully satisfied.

Who’s A Better Pet?

Cornish Rex

Cornish Rex cats are great pets for active families. As these cats have a high activity level, they may need to be entertained a lot.

This means that they may need a lot of interaction with other family members, play time, or interesting toys and things that will keep them occupied.

They’re very social creatures, which also means that they get along very well with both children and other pets. However, for the best results, they need to be properly socialized and trained from a young age.

When it comes to strangers, they may not react immediately, which is not a bad thing after all, right? These cats aren’t shy and, in time, they will get along with almost everyone.

While they’re not talkative as Siamese cats, they will definitely adore chatting with you, or warn you when they need something.

Devon Rex

Devon cats, just like Cornish cats, are very social cats, which makes them excellent pets for active homes. As they’re often described as the dogs of the cat world, they also get along very well with dogs and other pets, as well as with children.

To have a perfectly behaved Devon kitty, you need to start training and socializing them from a young age.

These cats are perfect for active homes, which means that they should be entertained most of the time, and that they shouldn’t be left alone for a long time very often.

Again, just like Cornish cats, Devons adore interacting with their family members and also chatting with them, and they adore cuddling a bit more than their relatives the Cornish cats.

Interesting Facts About The Breeds

Every cat breed has interesting facts, and this can really affect their popularity.

Both Cornish and Devon Rex cats gained a lot of popularity due to their unique appearance, and they remain very popular cat breeds. Check out these interesting facts.

Cornish Rex

They’re often described as pixie or alien-like cats due to their unique head shape, big eyes, and large ears.

One of their nicknames is “marcel cats”. They got that nickname because their coat reminded people of a hairstyle called the “marcel wave” that was popular during the 1920s.

• Cornish cat owners say that the Cornish cat’s skin oils have a specific scent, almost cheesy.

• These cats are famous for their curled coats, but it’s very interesting that their eyelashes and whiskers are also curly.

• The famous fashion designer, Michael Kors, owns a Cornish cat, and he adores this breed.

Devon Rex

• Two Devon Rex cats called “Devon” and “Rex” appeared in Disney’s film Lady And The Tramp.

They’re often compared to elves because of their large ears and overall appearance.

• They have several nicknames such as the Alien cat, or the Poodle cat.

The Devon Rex cat also appeared in the first Superman movie, when he rescued it from a tree.

Cornish Rex Vs Devon Rex – The Main Differences

cornish rex and devon rex cat

Even though a lot of people may have difficulties differentiating between these two cat breeds, they still have a lot of differences. The main differences between Cornish Rex and Devon Rex cats are the following:

Origin – The Cornish Rex was discovered first in Cornwall and the Devon Rex was discovered a bit later in Devonshire.

In addition to that, these two breeds aren’t the same as it was discovered that they have different genetic mutations, and cross breeding between these two breeds is discouraged.

Size – Cornish Rex cats are a bit heavier than Devon cats, as they may weigh between 6 and 10 pounds. When it comes to height, the opposite is true as Devons are slightly taller than Cornish cats. Devons may reach 9-12 inches, while Cornish cats may reach 9-11 inches.

Head Shape – they both have big eyes and large ears, but Cornish cats have a more egg-shaped head, a larger skull and a pointier snout compared to the Devon Rex, which have a distinctive wedge-shaped head.

Body shape – Cornish Rex cats have slim athletic bodies, while Devon cats have a more muscular body and shorter back legs.

Energy – both cats are very energetic and active, but Cornish Rex cats have higher energy levels than Devon cats and are extremely playful. On the other hand, Devon Rex cats are more chatty and vocal than Cornish cats, and tend to snuggle and cuddle more.

Health And Lifespan – Cornish Rex cats are generally very healthy cats and they have a long lifespan of 10-16 years.

They don’t have any hereditary or genetic diseases characteristic for the breed, however, they may suffer from other health problems that are common in cats in general, such as kidney or heart disease, or arthritis.

On the contrary, Devon Rex cats have a healthy lifespan of 9-15 years, however, they’re prone to several health issues, such as hip dysplasia, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congenital myasthenic syndrome, luxating patella, congenital hypertrichosis, and several skin conditions.

Cornish Rex Vs Devon Rex – The Main Similarities

cornish rex and devon rex similarities

Now that you have read and learned the differences between the Cornish Rex and Devon Rex cat breeds, it’s time to see what makes them so similar that people confuse them often.

The main similarities between the Cornish Rex and Devon Rex are the following:

Personality – Cornish and Devon rex cats have quite similar personalities because both cat breeds are very intelligent and trainable which allows them to learn tricks and commands, so it’s very easy to socialize and train them.

Both of them are very playful and need a lot of interaction with their humans, as well as a lot of interesting toys and things that will keep them occupied.

Coat Type – both of these cat breeds are shorthair cats. They have curly fur which is very soft and unique-looking. But although they have the same curly coat, it’s actually caused by two different recessive genes.

Their coat is so short that they almost appear to be hairless. Because of that, owners of these two breeds need to pay attention to the same things.

First, you need to pay attention to preventing sunburn during hot months, and as far as the colder months are concerned, these cats need warm, cozy spots or cat beds, and warm clothes or blankets that will keep them toasty during the cold period.

Furthermore, both of these cat breeds may appear in almost any color, and similar patterns such as bi-color, tabby, and color point.

Grooming – both Cornish and Devon Rex cats have similar grooming needs. Due to their short coat, they don’t require a lot of brushing, as it can damage their skin. Light brushing with a soft comb from time to time is enough.

However, they require frequent baths in order to reduce the skin oils that they produce. Moreover, both of these cat breeds have large ears which is why they need to have their ears cleaned regularly in order to reduce the risk of infection. Additionally, they require regular nail trimming and teeth brushing.

Nutrition – when it comes to nutritional needs, there’s no difference between Cornish and Devon Rex cats. These cats require top-quality food which is very nutritious and which will keep their energy levels up.

They shouldn’t be overfed (as any other cat), but instead they need a proper feeding schedule and a diet consisting of both wet and dry food.

Besides that, these cats need to have fresh water available all the time.

Family pets – finally, both of these cat breeds are excellent family pets for active homes. These cats don’t like being left alone for a longer period of time.

Therefore, if you cannot give them plenty of attention, it’s better to find another cat breed that will suit your lifestyle more.

Both these cats adore interaction and are great with children as well as with other pets, which makes them perfect pets for active families.

In Conclusion – Which One Do You Choose?

These two cat breeds may appear to be very similar but, after you learn more about them, you realize that they’re quite different from each other.

These cats share a lot of things in common, such as coat type, colors and patterns, nutrition needs, grooming needs, personality traits, and the fact they both make great family pets.

However, the main differences between Cornish and Devon Rex cats can be seen from their origin, health condition and lifespan, appearance, and energy levels.

Therefore, for some people the better choice would be a Cornish Rex and for others a Devon Rex. However, both cat breeds are great in their own way.

So, Cornish Rex vs Devon Rex, which breed is better? Well, I think that the best breed is the one you decide that is the best for you and your home.

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