Did you know that a Rex rabbit is one of the most expressive bunnies you can find? A Rex will tell you immediately how it feels, which makes them so easy to love!
Rexes need a lot of love, but it’s also easy to give it to them because they’re so affectionate and docile.
However, there are plenty of mistakes you can make.
Excessive grooming, bathing, and giving them the wrong food are just a few examples.
If you want to keep your Rex happy and healthy, read the article below.
Facts & History
The Rex rabbit is a smart, loving breed with strong mothering instincts. In fact, the Rex does are often surrogate mother for other abandoned kits. The Rex bunnies come from 1920s France, so here are the main points from their century of existence:
- The Rexes have a plush fur caused by a mutation on the rex gene. That’s how they got their names.
- This mutation makes the undercoat and guard hairs equal in length, whereas most bunny breeds have shorter undercoat hairs.
- The first member of this breed was born in 1919 in a village called Louché-Pringé. The priest’s village liked the first Rex’s coat and wanted to create more such
- The first show for this breed was a big one, held in Paris in 1924. The international breeders present at the show were very excited about the commercial potential of these rabbits’ pelts.
- The excessive breeding of Rexes for their pelts increased the presence of the rex gene. As a result, their pelts became thinner and more fragile because that’s what the rex gene does.
- To solve this issue, some of the best breeders resorted to modifying genes that strengthened the Rexes fur.
- Today, the Rexes are famous both as show animals and as commercial animals.
- The original Rexes were brown, but now there are several accepted colours.
- The British Rabbit Council doesn’t recognise Rex Rabbits, but the American Rabbit Breeders Association does.
If you want to find out more about the official description of the Rex bunnies, the ARBA tells you that these rabbits are:
- Well proportioned
- Rounded hips
- Large head
- Small necks
- Medium, erect ears
- Plush fur
- Short and straight legs
- Small feet
The Rexes can be distinguished from other breeds because they have a wider face than other bunnies. Their ears are proportionate and erect on top of their heads, while their feet are smaller.
Just like other large bunny breeds, including the Angora rabbit, the Rex rabbit does have a neck skin flap which is called a dewlap. The dewlap is an evolutionary adaptation to the environment and it serves to keep young kits warm.
As such, the Rexes and other rabbit breeds can survive outdoor conditions, which can be more convenient for some owners.
Size & Weight
The average Rex is a round, fattish rabbit that can grow to be one foot long. The ideal weight is between 7.5 and 10.5 pounds.
The Rex’s coats are their pride and joy because they are incredibly velvety, soft, and thick. The hairs are the same length and evenly distributed all over their bodies.
Although the Rexes have short hair, between 0.5 and 0.9 inches, their coats feel very plush. Unlike most rabbit breeds, their fur points out, and that also contributes to their plushness.
Sadly, their rich coats are what destined the Rexes to the fur industry when they were first bred.
Now, however, the Rexes are recognised for their smart and affectionate personalities, not just for their coats. And luckily for all Rex owners, Rex’s special coats don’t need as much grooming as you would expect.
But we’ll discuss that in the Care/ Health section below. Now, let’s see what colours your Rex rabbit can be.
You can find the Rex rabbits in twenty-five colours, but not all of them are officially recognised.
The Rex’s typical colours are:
The USA recognises these colours too:
- Black Otter
The UK recognises the following additional colours:
- Smoke Pearl
Lifespan and Babies
Rex Rabbits have a pretty good lifespan and reduced infant mortality because they’re born with fur. Combine that with the mother’s dewlap and the kits’ chances of surviving harsh conditions increase exponentially.
Rex baby rabbits are incredibly cute. Expect your doe to give birth to a small litter of around four babies if you get a smaller type of Rex, or a bigger litter of 6-12 kits if you get one of the larger Rexes.
Rex Rabbits live between 9 to 12 years, but dwarf types like the Mini Rex can maybe hope for a maximum of 6 years. If you decide to neuter/ spay your dwarf Rex, its chances of survival increase by approximately three years.
Thanks to their wonderful personality and fairly easy maintenance, Rex Rabbits make wonderful adoptive children for people who want to adopt their first rabbit and for seniors, though others can certainly provide good homes for the Rexes.
Here is some advice on how to take care of them best:
As with other rabbit breeds, the Rexes need a good home as well. Before buying a cage, consider two factors:
- Size. The ideal cage area is 12 feet2 so your Rex has enough space to eat, pee and poop, plus a separate area for play. Also, consider an extra 32 feet2 for the play area. Make sure this area is fenced properly, though.
- Type of materials. The best materials are wire for the tip of the cage and a solid plastic for the bottom. It’s important not to have a wire bottom for the cage because your rabbit can injure itself and get sore hocks. Place quality bedding on the bottom of the cage.
Pro tip: You should spot-clean your bunny’s cage every day. Change the bedding once per week, and do a general disinfecting once per month.
Play and Socialising
Rex Rabbits need to socialize for various reasons including:
- Developing new skills
- Honing their instincts
You and your human family should play with your Rex as much as possible because that’s what builds the bond between you. Your bunny will become gentler and easier to tame.
You can allow your Rex to come out of the cage anytime you can be 100% there for playtime. A rabbit-proof room is all your Rex needs, but some people decide to rabbit-proof their whole house.
Rabbit proofing is important because bunnies love to chew. This instinct allows them to wear down their teeth, which never stop growing. Chewing through furniture or clothes is the least of your problems. Disaster can strike if your bunny decides to chew on wires or a plant that’s potentially toxic to them.
Unlike other rabbits, Rexes won’t sneak out through crevices or holes, and they can decide when it’s time to relax in their cages.
You can also adopt two Rexes, but it’s important either to neuter a pair of different sex rabbits, or adopt a pair of females/ males.
You can allow your Rex to play outside in your garden, but make sure it’s well fenced. A pen is probably a better idea for extra security.
Don’t expose your Rex to other pets, like cats and dogs, who have an acute predator instinct. The Rexes have good prey instincts, and they’ll be scared by your other pets’ behaviours. Stress is debilitating to rabbits, particularly long-term stress because it increases their cortisol levels which, in turn, wear down on their immune systems, making them more prone to various diseases that decrease their life expectancy.
Rex Rabbits, just like most bunnies, need to eat 70% hay and 30% high-quality pellets. Opt for an orchard or timothy hay, but limit the intake of alfalfa hay.
You can give your pet Rex some fruit and vegetable snacks, but only one piece a couple of times per week as a treat or reward. Do your research first and make sure these snacks are safe.
Although rabbits get most of their water intake from hay, it’s also a good idea to give them unlimited access to clean water.
Although Rexes have a thick, velvety coat, they only need to be brushed once per week with a soft comb. You can increase the brushing frequency during the shedding season, as needed.
Avoid over-grooming. A Rex’s hair is nothing like human hair, so brushing them constantly won’t make their coats look shinier. Excessive brushing damages Rex’s coats because it makes the hair brittle.
You will also need to cut their nails once per month, but you can expect to do it more frequently, depending on the rabbit.
- Overgrown teeth. This condition depends on your bunny’s diet. Rabbits need hard, fibrous foods to munch on that keep their teeth trim. If you overdo it with mushy fruit and veggies, your rabbit’s teeth will grow into the jaw, which is extremely painful and may cause infection. If you notice excessive drooling, loss of appetite or excessive tiredness, take your fluff ball to the vet.
- GI stasis. Rex Rabbits, like all bunnies, ingest hair when they groom themselves. This can lead to accumulating hairballs in their intestines, which triggers GI stasis. To avoid this, brush your rabbit as needed, feed it quality hay, and check their poop for white marks that signal infection.
- Ear mites. Most outdoor bunnies get ear mites so, if you keep your Rex outside a lot, that’s a potential risk.
- Reproductive cancer. This issue is commonly seen with rabbits, but luckily, neutering/ spaying your Rex helps and it also increases their life expectancy. The best age to do it is around 5 months for females and 3.5 months for males.
Rex Rabbits are sweet-natured and gentle. They love being picked-up by their human family, particularly if you allow them as much free access around your home as possible.
The Rex will allow everyone in your family to pet it, but it will favour the person who dedicates the most time to it.
Rexes are low-maintenance and playful. You can even trust your kids with it, as long as they are old enough to understand that rough-housing a rabbit is not allowed.
The Rex is also a moody type of rabbit. Although they are generally gentle, they can also get mad or sad, resentful, brash, stubborn, or even destructive. From that point of view, you can say that Rex Rabbits have a personality almost as complex as humans.
Of course, there are many things you can do:
- Surround your Rex with lots of love and spend as much time as possible with it to make sure your rabbit doesn’t become stressed or angry because of anxiety separation.
- Follow the cues and build your trust. Rexes behave differently depending on their mood. If your Rex licks your leg, it’s a sign of trust, love, and need for attention. If your Rex jumps nervously when you come near it, it prefers to be left alone, not picked up. If you pick or pet your rabbit when it doesn’t want that, your Rex will scream blue murder.
- Train your rabbit. Use his favourite food or toy to build trust and connection, and to sway his aggressive or grumpy instincts. Don’t use punishments, but focus on positive reinforcement such as treats, cuddles, play, or words of appreciation. Quick reminder: don’t exaggerate with the snacks.
- Help it use his extra energy. Offer your Rex plenty of opportunity to play and to become excited in a controlled, non-aggressive fashion. Hiding places, tunnels, and toys along with your company are the best tools for the job. Rabbits are used to running a lot each day, so they need a few hours outside to stretch their legs.
- Get a rabbit companion. A mate curbs rabbits’ potential aggressive behaviour because they feel less stressed. Besides, a companion increases their overall sense of happiness, so your bunny is less prone to rabbity diseases. It’s a good idea to get your Rex a friend especially if you’re away from home a lot.
Conclusion. Should You Buy a Rex Rabbit?
Rex Rabbits are cute, funny, playful, and gentle. They can also express their feelings accurately and have a lot of energy. Rex Rabbits need constant affection and a nurturing, safe environment.
Rex Rabbits are low-maintenance, so they’re suited for new bunny parents as well as seniors. People with allergies have more chances of getting along with a Rex with short hair that doesn’t shed than with a furry Angora Rabbit.
That said, remember that the Rex will need a lot of your time. Are you up for the job?