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Rex Rabbit: Appearance, Care & Facts

three rex rabbits

The Rex Rabbit is the name given for one of several large breeds of rabbits recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA). These rabbits usually weigh between 7 – 11 pounds and are quite friendly, often sitting on their owners’ laps to watch television. It gets its name from its rex fur that lacks guard hairs giving the rabbit a velvety texture. Keep reading while we learn more interesting facts about these animals to see if they are right for your home.


Quick Facts about Rex Rabbits

Species Name: O. cuniculus
Family: Leporidae
Care Level: Moderate
Climate: All climates
Temperament: Friendly, calm, intelligent
Color Form: Amber, black, blue, broken, caster, chinchilla, chocolate, lilac, lynx, opal, otter, red, seal, white
Lifespan: 5-6 years
Size: Large 7 – 11 pounds
Diet: Herbivore
Minimum Cage Size: 5-6 feet long x 2 feet wide.
Tank Set-Up: Water bottle, food bowl, timothy hay, bedding
Compatibility: Yes

Rex Rabbit Breeds Overview

two blue rex rabbits
Image Credit: SeraphP, Shutterstock

European breeders created the Rex rabbit in the early 1900s when they noticed some rabbits had a gene that caused them to lack the guard hairs that other rabbits have. It has a large round body suitable for meat, but most people keep them as pets because of their loving temperament. It’s one of the few animals where the females tend to be larger than the males, and the females will also raise the young of other rabbits.


How Much Do Rex Rabbits Cost?

The Rex rabbit is extremely popular due to its large size and friendly nature, so you can easily find them. You can expect to pay between $20 and $60 when you buy directly from Rex rabbit breeders, but you can often find them in pet stores and even some animal shelters at a discounted rate. Sheltered rabbits tend to be even more friendly than normal because you have saved its life and got it out of the confined space it was living.

There are other costs associated with owning a rabbit that you should consider, including regular vet visits, the cage, food, and toys that you will need to provide. Rex rabbits will also need a never-ending supply of timothy hay to keep their front teeth under control. While these items are not expensive, they will add up over time to a considerable expense.

Typical Behavior & Temperament

The Rex rabbit is an extremely friendly breed that is popular among children because it enjoys being around people. It has a strong drive to nurture and will often take over caring for the young of other rabbits left behind, usually due to predation when it happens in the wild. It’s calmer than most other breeds but will still spook easily, and owners will need to take care that the environment doesn’t cause anxiety. Most rabbits enjoy quiet spaces without sudden noises.

two broken rex rabbits
Image Credit: Kassia Marie Ott, Shutterstock

Your Rex will like to spend plenty of time outside the cage and will want to sit on your lap and have you carry it around. It also enjoys when you pet it and hand-feed it celery or carrots.

Appearance & Varieties

The Rex rabbit has large upright ears and a plump round body that can weigh between 7 and 11 pounds. It’s available in a wide variety of colors, and its short fur is thick and stands upright. Breeders often use this fur in the production of velvet.

It’s somewhat confusing, but the Rex rabbit is one of several breeds with the rex gene giving them their short velvety fur. These breeds are different than the Rex, and they only have this one gene in common. The breeds with the rex gene are the Astrex, Canadian Plush Top, Mini Rex, Miniature Rex, Opossum, Plush Lop, Plush Lop Miniature, and Velveteen Lop.


How to Take Care of Rex Rabbits

Habitat, Cage Conditions & Setup

Rex rabbit breeds will need a large cage. Most experts recommend a habitat that is four times the length of your rabbit in width and depth. It should also be about two feet high. Since you don’t know how large your rabbit will get, and you may have several rabbits that use the same cage, one that is 5-6 feet long and about 2 feet wide, and tall enough that the rabbit can stand on it’s hind legs. Rabbits like to climb, so a taller cage with some sturdy ramps can help keep them entertained.

Wire Bottom or Bedding

If this is your first rabbit, you might want to go with a wire bottom cage because they are much easier to clean. The rabbit feces fall through the wire onto a tray below that you can remove and clean without entering the enclosure. If the rabbit is a child’s pet, this is often the best way to prevent strong odors and maintain a clean cage.

However, the wire cage can hurt the rabbit’s feet and can lead to injury. A cage with a bedding floor will be much softer on your rabbit’s feet and is essential if your rabbit doesn’t get enough time outside the enclosure. It will be harder to clean a cage with bedding, and you will need to enter the enclosure each week to remove the soiled bedding and replace it with new material. Not changing the bedding frequently enough will lead to a strong odor.

lilac rex rabbit
Image Credit: HolySource, Shutterstock

Do Rex Rabbits Get Along with Other Pets?

Yes, the Rex rabbit has a strong motherly instinct that will cause it to care for all other animals, including you. Its large size usually prevents cats from attacking it, but some dog breeds have a strong prey drive, so you will need to watch them when they are close to your rabbit. Dogs that chase or bark at your Rex rabbit can cause a high level of anxiety that can lead to health problems if allowed to continue.

What to Feed Your Rex Rabbit

The Rex rabbit diet is an herbivore diet and will spend most of its day eating timothy hay. Its front teeth grow continuously, and it needs to eat the hay to keep them manageable. It also provides them with the much-needed fiber that they need in their diet. Your rabbit will also eat several other kinds of grass and vegetables to make up the bulk of their diet. You will also need to supply them with a small amount of rabbit pellet food to ensure that they get the nutrition they need and give them some fruit as a treat. You will also need to provide your Rex with a water bottle filled with fresh, clean water.

castor rex rabbit
Image Credit: HolySource, Shutterstock

Keeping Your Rex Rabbit Healthy

It’s not hard to keep your Rex rabbit healthy by following a few steps.

  • Provide it with a constant supply of timothy hay. Make sure the hay is high quality and not wet or moldy.
  • Allow it to spend plenty of time outside the cage each day. Most experts recommend a minimum of 1–3 hours, but more is better, especially if it’s using a wire bottom cage.
  • If you allow it to run free, remember that rabbits like to chew things that look like hay and grass, so you will want to conceal all your wiring and rabbit-proof your home.
  • Maintain a stress-free environment. Rabbits are easily spooked, and too much anxiety can lead to health problems. Try to keep barking, yelling, and other loud noises to a minimum. If you need to, keep the rabbit in a quiet part of the home that people can visit.
  • Your rabbit will rarely need a bath, so you should avoid giving them. Rabbits do not like the water, and it will cause your pet to reach a high-stress level.


While your Rex rabbit would be easy to breed, most experts recommend that you do not attempt to reproduce them. Rabbits are extremely promiscuous, and they will overrun your home in a short time. Too many rabbits will not fit in the enclosure, and it will be bad for their health. You may also run into legal problems if your pet overpopulates, so it’s best to get your rabbits fixed as early as possible to avoid problems.


Are Rex Rabbits Suitable for You?

The Rex rabbit is one of the best pets you can buy for a small child, and it’s suitable for adults as well. It enjoys being around people so you can pet it and carry it around, unlike a fish or even a hamster or mouse, and it requires far less care and attention than a cat or a dog.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this guide and have learned something new. If we have convinced you to purchase one of these lovable pets, please share these Rex Rabbit facts and care guide on Facebook and Twitter.

Featured Image Credit: dwi putra stock, Shutterstock

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