The development of the Cornish Rex was initiated by English breeders in the second half of XX century. Its first specimen was produced by a barn cat of ambiguous origin in Cornwall in 1950. One of her kittens possesses peculiarly curly coat, which induced admiration and interest of cat breeders. Actually the breed received its present-day name for its coat’s similarity to that of a Rex rabbit. This distinctive trait appeared as the result of natural mutation. To preserve it once this kitten grew up it was bred with his mother that lately gave birth to a litter, which contained two more of the wavy coated kittens.
Genetic research of 60s of XX century showed that a recessive gene was responsible for appearance such type of the coat. This implies that both parents must have this particular gene. The very first member of the Cornish Rex, who was nicknamed Kallibunker, was mated with Burmese, Siamese, and British Shorthair cats. Resulting kittens possessed standard coats, but they were carriers of the recessive gene. When they subsequently were crossed with other Cornish Rexes, or to each other, their litters usually included several curly kittens. In order to broaden its diminutive gene pool and introduce more diversity to its coloration the breed members were also mated with the Russian Blue, American Shorthair, and Havana Browns.