These are the 3 Shaded varieties of Rex Rabbit. I decided to not include White, as it is not a variety I have come to work with, and is more complicated, and deserves its own post in the future.
Rex Rabbits are a fairly uncommon breed of rabbit that originated in Europe. Rex have been developed from the Castor (which was the first color, while the breed was called "Castorrex" meaning Beaver King) into 16 different varieties, which are recognized by the ARBA (American Rabbits Breeders Association). I used some info from the ARBA Standard of Perfection and the National Rex Rabbit Club Guidebook in the writing of this article. This article is to give a brief descriptions and tips of the Rex varieties, but for in depth information, visit those books, as the NRRC Guidebook was written by people experienced in each variety.
DISCLAIMER!!! I am giving the knowledge that I have gained on each variety, and some may have been misinterpreted by myself, and I apologize or that. Just know, that I have not raised ever variety, so these based on what I have gathered about each.
Rex is an even and balanced rabbit. medium length, with well filled shoulders, loin and hips. Flesh should be as thick as possible along the spine. The hips should be round, and the body should gradually curve upward from the ears, where it should peak above the hip, smoothly curve downwards to the tail. Feet should be medium length, and well padded. The animals should look proportional from a far. The hindquarters should be broad, and have a good present depth (from the belly up the flank to the peak). Tail should be held well against the body, in an upright position.
The body should not appear racy or rangy.
THIS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN FUR, COLOR, AND ANYTHING ELSE ON THE RABBIT!
For more in depth information, visit the ARBA Standard of Perfection, or the NRRC Guidebook.
Fur is to be extremely dense. Plush, and ideally 5/8" in length. Upright, and a consistent length. The fur should be smooth to the touch, and not silky. The fur has 4 components -
DENSITY, TEXTURE, FINISH, AND LENGTH
I'm not going to go into too much depth on this, as there is a lot to it, but they all need to be present to get the whole package. Refer to the standard for in depth reading.
Culling is a necessary practice in breeding animals for show purposes. It often get a bad rep, because of the part where animals are butchered. Butchering them vs. giving them as pet is totally up to the breeder, but when culling, you may have a deformed rabbit (crooked spine, birth defects, paralysis, etc.) which may require butchering. I personally don't butcher my rabbits, I do alternative methods such as selling as pets, unless we have major health issues, then other methods are taken. Just know that offspring from the best of the best could be a cull, it happens in any animal.
Amber, Black, Blue, Broken*, Californian, Castor, Chinchilla, Chocolate, Lilac, Lynx, Opal, Otter**, Red, Sable, Seal, and White.
Black, Blue, Chocolate, and Lilac
Self patterns are the easiest to describe without images. Self is the same color found throughout the body, running as deep towards the skin as possible.
Amber, Castor, Lynx, and Opal
The Agouti is a pattern type, where the hair shaft has 3 or more color bands located on it. The Agouti Group consists of Amber, Castor, Lynx, and Opal. The color is usually based with a dark bluish color that as layered towards the top of the hair shaft with alternating ring colors. Breeding and getting color correct on an Agouti is difficult, as the bands should be certain shades and widths. One thing that is hard in Agoutis is that some newer, or "excited' breeders will be amazed with the color, and try to perfect the color, before building a good body.
Black Otter, Blue Otter, Chocolate Otter, and Lilac Otter
Otter is a striking pattern, where a self color is spread over the body, head, tops of legs, rump, upper portion of tail, and out parts of ears. A contrasting is distributed on the belly, eye circles, nostrils, chest, foot pads, jowls, flanks, and interior of the ears. while the colors are separated by a distinct band of color on the belly and legs.
Californian, Sable, Seal, and White
The Shaded varieties show a gradual change in color, generally just from dark to light, where the points are darker (nose, ears, tail, feet, etc).
Chinchilla, Red, and Broken
These varieties carry genetics from other pattern groups, but incomplete genetics, or extra genes make them phenotypically different than the patterns. Broken is often considered a group on its own, it is considered an other variety.
New Zealands were developed in the United States (Don't let the name fool you), for meat purposes, but have grown into one of the most popular breeds of rabbits in the US. Though they may never reach the popularity of the Holland Lop, and the other Lops. This breed has 4 recognized varieties in the ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association) which are Black, Blue, Broken, and Red. Broken is a variety, where the color (Black, Blue, Red) is counteracted by white, giving it a spotted appearance.
I have raised Red and Broken Red New Zealands for several years now (they live at my grandma's) for show and to sell to the 4H market. They're a lovely, fast growing breed. They're very similar to the Californians in weight, type, and size. They are not the hardiest in our climate. The Californians and Rex perform in the heat a little bit better than the New Zealands, but they all perform equally as good in the cold. Overall, they are a great breed!