Meet The Rex Rabbit

This rabbit breed boasts plush fur, a variety of available colors and a winning personality.

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The plush fur of the Rex is rare among rabbit breeds. Via Ketzirah Lesser & Art Drauglis/Flickr

Of the 49 rabbit breeds recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association, the Rex rabbit is one of the most popular, beloved and unique breeds, and if you spend some time around Rex rabbits, you’ll quickly see why!

3 Big Reasons To Love The Rex

  1. Abundant Personality: People love Rex rabbits, and their personalities are a testament to their popularity. The Rex rabbits I’ve known have been quiet, gentle individuals with more personality than you might expect, making them ideal pets and great companions. 
  2. Appealing Size: Rex rabbits are among the larger rabbit breeds, weighing in at 7½ to 10½ pounds, although the ideal weight is considered to be 8 to 9 pounds. They are one of the most popular breeds in their size range; based on exhibition figures from the annual American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) 2015 convention, Rex rabbits are the 7th most popular breed in the United States, and of those seven, the Rex is one of only two breeds in its size range. All of the other “most popular” breeds — Netherland Dwarfs, Mini Rex, Holland Lops and others — are considerably smaller.
  3. Luxurious Fur: The most distinctive characteristic of a Rex rabbit is — without question — its exquisite Rex fur. Unlike normal rabbit fur, Rex fur features short guard hairs that are approximately the same length as the rest of the fur (about 5/8-inch), giving Rex rabbits a beautiful coat that is dense and unbelievably soft. Petting a Rex rabbit is unlike anything else — it’s amazing.

A Fascinating History

Rabbits possessing Rex fur were first discovered in France nearly 100 years ago, and are believed to be the result of a genetic mutation. The earliest rabbits with Rex fur were considered to be of extremely poor quality. In fact, these rabbits were said to be of such low quality that it’s guessed that their name is derived from the word “wrecks,” which was used to describe the early (and apparently unattractive) examples of the breed.

The Rex In The United States

Despite their initial shortcomings, rabbits with the Rex fur found an instant following and took the rabbit world by storm. In the early days, pairs of Rex rabbits sometimes sold for thousands of dollars. The first Rex rabbits were brought to the United States in 1924 and the breed has come a long way since then. The quality of their lovely coats — and the quality of the rabbits in general — has undeniably earned them their place among the most popular of rabbit breeds.

Rex Fur In Other Breeds

Although Rex fur was introduced to many different breeds through the first half of the twentieth century, many of these varieties have since become extinct. Today, only two breeds with Rex fur are recognized by the ARBA: the Rex (obviously!) and the Mini Rex — a smaller breed that has the distinction of being the most popular rabbit breed in the United States. In terms of numbers, more than 1,100 Mini Rex rabbits were exhibited in the open division of the 2015 ARBA convention in Portland, Oregon, while just over 550 Rex rabbits were exhibited there. But when you consider that nearly half of the breeds exhibited had fewer than 100 entries, it highlights the immense popularity of the Rex-furred breeds. A third breed with Rex fur, the Velveteen Lop, has breeders currently working to achieve ARBA recognition and hopes are for it to become a recognized breed in 2017.

rex rabbit in cage
Via Jason and Kris Carter/Flickr
The Rex rabbit is currently available in 16 different colors!

Rex Rabbit Colors

For a breed with such a unique fur type, it might come as a surprise that Rex rabbits are found in more than one color, but Rex rabbits are actually one of the more colorful rabbit breeds, with 16 different colors or groups of colors recognized by the ARBA.

Rex are recognized in Black, Blue, Chocolate and White, which are commonly seen colors that are found in many other rabbit breeds. But Rex rabbits are also found in Amber, Californian, Chinchilla, Lilac, Lynx, Opal, Otter, Red, Sable and Seal colors.

Broken is another Rex color. It is described in the Standard of Perfection as “any recognized breed variety in conjunction with white” or, in the case of tri-colored examples, two colors in conjunction with white The Broken pattern calls for colored ears, colored nose, color around eyes, and color on the back, and spots are often seen.

Rex rabbits are also found in the unique Castor color, which is a lovely dark brown color with an orange/red tinge; Castor is found exclusively in the Rex and Mini Rex breeds. Its connection to the Rex breed is longstanding — historically, the breed was known as the “Castorrex.”

A Member Of The Family

With so many wonderful qualities, it’s no surprise that Rex rabbits make an outstanding family pet, and a fabulous choice if you’d like to exhibit at rabbit shows. They’re “Rex-actly” right!

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Critters · Rabbits