American Chinchilla Rabbits

American Chinchilla Rabbit – information and facts about the American Chinchilla Rabbit Breed. Learn more about American Chinchilla Rabbits in this article. Breed photos are included.

American Chinchilla Rabbit

American rabbits give us an insight of what it takes to become a legitimate heavyweight rabbit. With its large size, it’s truly undeniable that American Chinchilla can capture the attention of anyone.

Made up of three rabbit breeds that are recognized by ARBA, Chinchilla rabbits are bred for a coat that closely resembles that of chinchillas. However, this resemblance does not extend to them being related to chinchillas, nor does it pose any possibility that it can interbreed with them. Chinchillas are species of rodent and rabbits are lagomorphs. The dilution of the yellow pigment in the hairs to almost white is caused by mutation, which has changed the way the color of the fur of the wild rabbit or agouti into chinchilla.

This gave rise to the formation of American Chinchilla rabbits, which are also called ‘Heavyweight Chinchilla’ rabbits. Some Standard Chinchillas that were reproduced to come up with large sizes have the American Chinchilla rabbits as their offspring.


American Chinchilla Rabbit Facts

1. History

The origin of Chinchilla rabbits is France. French engineer M.J. Dybowski bred them to the Standard Chinchilla. The first time they were shown was in April 2013, at Saint Maur, France. This new breed skyrocketed in popularity because of its ideal fur rabbit, which so greatly resembled the South American Chinchilla Ianigera.

Then the mobility of the Chinchilla continued all over the globe. A woman named Haidee Lacy-Hulbert of Mitcham Surrey imported the first breed to England in the summer season of 1917. Then, a British exhibitor had a presentation of his rabbit breed’s shipment at the New York State Fair in 1919. After this show, all of the stocks that he has were sold to Edward H. Stahl and Jack Harris.

Chinchillas are originally small in size from 5 to 7 ½ pounds. But since rabbit breeders wanted to develop the breed to serve its meat and pelts purposes, they were bred to produce a larger animal. Successfully, after selective breeding, they were able to achieve the larger size, fine bones and a good dress-out percentage. These characteristics can be seen in the first set of Heavyweight Chinchillas, which were later called the American Chinchilla.

In the year 1919, they were introduced into the United States. While there is no certain person who can be solely credited for making a large impact to rabbit keepers and breeds, the growth of American Chinchillas is so fast. Indeed, in just a year from November 1928 and November 1929, about 17, 328 Chinchillas were registered through the American Rabbit and Cavy Breeders Association (which is now called the American Rabbit Breeders Association). And this record is yet to be broken. As a result of this, large commercial operations were set up for the mass production and selling of the American Chinchillas.

The Chinchilla rabbit has contributed a lot in the development of breeds and different rabbit varieties all over the world. As a matter of fact, sports from the Chinchillas paved way for the creation of the Silver Martens and American Sables in US, and Siamese Sable and Sallander breeds overseas.

Today, the American Chinchilla is considered to be the most rare among all of the Chinchilla breeds. This is because of the demise of the rabbit fur industry during the 1940s, which is a big reason for the raising of the American Chinchilla in the first place. They fell out of the fur market.

Despite having outstanding meat quality, the shift of preference in the meat market has affected the raising of the breed.


2. Characteristics and Appearance

Of course, the name itself already suggests something about its size, right? It’s quite larger compared to the Standard Chinchilla that weighs around 5 ½ to 7 pounds. For American Chinchillas, bucks weigh around 9-11 pounds while the females would weigh as much as 10-12 pounds. Bucks and does under six months and 9 pounds are considered junior rabbits. When they are around 6-8 months of age, they are considered intermediate rabbits. They are good breeders and they can produce as many as 6-9 kits.

American Chinchillas have a commercial, compact body type of medium build.They have a slight curve to their medium length bodies, which begins at the nape of their necks and follows through to the rump. Their short ears would stand straight erect. They have a short neck.

The first time you look at the American Chinchilla, they are salt and pepper-colored. They have this agouti coloring. Once the fur is blown along their length, four distinct bands of the color will appear. A banded hair shaft produces this color, with each hair having bands of black and pearl gray pigment.

Their hair is soft, silky, dense and of medium length. The under color, next to the skin, is a dark slate blue. The middle color band is pears and the color of the hair tips is grey. Guard hairs are unevenly distributed for most parts of the body. The neck, belly, flanks, as well as the eye circles, have pale, pearl ticking and the ears are laced at the back.

The coating of the American chinchilla rabbits is roll back. The ideal length of this coating is 1¼ inches.When the coat is below an inch, they are usually faulted in shows. Coats that are so long, so much so that they closely resemble a wool already, are also being faulted. They do not require regular grooming. The quality of their pelt is the most important consideration when they are being bred against the ‘Standard of Perfection’.


3. Purpose

American Chinchilla rabbit can serve different purposes. Despite being bred to be a meat and fur rabbit, American Chinchilla rabbit can also be shown or exhibited in different rabbit shows and country fairs. They are a six-class rabbit in show. This is due to the fact that any rabbit that, at the age of maturity, weigh over 9 pounds is a 6-class breed. Those under this time frame are classified as 4-class breeds.

Now, some rabbit breeders still continue raising American Chinchillas for show and also as pets. But many enthusiasts argue that in order to save the small population of the variety of chinchillas, there has to be tracing back to the original purpose of the breed – which is for the meat and the fur.


4. Personality and Traits

American Chinchilla are seen as large yet gentle rabbits. They are also being attributed for their good mothering instincts. It can also be a stocky and a hardy pet. Generally, they are docile and good-natured.


5. Status Quo

Today, the American Chinchilla rabbit is considered as the only ‘critically endangered’ rabbit at this time that is listed on the Livestock Conservancy.

With its deep loin and broad shoulders, it’s very important for rabbit breeders to leverage the advantages of American Chinchilla for the fur and meat. Only then, we can ensure that we can save the existence of this ‘critically endangered’ rabbit breed.