Standard Chinchilla Rabbit

  • YEAR RECOGNIZED: circa 1923
  • USES: Show, fur, pet
  • WEIGHT: 7.5 pounds (3.4 kg) max., senior does
  • BODY TYPE: Compact
  • FUR TYPE: Rollback; 1 –1 inch (2.9–3.5 cm) long; very dense with fine texture
  • COLOR: Chinchilla

THE STANDARD CHINCHILLA WAS DEVELOPED IN FRANCE by an engineer, M. J. Dybowski. Exactly how Dybowski achieved the breed is unknown, but he may have used some combination of Beverens, Himalayans, and Tans, as well as a wild rabbit. In any event, Dybowski had by 1913 developed a smallish rabbit whose fur color, either by chance or more likely by design, resembled that of the wild chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera), a mountain-dwelling rodent of Chile.

American rabbit breeders were excited about the quality and color of the Chinchilla’s fur when the animals were exhibited in 1919 in the United States. They were less excited about the breed’s compactness, and several moved ahead with development of Giant Chinchillas and American Chinchillas, both of which are larger than the original Chinchilla, now known as the Standard Chinchilla.

Modern Standard Chinchillas are usually raised for show or pets. Their pelts are no longer prized as they were in the early 20th century, and they are too compact to be ideal meat rabbits. Chinchilla Rabbit fur is a rich blend of earth colors, much like that of the wild European rabbit. The dark, slate-blue base color has levels of pearl and black, with ticking of black guard hairs and light pearl-colored eye bands.