Rex Rabbit – information and facts about the Rex Rabbit Breed. Learn more about Rex Rabbits in this article. Breed photos are included.
Dubbed as “Beaver King” and “King of the Rabbits”, it’s quite interesting to know the rabbit behind these labels. The Rex rabbit breed, though not as mainstream and popular as its miniature version, the Mini Rex, still has a lot of things to be proud of.
Rex Rabbit Facts
The history of Rex rabbits can be traced back to a French peasant, who in 1919 was cited for raising the first set of Rex rabbits that were recorded. His son was then working for another rabbit fancier named M. AmadeeGillet. Gillet went to see the hutches owned by the peasant and was amazed by the unique appearance of the Rex rabbits, which were then wild gray in color. This prompted him to produce more of the bunnies.
In the year 1924, Gillet had developed a new breed, which he called Castorrex. This new development was well received across Europe and America. “Castorrex” basically means “Beaver King” in Latin. And the word “Beaver” in the name pertains to the rich color of the rabbit, which is red brownish in nature, similar to the pelts of the North American mammal that furriers sought after. But more than the rich color of the breed, there must be something more special to the strange rabbit that earned it the “King” name.
And it is the velvet. If you compare the coat of all the rabbits with normal furs, the coat of a Rex rabbit breed would stand out. It is much softer and shorter, capturing the attention of people who also breed rabbits for fur purposes. It has to be noted that this fur is so short that it’s already as short as the under fur, compared to the normal fur which is composed of long and straight guard hairs that extends beyond the length of the undercoat. The fur, which has a beautiful plush texture, sticks out straight from the body.
In the later years of the breed’s development, breeders were able to put a Rex coat on different breeds, including the Mini Rex, Dwarf Rex, and Velveteen Lop to name a few. However, the Rex breed with the recognition from the ARBA is the original.
According to documentations, the unique, dense, plush, and velvet-like fur of the Rex rabbit was caused by a gene mutation that happened among French wild rabbits in the late 19th century. The mutation was known to be recessive and thus causes the hair of the rabbit to protrude outwards from the body, instead of lying flat. It also causes the guard hairs of the breed to be shortened to the length of the undercoat.
This mutation is also present in cats (Cornish Rex), dogs (Curly Coated Retriever), horses (Curly Horse), and rats. The main difference between a Rex rabbit and a Rex cat is that the latter has a curly coat, which may differ in volume. The Rex, on the other hand, have remarkably thicker coat with very small curls in it.
Rex rabbit is also called “Standard Rex”, which is the term referred to the Rex after the Mini Rex was developed, more so to avoid confusion. However, the official name that was adopted by the American Rabbit Breeders Association, as well as the British Standards of Rabbit, is the “Rex Rabbit”.
The first appearance of a Rex rabbit in a public show is in the Paris International Rabbit Show. Since then it has become one of the most popular domestic rabbit breeds. Today, the breed is being raised as pets, as show rabbits, and also for fur and meat production. Indeed, Rex is one of the two most popular breeds for the production of fur, along with the American Chinchilla.
2. Characteristics and Appearance
At the age of maturity, the weight of a Rex rabbit is typically 8 to 9 pounds.A larger interpretation of this range would be 7 ½ to 10 ½, if we consider the extremes. The does can weigh heavier than the bucks. The breed is generally classified under the medium-sized rabbit breeds. Despite being large, it’s not quite large enough to belong to six-class breeds.
Rex has a commercial, well-rounded body type. Its head is quite broader compared to the head of other rabbit breeds. The erect ears are well proportioned to the size of the head and the body. The female Rex has a dewlap, which is the large flap of skin that can be founded under the chin.
The fur of the Rex has a length between ½ and 7/8 inch. As described earlier, their fur is dense and has a plush texture that is like velvet. While the gene mutation of the Rex causes some fur to curl in certain areas of the rabbit’s body, the curling is rarely visible. But curling can be more apparent on body areas that have longer fur, such as behind the ears.
The recognized colors for the Rex Rabbits are Amber, Black, Blue, Broken Group, Californian, Castor, Chinchilla, Chocolate, Lilac, Lynx, Opal, Otter, Red, Sable, Seal, and White. Among all these colors, the most recently recognized are the blue, lilac, chocolate, otter, and amber.
In other breeds, the amber variety is called “cinnamon” or “chocolate agouti”, due to the fact that it is a chocolate-based castor. Moreover, castor refers to the same color as chestnut in other breeds. But heavy rufus factor and short coat can pose a disparity in its appearance compared to the usual chestnut.
The general type of the breed has more weight in the point system than the fur. However, the two factors are the most important considerations during the winner’s selection in rabbit shows.
3. Personality and Traits
According to the Burke’s Backyard, the Rex rabbits are one of the most intelligent rabbit breeds. Indeed, Rex is often used as a foster mother for other rabbits. And on top of that, these rabbits can be housed together.
With an activity level ranging from low to moderate, Rex rabbits can jump as high as three feet. They are most active during the evening and early hours of the morning, similar to the rest of rabbits. For the rest of the day, they would rather sleep and slack off.
The playful, smart, and calm nature of the breed is the major reason why it was likened to the behavior of the cat.
Rex rabbits can be trained easily with a special attention given to them. However, it is to be noted that clay or cedar-based litters should not be used in training them to avoid possible health hazards. Oneof the tricks that it can do is coming when called, however, a favorite treat is usually used to motivate the rabbit to do the task.
Rex can stay outdoors the entire year and is also flexible with climate changes, unlike other breeds. But of course, the environment needs to be suitable in facilitating the lifestyle of the rabbit. It is usually fed with a combination of commercial rabbit pellets and timothy hay.
Moreover, the Rex rabbit is described as a hardy breed that could suffer from a few health issues. It is one of the gentler breeds of rabbit.
Generally, Rex rabbit is an excellent choice for families that have children. Children must be educated in the proper handling of the rabbit to prevent harms and dangers.
The popularity of the Mini Rex has somehow overshadowed that of the less common Rex. Despite this, the members of the National Rex Rabbit Club still call the rabbit with plush coating the “King of Rabbits”.