6 Curly Animals That Aren't Poodles or Sheep

Two Mangalica pigs

Elisabeth Eidjord / 500px / Getty Images

While the animal kingdom's most well-known perms are usually accompanied by a "woof" or a "baa," these lesser-known curly animals also deserve recognition.

Rex Cats

Rex cats
Rex cats. (Photo: Seregraff/Eric Isselee/Cressida studio/kukuruxa/Shutterstock)

For folks who love the look of poodles but prefer the laid-back temperament and maintenance of a feline, say hello to the rex cat.

There are many variations of rex cats, though the four main breeds of "poodle cats" that have gained international recognition over the years are the Cornish rex, Devon rex, LaPerm and Selkirk rex.

The term "rex" refers to a mammalian genetic mutation that results in curly fur. This mutation is exceptionally rare, but humans have used selective breeding to preserve this adorable genetic anomaly in not only cats but many different species as well. While the word "rex" does not appear in their names, this mutation is also responsible for the curly coats of poodles, Mangalica pigs and all the other mammals we mention on this list.

Mangalica Pigs

Mangalica pigs
Mangalica pigs. (Photo: GeNik/jdm.foto/Goldika/Csehak Szabolcs/Shutterstock)

With their curly, wool-like coats, Mangalica pigs (also sometimes called "Mangalitza") are pigs in sheep's clothing.

The breed, which was developed in Hungary sometime in the mid-1800s, has been in a steady population decline over the past century, but in recent years, raising Mangalicas has become something of an artisanal hobby for some small-scale farmers. The only other pig breed known to have boasted a curly coat is England's Lincolnshire curly-coated pig, which went extinct in the 1970s.

Frillback Pigeons

Frillback pigeons
Frillback pigeons. (Photo: jim gifford/Flickr, AnMenshikova/Zanna Holstova/AsyaPozniak/Shutterstock)

Have you ever spotted pigeons like these milling around on a city street?

The likely answer is, of course, no. These fancy pigeons, known as frillbacks, are a breed that was developed through years of selective rock dove breeding. If you'd like to see one in person, you'd most likely have to hit up a fancy pigeon competition, where rock dove lovers come together to admire the extravagant frills of these charismatic avians.

Of course, frillbacks aren't the only rock doves equipped with flashy looks. There are all kinds of bizarre fancy pigeon breeds out there.

Texel Guinea Pigs

Texel guinea pigs
Texel guinea pigs. (Photo: joannawnuk/Shutterstock)

The rex mutation strikes again!

Texel guinea pigs are very similar to long-haired silkie guinea pigs except for the tight curls that cover virtually their entire body. As you can see in the image above, sometimes their whiskers aren't even immune to the curled look.

It's important to point out that Texels aren't the only cavies that boast a curly mane — Merino guinea pigs, Lunkarya guinea pigs and several other quirky breeds also have variations on curled fur.

Sebastopol Geese

Sebastopol goose
Sebastopol goose. (Photo: Davee/Flickr, Jennie Endriss/Elliotte Rusty Harold/Shutterstock)

The Sebastopol looks like any other domestic goose you might find on a farm except for, of course, the long, white curly feathers that festoon its body. Sure, it's not nearly as curly as the frillback pigeon, but you have to admit this goose has panache!

Life as a curly fashionista isn't all that it's cracked up to be, though. While many domestic geese are still capable of a limited form of flight, the Sebastopol's flamboyant feathers make it pretty much impossible for it to even get off the ground.

Curly Horses

Curly horses
Curly horses. (Photo: Lucie Provencher/Flickr, Penella22/Wikimedia)

Yet another example of the rex mutation in action is the curly horse. According to the International Curly Horse Organization, the distinctive appearance of these beautiful equines are more accurately classified as a "coat type" (as opposed to an official breed), which is why the curls manifest in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors:

The winter curls on different individuals can range from crushed velvet looking, to marcelle waves, to tight ringlets, to "french knot" microcurls. Manes and forelocks can be corkscrewed, ringletted, or dreadlocked. Tails may have some wave or curl. The hair in their ears is curly, the whiskers, eyelashes, and fetlocks are often curly or wavy.

In addition to the lovely aesthetics of their coats, these horses are celebrated for their gentle, friendly dispositions and exceptionally trainable temperaments. To sweeten the pot, their coats are also believed to be hypoallergenic, which is great news for equine enthusiasts who suffer from allergies.