Adult Size: Large (9-12 pounds/ 4-5.4 kilograms)
Conservation Priority (ALBC): Critical
The American Chinchilla, or “Heavyweight Chinchilla,” rabbit has good meat qualities, is easy to care for (no regular grooming required) and has a soft, beautiful coat. At first glance the American Chinchilla is salt and peppered colored, but once the fur is blown into, four distinct bands of color will appear.
The body is medium boned with a deep loin and broad shoulders. American Chinchillas are easily dressed and their meat is considered to be of good quality and taste. Males weigh 9-11 pounds and females are usually 10-12 pounds.
These stocky rabbits have a slight curve to their medium length bodies, beginning at the nape of their necks and following through to the rump. They carry their ears straight up and erect.
The larger breed was created in the 1920s from Standard Chinchillas to optimize meat production and create a larger pelt. It is not commonly known outside the U.S. and the breed is actually in danger of becoming extinct. It is the most rare of all the Chinchilla breeds. It should not be confused with the rodent called chinchilla which has a long tail.
No one person can be credited for the development of the American Chinchilla breed, and it had an enormous impact on the rabbit breeding industry. Between November 1928 and November 1929, no less than 17,328 Chinchillas were registered through the American Rabbit & Cavy Breeders Association (American Rabbit Breeders Association, Inc.) – a record that has yet to be broken. The Chinchilla rabbit has contributed to the development of more breeds and varieties of rabbit worldwide than any other breed of domestic rabbit. The Chinchilla has been used to create breeds such as Silver Martens and American Sables in the United States, and the Siamese Sable and Sallander breeds abroad.