To help understand the Standard Chinchilla Rabbit, the breed details are divided in to the following categories:
The Standard Chinchilla is recognised by the BRC (British Rabbit Council) as is the Giant Chinchilla but the American Chinchilla is not.
The ARBA recognise all three of the chinchilla rabbit breeds including the standard Chinchilla.
Full ARBA Schedule of Points for American Chinchilla
Rabbit History Around the World
The first Chinchilla rabbits were created by a French engineer M.J. Dybowski and were shown for the first time in April 1913 at Saint-Maur, France.
The new breed took the rabbit world by storm as the ideal fur rabbit, which so greatly resembled the South American Chinchilla lanigera, a rodent with thick, dense, velvet-like fur and a popular choice for the fashion industry.
A Mrs. Haidee Lacy-Hulbert of Mitcham Surrey, imported the first of the chinchilla rabbit breed to England in the summer of 1917.
A British exhibitor presented a shipment at the New York State Fair in 1919. After the show, he sold all the stock to Edward H. Stahl and Jack Harris.
The original Chinchillas were rather small at 5 to 7 1/2 pounds, and American breeders set out to produce a larger animal that would be better suited for meat and pelts.
The American Chinchilla rabbit is one of the few breeds that originated in the United States. However the breeding credit doesn't go to just one breeder, but several. Each of which wanted to produce a larger bodied rabbit, than that of the Standard Chinchilla.
Through selective breeding for larger size, fine bones, and a good dress-out percentage, a breed standard was issued for the Heavyweight Chinchilla. It was a larger form of the Standard Chinchilla – the same shape, colour, and general make up.
In 1924, both Chinchilla breeds were adopted into the standards book and shortly thereafter, the Heavyweight Chinchilla was renamed the American Chinchilla. The smaller, original Chinchilla rabbit was named the American Standard Chinchilla Rabbit.
American Chinchilla Rabbit Breeders Association was formed in 1925 to promote the American Chinchilla Rabbit.
Between November 1928 and November 1929, no less than 17,328 Chinchillas were registered through the American Rabbit & Cavy Breeders Association (American Rabbit Breeders Association, Inc.) – a record that has yet to be broken.
The Chinchilla rabbit has contributed to the development of more breeds and varieties of rabbit worldwide than any other breed of domestic rabbit. Sports from the Chinchilla have created the Silver Martens and American Sables in the United States, and the Siamese Sable and Sallander breeds abroad.
The American Chinchilla is now regarded by the ARBA to be the most rare of the Chinchilla breeds. Its small population is largely due to the demise of the rabbit fur industry of the late 1940’s. Despite the breed’s fine meat producing qualities, producers of today prefer an all white rabbit for the meat market.
Chinchilla rabbits are part of a group of three rabbit breeds;
Chinchilla rabbits are lagomorphs and have been bred for a coat that resembles that of chinchillas.
They are not related to and cannot interbreed with chinchillas, which are a species of rodent.
Standard Chinchilla adults range in weight from 5-8 pounds. They are generally the size of typical rabbits. This smaller breed was the original Chinchilla rabbit and was renamed the American Standard Chinchilla Rabbit in 1924.
American Chinchilla adults range in weight from 9 to 12 pounds.
You can find out more about the American Chinchilla here...
The name was changed from 'Heavyweight Chinchilla' to 'American Chinchilla' in 1924.
A giant chinchilla rabbit can range from 10-16 pounds, and are a popular, very friendly, family favourite and docile pet rabbit.
Medium size rabbit
Ring Size D
Under 4 months - 2.041kg (4½lb)
Under 5 months - 2.494kg (5½lb) maximum
Adults - 3.170kg (5 to 7.5lbs)
Shape & Body:
Compact body medium in length, with well-rounded hips, and well filled loin and ribs.
Shoulders are to be well developed and in proportion to the rib spread and hips.
There should be a slight taper from hips to the shoulders, with more length in does than bucks.
The back is to form a gradual arc, beginning at the base of the ears, carried to a high point at the middle of the hips, and continuing down to the base of the tail. (A medium size dewlap is permissible in does).
Upright, erect and close together.
Large, bright, and bold, with an alert expression.
The US recognises the following guidelines on colour:
The colour is to resemble real Chinchilla.
The under colour is to be dark slate blue at the base; intermediate portion of pearl to be as light as possible, with the top edge being a very narrow black band (base definitely wider than the intermediate portion); above this is a very light band, brightly ticked with wavy jet black hairs to resemble the beautiful Chinchilla surface colour.
Neck fur is to be lighter in colour than the body, but strictly confined to the nape.
The chest is to be lightly ticked with a uniform shade of pearl, slightly lighter than the body.
The body colour is to extend as far down the sides as possible.
Belly colour, next to the skin, is to be white or blue.
Surface colour is to be white.
Eye circles are to be well defined, narrow and light pearl.
Tail underside is to be white. Topside of tail is to be black, interspersed with white hairs.
Rollback Fur on the body is to be 1 1/8 to 1 3/8 inches in length.
Ideal length to be 1¼ (A longer or shorter fur with density preferred over standard length lacking density).
Fur is to be very dense, of fine texture, and with a gentle rollback. Fur is to be bright smooth, glossy, and free from moult or hutch stain.
Faults - Fur shorter than 1 inch; showing a tendency toward wool; harsh and wiry
The Standard Chinchilla rabbit temperaments can differ between breeders depending on the parent breeds used to produce each line.
If you intend to buy a standard chinchilla rabbit, buy from a reputable breeder or rescue centre and observe the rabbit's temperament also enquire as to any hereditary dental concerns.
Generally standard chinchillas are easy to train as they are very smart creatures. They can comprehend certain orders like come, and play, eat etc and will respond to their own name. They are also very easy to litter box train and for that reason make very good house rabbits and home companions.
In most cases the standard chinchilla is friendly and have a very good, playful nature. Most are lively, sociable and gentle.
They are quite timid when you compare them with some of the other smaller breeds like the Netherland dwarf but with all rabbits giving them the right king of gentle attention, along with gentleness and understanding will help them gain your trust.
Standard chinchillas need experienced handling since they can easily be
frightened and because of this, may become aggressive.
For these reasons they are not generally recommended with children.
More on building trust and correct handling.
NB - Although standard chinchillas are a small breed, they are active and very playful and for that reason, they will need plenty of space, more than that of a larger breed.
The standard chinchilla rabbit was originally created as a fur breed but has become a very popular domestic pet rabbit.
The standard chinchilla rabbit received official breed status with the ARBA in 1919.
The odd chunk of fresh pineapple in their diet, especially during shedding, is a great solution to possible hairball problems, as the acidic nature and other compounds in the pineapple helps to break down any hair that might be caught in the gut. (It acts a bit like drain unblocker!)
Like all rabbits, the standard chinchilla can develop dental problems and this breed may be more prone to dental disease than other breeds and have more risk of developing hairballs, leading to digestive problems, both of which can be potentially fatal conditions.
Their teeth should be
checked regularly for signs of overgrowth and their diet should include
fibrous vegetables that will help keep their teeth down. Enamel spurs
and overgrown molars can prevent them from eating properly and can cause
abscess injuries in the mouth so it’s vital that the teeth are kept in good
Avoid overfeeding. An overweight bunny can find it difficult to groom themselves and if fur is allowed to become soiled with urine or faeces it can attract flies. These flies lay eggs in the fur and the maggots can burrow into the rabbit’s flesh, causing painful open wounds that will require veterinary attention.
All rabbits should be vaccinated against Viral Haemorrhagic Disease and Myxomatosis and should be treated regularly for fleas, ticks and worms. It’s also worth considering spaying any non-breeding females in order to prevent uterine cancer, which is common in all female rabbits.
If your rabbit is going to live outdoors their house must be large enough for them to hop at least 3 decent sized hops (surprisingly this can be up to 6 foot for this breed) and be tall enough for them to stand upright on their hind legs. It should be completely weather and waterproof and positioned out of direct sun and wind. The hutch should have shavings and straw on the floor and should also provide a covered area where the rabbit can nest. The hutch must be cleaned out completely once a week and droppings must be taken out every day. A hutch or house should not be the ONLY area where they live.
Regardless of whether your rabbit is going to live indoors or outside, they should have access to a LARGE exercise area when they are at their most active - early morning and late evening. A very large run or secure area of garden will allow them the opportunity to stretch their legs and indulge in their love of exploration.
If they are to live inside, and standard chinchillas are very suited to indoor life, they can be easily taught how to use a litter tray. They must be provided with an area where they can retire to, hide away and relax completely.
A dog crate or indoor cage is ideal but if they are given free run of the house (like cats and dogs are afforded the luxury of, so why not rabbits?) then they will usually find their favourite place, usually under a bed or behind a sofa etc.
Just make sure all wires, cables and anything precious are out of the way and off the floor. Be aware that the rabbit could be near your feet, as they love being close to you, and take care not to step on them when you are moving around.
This should include good quality hay, rabbit pellets and lots of fibrous green leaves and vegetables like kale, cabbage, carrot tops and dandelions with constant access to fresh, clean drinking water.
It’s also worth making sure you know how to pick up and hold your rabbit correctly. Rabbits can struggle and panic if they’re held incorrectly. They’re stronger than they look and can injure their backs if they fall incorrectly or can give you a nasty scratch in their efforts to escape.
Here is a list of resources to help you care for your rabbits…
Standard Chinchilla Rabbit Breeders – locate standard chinchilla rabbit breeders using the online rabbit breeders directory, search or submit your own rabbitry.
ASARBA - The American Standard Chinchilla Rabbit Breeders Association is an organisation for all Standard Chinchilla rabbit enthusiasts in the US. They place a great deal of emphasis on education and helping those who are new to raising rabbits. Several members have been raising rabbits for more than 20 years at state and national levels.
Everyone loves to read stories about a particular breed of rabbit. Submit yours and I'll include it on the relevant rabbit breed page for others that love the breed to share and appreciate. Sharing is what this site was built for - feels good too!
Are You a Breeder?
Do you breed these rabbits? Let us know. Adding yourself to our directory will improve your contact database and give you more recognition for the great work you do.
Add to the Breed Profile
Have I Missed Anything? If you know something about the breed standard, history or status of this rabbit, please let me know. Keeping the breed profiles up to date benefits everyone and in most cases I will recognise your contribution with a link back to your social media or website.
Share your views, points, tit-bits and tales! (Remember, you don't have to have a Facebook account to make a comment.)
All input is good, no matter how small ;-) Thank-you.