- Weight: 2.5-4.5 pounds (1 to 2 kg) with ideal their weight being 3.5 lbs.
- Size: Small to medium
- Similar breeds – Californian rabbit
- Body type – cylindrical
- Who can have them – singles, couples, families with kids, seniors, first-time owners, be in an apartment, house, indoors, or outdoors.
- Himalayan rabbit lifespan - 7-10 years
History and origin
The Himalayan rabbit is one of the oldest and most calm rabbit breeds whose exact origin is not known. However, it is associated with ancient times in countries and regions like the Far East, Tibet, China, and Russia and unlikely Himalaya as the name suggests.
They came to America during the Belgian Hare Boom from Europe in the 20th century, and they are one of the earliest bunnies to be recognized by ARBA.
The American Rabbit and Cavy granted them an association in 1931, and it is currently known as the American Himalayan Rabbit Association.
Besides the original white variety that had black markings, the next color to be created was the blue followed by the American chocolate Himalayans, which were created by Ron Smelt from California who crossed Himalayan and chocolate English spot.
The lilacs came by mixing the chocolate Himalayans with the blue Himalayan bunnies.
Their other names include Egyptian, Chinese, and Black-nose rabbits.
Himalayan rabbit colors
Their body is white with some points that are colored. ARBA recognizes four colors, with the black Himalayans being the pure and true Himalayans. The other three colors, i.e., chocolate, blue, and Lilac, have been crossbred.
If you raise these bunnies in cold weather, "they can exhibit black coloration of their coats, making them a phenocopy of the black rabbit," notes Wikipedia.org. This variation is attributed to environmental conditions, which, in this case, is a color change.
They have flyback short fur that needs a little grooming. It is fine, silky, even, and firmly tucked to its body and covers even the footpads.
Remember to spot-clean any dirty part of its coat and do not bathe your bunny as this stresses them.
Physical appearance and characteristics
Himalayan rabbits have a long slim body – cylindrical – with the same hip and shoulder width. Their legs are long, slender, and straight. They have a thin head and short tapered ears that erect upright. Their eyes must be red.
These bunnies have markings like Himalayan cat characterized by colored ears, hind and front feet, tail, and dark spots on their nose (the nose marking covers the chin, over their nose, and towards their eyes. These spots determine their color.
The markings can change as the rabbit ages or changes its environment. Colder weather will make the markings darker, more extensive and may add more markings around eyes, and genitals, i.e., vent smut. Any marks beside the ones we have listed lead to a disqualification including the extra ones due to cold weather.
If they go to warmer weathers, their markings lighten, become smaller, and have white hair – frosting. In extremely warm weather, their nails become white or lighter (they are usually darker).
The lilacs and chocolates often have larger markings when compared to the blues and blacks and are likely to develop markings often known as smut that may disqualify them. Did you know just within 10 minutes of encountering cold surfaces, they form smut?
Baby Himalayan rabbits are born white, and the markings appear after about four weeks, and they get their final color after six months. They are more sensitive to changes in temperate, i.e., when in their warm nest, they may look albino-like since (the cannot produce pheomelanin and produce eumelanin under specific temperatures – these are just types of melanin).
Under cold conditions, baby Himalayan get dark bands on their fur, i.e., from off-white to chinchilla color, something that baffles many breeders. If the baby was chilled in the nest box, it is often referred to as frosty.
In shows, they are posed with their body stretch out, and it should be about 3.5 times the length of their head. They are skinny and have bones making them not primarily raised for meat but instead for their white pelt and showing. However, posing for the American and European Himalayans is different
At times, you can get them with an extra set of nipples, something uncommon in other rabbit breeds
Himalayan rabbit care
These bunnies can be indoors or outdoors. For indoor ones, rabbit-proof your house to avoid them chewing cables, wires, furniture, shoes, etc. Also, provide them with a crate or a cage where they can escape to be alone or relax.
Outdoor enclosures should be raised, weatherproof, and preferably under a shade. Ensure you secure your furry friends from predators.
You should also line their cages with straws and shavings and remove them whenever they are soiled, after a week or as necessary.
Also, cages should the recommended size to allow the bunny to hop around and stretch and have a place where the rabbit can sleep or relax.
Any droppings should be removed daily, and the cages cleaned thoroughly weekly. Remember to change your bunnies' bedding during the thorough cleanup.
Do not forget to include a secured space in your garden for them to go and play for a few hours and get time to socialize with you.
Their diets will comprise of mainly good quality hay, rabbit pellets, and rabbit friendly green fibrous leaves. Also, provide it with clean and fresh drinking water at all times.
Finally, do not forget to groom them, i.e., by brushing their fur once a week or more times when it is shedding (molting) using a brush or damp hands to remove any loose hairs.
Check for overgrown teeth (in case of overgrown teeth, give them gnaw toys, hay, and roughages to help wear them down). Overgrown teeth will have symptoms such as lack of appetite, less dropping and inability to eat.
Also, ensure they have the right diet to avoid being overweight as this makes them unable to groom themselves as well as vulnerable to flystrike, which happens when flies lay eggs on your bunny's soiled bottoms and when the eggs hatch, maggots will start burrowing into their skin causing open wounds that will raise chances of secondary infection.
Unless you want to breed them, spaying of the does and neutering of the buck is a good idea as it reduces the chances of them developing complications and diseases related to their reproductive organs.
Temperament and behaviors
Himalayan rabbits are calm (not very active), intelligent, "gentle and easy to handle. Their gentle, loving nature puts them in a class unto itself" (source - Himalayanrabbit.com). They considered having an excellent temperament.
If they get used to people at an early age, they are affectionate and love attention from their owners being more social than most bunnies.
Including rabbit toys as well as safe dog or cat toys from your local pet store to their playtime will be a great idea that will keep them enchanted.
Also, you can pet, hold, and ensure they go to a secured place in your backyard to sunbathe and relax.
They can be trained to use their litter boxes if you place them strategically in your house. This may require some patience.
Himalayan rabbits for sale
Being smaller in size, these bunnies will require a smaller cage, less food, making the Himalayans an ideal option to buy if you are looking for pets or show rabbits.
Their typical prices range from $25 to $75+ depending on whether it is purebred, pedigreed, and its general condition.
You can buy them from rescue centers, rabbit farms or Himalayan rabbit breeders. To get locations near you, search online and include your location.