The Rex rabbit is large breed that was discovered in the wild in 1919 in France. The rabbits have a round body, thick face and upright ears. Their bodies are covered with a dense coat of plush, velvety fur that may be any one of 16 colors recognized by the The National Rex Rabbit Club (NRRC) and the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA). In warm climates, the Rex may be kept outdoors year round, but in cold climates it should be brought inside during the winter. Rex rabbits are easy to care for, very intelligent and friendly, and have few health issues.
The rabbit's upright ears are proportionate to the body size, and the Rex rabbit has a slightly wider head than other breeds. Females tend to be slightly larger than the males, but both sexes typically weigh 7.5-10.5 pounds (about 3.4-4.76 kilograms). One of the Rex rabbit's hallmark characteristics is the very thick, plush fur. The fur may be 0.5-0.9 inches (about 1.3-2.2 centimeters) long and tends to stand almost perpendicular to the body. Fur behind the ears may grow longer and has a tendency to curl. The toenails are the same color as the fur.
The 16 colors recognized by NRRC and ARBA for show rabbits include black, blue, tri-color or broken, and Californian. Castor, chinchilla, chocolate, lilac, lynx, red, opal, sable, white, and seal are also accepted colors. Rex rabbits, however, come in many more colors.
In warm climates, the rabbit may live comfortably outside in a hutch all year. In cooler climates, the hutch should be moved inside a barn or other shelter, and in climates that are very cold, the rabbit does best living indoors. Outside shelters should not be placed in a location that receives direct sunlight all day, as Rex rabbits do not tolerate extremes of temperature. House rabbits, or rabbits kept indoors, may be litter box trained and tend to live longer than rabbits that are outside all of the time.
Commercial rabbit pellets and unlimited amounts of timothy hay, along with fresh vegetables, is the healthiest diet for a Rex. The pellets should be free of seeds or corn kernels. For each 5 pounds (about 2.2 kilograms), the rabbit may be fed 0.25 cups (about 7.09 grams) of rabbit pellets each day. As with any pet, the Rex rabbit must have access to clean, fresh water at all times.
The Rex has few health problems and usually lives to be five or six years old. Neutering male rabbits at about four months old prevents any aggression that may be seen in males as they become sexually mature. Females may be spayed at about the same age. Both neutering and spaying may lengthen the lives of Rex rabbits by as much as three to five years.
The rabbit's intelligence is one of the highest among rabbit breeds and makes it possible to train one to come when called, jump hurdles, hop on a leash, and do almost any trick a dog can do. Children who have been taught to handle a rabbit safely will find the friendliness of a Rex rabbit very appealing.