Californian Rabbits

Learn more about the Californian Rabbit Breed. Discover cool facts, pictures, resources and find information about caring for Californian Rabbits.

This rabbit breed information page is part of our rabbit breeds article series.

Californian Rabbit Resource Links: Free Rabbit Breeders Newsletter | Californian Rabbit Breed Info | Californian Rabbit Information and History | Californian Rabbit Care | Californian Rabbit Resources

Californian Rabbit Breed Info

Californian Rabbit BreedRecognized colors: one standard color.

Size: 8-10 ½ pounds.

National Specialty Club:

Californian Rabbit Breed Photo Credit: Aaron Webster –

Californian Rabbit Information and History

In the United States breeds are as widely raised, as easily recognized, or as all-around useful as the Californian.  Each year hundreds, maybe thousands, of Californian trios take Grand Champion meat pen at fairs around the country.   They are often finalists on the Best in Show table, and are widely raised for their meat and fur value both by large scale rabbitries and back yard breeders.  You have to put your hands on a quality Californian to fully appreciate its smooth, solid build and fine coat.

Californians should be judged “from the hind end forward.”  The hindquarters pack the most meat, so it carries more points in the Standard than the midsection or shoulders.  The body type should be as deep and full as possible.  Looking at the rabbit from the side, you should see no dips in the smooth curve of the topline rising behind the ears and arching down to the tail.  Your hands should not catch on the hips or feel any pinbones when you rub a Cal from front to back.  The fur is to be a flyback that conforms to the ARBA commercial fur standard.  Californians should be pure white with dark markings called smut on the “points” – nose, ears, feet, and tail.  The eyes are ruby red.  Color on the “usable portion of the pelt” is a disqualification, because furriers preferred an all-white pelt.   Color of the points is to be “as near black as possible” – but black is not the only showable point color!  Most people don’t realize this, but blue and chocolate pointed Californians do appear in litters and can be shown, but are faulted for point color other than black.

The Californian color is caused by the ch gene, often called the Himalayan gene.   This is just one step up from albino; color is restricted to the points.  The pointed white color is temperature sensitive: cold makes it darker and heat makes it lighter.  (Notice that the points are farthest away from the internal heat source of the rabbit.)  Californian rabbits in cooler climates will naturally have darker point color, so some breeders in the south actually have “chiller room” rabbitries in which to grow out their show rabbits! 

This breed was developed in the 1920’s by George West of California.  He crossed Himalayans with Standard Chinchillas and then added some New Zealand blood to achieve the size he wanted.  Today only the New Zealand white surpasses the Californian in its popularity as a commercial rabbit.  The Californian also contributed its genes to a specialized modern commercial breed called the Altex.

Californian Rabbit Care

Here is a list of resources to help you care for your californian rabbits…

Californian Rabbit Resources

Here is a listing of californian rabbit resources to help you out with your rabbit project…

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