This study examined the effects on intestinal microbiota and diarrhoea of Lactobacillus buchneri supplementation to the diet of weaning Rex rabbits. To this end, rabbits were treated with L. buchneri at two different doses (LC: 10(4) cfu/g diet and HC: 10(5) cfu/g diet) for 4 weeks. PCR-DGGE was used to determine the diversity of the intestinal microbiota, while real-time PCR permitted the detection of individual bacterial species. ELISA and real-time PCR allowed the identification of numerous cytokines in the intestinal tissues. Zonula occludens-1, polymeric immunoglobulin receptor and immunoglobulin A genes were examined to evaluate intestinal barriers. Results showed that the biodiversity of the intestinal microbiota of weaning Rex rabbits improved in the whole tract of the treated groups. The abundance of most detected bacterial species was highly increased in the duodenum, jejunum and ileum after L. buchneri administration. The species abundance in the HC group was more increased than in the LC group when compared to the control. Although the abundance of Enterobacteriaceae exhibited a different pattern, Escherichia coli was inhibited in all treatment groups. Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2 and TLR4 genes were down-regulated in all intestinal tissues as the microbiota changed. In the LC group, the secretion of the inflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor-a was reduced, the gene expression of the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-4 was up-regulated and the expression of intestinal-barrier-related genes was enhanced. Conversely, IL-4 expression was increased and the expression of other tested genes did not change in the HC group. The beneficial effects of LC were greater than those of HC or the control in terms of improving the daily weight gain and survival rate of weaning Rex rabbits and reducing their diarrhoea rate. Therefore, 10(4) cfu/g L. buchneri treatment improved the microbiota of weaning Rex rabbits and prevented diarrhoea in these animals.