The American Chinchilla Rabbit is a large size rabbit with an average adult weight of about 4.8 kilograms. It has a medium build compact body, upright and erect ears which are close together, large eyes, and generally grey color of fur.
The color of its soft and silky dense, medium length hair (ideal length is 1 ¼ inches) is actually a complex combination of color bands along the shaft’s length. The portion of the hair shaft closest to the skin is dark slate blue, the middle is pearl colored, and the tips grey. Black hair strands are also found all over the body. The American Chinchilla rabbit does (female rabbit) are generally heavier than bucks (males) by about ¾ kilogram.
The American Chinchilla was developed by using selective breeding until it produced a breed larger in size than that of the original Chinchilla rabbit. The chinchilla rabbits, including the American Chinchilla, are bred resembling the expensive fur of the Chinchilla rodents which was in demand for the fashion industry. When the Chinchilla rabbit was introduced in America, works were immediately done to increase its size for it to be a better source of pelt and meat.
The American Chinchilla rabbit is now considered rare because there are no longer enough breeders due to the fall of the demand for its fur. It has a lifespan of seven to nine years.
Personality and Temperament
The American Chinchilla rabbits are submissive, good natured and very gentle, making them ideal pets. They are also intelligent and can be trained and taught obedience to simple commands and do tricks. They react excitedly in hearing the voice of their owner, knowing that play or treats are coming.
Unlike the very active Standard Chinchilla, American Chinchillas does not need much exercise. They can be very tame and enjoy being handled and can socialize with other pets. The females are known to be caring and attentive mothers to their offspring.
The attitude of an American Chinchilla is greatly attributable to that of its parents. If you want to buy one as pet, it would help if you could observe its parents. Most likely, how the parents are will be what the offspring will be. But, of course, proper training and caring of its owner can help it attain its unique personality.
Health and Care
Like other rabbits, American Chinchillas do not like getting bathed. They do their own grooming but owners can give a hand by brushing over its coat every few days. It is also important to keep their nails trimmed to prevent accumulation of dirt and to avoid accidentally wounding themselves or their owners.
They are generally resistant to disease but any sign of ill rabbit health like runny nose and drooping ears should be immediately acted upon.
Their diet is very similar with other breeds of rabbit, which includes variety of vegetables and commercial rabbit pellets. Never feed them meat, they are vegetarians! Plenty of fresh drinking water should be available at all times.
It is not advisable to keep two or more rabbits in the same cage after they are three months of age. If they are of the same sex, they will fight because rabbits are territorial. If they are of opposite sex, they will be mating. So unless you want to breed your American Chinchillas, you must never put two adults of opposite sex together.
History and Background of American Chinchilla Rabbit
The American Chinchilla is an American breed of rabbits developed in the 1920s. It was originally known as Heavyweight Chinchilla but the name was changed into American Chinchilla sometime in the 1920s to differentiate it with the original Chinchilla rabbit and the then upcoming Giant Chinchilla.
The American Chinchilla is an improvement of the Standard Chinchilla rabbits, which was created by a certain M.J. Dybowski, a French engineer and was first shown to public in April 1913 at Saint-Maur, France. Like the Standard Chinchilla, it is developed and raised chiefly for its fur and meat.
Among the three breeds of chinchilla rabbits, the American Chinchilla is considered the rarest. The downfall of its population is the result of the loss of demand for fur which started in the 1940s. Today, they are mostly raised for rabbit shows and as pets, though there are still households who raise them for food.