- Weight: 9-12 lbs. (4 to 5.5kg)
- Origin: United States of America
- Body shape: Commercial body type
- Purpose: Meat, pelt (fur), showing and as pets
- Lifespan:7 to 9 years
- Size: Large
- Comparable breeds: Silver Rabbit, Standard, and Giant Chinchilla
History and origin
The American Chinchilla rabbit originated in the US where they used a standard Chinchilla imported from France to selectively breed larger versions characterized by a commercial body type with an excellent dress-out percentage as well as fine bones, i.e., to be meatier.
The rabbit was initially referred to as the Heavyweight Chinchilla when it was accepted to the ARBA in 1924, but the name was later changed to American Chinchilla. In 1925 the American Chinchilla Rabbit Breeders Association was created to promote this bunny.
Although within a year, starting November 1928, the American Rabbit & Cavy Breeders Association had registered over 17,328 Chinchillas, the numbers have been dwindling. In fact, the American Chinchilla is under the threat of extinction, and the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy has listed it as critically endangered.
However, it is a good breeder with its litter of kits averaging between 6-9 kits and an excellent hardy pet for those who want to keep it including for heritage.
Note that the spots obtained from Chinchilla have been used to develop several other breeds including the American Sables, Silver Martens (both in the US) and the Sallander and Siamese Sable in other countries. However, the bunny remains the rarest in America.
Appearance, size and body type and color
This is a large bunny with a commercial body type that is stocky and has as Wikipedia states, “a slight curve to their medium length bodies, beginning at the nape of their necks and following through to the rump.” Their ears are erected upright, and they have dark brown expressive eyes.
When reared for meat, Ark of Taste describes them as “medium boned with a deep loin and broad shoulders that produce good meat proportions on finished rabbits. They are easily dressed, and their meat is of good quality and taste.”
These bunnies weigh around 9-12 lbs, with the buck slightly smaller weighing about 9-11 lbs and the doe 10-12 lbs.
Finally, it is a six-class breed having the junior, intermediate and senior classes. Any overweight bunny will be shown in a level higher than they belong. Junior Bucks and does are usually below six months of age and 9 lbs in weight, Intermediates are aged 6-8 months.
American Chinchilla rabbit color
This rabbit breed got its name from the close resemblance of its pelt to that of the South American’s Chinchilla lanigera, and it comes in only one acceptable color. The color is agouti in nature, i.e., shows different colors for different fur lengths.
Pets4Homes states that their “under color, which is nearest the skin, is a deep slate blue, the middle color is a pearl white, and the tips are grey” in addition to the liberally scattered black guard hairs.
In the rabbit shows, the American Chinchilla attracts a lot of interest because of its great fur. Its pelt is very important if you are breeding it for the ‘Standard of Perfection.’ It has soft, silky, and dense rollback fur whose length is about 1¼ inches with those less than an inch faulted.
American chinchilla rabbit care
First, provide them with the right rabbit food which comprises not less than 80 percent good quality hay, some pellets, and leafy greens. For hay buy Kaytee Timothy Hay, Standlee Premium Western Forage Timothy Grass, Oxbow Timothy Hay, or Vitakraft Timothy Hay, Premium Sweet Grass Hay.
You can occasionally, in controlled amounts, treat them with some fruits and vegetables that a rabbit can eat (rabbit friendly). Also, ensure they have unlimited fresh water to drink.
Secondly, groom them regularly by brushing their fur to avoid matting and remove any debris with a slicker brush, once in a week or as you may deem necessary. If they grow long nails, clip them. Rabbits are clean animals, and they often groom themselves. Do not wash your bunnies as this stress them. Only spot-clean them with a damp towel.
Since they can be kept in indoor or outdoor cages or enclosures, ensure you pick the right cage size, all droppings should be removed daily, and their pens cleaned thoroughly every week. This will involve changing their bedding. Outdoor cages must be secure and weatherproof.
Finally, ensure you have a place where you can release your bunnies from their cages to go and play there. Accompanying them will be a good idea as it will help you bond with them and a fenced part of your backyard or a rabbit-proofed room will be ideal.
Like any other rabbits, vaccinate them against myxomatosis and Rabbit (Viral) Hemorrhagic Disease if it is required in your country, check for any symptoms of hairballs, flystrike, overgrown teeth, fleas, fur mites, ticks, etc. regularly.
Also, check for any ill-health signs such as high fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, change of urine color, fewer dropping, diarrhea, runny eyes and nose, coughing, loss of fur among other conditions. Inform your vet if you notice any of these symptoms or if your bunny is behaving unusually.
Temperament and behavior
They have a docile temperament making them easy to handle and pet. Justrabbits.com describes them as “friendly and have a very good, playful nature. Most are lively, sociable and gentle.”
These bunnies are quite intelligent and easy to train. They can understand basic sounds such as come, eat, their name or play. You can also teach them to use their litter boxes making them good house rabbits and pets.
If trained to handle them, these rabbits are suited for families with children, singles, seniors, and first-time pet owners. Experienced pet owners will find having these animals a walk in the park.
Ensure you raise them in pairs or trios since they love company.
To add charm to their playtime, provide them with rabbit toys or even cat and dog toys especially the noisy ones.
American chinchilla rabbit for sale
If you need a pet bunny that can also provide you with meat, American Chinchilla is right for you. They will go for a price of about $20 to $50+. Expect the cost of those for showing, pedigreed and purebred to be a little higher.
Being one of the rarest rabbits in America, they may not be readily available. Try searching at their national club, ARBA approved breeders, rescue centers, and rabbitries. Searching them on online listings can help you locate those near you.