You can’t talk about the Mini Rex rabbit without mentioning the glorious, plush fur of the breed. Shared only with the Rex rabbit, touching either breed is an experience you won’t forget. Mini Rex are a smaller breed. They usually weigh in around 4.5 pounds. The fur and small size might be reasons why Mini Rex are popular. They are one of the breeds developed in the United States and gained recognition in 1988, which is somewhat recently compared to most of the other rabbit breeds.
Colors: ARBA recognizes nearly 20 colors of Mini Rex.
Year Recognized By ARBA: 1988 (first official showing in 1989)
• Mini Rex are nicknamed “The People’s Choice In A Fancy Breed.”
• Mini Rex have the Rex fur type, which is short, upright, and velvety to touch.
• National Mini Rex Rabbit Club
It’s all about the fur with either the Mini Rex or standard Rex rabbit breeds. Why? Because it’s so plush and velvety to touch. The fur stands upright. The guard hairs and undercoat are the same length. It’s truly unique fur. Once you touch it, you never forget it.
People have always been fans of the Rex fur, but not all people are fans of the size of the standard Rex, which weighs about 10.5 pounds. The trend in the last few decades is toward smaller breeds. The Mini Rex breed has a maximum weight of 4.5 pounds.
The breed standard for Mini Rex specifies that it has a compact, balanced, smooth body. The ears are upright and close together. The ideal for shoulders, midsection, and hindquarters calls for them to be firm and well-filled.
A fascinating video on YouTube from Petrasbunnies shows a judge explaining the differences between two top Mini Rex contenders at a rabbit show, and reasons why points are added or deducted.
The feel of their fur is unforgettable, but another wonderful fact about Mini Rex is that they come in a wide variety of colors — nearly 20! The American Rabbit Breeders Association-recognized colors include black, blue, blue-eyed white, broken group, castor, chinchilla, chocolate, Himalayan, lilac, lynx, opal, otter, red, sable point, seal, silver marten, smoke pearl, tortoise, and white. Add in the several colors from the broken group, and there are more than 20 to choose from.
The history of the Mini Rex begins with Monna Berryhill in Texas, according to the NMRRC website. In 1984, she received a Dwarf Rex and paired it with a lynx Rex. By 1986, she presented the first Mini Rex at the annual ARBA convention. It was a castor Mini Rex, and ARBA approved a working standard for the breed. In 1987 and 1988, Berryhill presented again, passing both times. Meanwhile, other rabbit breeders began presenting different varieties in 1987. The Mini Rex was accepted as a breed in 1988 with numerous varieties available with more added over the years.
Mini Rex are considered a friendly breed, although the degree of friendliness varies by individual.
Rabbits are prey animals, so avoid sudden movements around them or grabbing them quickly from above. Some bunnies might never enjoy being picked up. Daily, supervised roaming time in a safe area outside the cage lets their personality shine. All rabbits are usually calmer after being spayed/neutered. The operation also benefits their future health, as it eliminates the risk of some reproductive cancers.
A discussion about Mini Rex personality at the RabbitTalk forum offers further insights, and another on the Bunspace forum discusses possible personality differences between all rabbit breeds.
Mini Rex, like other rabbits, need good food and a safe, enriched environment to thrive. The adult rabbit diet is mainly fresh, loose grass hay. Hay is needed for the fiber, which keeps their gastrointestinal tract moving properly and also helps wear down their constantly growing teeth. Clean, fresh water is another daily must for rabbits. Fresh, green, leafy vegetables are a smaller but important part of the diet. Pellets balanced for rabbit needs are an even smaller part of the diet, as are treats. Treats make up only 5 to 10% of a rabbit’s daily food. And owners can maximize their furry pal’s enjoyment by choosing tasty yet healthy treats.
Besides food, another main concern for rabbits is housing. The minimum cage size recommended is 30 by 30 inches for one small rabbit. But rabbits usually do better in pairs or groups, so that requires a larger cage. With cages, exercise pens, rabbit-proofed rooms, and other options to explore, people opt for what works best for their home. The most important factor is that the rabbits feel safe.
Living in a safe place with plenty of food isn’t enough, though. Rabbits also need enrichment and interaction. Toys, exploring time, and playtime by themselves, with other bunnies and with you meets these needs. Expect to give your Mini Rex daily attention well beyond providing food and giving a few pats on the head. Play with your Mini Rex on their terms. Rabbits usually don’t enjoy being picked up, but are happy to play games on the floor or hop on you if you sit on the floor.
Regular cage/habitat cleaning helps keep your Mini Rex healthy. Daily cleaning is needed for the litter box, food bowls, and water bottles. Expect a weekly clean-out of the cage and other accessories, and a monthly full wash with rabbit-safe cleaners. Watch for wear and tear on any items in the cage; replace toys or bedding as these wear out.
With a clean habitat, what about the rabbit?
Rabbits groom themselves, except for trimming their nails, which you, a groomer, or your vet need to do. Owners should brush their Mini Rex routinely. Minimizing the fur a Mini Rex ingests helps prevent hairballs from forming in the GI tract. Rabbits can’t cough up hairballs like cats do, so it’s best to prevent hairballs.
Mini Rex rabbits are subject to the usual rabbit health concerns that face all rabbit breeds. Malocclusion, GI stasis, respiratory disease, mites, and uterine cancer in unspayed females, to name a few. Many factors affect the development of rabbit ailments, including environment, care, genetics, and reproductive status. But proper care minimizes much of the risk.
Definitely watch out for your rabbits when the temperature rises.
In addition to making temperature a concern, the fur might also make Mini Rex feet more prone to bumblefoot, or sore hocks. Rabbits only have fur on the bottom of their feet, no paw pads. The softness of the Mini Rex fur gives a bit less protection to the bottom of their feet.
Whenever you notice something unusual about your Mini Rex — including sleeping more or sleeping less, eating more or eating less, drinking more or drinking less, pooping more or pooping less or having strange poop — contact a rabbit-savvy veterinarian. As prey animals, rabbits hide any illness or pain as long as possible. By the time you notice something might be “off,” your pet might have been suffering for hours, days, or longer.