The Standard Chinchilla is a breed of rabbit named for the South American chinchilla rodent because their furs are so much alike. The rabbit is medium-sized, docile, loves attention, and prized for its dark slate blue beautiful fur. Generally being too small for commercial meat production, it is more of a pet or show rabbit.
M.J. Dybowski, a French engineer, is credited with creating the very first Chinchilla rabbit. Dybowski crossbred the Himalayan, a wild rabbit, and the Beveren to develop his new breed. Originally shown in 1913 at Saint-Maur, France, it quickly became known as the ideal fur rabbit. A shipment of these rabbits was shown by a British exhibitor at the 1919 New York State Fair. Americans Edward H. Stahl and Jack Harris bought the whole shipment, which was how Chinchilla rabbits came to live in the United States.
American breeders wanted to improve on the Chinchilla meat quantity, so set about developing the Heavyweight Chinchilla (later renamed the American Chinchilla). The original Chinchilla's name was then changed to Standard Chinchilla. In 1928 it was approved by the forerunner of the American Rabbit Breeders Association, Inc. (ARBA) and adopted into the standards book.
The Standard Chinchilla has a short, round body, and erect ears no longer than 5 inches in length. Mature males (called bucks) weigh 5 to 7 pounds, while females (called does) weigh 5½ to 7½ pounds.
The color of the Standard Chinchilla's dense coat has a white and black top color. This is due to the slate blue at the base of the fur, a band of white further up on the hair shaft, then a narrow band of black fur on the hair tips. These colors appear as distinct bands when someone blows into the coat. If the fur is stroked, it should immediately return to its previous position. Because this rabbit has a short coat, its once-a-week grooming makes caring for it easy.
Standard Chinchilla sports (rabbits that did not conform to ARBA standards) helped to create other breeds of rabbit, such as the Siamese Sable, American Sable, and Silver Marten.