Rex rabbit

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A group of short-haired rabbit breeds is known as the Rex rabbit .

Characteristics of the Rex Rabbit

With a length of 17 to 20 mm, the fur of the Rex rabbit is significantly shorter than that of the normal-haired rabbit. The hair is perpendicular to the body; the guard hairs, which are present in the same number as in normal-haired rabbits, in contrast to normal-haired rabbits, do not or only slightly protrude beyond the undercoat. The guard hairs are irregularly developed and show constrictions, thickenings and crimps. The whiskers and tracking hairs as well as the eyelashes of the Rex rabbits are shortened by half and bent. The complete absence of the tracer hairs is a serious mistake and leads to exclusion from the evaluation at exhibitions.

The short hair gives the fur of the Rex rabbit a velvety structure that is reminiscent of a mole's fur . Since the color zones of the hair are shortened accordingly in all Rex breeds with a wild color factor, the color often looks different than in normal hair breeds; In particular, the flaky covering color determined by the guard hairs appears rather as a uniform, dark veil.

Rex rabbits (except Rex dwarfs) have a maximum weight of 4.5 kg. The minimum weight varies between 2.375 kg and 2.5 kg depending on the color; the normal weight is 3 kg or 3.5 kg, depending on the color. The body is slightly elongated and cylindrical, with the same width at the front and back. The neck and neck are only hinted at, the head is elongated with a broad forehead and muzzle. Due to their short fur, Rex rabbits appear slimmer than normal-haired breeds; in particular the neck, which is otherwise hidden in the fur, becomes more clearly visible.

Rex rabbits are now admitted in different sizes and colors. In the system of rabbit breeds, as used by the Central Association of German Race Rabbit Breeders, they form Division VI - Shorthair breeds. Since the combination of a certain color or drawing with the Rex fur is largely unproblematic in terms of breeding, in principle all colors and drawings that exist in normal hair can be transferred to Rex rabbits. Such combinations are regularly presented as new breeds at larger shows.

Rex rabbit breeds

Medium-sized short-haired rabbits

Weight 3.5-4.5 kg (Switzerland: 4 - 4.7 kg)


Color according to the chinchilla rabbits .

Blue Rex

Color according to the Blue Viennese .


Pure white fur, both the albino color type with red eyes (analogous to the White New Zealander ) and the leucistic color type with blue eyes analogous to the White Viennese are permitted.

Tricolor Piebald Rex

Color according to the Rheinische Schecken .

Dalmatian Scheckenrex

Dalmatian Rex

A dot chick breed, a normal-haired counterpart of this breed does not exist, the Dalmatian-Rex should be the drawing image of the dog breed Dalmatian , i.e. H. show many small, round patches of color distributed on a white base color with at least 3 points on each side of the body. In Switzerland, black, blue and havanna are recognized as drawing colors.

Yellow Rex The Yellow Rex shows the red color of the Red New Zealander and the Sachsengold .

Yellow - Rex

Castor-Rex The Castor-Rex (German Beaver King) is the original breed of the shorthair rabbit (see also history of the breed). Its fur is called beaver-colored , genetically it corresponds to the color of the rabbit rabbit , it is a wild-colored fur with additional yellow reinforcements.

Black-Rex Black fur, like the Alaska rabbit or the Black Wiener .

Havana-Rex Dark chocolate brown fur with reddish eyes, corresponding to the color of the Havana rabbit .

Blue-gray Rex Blue-gray fur, d. H. Blue wild-colored fur, corresponding to that of the blue-gray Viennese and the Perlfeh .

Mauve-Rex Pastel-colored, light blue color with a brownish veil, corresponding to the Marburg Feh. Japanese Rex

Similar to the Japanese rabbit, distribution of yellow and black color fields similar to a chessboard. In the BDK (Association of German Rabbit Breeders) also approved in the "floral" color image.

Small shorthair rabbits

Cub Castor - Rex

(Weight 3.00-4.50 kg)

Feh-Rex Delicately tinted light blue with a light bluish veil, the fur color corresponds to that of the Marburg Feh .

Lux-Rex Red-brown body color with a veil in a fei-colored veil, the color corresponds to that of the Lux rabbits .

Loh-Rex The Lohrexe show the drawing of the loh rabbits , like these they are admitted in the colors black, brown and blue.

Marder-Rex : The Marder-Rexe show the drawing and color of the Marten Rabbit in the shades of brown and blue, as with these only the drawing of the split-earth type marten corresponds to the aim of the standard. The body color is a light blue or brown, on the sides and flanks the color is a little lighter, on the thighs and shoulders a little darker. The cheeks, chest and stomach are light brown and blue, respectively. A dark, broad, laterally not sharply demarcated stripe runs across the back, the dark face mask is also not sharply demarcated and extends to about the level of the eyes. Ears, legs, flower and eye rims are also dark.

Russen-Rex The Russenrex shows the drawing of the Russian rabbit . The animal is pure white with red eyes. Ears, snout, legs and flower are dark in color. Russian rexes are permitted as blue and black colors.

Rhönrexes Rhönrexes show the drawing image of the Rhön rabbit , a mixture of white ground color and gray spots in an irregular distribution, which resembles a birch trunk in color .

Kleinrex rabbit

The Kleinrex rabbit is a new breed in Europe. The first 15 animals of this US breed came to Europe in 2004 and were recognized as a new breed in Austria in January 2007. In addition to the familiar colors, the animals bring a wide range of new colors with them. In terms of size and weight, the Kleinrex lies between the smaller Standard Rex variants and the Dwarf Rex. Visually, the animals are more similar to the smaller rexes than to the dwarfed animal. According to the Austrian standard, it should be between 2 kg and 2.5 kg (valid for all EE countries). In Austria in 2010 the small rex in all colors was put on an equal footing with the large Rex rabbit (standard rex). The weight according to the German "work standard" is 1.7 to 2.6 kg, the ideal weight is 2.0 kg.

Klein Rexe are in the recognition process in Switzerland and Germany in the BDK. In the Central Association of German Breed Rabbit Breeders (ZDRK), the following Klein-Rex colors are in the approval process as new breeds: lux (02/2013), blue (02/2014), castor (10/2014), Dalmatian black and white (2015), black ( 2015), white roach (2015), mantled black-yellow-white - also called king mantled piebald (06/2016), Dalmatian black-yellow-white (06/2016).

Other countries in which the breed is approved are Australia, Denmark (from 10/2010), Finland (from 01/2011), Great Britain, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway (from 10/2010), Sweden (from 01/2011) , Hungary.

With over 2,000,000 animals internationally, the Little Rex Rabbit (Mini Rex or US Mini Rex) is the most popular rabbit breed in the world today.

Kleinrex Rammler white roach

Another type of Kleinrex rabbit is currently being bred in the USA: the Velveteen Lop . This breed is a combination of Kleinrex and English rams . The weight is 2.25 kg to 3 kg, the ideal is 2.6 kg. The ear length (wingspan) should be at least 35.6 cm, the ear width 1/4 of the length. After several attempts at approval had failed, the breed was officially approved for new breeding in 2008.

Rex dwarfs

(Weight 1.3-1.4 kg).

Rex dwarfs correspond in type to the ermine rabbit and the color dwarfs . Rex dwarfs are permitted in the colors recognized by the larger Rex rabbits.

Rex dwarf ram

(Weight 1.2 kg - 2.25 kg).

Rex dwarf rams correspond in type to the dwarf ram . The breed is not yet recognized in Germany, but the first presentation at the BDK for the BLS is planned for October 2010. Rex dwarf rams have been recognized in France and Canada since 2005.

History of the rex rabbits

The first Rex rabbits were found in 1919 by the French farmer Caillon in the Coulongé department of Sartre in two successive litters of slaughter rabbits (Sandford writes of a normal gray rabbit, which corresponds well with the wild colors of the Castor Rex). Caillon showed the animals to the village pastor Gillet, who also kept rabbits, who took over the animals, a rammer and a rabbit (according to Sandford, Gillet received offspring of the original two animals). The progeny of these animals consisted only of short-haired rabbits, but the mortality was very high, so that Gillet had to cross-breed animals with normal hair. Sandford reports that the length of the guard hair varied greatly in the first generations. In addition to animals whose guard hair barely protruded beyond the undercoat, there were those whose guard hair almost reached that of normal-haired rabbits.

Joppich writes that short-haired rabbits are said to have appeared in the area before, but received no further attention. With regard to the genetics of the rex rabbit, this seems plausible, as the parent animals used by Caillon must both have had the rex factor recessively.

Gillet first exhibited his animals as Castor-Rex (Beaver King) in 1924, the name of the breed was chosen because the color of the animals was similar to that of the beaver and the new fur structure should make the breed the king of rabbits. The displacement of the remaining races by the Rex rabbit was expected. In France, Prof. Kohler, then 1st chairman of the syndicate of the Alsace-Lorraine small animal breeders ' association and owner of a small animal farm in Thumenau in Alsace, took over Rex rabbits, from which he bred other varieties of color over time. Hans Nachtsheim took over a rammer from Kohler in 1925. At the same time, the Rex rabbits spread to other countries (import to Great Britain in 1927, recognition as a breed in the Netherlands in 1927). Wild speculation soon set in about the new breed, exorbitant prices were paid for the animals, Dorn writes of 1,000 marks for a single animal, Joppich of the equivalent of “a good dairy cow”. This speculative bubble meant that inferior animals that were susceptible to disease were also reproduced, which was what the rex breeding suffered for some time. After the inevitable burst of the speculative bubble, only serious breeders stayed with the breed. In Germany, the Rex rabbits were sometimes (until 1953) referred to as shorthair rabbits, after which they returned to the internationally common name Rex.

The rex dwarfs or dwarf rexes emerged almost 50 years after the appearance of the first rex rabbits. In 1967, the (West) Berlin breeder Johannes Freitag started breeding white dwarf rexes, two years later Hans Pfützner from Ettlingen started breeding black, white and castor-colored dwarf rexes, which were presented by Karl Erne from Niefern in 1974 together with Dalmatian-colored dwarf rexes . Friday first exhibited his animals in 1976. After an initial rejection by the Central Association of German Rabbit Breeders , it was recognized as a breed in 1980. Similar attempts had been made in the GDR to breed dwarf rabbits with Rex fur; the recognition as a breed took place here also in 1980 with the evaluation regulations for breed rabbits in socialist countries. According to Joppich, ermine rexes were shown at the 1965 Siegerschau in Dresden . While dwarf rexes are still quite rare, the larger rex rabbits can be seen regularly at exhibitions.

Rex fur genetics

Main article: Domestic rabbit genetics ,

(At least) three gene loci are known which lead to short hair (Rex fur) in rabbits. According to the literature, these animals cannot be distinguished phenotypically, but when crossed with one another in the F1 generation they lead to offspring with normal hair. The Rex rabbits to be found in Germany today all belong to the Castor Rex type (rex or r1). The Rexfaktor behaves recessive to normal hair coat, and a mating with Angora or satin rabbit into the F1 generation to normal-haired animals, as all these changes different loci concern.

Similar races

In the past two, possibly three, further mutations occurred that phenotypically led to the Rex fur.

German Shorthaired Pointer

Shortly after the appearance of the above-described French rex of the Castor rex type, short-haired animals appeared in several litters of slaughter rabbits at a rabbit keeper in Lübeck , Joppich writes about a wild gray bumblebee and later some albinos . After some unsuccessful breeding attempts were made with these animals, they passed into the possession of Friedrich Joppich in Boberg near Hamburg , who continued to breed the animals and compared them in detail with the French Rex. It was found that the hair structure of the German reindeer differed from the French in that the hair of the German shorthair rabbits had a wavy and slightly curled structure, which gave the fur a Persian-like structure according to Joppich , while that of the French reindeer is smooth. Crossing the two types always resulted in normal haired offspring, from which it could be concluded that there were two different mutations. Nachtsheim assigned the symbol dek (normal hair Dek) to the mutation of the German shorthair rabbits, the international symbol for this is r2 / R2. Joppich exhibited the offspring of the animals given to him in several colors in 1928 and 1929 under the name Wollrex. It was later renamed Deutsch-Kurzhaar. Wavy crimping of the hair with slight crimping of the hair tips was given as the breeding goal. The breed never achieved greater importance. From the Deutsch-Kurzhaar two more strokes, which also disappeared again, emerged: In 1930 the German curly haired rexes were shown at a show in Leipzig , but they gained no significance. Furthermore, in one of the litters of the German Shorthaired Pointer at Joppich, a rammer fell, which, however, corresponded to the opossum rabbit and did not pass on its coat structure.

Astrex or Astrakhan Rex

From 1932 to 1934 a type of rex, very similar to the German Shorthaired Pointer, named Astrarex or Astrachanrex, was bred in Great Britain, which was also exhibited in Leipzig in 1936. Joppich describes it as blue after the Leipzig animal, according to Sandford it was approved in all colors. Sandford writes in 1996 that this breed is very rare, if not extinct, in Britain. The genetic relationship between the Astrex and the other rex types is not known.

A breed known as the Astrex rabbit appeared in Canada a few years ago.

At Kleinrex breeders around Manchester (Great Britain) or in Austria, Astrex rabbits have appeared again and again in recent years, all of which can be traced back to the last Astrex lines (including the Canadian lines).

Norman rex

In 1927 another Rex type came to Germany from France , the Normannenrex or Norman Shorthair. Animals of this type had originated in the breeding of large Russian rabbits . They also showed the Russian drawing. Joppich describes them as superior to the Castor-Rex, which used to be quite susceptible, in terms of both quality and health. Despite this superiority, they could not find further distribution and have probably disappeared again. Norman Shorthair produced normal-haired offspring when mated with German Shorthair as well as with Castor-Rex, so that a third type of mutation is present, which according to Nachtsheim is called nok (normal hair Nok), in international symbols with r3 / R3.

Possum rabbit

The opossum rabbit is mentioned by both Joppich and Sandford. The aim was to imitate the possum fur ( fox kusu ). Joppich succeeded in doing this with a single rammer, which he fell from a litter of Deutsch-Kurzhaar in 1928. The animal had curly hair protruding vertically from the body, its fur appears rather half-length in the picture shown by Joppich, but is said to have shown the typical characteristics of the Rex fur, as was recognizable by stunted sniffer hair. A further breeding of the type did not succeed, although it had found inclusion in the common standard of BDK and RBDK, which was valid until 1935, together with the DPV (German Judges Association).

In England in 1924 T. Leaver from Kent bred a similar possum rabbit. Leaver, whose goal was to breed a Rex variant of the Chifox (a now extinct breed that is said to have had a 6 cm long fur) received the opossum rabbits. Later so-called "woollies" (long-haired animals that fall in normal litters) of the silver breeds were crossed in order to achieve silvering. The opossum rabbit described by Sandford has about 25 mm long hair that protrudes at right angles from the body, the guard hairs are pigmentless and slightly curled at the tips. According to the genesis of the breed, it appears to be a combination of one of the rex factors and the long hair factor. Compared to the "normal" (Castor-Rex), the opossum fur is recessive. Obviously, the Possumrex is also very rare in Great Britain today, possibly even extinct.

Satin Rex

The Satin-Rex, which is not known in Germany, is a combination of the Rex and the satin factor in a rabbit breed. The breed is recognized at least in Great Britain, but there is apparently also very rare.

As a variant of the dwarf ram, satin rexes are bred in Germany by some enthusiasts who are mostly not organized in breeding associations. Satin dwarf rams are not yet recognized in any European association. They belong to the "young races" for which the BDK will carry out an initial assessment at its national performance show in October 2010 in order to initiate a recognition process if they are suitable.


  • Standard van de Konijnenrassen, Cavia´s en kleine Knaagdieren , Nederlandse Konijnenfokkersbond, Venlo, 1990
  • Evaluation regulations for rabbits, BDK, Hanover, 2005 edition
  • Evaluation regulations for rabbits, BDK, RBDK & DPV, edition 1932, valid until 1935
  • Friedrich Karl Dorn and Günther March: Breed rabbit breeding. A manual for rabbit keepers and breeders , 7th edition Augsburg 1989 ISBN 3-89440-569-4
  • Dorn, Gerger, F .: Our Rex dwarfs - small short-haired breed on the upswing , in: The small animal breeder - rabbits 15/2004, pages 4–5, ISSN  0941-0848
  • A. Franke: Rexzwerge , in: The small animal breeder - rabbits 12/1998, ISSN  0941-0848
  • A. Franke: Rexkaninchen , in: The small animal breeder - Rabbit 5/1997, ISSN  0941-0848
  • Friedrich Joppich: The rabbit , VEB Deutscher Landwirtschaftsverlag, Berlin 1967
  • John C. Sandford: The domestic rabbit , 5th edition, Blackwell Science, Oxford 1996, ISBN 0-632-03894-2
  • Wolfgang Schlolaut: The big book of the rabbit . 2nd edition, DLG-Verlag, Frankfurt 1998, ISBN 3-7690-0554-6

Individual evidence

  1. Rex approval . Retrieved December 7, 2016.