They are a new breed only being recognised   in 1987 and arriving in the UK in 2002 but longevity of at least 15 years is already known in the breed.

Health in the Selkirks

They are a breed that is pretty robust and hardy and are  no more prone or susceptible to health problems than any other breed.

 There are various health tests that can be done on the Selkirk on diseases which have been identified in some of the outcross breeds. 


PKD was widely prevalent  in British and particularly Persians, both used as outcrosses and then by default in Selkirks.
 It was decided to include testing for PKD in the GCCF registration policy 
 so no cat can be bred from unless it has been dna tested negative from PKD.

This is only required with GCCF.  There are now other registries in the UK who may not have this requirement.

The incidence of PKD has dropped dramatically in the last 10 years.-  graph provided by Langford Laboratories.

Breeds which can be affected by PKD are

High risk of PKD

Persian Chinchilla Exotic Shorthair British Shorthair Himalayan

Moderate risk of PKD

Asian Birman Burmilla Bombay Cornish Rex
Devon Rex Ragdoll Scottish Fold Selkirk Rex Siberian
Snowshoe Tiffanie      

PRA.(progressive Retinal Atrophy)
  This is a relative new dna test and is of very minimal risk to Selkirks even though Persians are used in outcrossing-  Anyone with PRA in their lines would be aware as kittens cats in their lines will have gone blind.  This has not been identified in any UK Selkirk Rex or any outcrosses in the UK.
Out of Around  750 Persians have been tested for PRA and 30 were found to be carriers  and all Selkirks tested to date have tested clear of any carriers ( Langford statistics) . Other breeds known to have Persian PRA are: Exotic Shorthair and Scottish Fold.
For their to be any risk of PRA both parents need to be carriers and even there is no certainty they will develop PRA.  There is a 25% probability of two carrier (heterozygous) cats producing affected (homozygous) kittens. Breeding carrier and

 normal cats will produce around 50% normal and 50% carrier kittens.

  Obviously those breeders who have concerns of PRA being in their lines will test for PRA.

Breeds at Risk of PRA
Persian Himalayan Exotic Shorthair Chinchilla

Other breeds with Persian ancestry may also be affected

hCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

HCM has been reported in Selkirks, just as in many other breeds and the domestic cat or moggy, but as yet no proven genetic link, and no reliable genetic test is available.   The club welcomes breeders who are scanning their cats but would advise potential kitten buyers that HCM free status cannot be declared. However, please be aware that even a scan is not conclusive proof of HCM but can only give an indication.    If someone says their cats are scanned for HCM ask to see the certificate of proof and evidence of subsequent yearly scans and be aware it is only a snapshot on the day and  no guarantee of any future health. 
   HCM is something that can be in any breed of cat, human etc. 

Blood Testing
All breeders need to be aware of blood groups of their females and males as any kittens from B females to A males will need to be fed for the first 18 to 24 hours because of maternal antibodies.  Once this initial period has passed the kittens can be fed as normal from the mother. There is no health risk to the mother or father and the only thing to be aware of is that kittens must not feed from mum for the first 18 to 24 hours.