The Californian rabbit is best known for its completely white coat and dark markings on the nose, feet, ears, and tail. These bunnies are mainly bred for meat and fur, but are becoming increasingly popular pets and show rabbits.
Are Californian rabbits good pets? While they are mostly bred for meat and fur, the Californian rabbit is a highly versatile breed. Not only are these rabbits’ wonderful pets, but they are also ideal for first-time owners. Though they may appear shy at first, Californian rabbits become very friendly once they meet their families.
If you are looking for a beautiful and affectionate pet rabbit, the Californian rabbit breed is a great choice! Keep on reading to find out everything you need to know about this rabbit breed!
What Is a Californian Rabbit?
The Californian rabbit is a popular breed of domestic rabbit most commonly bred for meat and fur. This breed is also known as the California White rabbit since it has a completely white coat and dark markings.
Californian Rabbit History and Origin
The Californian rabbit breed was originally developed in 1923 by George West of Lynwood, California (source). His goal was to create a new breed of meat rabbit with “perfect” meat and a dense coat.
West already kept genetically pure New Zealand Whites, which he began crossing with standard Chinchilla rabbits for their dense coat, and Himalayan rabbits. The Californian rabbit gets its distinctive black markings from the Himalayan gene.
After this, West gave some of his stock to two trusted Californian breeders and together they perfected and created the breed we have today.
The Californian rabbit was first shown in 1928. However, the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) officially recognized the breed in 1939.
It’s worth noting that the American Rabbit Breeders Association recognizes only the original, “Standard” color variety that has white fur and dark color points. The British Rabbit Council, on the other hand, recognizes four color varieties, including “Normal”, chocolate, lilac, and blue points.
Californian Rabbit Characteristics
Californian rabbits have muscular bodies with full shoulders. Their hindquarters are as wide as they are deep. They have medium-long broad ears that are erect and should point straight up.
Size, Weight, Shape
The Californian rabbit is large in size and has a commercial body type. They usually weigh from eight to 10.5 pounds. Female rabbits (does) typically weigh more than male rabbits (bucks) and are larger.
As mentioned earlier, the American Rabbit Breeders Association accepts only one color variety of a Californian rabbit and that is white with as dark markings as possible.
Ideal Californian rabbits have black or near black markings or points on their nose, feet, tails, and ears. They also must have pink eyes, like albino rabbits.
The Californian rabbit has a short coat and a dense undercoat. Unlike most other rabbit breeds, the outer layer of the Californian rabbit’s coat is coarse and not soft. Due to that, petting a Californian rabbit is probably more enjoyable to the rabbit than the person petting them.
Since they have a dense undercoat you can expect your bunny to shed more during the spring than any other season. To remove loose hair and keep the shedding to a minimum brush your rabbit twice a week during the molting season.
For the remaining part of the year, you can groom your pet rabbit once a week. Besides reducing shedding, regular grooming also lowers the amount of hair your rabbit swallows during self-grooming, thus minimizing the risk of GI stasis (source).
The Californian rabbit has an average lifespan of five to 10 years. With proper diet, regular exercise, proper care, and regular veterinary checkups your Californian rabbit may even live longer.
While primarily bred as a meat rabbit and for fur, the Californian bunny is becoming an increasingly popular pet and show rabbit. This breed is sought after by rabbit lovers due to their mild temperament and friendly nature.
Most Californian rabbits appear shy and rather quiet at first. But, proper socialization and daily interaction with their owners help their personalities to shine through.
Once your Californian bunny gets out of its shell, you’ll discover that they like to be active and play, but can also sit still in your lap and cuddle. This makes Californian rabbits excellent pets for people of all ages, including first-time owners and families with children.
If you have kids, make sure that they know how to hold and pet a rabbit properly to prevent injuries to either party. Also, always make young children sit on the floor while petting a rabbit, so if the rabbit accidentally falls or flips over they won’t get seriously hurt since they are near the ground already.
While they aren’t known to be aggressive, Californian rabbits can get bored and destructive, so it’s important to have a few interesting toys to keep them entertained.
Depending on your rabbit’s preferences, fun toys can include balls or toilet paper rolls. And if your bunny needs something more elaborate, an interactive toy from your local pet shop will do.
Most rabbit breeds aren’t as easy to train as cats and dogs, but you can still train a rabbit to use a litter box. Litter training a rabbit is a bit tricky and will take time, patience, and a few tasty treats.
Instead of using just one litter box, most owners find that placing several boxes around the house is the best way to potty train a rabbit. By giving your rabbit several toilet options to choose from, they are less likely to leave droppings all over your home and expensive carpets.
Californian Rabbit Care
The Californian rabbit, like all other rabbit breeds, needs proper care and plenty of attention to stay happy and healthy. If you decide to welcome this beautiful rabbit into your home, make sure that you’re able to care for it properly.
Here are a few things you need to consider:
For their personalities to shine through, Californian rabbits have to spend a lot of time out of their enclosures exploring and interacting with their families. The great thing about this breed is that they can be kept in both indoor and outdoor enclosures.
Their coats are dense enough to keep them protected in cold temperatures as long as they have adequate housing. This means that their outdoor enclosures should be covered on three sides to provide protection against cold drafts and elements.
Indoor rabbit enclosures should be made of strong wire and have a plastic bottom. Avoid cages with wire bottoms since they are very uncomfortable for rabbits and can cause sore hocks.
Line the inside of your rabbit’s cage with rabbit-safe bedding such as shredded paper, wood pellets, or hay. Spot clean the bedding every day and remove it completely once a week to maintain hygiene inside the enclosure.
The ideal diet for a Californian rabbit should mostly be made out of high-quality hay. Like all other rabbits, the Californian bunny needs to eat around 70% hay and the rest should consist of fruits, vegetables, and pellets.
You can use fruits and vegetables as treats to reward your bunny whenever they’ve been good at training. Besides fresh food, your bunny should have unrestricted access to fresh and clean water.
Like all other rabbits, the Californian bunny needs regular exercise to stay healthy and in good shape. These bunnies need a lot of time outside of their enclosures to explore and interact with their owners.
If you keep your rabbit indoors make sure to rabbit-proof your home before letting your bunny out of the enclosure. The same applies if your Californian rabbit lives outdoors. You’ll need to make them a secured pen where they’ll play, run around, and explore while being safe from predators.
The Californian rabbit doesn’t suffer from any breed-specific health problems and is a generally healthy breed. However, they can be affected by common rabbit diseases.
These bunnies can develop sore hocks if they are kept in an enclosure with a wired bottom (source). The best way to avoid this problem is to purchase a cage with a plastic bottom and line it with cozy rabbit bedding.
Make sure to check your rabbit’s teeth once a week for overgrown teeth since their teeth never stop growing. If your rabbit doesn’t eat enough hay their teeth can grow into their jaws and faces, causing extreme pain and discomfort. If your bunny’s teeth seem too long, take them to the vet to have the teeth filed.
Californian Rabbit Price
Californian rabbits on average cost from $20 to $100. The exact cost depends on a lot of factors, including the breeder, pedigree, and the quality of the rabbit.
Originally bred for meat and fur, the Californian rabbit is becoming an increasingly popular pet and shows rabbit. While these large bunnies may seem shy and quiet at first, they quickly warm to their people with proper socialization.
Even-tempered, friendly, and playful Californian rabbits make excellent pets to people of all ages including first-time owners and families with children.