The rex fur gene in rabbits was first discovered in 1900s France and soon, these types of rabbits were being bred all over the world. The ARBA recognized the original Rex breed, which is about 9 lbs, but demand grew for a smaller version – thus, the Mini Rex was born.
The Mini Rex breed was first developed by Monna R. Berryhill of Texas, who bred a black Dwarf Rex buck and a undersized Lynx Red doe. The litter produced seven kits, marking the first of the new breed. In 1986, Berryhill introduced the Mini Rex, and the American Rabbit Breeders’ Association (ARBA) recognized it as a new breed of rabbit.
Mini Rex rabbits are a popular rabbit breed for families looking for a first-time pet for their children.
The Mini Rex rabbit has a rounded back with well-developed shoulders, hindquarters and midsection. These rabbits should have a short neck and thick ears measuring approximately 3.5 inches once fully grown.
The Mini Rex has a distinct kind of fur that is different than the long, soft wool of the English Angora, for example. The Mini Rex does not have any long guard hairs protecting its underfur, and the secondary guard hairs are the same length as the undercoat, which means all you can feel is the fine hairs that have a texture reminiscent of velvet. This breed’s fur is short (ideally 5/8 inch in length), smooth and springy, and not too soft or silky. The fur should also be extremely dense, straight and upright.
Their short fur does not need much maintenance – in fact, owners should try not to brush this rabbit breed’s coat too often, as it may actually damage its texture. Groom only when necessary, but no more than once every other week. Should its coat get dirty, simply spot-clean it with a damp cloth.
Mini Rex rabbits comes in a rainbow of colors and markings, far too many to mention here. These include sable, castor, blue, himalayan, lilac, lynx, opal, broken (any accepted variety with white), tricolour (white with colors such as black and orange, chocolate and orange, blue and fawn, etc.), and pattern (a broken pattern with nose makings, eye markings, colors ears, and tail and body spots).
Don’t brush the Mini Rex’s coat too often, as it may actually damage the fur’s texture.
There are a few options available when purchasing a rabbit enclosure. Apartment dwellers may opt to have an indoor rabbit cage or even purchase a dog crate, and add some bunny-friendly modifications. Indoor rabbit enclosures should be made of wire with a plastic bottom in order to place rabbit-friendly bedding at the base. The bedding needs to be spot-cleaned every day and completely replaced every week.
If you have a fenced backyard, you can purchase/build your own rabbit hutch or even a rabbit shed. But whenever you have an outdoor enclosure for your rabbit, always be aware of outdoor temperatures, how much sun your rabbit is exposed to, and if there are any local predators you should be wary of (racoons, birds, coyotes, etc.).
Rabbits need a diet composed mostly of pellets and hay (about 70 percent). Adult rabbits will eat about 1/4 cup of high-fiber pellets everyday for every 5 pounds they weigh (Mini Rex rabbits, for instance, would not need more than 1/4 a day since they are typically small). They will also enjoy fresh fruits, leafy greens, and vegetables including carrots, watercress, red or green lettuce, celery, mango, pear, peach, and more. Remember to research what you’re feeding your rabbit before giving it to them, as some foods may be dangerous to its health (apples are great, but their seeds contain tiny amounts of cyanide).
Unlike most animals, rabbit teeth never stop growing. Thankfully, they are also constantly being worn down by everyday activities such as chewing their food (mostly hay). If your rabbit’s teeth are not being worn down, its teeth may start growing into its jaw and face, causing severe pain. Signs of overgrown teeth or an infection due to overgrown teeth include loss of appetite, sluggish activity, and drooling. Be sure to check your rabbit’s mouth weekly for signs of overgrown teeth and bring it to the vet if you suspect an infection. Ears should also regularly be checked for ear mites, as this is a common condition in rabbits, especially those that are mostly outdoors.
Should you decide to spay or neuter your rabbit, does can be spayed once they are 4-6 months old while bucks can be neutered as young as 3.5 months old.
The Mini Rex rabbit has a rounded back with well-developed shoulders, hindquarters and midsection.
Mini Rex rabbits are a popular rabbit breed for families looking for a first-time pet for their children. Because of its quiet, calm nature, these bunnies are also wonderful choices for couples, singles or retirees looking for a little bundle of joy. Small kits (baby rabbits) need to be supervised when handled by a child, as rabbits often squirm and may fall if the child is not holding securely enough. Should your child be holding the rabbit, make sure they are seated on the ground to minimize risk of falling.
Rabbits are harder to train than other domesticated animals, but it definitely isn’t impossible. Training rabbits to stay, come, or even potty train comes with lots of time, patience and rewards (preferably a piece of food). Owners must approach rabbits with an extremely patient mindset in order to train. Never yell or shout at your rabbit when you become frustrated, as rabbits may become aggressive or refuse to participate in any further training.
When it comes to toys, rabbits do benefit from having some entertainment. Your rabbit may enjoy simple DIY toys like stuffed toilet paper rolls or store-purchased items – it’s all up to your rabbit’s individual personality.
Photo credit: Tjflex2/Flickr; Gary McNair/Flickr; Life on White/Bigstock