Breed profile of the Rex rabbit, an intelligent breed, affectionate and maternal, often mothering other rabbits. Rex rabbits have a unique plush texture to their coat, due to a gene mutation.
The Rex rabbit originated in France in the 1920s and is named for the rex gene responsible for its unique type of fur. Normal rabbit fur is made up of a shorter undercoat, interspersed with longer guard hairs. Rex fur is the result of a genetic mutation causing the hairs to be all the same length, giving a plush texture like velvet. In nature, mutations occur quite frequently, and many breeds result from a mutation that is fixed through a selective breeding programme. The first Rex rabbit was born in the French village of Louché-Pringé in 1919, where the village priest was impressed with its plush coat and decided to breed it. Several Rex rabbits were shown at a major international show in Paris in 1924, where they found great interest among breeders. The high demand for Rex pelts soon resulted in commercial overbreeding and a decline in fur quality as the rex gene tends to make the hair thin and sparse. A few serious breeders introduced modifying genes from other breeds and established the Rex breed with a far better fur quality. The Rex became very popular in many countries as both a commercial and a fancy breed. The first Rex rabbits were castor coloured, but a wide variety of colours have been developed through cross-breeding.
The Rex is a large rabbit, weighing between 3 and 4.5kg (6-10lbs). Rex rabbits are smaller in the UK at around 3-3.5kg (6-8lbs), Rex are larger in the USA at around 3.5-4.5kg (8-10lbs).
Rex rabbits have a medium build, a solid-looking, rounded body with strong legs, a broad head and upright ears.
Rex rabbits have short, soft hair, about 1.25cm or ½inch long. The coat is dense, smooth and level with a firm, plush texture. Rex rabbits have curly whiskers.
Castor, Black, Blue, White, Chocolate, Sable, Seal, Chinchilla, Lynx and Opal are common to most countries.
Amber, Red, Lilac, Broken, Californian and Black Otter are also recognised in the USA
Smoke Pearl, Tortoiseshell, Orange, Fawn, Cinnamon, Dalmation, Harlequin, Himalayan and Satin are also recognised in the UK.
Rex rabbits have a relatively calm temperament and are generally very good-natured. They are intelligent and affectionate, very maternal (often mothering other rabbits), and enjoy company. They can be quite boisterous and playful, but are usually good with children and other pets.
Rex rabbits do not need grooming, if necessary they can be cleaned by wiping over with a damp cloth.
Rex rabbits are prone to sore hocks.