Californian Rabbit – information and facts about the Californian Rabbit Breed. Learn more about Californian Rabbits in this article. Breed photos are included.
As what has been known to many, there are many types of rabbit breeds. And these all couple to the reasons why rabbits are some of the most interesting animals in the world.
Among these many breeds, one of the most widely raised, easily recognized and all-around useful is the Californian rabbit breed. Every year, you can see Californian rabbits the Grand Champion meat pen at different rabbit fairs all around the country. They are often seen as finalists in the ‘Best in Show’ table because of their outstanding characteristics and versatility. Californian rabbits are known for their calm and friendly nature, which is why it’s a very popular breed among among rabbit pet owners.
In terms of meat purposes and the value of their fur, they are also being highly demanded by some of the country’s largest rabbitries as well as backyard breeders. Truly enough, Californian rabbits are some of the most valued rabbits not just in United States but also to the rest of the world. Indeed, only the New Zealand White rabbits surpass the Californian breed in popularity as a commercial rabbit.
In order to appreciate their furs, you need to put your hands on a quality Californian. Then, you can glide through its short, smooth, solid build, dense and fine coating. Because of its quality coating, they’re also being classified as a fancy breed. This coating should be taken cared properly since Californians are prone to hairball obstructions and matted coats.
Californian Rabbit Facts
Historically, the Californian breed was developed in 1920s by George West of California, thus coining the term “Californian breed”. It’s a product of a cross-breeding between Himalayans and Standard Chinchillas, with the addition of some New Zealand blood in order for him to achieve his desired size. It is primarily bred for meat and fur purposes. While it is being considered one of the most popular breeds in the world, Californian rabbit breed actually did not become popular for at least 15 years after its development. Today, Californian is the second most popular meat-producing breed.
Now, Californian breed has contributed its genes to a ‘specialized modern commercial breed’ called the Altex. Thus, we can say that Californian rabbits have been instruments in passing the desirable traits across generations.
Let’s take a look at some of the basic characteristics and appearance of Californian rabbits.
Californian rabbits weigh about 7-10 pounds. They are fairly large rabbits. Usually, the bucks or male rabbits are the ones that weigh between 8-10 pounds. The does or females weigh around 8-9.5 pounds. Their breeding age should be over 20 weeks in order to achieve the best results.
It has been told that Californian rabbits should be judged “from the hind end forward”. This is due to the fact that the hindquarters of the rabbit contain the most meat, which means that it carries more points in the Standard if compared to the midsection or shoulders area.
The body of the Californian rabbit is deep and full. It is bulky in build with firm, plump bodies and a very short neck. It has fairly short tapered ears, which are carried erect. You should constantly check your rabbit to make sure that the body is in the right shape. If you look at your rabbit from the right side, you shouldn’t be seeing dips in the smooth curve of the topline that rises behind the ears and arches down to the tail. Also, when you rub your rabbit from front to back, your hands should not catch on the hip area, nor would you feel some pinbones. The ears are notably big, though not as big as the Flemish Giants.
The fur of the California rabbit should be ‘flyback’, which is consistent with the ARBA commercial standard. They are ideally pure white with some dark markings called the ‘smut’ in certain body areas, specifically the tail, feet, nose and ears. Their eyes range from shade of pink to bright ruby red. Ideally, the rabbit should not have any coloration in the ‘usable area of the pelt’. This is because furriers prefer an all-white pelt. However, the color of the points – nose, ears, tail and feet, need to be ‘as near black as possible’, though remarkably, ‘black is not the only showable color’. Apart from the common knowledge, blue, lilac and chocolate pointed Californians, which appears in litters, can also be shown. However, they are being discredited for their point color other than black.
Caused by the ch gene, which is often called the Himalayan gene, Californian rabbits have one standard color. The color is just a step away from albino and is restricted to the points. The pointed white color is sensitive to the temperature. With this, the color becomes darker when exposed to cold temperature. When heated, the color gets lighter.
You can also notice that the points of the rabbit’s body are farthest from the internal source of heat. And because of this temperature sensitivity of the rabbits, Californian rabbits that live in cooler climates tend to have darker point colors. This is also the same reason why breeders from the South build ‘chiller room’ rabbitries in order to grow out their show rabbits.
The fact of the Californian breed coming from the Himalayan gene couples to the reasons why Californian rabbits and Himalayan rabbits look similar. Their main difference lies on the size, since the Californian rabbits are larger.
Known for their meat, the Californian rabbit breed produces large litters of 8-12 kits, which have a growth rate to fryer size (4-5 pounds) in just 8-12 weeks. Their average life span is 5-10 years.
Now that you know what Californian rabbits are, along with their characteristics and value, explore the different possibilities in getting to know them more with a first-hand experience. They are one of the most well loved pets, plus they serve lots of purposes too!