Mini rabbits are not a breed in themselves, rather a generic term to describe the group of three breeds of rabbits – the Mini Rex, Mini Satin and Mini Lop.
They have specifically been bred over a number of years to be a smaller version of the Standard Rex, Satin and English/French Lops respectively.
While their name may suggest they are on the tiny size they are in fact classed as medium sized rabbits. It is their size relative to their original counterpart that classes them as mini.
As a group they are considered to be low maintenance and friendly rabbits with their small size being seen as one of the major advantages. With giant rabbits reaching up to over 16 pounds, the compact size of the mini group makes them a more attractive option to homes where space (or maybe just the size of your lap!) may be an issue.
Minis should not be confused with dwarf breeds. There are only two official dwarf breeds recognised by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) – the Netherland Dwarf and the Dwarf Hotot. However, as with the term “mini”, “dwarf” seems to have become a generic term associated with smaller rabbits.
Mini Rex (3 to 4.5 pounds)
Arguably one of the cutest minis is the Mini Rex. ARBA recognised the breed in 1988 and their plush coat, compact size and friendly nature have ensured their place ever since as one of the most popular rabbits, both as family pets and for showing. They are good natured and mix well with kids, who love them for their cuddliness and amazing velvet like fur.
Fur Real Fact: Don’t get your Mini Rex’s fur wet unless you want him to look like he’s had a perm … water makes his hair curl!
Mini Satin (3.25 to 4.75 pounds)
The mini satin is a relative newcomer to the official rabbit world, having only been recognised by ARBA in 2005. Mini Satins have a very soft, dense undercoat mixed in with rougher guard hairs with an almost transparent hair shaft. It is these that give it its amazing shine.
Fur Real Fact: Coat is a big part of the points awarded to this breed at shows. Yes, he may be beautiful however, if your Mini Satin’s coat doesn’t shine like glass you’ll be disqualified from competitions.
Mini Lop (4.5 to 6.5 pounds)
Another very popular breed is the mini lop, not least because of its distinctive floppy ears which hang by its head. They are friendly, sociable rabbits who love the company of both the family and other rabbits. They are also recognised as a particularly intelligent rabbit and can be trained to perform tricks and even walk on a lead and harness.
Mini lops only shed once to twice a year so require minimal grooming. However this is essential as their coat is longer and thicker than many breeds and can cause digestive problems if your rabbit ingests too much.
The mini lop was recognised as a breed in 1980 and now has an active following across the US in particular. Although the two are often confused, it is a completely separate breed to the Holland Lop.
Fur Real Fact: Like all lops, mini lops are born with their ears upright. These soften and droop as they get older. How cute is that!
All three breeds of minis have a strong following of rabbit lovers worldwide which means there is a good chance there is an organization or breeder in your area.