Giant Chinchilla

  • OUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States
  • YEAR RECOGNIZED: circa 1928
  • USES: Fur, meat
  • WEIGHT: 16 pounds (7.3 kg) max., senior does
  • BODY TYPE: Semi-arch
  • FUR TYPE: Flyback; ARBA Commercial Normal Fur Standard
  • COLOR: Chinchilla
     THE GIANT CHINCHILLA IS THE LARGEST of the three Chinchilla breeds recognized in North America. Not surprisingly, it was developed for both fur and meat. Giant Chins on the show circuit typically weigh about 12 pounds (5.4 kg), but animals up to 16 pounds (7.3 kg) are acceptable. While there is clearly a family resemblance, Giant Chins appear darker gray than Standard Chins.
    The Chinchilla, with its distinct fur color, a mackereled tapestry of blue, silver, black, gray, and tan, was originally developed in France in the early 1900s. The breed reached the United States in 1919, and one resourceful breeder, Edward H. Stahl of Holmes Park, Missouri, recognized almost immediately that the uniquely furred Chinchilla would have potential for great commercial success if only it were larger.
    Applying the American imperative for bigger and better, Stahl began developing a larger Chinchilla breed. He used large Chinchillas, white New Zealands, white Flemish Giants, and American Blues. By 1921, Stahl had his ideal Giant Chinchilla and somewhat optimistically named her “The Million Dollar Princess,” leading to Giant Chin’s eventual reputation as “The Million Dollar Breed.”
    Commercial interest in the fur of Chinchilla rabbits waned after World War II. The Chinchilla breeds, including the Giant Chin, fell from favor, but small numbers of dedicated, enthusiastic breeders have kept the Chinchilla breeds viable.