The Rex rabbit is a gorgeous bunny with a soft coat that feels like velvet to the touch. They're a perfect choice for a home looking for a handsome rabbit with an affectionate personality.
Learning About the Rex Rabbit
The plush Rex rabbit originated in France in the early 1900s. They were bred from rabbits that were originally wild and were prized for the quality of their fur. Generally, rabbits have a short undercoat with long guard hairs spread throughout. The Rex rabbit's coat is somewhat different.
Because the fur of the rex rabbit is altered due to genetic mutation, the hairs are all the same length throughout, resulting in a softer fur type. In fact, they were once commercially sold for their fur, but this isn't as popular today. The Rex came to the United States in 1924 and was recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association that year.
What Do Rex Rabbits Look Like?
The Rex is a medium to large rabbit, weighing around 7½ to 10½ pounds as an adult. They have a "commercial type" body, which means they have a muscular build and overall balanced and proportional features. They also have ears that stand upright, unlike other small rabbit breeds that have floppy-type ears. The name comes from rabbits that were bred specifically by meat farms.
Rex Fur and Coloration
Rex rabbits are also covered in dense, velvety fur, which is one of their most distinctive features. In fact, they were originally bred for their fur before they eventually became companion animals. The coat does not require a lot of grooming. In fact, frequent brushing can cause problems for their fur. Their fur comes in the following colors:
- Broken (white and another color)
- Smoke Pearl
Rex Bunny Temperament
Rex bunnies are a good choice for families with children, as they are usually gentle and enjoy being handled. They may not do well with toddlers and small children who are too young to handle rabbits properly and safely. Rex rabbits do require work to socialize them to you in the beginning though.
They are known for enjoying toys and play with their people. Rex rabbits are a fun, intelligent breed that can learn tricks. They also do well with other rabbits, provided the cage is large enough to give them plenty of room. One aspect of the breed that is well-loved is their care for other animals. Breeders and shelters often employ Rex rabbits as foster parents to help care for orphaned kits.
Health and Welfare
The average lifespan for a Rex rabbit is about 5 to 6 years. They have a few common health problems:
- Like most rabbits, they have problems with their teeth growing too long if they're not given adequate amounts of hay to chew.
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as GI stasis, which is caused by swallowing too much hair while grooming.
- Snuffles is a disease of the respiratory system. If not treated, it can lead to body sores and possibly blindness.
- Soreness in their hocks is also a common issue.
- Ear mites can be a problem and their ears should be cleaned and inspected regularly.
Spaying and neutering is recommended to keep them from breeding and getting certain cancers. It can also help to quell aggressive behaviors that can develop around 4 to 5 months of age.
The Rex Bunny Home Setup
A Rex rabbit needs a cage of at least 12 square feet, although larger is better. You will also need to allow them time out of the cage for exercise. You can gate them into a room with baby gates or get a large size baby size playpen or dog X-pen. The recommended type of cage is a wire one with a solid floor. You will need to provide bedding on the floor, which needs to be cleaned regularly. Popular bedding types are paper pulp, straw, and products like Carefresh. Rex rabbits can also live outside in a hutch, as they tolerate cold temperatures well.
Feeding a Rex Rabbit
The Rex rabbit should eat a diet composed of 70 percent hay, 25 percent rabbit pellets, and 5 percent alfalfa, fresh fruits, leafy greens, and vegetables. Their hay should be high-quality, so offer Timothy hay, oat hay, meadow hay, and orchard hay. A hay hanger can be beneficial to help keep it fresh and prevent it from becoming spoiled.
Mini Rex Rabbit
The Mini Rex is a smaller version of the Rex. They weigh about 3½ to 4½ pounds and have a more compact body shape compared to the commercial type Rex. Since they were bred to be a smaller version of the Rex, they have very similar features such as their fur and gentle temperament. The Mini Rex is popular with people who live in smaller spaces, including apartments and condominiums.
Getting a Rex Rabbit
Prices for a Rex rabbit can range from $15 to $50, with show lines going for up to $200. You can find a Rex rabbit breeder through the directory on the National Rex Rabbit Club and American Rabbit Breeder Association websites. You may also find some in shelters by searching the Petfinder and Adopt a Pet websites. The House Rabbit Society non-profit also lists rabbits up for adoption on their website.
All About the Rex Bunny
Called the King of Rabbits by Rex lovers and breeders, this rabbit breed is an excellent option for people looking for a mid-sized rabbit with a relaxed but good-natured temperament. They can be a good family pet and their soft fur and tolerance for handling makes them a potential therapy animal. They are definitely a lovely bunny and one you'll enjoy stroking for their plush fur.