Chinchilla rabbits originated in France in the early 1900s, and were named for the similarity of their fur to the South American rodent, the Chinchilla. The Chinchilla rabbit breed was developed using Himalayans, Beverens and wild-coloured agouti rabbits, and first shown in France in 1913. The following year they were shown at a major international show in Paris and attracted much interest from other breeders. Chinchilla rabbits quickly became a very successful commercial breed, not just for the similarity of their fur to the pelt of a Chinchilla, but also because their coat matured much more quickly than other rabbit breeds. Chinchilla rabbits arrived in Britain in 1915, and in the United States in 1919, where the larger American and Giant Chinchilla breeds have also been developed (the original breed is known as the Standard Chinchilla in the USA). Chinchilla rabbits are now bred for showing and as pets, popular for their good temperament and luxuriously soft coat.
The Chinchilla is a small to medium sized rabbit, weighing around 2½-3kg (5½-7lbs).
Chinchilla rabbits have a medium build, with a compact body, short neck and fairly broad head with short, erect ears.
The Chinchilla has a very soft, silky coat of dense, medium length hair. Chinchillas have agouti coloring, where the hairs have different color bands along their length. The under color (next to the skin) is dark slate blue, the middle color band is pearl and the tips of the hair grey. Black ‘ticking’ (guard hairs) are unevenly distributed over most of the body. The belly, neck, flanks and eye-circles have pale, pearl ticking and the ears are laced with black.
Chinchilla (slate blue/pearl/black Agouti pattern)
Chinchilla coloring is also found in a number of other breeds.