Cinnamon rabbit

  • COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States
  • USES: Fur, meat
  • WEIGHT: 11 pounds (5 kg) max., senior does
  • BODY TYPE: Commercial
  • FUR TYPE: ARBA Commercial Normal Fur Standard
  • COLOR: Rust or cinnamon with gray ticking; smoke gray midway on side and darker on belly

THE LARGE CINNAMON RABBIT is aptly named, as its cinnamon or russet color, dusted with gray and set off by dark ears, muzzle, and paws, distinguishes it from about a dozen other breeds of similar size and shape. Good-natured pet and show animals, Cinnamons are uncommon but are available across the country.

The evolution of the Cinnamon breed began entirely by accident in Missoula, Montana, when a New Zealand white buck mated with a Chinchilla doe in 1962. The owner, Ellis Houseman, wanted the crossbred rabbits for stew, but young Belle Houseman prevailed on her father to keep one of the bucks for a pet. During a subsequent 4-H project, Belle and her brother Fred crossed their pet with a crossbred Checkered Giant/Californian doe. An attractive russet-colored kit appeared in the litter.

More litters produced more cinnamon-colored kits, and when these additional same-colored rabbits were mated, they produced mostly russet kits. Now intrigued, the elder Houseman became enthusiastic about the cinnamon color and the sheen on the short coat.

Ten years after the breed’s unplanned beginning, the Cinnamon Rabbit
was accepted by the ARBA as a distinct breed.