Mini Rex Rabbits were first bred in Texas by Monna Berryhill. A relatively new breed, Mini Rexes have only been around since the 1980s.
These bunnies are small and soft, with sweet dispositions. They have a variety of coat colors, but the defining feature of the breed is the softness of the coat. Bred to be a smaller version of the Rex rabbit, these bunnies weigh just 4.5 pounds.
Table of contents
- What do Mini Rex Rabbits Look Like?
- Mini Rex Rabbit Diet
- How Long do Mini Rex Rabbits Live?
- Mini Rex Rabbit Grooming
- Mini Rex Rabbit Hutch
- Mini Rex Rabbit Behavior and Training
- How to Handle Mini Rex Rabbits
- Mini Rex Rabbit Veterinary Care
- Adopting a Mini Rex Rabbit
In this complete guide, we’ll discuss Mini Rex Rabbits, their care, housing, training, and more!
What do Mini Rex Rabbits Look Like?
Mini Rex Rabbits look like a smaller version of a Rex rabbit. If you’re unsure what Rex Rabbits look like, never fear—we’ll go into more detail below!
The most defining feature of these rabbits is their fur. They are short-haired bunnies with smooth, velvety fur unique to these two breeds.
The American Rabbit Breeders Association recognizes many Mini Rex Rabbit colors, including black, blue, white, chocolate, and way more!
Patterns and multi-colors are also recognized, leading to the Mini Rex having over 20 recognized coat colors.
Black otter Mini Rex Rabbits are a unique coat type that is primarily black with brown undertones. The belly, underside of the face, and chest fade to white. The ears and the surroundings of the eyes and nose are also white.
Their ears are upright. Unlike some rabbit breeds, white Mini Rex Rabbits may have either blue or red eyes.
Mini Rex Rabbit Size
Mini Rex Rabbits were bred to be smaller than Rex rabbits. They should weigh around 4.5 pounds, while standard Rex Rabbits weigh around 10.5 pounds.
They stand around 6-7.5 inches at the shoulder and are around 10.5-12.5 inches long.
Mini Rex Rabbit Diet
Before we go over the diet to feed a Mini Rex rabbit, here are some things to remember:
- They have sensitive stomachs. Introduce new foods slowly—rather than giving a plate of new vegetables, feed them just one new thing at a time.
- Ensure fresh water and plentiful hay are always accessible. Never limit your rabbit’s hay or water intake. Their digestive systems move quickly, and it’s essential that rabbits can eat constantly!
- Bunny proof your space—rabbits love to chew! From baseboards to cords, some Mini Rexes will eat anything in sight. Make sure all dangerous items are tucked away and protect your things to avoid damage.
Providing chew toys is also a fantastic idea and gives your rabbit something appropriate to act out their chewing instincts.
What do Mini Rex Rabbits Eat in the Wild?
Mini Rex rabbits are a domesticated breed, so they aren’t found in the wild. However, today’s domesticated rabbits are closely related to the European rabbit.
European rabbits are native to countries like Spain, Portugal, and France. They can be found throughout Europe.
These wild buns are herbivores who eat foliage. Their diet consists largely of grass, but they’ll also eat other plants they come across such as vegetables or fruit.
In the winter months, they may eat wood such as tree bark since they don’t have a ready supply of fresh grass or vegetables.
What Should You Feed Your Mini Rex Rabbit?
Of course, domesticated species are fed differently than wild ones. This is a great thing and usually leads to an increased lifespan since we are better able to provide for our pet’s nutritional needs.
Mini Rex Rabbit diets consist of the following:
Fresh grass hay, such as Timothy hay, is the most crucial part of a bunny’s diet. They should be eating at least 70% hay, and it should never be restricted.
Whether you use a hay feeder or simply lay piles of it out for your bun, be sure to provide enough that they won’t run out before you next feed them. Remember that rabbits need a lot of hay to stay healthy!
Vegetables are also great for bunnies. They provide a source of essential nutrients and allow for more variety in their daily diet.
The best vegetables for a Mini Rex are dark, leafy greens like cilantro (see also ‘Can Rabbits Eat Cilantro?‘), romaine lettuce, and carrot tops (not whole carrots!).
Rabbits should have a large variety of vegetables to eat, but remember to introduce new foods slowly. This might mean that your bunny only gets a few veggies at first until you can work new ones into their diet over time. Some rabbits may enjoy asparagus, for example, or pumpkin, but others may not.
Next on the list are high-quality pellets. These aren’t the colorful ones you find in most pet shops, but instead are quite plain-looking.
Some stores sell pellets marketed to buns that actually aren’t very good for them, so be sure to check the ingredients list to avoid harmful products.
Good pellets should contain at least 18% protein. These can be fed daily in moderation—rabbits don’t need many pellets, and some people argue that the maximum is 5% of a rabbit’s diet.
Rabbits should only eat fruit in moderation. Fruits are high in sugars and should be fed sparingly as treats.
Your bunny can have a little fruit every day, especially while you’re training and socializing them—just be sure not to overdo it.
Avoid unhealthy treats such as the yogurt-based ones commonly sold in pet stores. They aren’t good for rabbits, and fruit is much better. Rabbits love it, too!
Vegetables and fruits that are suitable for your mini rex rabbit include:
- Collard Greens
Mini Rex Rabbit Toxic Foods List
Many common foods are toxic to Mini Rex Rabbits. This includes some more obvious ones, but also some vegetables that you can easily mistake as healthy.
Foods toxic to Mini Rexes include:
- Fruit pits and seeds
- Raw onions
- Raw leeks
- Raw garlic
- Broad beans
- Kidney beans
- Iceberg lettuce
- Processed foods
- Raw potatoes
Many common houseplants and cleaning supplies are also toxic to rabbits. Always bunny-proof anyplace your rabbit is spending time and put toxic materials out of reach.
Supervise outdoor play, and never allow your rabbit to eat plants outdoors. These are sometimes toxic, and are usually contaminated by pesticides, fertilizers, and waste from predator species.
How Long do Mini Rex Rabbits Live?
The Mini Rex Rabbit lifespan is around 7-10 years. Some rabbits will live longer than this, while others will sadly live shorter lives.
Ways to lengthen your rabbit’s lifespan include keeping them indoors, rabbit-proofing your home, and getting them spayed or neutered.
Mini Rex Rabbit Grooming
Mini Rex Rabbits should be brushed weekly to prevent excessive shed and hair consumption. This will keep your home cleaner and your rabbit healthier!
During shedding season, you may want to brush your rabbit more frequently.
Grooming is also a great time to do a quick health check and trim their nails as needed. We’ll talk about how to do both below.
- Check their skin for any sores, lumps, or pests.
- Look in your Mini Rex bunny’s eyes to ensure they’re clear and free of discharge
- Check your bunny’s ears
- Look for any mess around your rabbit’s feet or bum and clean them with pet wipes or a damp cloth if necessary
- Check your rabbit’s teeth to ensure they’re healthy and not overgrown
- Weigh your rabbit
Can you Bathe a Mini Rex Rabbit?
Mini Rex rabbits should never be bathed. Rabbits are like cats—for the most part, they keep themselves clean.
In addition, it’s very stressful and dangerous to submerge a rabbit in water. Their fur takes a long time to dry out, and they have difficulty regulating their own temperature when wet.
If the environment is cold, your bunny will also have a higher chance of developing hypothermia. They can also go into shock due to the stress of the bath, which can be deadly.
Sometimes, your rabbit may become messy and unable to clean themselves. Senior rabbits may struggle to care for themselves as they used to, for example.
In this case, you can use pet wipes or a damp cloth. Be sure to wring most of the water out, and only wipe your rabbit down where needed (such as a messy hind end).
If your bunny’s environment is kept clean and they live indoors, you shouldn’t have much need for even this.
How to Trim Mini Rex Rabbit Nails
Your Mini Rex’s nails should be trimmed about once a month. If you don’t feel comfortable doing so yourself, contact a professional groomer or veterinarian who works with small pets.
Groomers are typically more cost-effective, but make sure they know not to bathe your rabbit or get them wet in any way!
To train your rabbit to accept nail trims, begin as soon as you bring them home.
- Bond with your rabbit until they are comfortable being touched.
- Get them used to being held and having their feet touched. Give them treats for allowing you to handle them, and take the process slowly.
- Familiarize yourself with your rabbit’s nails. Look for the pink part of the nail near the base—this is called the “quick.” It’s full of blood, so you want to avoid cutting into it.
- Collect your supplies. Once your bun is used to being handled and you are confident about your abilities to trim their nails, gather a sharp pair of nail trimmers, a towel, a helper, and a treat.
- Wrap your bunny securely in the towel. Some bunnies won’t need this, but most of them don’t like having their feet touched! Have your helper hold your Mini Rex for you if you need some extra hands.
- Trim the tip of each nail, avoiding the quick. You can do this by removing one paw from the towel at a time. Start slow, rewarding your bunny for each nail that you trim—or have your helper feed them something time-consuming to keep them busy throughout.
- When it doubt, it’s better to cut too long. You can always go back once you have more confidence, but trimming the nails too short will hurt your bunny and make them bleed.
- If you trim too short, apply flour or cornstarch. This will help to stop the bleeding.
- Contact a veterinarian if the bleeding continues. You don’t want your bunny to lose too much blood! A deep cut should also be seen by the veterinarian to avoid infection.
Mini Rex Rabbit Hutch
A rabbit hutch is not a good home for a rabbit, because most hutches aren’t an adequate size for even partial use. Unfortunately, this is the case for many small pets typically kept in cages.
Another reason hutches aren’t recommended is because rabbits are indoor pets. They shouldn’t be kept outdoors, as the risks of weather, illness, predators, and stress are too high.
That said, there are uses for rabbit hutches, especially if you already own one. Some people use a large rabbit hutch as a “home base” for their Mini Rexes by keeping the hutch open around the clock.
This way, they can use it as a hidey house and safe space while still having plenty of room for zoomies and binkies outside of the hutch.
How big of a Hutch do Mini Rex Rabbits Need?
As we discussed above, rabbits need much more space than some people think! They are very active creatures who love to sprint around the room (also known as zoomies).
They also love to hop and do binkies, which is when they launch their bodies into the air excitedly and twist around!
A rabbit cannot do these things within most hutches or cages, which is what makes them so inappropriate. They restrict movement and exercise.
An appropriately sized hutch can be used during some parts of the day, such as at night or when you’re away from home. This should be accompanied by free-roaming time in a larger area.
Look for a hutch that has:
- A tall height. Your rabbit should be able to stand upright on their hind legs and hop within their hutch. Bunnies jump high, so remember to factor that into your decision!
- Space to do zoomies. Your rabbit should be able to run laps around their hutch easily when they’re feeling hyper. Otherwise, there isn’t enough space.
- A comfortable bottom with traction. Bunnies slip easily on hard floors, and gridded cages are painful for your rabbit to stand on. Provide padding to cover wire bottoms and rugs or blankets to cover slippery surfaces.
- Stimulation. Your bunny needs plenty of toys to keep them busy. Don’t cover the entire floor space, but give them things to do especially while in their hutch!
- Hidey houses. A place to hide is a must for a rabbit! They are prey animals that like to be covered because it makes them feel safe.
- Plenty of hay and water. Your rabbit can never, ever go without these two things.
- Ventilation. Airflow is important for temperature regulation and allows your rabbit to breathe. Don’t use a cage cover that covers the entire cage, as your rabbit may suffocate or suffer from heatstroke.
- Double the space if you have two bunnies.
Alternatives to hutches, if you’d like to contain your rabbit while giving them more space, include:
- Large dog exercise pens
- C&C cages (C&C stands for cubes and coroplast. Typically, these are homemade.)
- A baby gate to keep your rabbit in one room
How to Clean up After Your Mini Rex Rabbit
Clean-up is so important with pets, but it can be overwhelming if you’re not used to it!
Here’s a daily checklist to help you clean up after your Mini Rex rabbit:
- Scoop the litterbox and refill your rabbit’s hay
- Sweep or vacuum up stray poop, litter, hay, and fur
- Remove, wash, and replace any soiled items or bedding if your bunny has accidents outside of the litterbox
- Wash your bunny’s food and water dishes and refill their water
Here is a weekly checklist to give your rabbit’s home a deeper clean:
- Deep-clean your rabbit’s cage, hutch, or home base
- Wash and replace any bedding or blankets
- Empty, scrub, and refill the litterbox
- Vacuum the area thoroughly
How to free Roam Your Mini Rex Rabbit
We recommend free-roaming your rabbit whenever possible. They don’t need access to your whole house, but even a single room is a good space for your bunnies!
Of course, any area your rabbit is allowed into will need to be bunny-proofed. Here’s how:
- Put away or place out of reach any toxic materials such as plants, food, or cleaning products.
- Pick up items you don’t want your bun to chew, such as dirty clothes, socks, or magazines.
- Cover your furniture, baseboards, and cords to prevent destructive chewing.
- Block the areas underneath your furniture and anywhere else you don’t want your bunny to go. For instance, you might need to put up a baby gate near the stairs or in the bedroom doorway.
- Set up a “home base” for your bunny where their litterbox, hay, food, water, and toys are all accessible. Line it with rugs or blankets to create a non-slip place for zoomies!
This area can also be blocked off to contain your bun when needed.
If you have other pets, especially predator animals like cats or dogs, we don’t recommend free-roaming your rabbit throughout the entire house.
This is because it can be very stressful and dangerous for your rabbit to be around predators if they aren’t used to it. Your other pets can also easily injure your rabbit, even when trying to play!
Dog and cat saliva contains many germs that can infect your bunny, and even a small scratch or bite can lead to serious infection and death.
You can still provide your bunny with plenty of space by keeping them in a designated room where the cat or dog isn’t allowed to go. If your dog is on a walk or your cat is sleeping in the bedroom, you can even shut the door and let your bunny out to wander the house at those times!
How to Litter Train Your Mini Rex Rabbit
Litter training a rabbit is incredibly easy. Like cats, they are naturally clean animals.
Before you begin litter training, spay or neuter your rabbit. This will make litter training much easier with less accidents outside of the box.
Spaying and neutering also come with various other health and behavioral benefits. Spayed and neutered rabbits even live longer!
- Start in a small area, such as a sectioned-off corner of a room.This will help to keep the mess to a minimum while you work on potty training.
- Choose the right litterbox. It should be topless, easy to climb into, and large enough for your bunny to stand in with all four paws. A cat litterbox usually works just fine!
Remember that babies, seniors, or rabbits with health conditions may be less mobile and need a box with shallow sides.
- Place the litterbox in a corner. Rabbits naturally like to do their business in corners, so this will make it easier for them!
- Lay a thin layer of paper pellet litter or newspaper in the bottom of the litterbox. Clay cat litter isn’t safe for rabbits, nor is any kind of clumping litter.
- Fill the litterbox with hay. Bunnies naturally use the bathroom while eating their hay, so this will help teach them where to go. If you don’t like the look of piled-up hay, you can use a hay feeder. Just make sure it’s easy for your bunny to pull the hay out so that they get enough of it throughout the day.
- Place a mat under the litterbox for easy clean-up if your rabbit misses the box.
- Gently redirect your bunny toward the litterbox if they have accidents outside of it. You can do this by placing them inside to show them where you’d prefer them to go.
- Never punish your bunny for accidents. They’re bound to happen, even once your rabbit is fully litter trained. Yelling at your bunny will only make them anxious and more prone to pottying outside the box.
- Your bunny might choose a different corner to go potty in. In this case, simply move the litterbox to that location instead. It’s super easy, and will go much more smoothly than fighting them!
- Give them more space once they’re trained. If your bunny regresses in their potty training, you can simply go back to the old amount of space until they’re retrained. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get it right.
- Clean the litterbox daily and replenish the hay. This will ensure your bunny doesn’t begin to avoid it due to odor or mess.
- Once a week, empty and scrub the litterbox. Don’t use harsh cleaners; soap and water will do the trick! Vinegar works for tough urine stains. Rinse the box thoroughly and refill it.
- Consider multiple litterboxes for large spaces. You don’t want your rabbit to have to travel too far, or they might have an accident.
- Multiple bunnies might need multiple boxes. This isn’t always the case, but some rabbits like having their own bathroom space.
This will also reduce the chances of your bunnies fighting for resources.
Can Mini Rex Rabbits Live Outside?
While Mini Rexes can have supervised outdoor time, they should never live outside. This is because it’s not safe for them.
Rabbits are prey animals, and this makes them sensitive and vulnerable outdoors. Even in a hutch or well-enclosed space, a rabbit can lose their life due to being housed outside.
- Heat stroke. Temperatures over 90 degrees can cause heat stroke for rabbits.
- Hypothermia. Similarly, cold temperatures and rain can cause hypothermia.
- Rain. Rabbits should never be drenched. Their coats take a long time to dry out and, as stated above, a combination of rain and cold weather can cause hypothermia.
- Predators. Stray cats and dogs, wolves, coyotes—there are plenty of predators in every area. These animals can kill your bunny by getting into their enclosure.
If your rabbit is too securely enclosed for that, predators are still a threat as they can send your rabbit into shock or they may have a heart attack. Bunnies are very sensitive animals and having predators nearby is incredibly stressful for them.
Even short of death, living in this state of fear is no good for a rabbit.
- Lack of attention. If you aren’t seeing your rabbit throughout the day because they’re outside, you’re much less likely to notice changes in behavior, injuries, and health issues. This is dangerous for your rabbit!
Mini Rexes are also incredibly social, and they would rather be indoors bonding with you and your family than outdoors, where they often get less quality time.
If you’d like to give your Mini Rex supervised time outdoors, here are some things to consider:
- Parasite prevention is essential to ensure they don’t catch fleas, mites, or other parasites while outdoors.
- Keeping your bunny up-to-date on vaccines is another must so that they don’t get ill from going outdoors.
- Proper containment that they cannot escape from will keep your rabbit safe and stop them from running away. Remember that bunnies can jump and dig!
- Warm (but not hot) sunny days are the best time to take your Mini Rex outdoors. Be sure to provide a shaded area as both a hidey home and a way to escape the sun!
Avoid going out on days that are below freezing, above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, or rainy.
- Supervision is the most important thing. You’ll notice if your bunny is trying to escape, if they want to go back inside, if a predator is nearby, and if the weather becomes intolerable.
You should never be very far from your rabbit while they’re outside, and they shouldn’t be out of your sight.
Mini Rex Rabbit Behavior and Training
Mini Rex Rabbits tend to be calm and loving when they are properly tamed and bonded to humans. However, they are sensitive prey animals.
Many people like to adopt rabbits for children, and this isn’t entirely a bad idea—but both the parent and child must realize that keeping a rabbit takes hard work and commitment just like any pet.
It’s also important to remember that unlike pets you may be used to, such as cats or dogs, rabbits are prey animals. This means they are easily scared and must be handled gently.
Rabbits are small. Their bones break easily, they can actually die from too much stress, and the way we interact with them has to be suited to this.
Teach children to handle your Mini Rex gently and to keep them close to the floor to avoid dropping them. Rabbits respond best to someone who is quiet and keeps to their level, which we’ll talk about more below as we explain how to bond with a new bun!
Lastly, because bunnies are scared easily, they can also be prone to biting when mishandled. Remember that their fear is a natural response that would keep them safe in the wild.
Humans are predator animals, and rabbits evolved to avoid predators—so making a human and rabbit relationship work takes time, understanding, and effort.
Bonding with Your Mini Rex Rabbit
Bonding with rabbits can be quite different from the larger pets most of us are used to, like cats and dogs. This is because rabbits are prey animals, while cats and dogs are predators.
Rabbits are fragile and easily scared. This is their way of surviving in the wild, by reacting to any threat. However, properly housed pet bunnies don’t need to worry about these things!
The easiest way to bond with your new Mini Rex is to get down to their level. This will make you appear less threatening to them.
Lay down on the floor with some vegetables or fruit, and let your rabbit come to you. Try placing the food nearby or even on your hand or leg.
Once your rabbit is comfortable, you can sit up and even try petting them. Allow them to see and sniff your hand before you touch them so you don’t take them by surprise!
Take the process slowly and let your bunny set the pace—if they run off, have patience.
For very timid buns, sitting nearby them on the floor daily can also help. Grab a book or turn on the television to keep yourself occupied.
It may take a while for them to be comfortable enough to come out of hiding while you’re around, but it’ll happen!
Bunnies love to be pet on their foreheads, cheeks, and behind their ears. Once they’re comfortable with you, they’ll like their necks and backs scratched as well.
How to Handle Mini Rex Rabbits
When handling a Mini Rex, it’s important to know that rabbits’ bones break easily. They’re also easily scared and might thrash around in your arms if not picked up right.
You don’t want to squeeze your bunny too tightly or drop them!
That said, you shouldn’t be afraid to pick up your rabbit. The key is to keep them calm and support their entire bodies.
Don’t sneak up on your rabbit or grab them from above. This mimics natural predators like hawks, and your rabbit’s response will be fear.
Instead, get down to your rabbit’s level. Pet them gently, then sweep your arm under them and lift. Keep them low to the ground at first, so they aren’t injured if they hop away.
Bring the bunny to your chest, holding them firmly but not roughly. Use one hand to support their butt and hind legs, while the other holds them securely around their midsection.
If your bunny is facing you, your chest can help to support their feet.
A veterinarian can show you how to properly handle your bunny if you’re unsure. Don’t lift your Mini Rex high off the ground until you know you can support them adequately.
Mini Rex Rabbit Veterinary Care
Young Mini Rexes should see a veterinarian once yearly. This gives your veterinarian a chance to get to know your rabbit’s health so that they can catch any signs of illness sooner.
Talk to your veterinarian about vaccines, parasite prevention, and any changes in behavior you’ve noticed.
Rabbits are good at hiding illness because looking weak means being targeted by predators. This means that paying attention to small changes is incredibly important—it could even be life-saving!
Once your rabbit is a senior, they should see the veterinarian once every six months.
Adopting a Mini Rex Rabbit
Many pet rabbits are adopted in pet stores. We don’t recommend this, because most pet store breeders are unethical bunny mills.
These are similar to puppy mills, but with bunnies. The rabbits are bred with only profit in mind, not their wellbeing. They are neglected, and often live shorter lives than ethically-bred buns due to an increased chance of inherited health conditions.
The two methods we do encourage are adopting a rescue bunny or buying from a reputable breeder.
Adopting a Rescue Rabbit
Rescue rabbits can be adopted through various methods:
- A rabbit or small animal rescue organization
- Your local animal shelter
- An old owner rehoming their Mini Rex
If you want a predictable bunny, rescues are the best for this. They are dedicated to finding the best home for each animal in their care and often have foster placements where the bunnies are raised in homes.
This means that they can get to know each individual bunny, unlike shelters which can be overcrowded.
Rescues are great if you want a rabbit with a certain personality, especially when trying to bond your single rabbit with another!
Shelters are also great places to adopt rabbits. Some shelters will keep bunnies, while others may list buns for rehoming online without having them on site. This is to help the current owners while keeping the bunnies in a home environment.
Lastly, there are plenty of websites, such as PetFinder, where rabbit owners can rehome their rabbits to someone new.
You’ll have to ensure these listings are honest—not a scam, a backyard breeder lying to sell bunnies, or someone with bad intentions.
It’s best to meet in a populated area in the daytime and to bring a friend along with you. This will ensure you adopt your new bunny safely!
Purchasing from a Breeder
We do recommend adopting over buying bunnies, because there are so many rabbits already alive and looking for homes!
If you do decide to purchase from a breeder, please do your research to ensure they are reputable. As we discussed above, a pet store isn’t a good place to adopt a bunny.
Meet with your breeder in their home, where they breed and keep their rabbits. Here’s what to look for while you’re there:
- Clean, healthy parent and baby rabbits. The environment should be tidy and the rabbits should look healthy and alert.
- Appropriate living conditions. Bunnies should be housed indoors in a large enclosure or allowed to free-roam. Fresh hay and water should always be available, as well as soft bedding, hidey houses, and toys for enrichment.
- Veterinary records. The rabbits should have veterinary records (don’t purchase from anyone who doesn’t vet their animals!). Records should include tests for common genetic health conditions, regular check-ups, and up-to-date vaccines.
- A breeder who answers questions honestly. Your breeder should know everything there is to know about their breed, or they can’t breed rabbits ethically. They should be open about common health and behavioral problems and discuss the best ways to care for your rabbit.
- They don’t have multiple litters. A breeder with several litters of rabbits is a red flag and may mean they’re only in it for the money. There are only so many litters they can care for properly, after all!
It can be heartbreaking to walk away from a sweet baby rabbit bred in poor conditions. However, purchasing a rabbit from a bad breeder funds their business!
This allows them to breed even more rabbits and leads to more suffering for the animals in the end.