The Standard Rex rabbit is a breed of European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) that has developed to have short dense plush velvet-like fur.
The Rex is a medium-sized rabbit with a commercial, round body and an ideal weight range of 7.5–10.5 pounds (3.4–4.8 kg), although females can weigh as much as 10.5 pounds (4.8 kg). The Rex has a slightly broader head than other breeds of rabbit, proportionate upright ears, and proportionally smaller feet. As with most larger breeds, the female (doe) has a dewlap, a large flap of skin under the chin.
History and origin
The Rex is a variety of rabbit that exhibits plush fur that is often described as having a velvety texture. The breed originated in France in 1919. Its origin was a litter of wild gray rabbits and has been developed over the years by fanciers and the fur industry. The Rex Rabbit was first shown publicly at the Paris International Rabbit Show in 1924 and has been recognized as a standard breed in parts of Europe since 1925. The Rex was first imported to the United States in 1924 following the Paris International Rabbit Show by American rabbit pioneer John C. Fehr and his partner Alfred Zimmerman.
Many genes contribute to the Standard Rex breed. The definition of the breed is maintained by ARBA. The definition is based strictly on phenotype. The gross external features used identify the rabbit include weight, coloration, coat texture and length. Of these features, amongst fanciers and the fur industry, the coat properties are of chief concern. This breed has a low to moderate activity level and can jump as high as three feet.
The Rex Rabbit is available in many different colors.
Currently, Rex Rabbits are kept as pets, as show rabbits, and for fur and meat production. The Rex remains the number one breed used in fur production for garments and toys as their fur lacks protruding guard hairs which in other breeds which must be shorn and plucked after the tanning process to resemble other animal furs. The bulk of furs produced in the United States are more of a by-product to the primary purpose of meat production and are of lesser quality. Meat production favors harvest of young animals (70–84 days) which is not sufficient time for the rabbit to grow a high quality adult fur. The fur is best after 6 months and during the coldest part of the year. The overwhelming number of furs produced in the USA are used in the creation of felt because the fur quality of commercially raised rabbits is of too low a quality for the garment trade. See: Production of Rabbit Skins and Hair for Textiles
Breeds derived from the Rex
- Domestic rabbit
- List of rabbit breeds
- House rabbit
- Rabbit hair
- List of types of fur
- Fur farming
- British Rabbit Council
- American Rabbit Breeders' Association
- ARBA Standard of Perfection, 2006–2010
- "Rex Rabbit Fact File." Pet Peoples Place. 2009.
- Ruben, Dr. Dawn. "Choosing a Rex Rabbit." PetPlace.com. 2009.
- "Rabbits." Butterfly Creek. 2004.
- http://nationalrexrc.org/varieties.htm Rex Varieties
- American Rabbit Breeders Association, Inc.
- National Rex Rabbit Club
- Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations