It seems size really does matter. If you are looking for a giant rabbit breed that is show-worthy and makes an excellent pet, then look no further than the Giant Chinchilla rabbit breed.
Giant Chinchilla rabbits are gentle, sweet, and so chilled they almost seem lazy. The breed has an interesting coat that has bands of 4 colors: blue, gray, black, and silver. These breeds used to be bred for fur and meat. These days, a Giant Chinchilla can be found on the show table or as a pet.
Let’s learn more about the Giant Chinchilla rabbit, one of the few breeds that were developed in America.
What Is a Giant Chinchilla Rabbit?
The Giant Chinchilla rabbit, as the name points to, is a giant rabbit breed, weighing between 12-15 pounds. The Giant Chinchilla is related to the Standard Chinchilla and American Chinchilla rabbits.
Other comparable breeds for the Giant Chinchilla are the Flemish Giant rabbit and Checkered Giant.
Since the Giant Chinchillas are like gentle giants in the rabbit world and have an average lifespan of 7-10 years, they make excellent pets.
Giant Chinchilla Rabbit History and Origin
Edward H Stahl in Holmes Park, Kansas City, Missouri, was one of the first Americans to own a Standard Chinchilla rabbit that was bred in 1913 in France.
When the Standard Chinchilla rabbit breed was introduced to America in 1919, Stahl saw how profitable the rabbit’s fur would be. However, the Standard Chinchilla rabbit was too small to yield a big pelt.
A few breeders tried to breed a bigger Chinchilla rabbit. They created the American Chinchilla rabbit but Stahl had other ideas.
He wanted to breed an even bigger Chinchilla rabbit.
In an attempt to breed a Giant Chinchilla, Stahl began experimenting. He bred a large Chinchilla buck with a New Zealand white. And from there, he also bred a few other large rabbit breeds.
The rabbits from a litter where an American Blue and White Flemish Giant was bred had good Chinchilla color fur, and these bunnies were used in further attempts to breed the Giant Chinchilla.
On December 25, 1921, a female Giant Chinchilla was born that Stahl considered ideal. This rabbit was named the “Million Dollar Princess.” Stahl showcased his “Princess” rabbit at the Kansas City Rabbit Show.
Everyone saw the potential the Giant Chinchilla had for both fur and meat production.
In 1924, a proposed standard for the American Chinchilla Giant was presented to the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) but the Heavyweight Chinchilla or American Chinchilla won more favor.
Demand for the Giant Chinchilla rabbits increased, and in 1928, ARBA recognized this breed.
Stahl made a million dollars from selling the Giant Chinchilla breed, and he is the first and only rabbit breeder to ever do so. Thus, he is regarded as the Father of the Domestic Rabbit Industry in America.
Giant Chinchilla Rabbit Characteristics
Here are the characteristics that set the Giant Chinchilla rabbit apart from another giant/large rabbit breeds:
Giant Chinchilla bucks generally weigh between 12-15 pounds; however, the does are larger, weighing 1-2 pounds more than their male counterparts and totaling at 13-17 pounds.
The Giant Chinchilla rabbit has a semi-arched body shape, also called a mandolin shape. The arch of the rabbit’s body starts behind their shoulders and follows the curved shape all the way to their bottoms.
At shows and exhibitions, mandolin rabbits are posed down on the table. Their shoulders are naturally lower than their hips.
The Giant Chinchilla rabbit has medium-length ears that are straight.
The Giant Chinchilla is the only rabbit in the Chinchilla rabbit family that has a flyback coat. These coats don’t need heavy maintenance to continue looking great.
It is recommended to groom your Giant Chinchilla with a rabbit-friendly comb or slicker brush at least twice a month. During shedding or molting season, you can increase the frequency of grooming your bunny to twice a week.
Giant Chinchillas have thick, luxurious coats. Since this giant bunny has a large area to self-groom, carefully watch your rabbit for signs of digestive issues and schedule regular visits with the vet.
The ARBA only recognizes one color Giant Chinchilla, just like its American Chinchilla cousin.
Like their namesake, the “Chin” rabbit family all sport a coat that has bands of blue, gray, black, tan, and silver.
More specifically, the Giant Chinchilla has a dark slate blue under color at the base of their coat (or closest to their skin). The top edge of the fur is a darker blue, and there’s a portion of light gray.
Giant Chinchillas have a white underbelly. The underside of their tail is also white, while the topside is black with some white hairs in between.
The eye circles of a Giant Chinchilla rabbit are well-defined and a light pearl color. Their eyes can be marbled, brown, or blue-gray; however, the preferred eye color is dark brown.
Giant Chinchillas can only be described as gentle giants. They are mild-mannered rabbits that make excellent pets. They are so relaxed that you may think they are super lazy!
These rabbits like to be mentally stimulated so ensure you place a lot of toys for them in their hutch.
Giant Chinchilla Rabbit Care
If you keep a Giant Chinchilla rabbit as your pet or are considering adopting one, then note these best care practices to ensure your Giant Chinchilla will live a long and healthy life:
The rabbit enclosure, whether it is a wire mesh cage or wooden hutch, should be large enough for your Giant Chinchilla rabbit to be comfortable.
In general, if you aren’t sure how much space your bunny requires, then take into account that your rabbit should be able to stand upright in its enclosure without its head touching the ceiling. Also, they should be able to hop at least 3 times.
In the case of a Giant Chinchilla, you need an enclosure that is at least 3 feet by 3 feet x 4 feet. If you have bonded your Giant Chinchilla, then you need double the amount of space. And you need an even bigger enclosure if you keep more rabbits together.
Indoors or Outdoors
The Giant Chinchilla is a hardy pet so you can keep your bunny indoors or outdoors.
For an indoor enclosure, choose a metal cage that’s made of wire.
However, the bottom of the cage should be solid – thick plastic, wood, or metal. Line the bottom with rabbit-appropriate bedding as this ensures a soft surface for your rabbit to hop on and lay down on.
Surfaces that are hard can lead to sore hocks, a painful condition where sores develop on your rabbit’s paws.
For an outdoor enclosure, choose a sturdy wooden hutch that is raised off the ground. Ensure any openings are lined with fine wire mesh to ensure the hutch is predator-proof.
Make sure that your bunny will remain dry in the enclosure by weatherproofing the hutch.
Spot clean the enclosure, whether it is indoors or outside, daily to remove any droppings. Thoroughly clean the enclosure and replace the bedding for your rabbit once a week.
Like for any other rabbit, a Giant Chinchilla’s diet should also consist mainly of good-quality hay.
Hay should be available to your gentle giant rabbit with no limit because the hay helps ensure your rabbit’s hind-gut fermentation process (for their digestive system) stays working.
Plus, rabbit teeth never stop growing so chewing on hay and rabbit-friendly wooden toys ensures that their teeth don’t overgrow.
The rest of your rabbit’s diet should be fresh leafy greens and feed your Giant Chinchilla ¼ cup of high-fiber pellets for every 5 pounds of body weight.
So if your Giant Chin weighs 10 pounds, then your rabbit will eat ½ cup of pellets every day to ensure they get the nutrients their body needs.
Veggies and fruit will make up a tiny part of your rabbit’s diet as these are high in sugar. Your bunny doesn’t need sugar as an energy source. In fact, overfeeding your Giant Chinchilla high-calorie foods will only make it lethargic and overweight.
Your bunny should also have access to an unlimited supply of fresh, clean water every day.
While a Giant Chinchilla rabbit isn’t susceptible to a specific hereditary illness, you should regularly check your bunny for other health issues.
One health concern is flystrike, which is when your rabbit’s fur is wet (due to urine). This attracts flies that lay their eggs in the rabbit’s fur.
When the eggs hatch, the maggots start eating your rabbit’s skin. If this isn’t caught and treated early, it could be fatal for your rabbit.
Use your grooming routine to help you carefully check your rabbit’s body for signs of insect pests that could damage their skin and coat, and lead to further immunity issues.
Also be on the lookout for fleas, mites, and overgrown teeth. If you are worried about something, in particular, call your vet.
Breeding the Giant Chinchilla Rabbit
These days, Giant Chinchillas are mostly bred to be pet rabbits and to participate in rabbit shows.
However, because of their large size, Giant Chinchillas make great rabbits for meat production. The does kindle large litters, and the kits grow fast. In 2 months, a fryer could be big and weigh 7 pounds.
Before the fur trade dwindled in the 1940s, Giant Chinchilla rabbits were also bred for their fur, just like the Standard Chinchillas and American Chinchillas.
Giant Chinchilla Rabbit Price
If you want a Giant Chinchilla rabbit for a pet, you can expect to pay around $40. The price for a Giant Chinchilla increases to $100 if you want a purebred or pedigreed rabbit.
These gentle giants make excellent pets for first-time rabbit owners, those who are single or have a family with older kids.
Giant Chinchillas aren’t recommended for families with very young kids because of the rabbit’s giant size; however, you could consider getting a Giant Chinchilla kit for your young kid.
Look after your Giant Chinchilla well and you’ll have a lifelong companion.