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.
Table of Contents:
- Breed Info
- Breed Varieties and Colors
- Weight and Size
- Caring for Pets
- Cages and Supplies
- How to Breed for Show
- Breed Resources
- Locating a Breeder
Californian Rabbit Breed Info
Recognized colors: one standard color.
Size: 8-10 ½ pounds.
National Specialty Club:
Californian Rabbit Breed Photo Credit: Aaron Webster – aarabbits.com
Californian Rabbit Information and History
Californian Rabbits are quickly becoming a desired breed among rabbit owners and enthusiasts. The thick fur and docile nature makes the breed suitable for first time rabbit owners, as well as for show. Californians make excellent pets and show rabbits, due to their muscular, well defined bodies. They can be housed indoors or outdoors, as long as they’re protected from the elements like rain and snow. The distinctive dark or black markings on feet, ears, and nose make them stand out among other white rabbit breeds. If desired for pets, Californians need plenty of time outside their cages for interaction with their human handlers.
The Californian rabbit was originally bred by George West of California. Himalayan white rabbits were crossed with chinchillas to achieve the distinct markings. They were then crossed with New Zealand Whites, to achieve the desired size, making them ideal for meat or show. Californian Rabbits typically weight between 8 and 11 pounds. The Californian became a recognized breed by the American Rabbit Breeders Association in 1939, according to Wikipedia.com. The breed standard in the U.S. is white fur with dark points. Other color variations are accepted in the UK.
Interesting Facts about the Breed
– Dense, medium length fur. It is not velvety soft as in other breeds. While petting is necessary for Californian rabbits desired as pets, owners will not feel a silky coat as with other rabbit breeds.
– Californians can tolerate a variety of climates, due to their thick, coarse fur. However, they should have an outdoor enclosure that protects them from the elements, with at least three solid walls to keep snow and rain out.
– Californians are also known as California Whites, due to their breeding history from New Zealand Whites. The coloring is similar to Himalayans, but with a rounder, more compact body. Himalayan rabbits tend to have more elongated bodies.
– Californians, or Cals as they are sometimes referred to, are quickly becoming one of the most popular breeds in the U.S. This is due to the increasingly popularity among breeders and hobby rabbit owners alike. Californians raised for show often take top prizes in the meat rabbit category, t=while they are often raised for their meat and fur.
– Californians get their coloring from a Ch gene, also known as the Himalayan gene. The colder the climate they reside in, the darker the points of the ears, nose, and feet.
Breed Varieties and Colors
Californians are typically white, with medium length coats. The dark points of the ears can be black, charcoal, chocolate, blue, or lilac, according to breed standards. The main feature that sets this breed apart is the presence of dark points similar to Himalayan rabbits.
Weight and Size
An adult Californian rabbit typically weights from 8 to 11 pounds, with the average around 9 pounds. Females (Does) typically weight more than males(Bucks).
The lifespan of Californians is 5 to 10 years.
Litter size for a Californian
Californian rabbits usually have larger litters, of 6-8 young, known as “kits.”
Caring for pet Californian Rabbits
Californians, like other rabbit breeds, do best with a diet of high fiber. The largest part of the diet should consist of high quality timothy hay, with supplemental pellets and a small amount of crunchy vegetables. They prefer dark, leafy vegetables like kale and lettuce, with the occasional carrot pieces, apple chunks, or sunflower seeds.
Californians should always have a supply of fresh timothy hay, as well as fresh, clean water. Avoid feeding Californians vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower.
Californians should be kept in cages large enough to have separate areas for sleeping and hiding, eating, and the litter box, if kept indoors. Rabbits kept indoors can be let out of their cages daily for exercise. But, they should be watched closely. Rabbits like to chew. Wood furniture and power cords are particular hazards around the house. Wires should be kept covered if rabbits aren’t going to be watched every second they are out. Providing an alternative to wood furniture like alfalfa cubes and chew toys can be helpful.
Hobby owners who are not interested in breeding should have their rabbits spayed or neutered. This helps prevent spraying and uterine cancer in females.
Cages / Supplies
Rabbits will need suitable cages whether indoors or outdoors. Outdoor cages should protect them from the wind and provide space for activity. A 30″ by 24″ cage should be sufficient. A cardboard box placed in the cage will give the Californian rabbit a place to hide from unwanted visitors or to relax and rest. If a litter box is used, it should have straw on top of newspaper or paper pellets. Paper pellets and straw can also be used for bedding in rabbit cages.
How to Breed Californian Rabbits for Show
If you’re interested in breeding Californian rabbits for show, you should know what the standards are, in terms of appearance, size, and markings. The darker markings are often preferred, but size may be just as important. Does (females) should weight at least 8.5 lbs but no more than 10.5. Bucks should weight at least 8 lbs. but no more than 10 lbs.
The ARBA, or American Rabbit Breeders Association is a good source for determining standards and care for show rabbits of all breeds, including Californians. There are specialty clubs like the Californian Rabbit Specialty Club, Inc. which can help owners of Californians with resources related to caring for, showing, and breeding Californians specifically.
The Rabbit Breeders Directory, at https://rabbitbreeders.us/ can help those interested in Californian rabbits find reputable breeders in their regions, to start enjoying the breeding and caring of Californian rabbits. Some states like Ohio and Illinois have their own Californian Rabbit clubs to help owners find suitable shows. One top show is the Californian Nationals in Bloomington, IL, which takes place annually. There are many open shows throughout the U.S. and Canada, where Californian breeders can enter their rabbits in breed specific competitions.
Buying a Californian
Buying a Californian rabbit begins by doing plenty of research on the breed characteristics and standards. The ARBA has plenty of information on breed standards, which can help buyers select the right Californian rabbits. This can be helpful whether you’re looking to buy Californians for show, as pets, or another purpose.
Californians are typically friendly and docile, so a young rabbit with a sour disposition may be an indication of future problems. To get the best quality rabbits, buyers should stick to reputable breeders who can guarantee the health of the rabbits they sell. By visiting https://rabbitbreeders.us/ buyers can easily find reputable breeders by location. Some breeders on the list even support 4H and FFA projects, for youth who want to get involved in raising and caring for rabbits to take to the county fairs. Whether you want a few Californian rabbits as pets or want show quality rabbits, the breeder’s list is a great place to being your search. You should look at the coloring of parents, if you plan on buying young rabbits. Look for the dark points, check the thickness of their coats, and look for an overall healthy appearance. A rabbit with fading around the dark points may not be as desirable for a show rabbit, but may still make an excellent pet or meat rabbit.
Californian rabbit prices will vary from one region of the country to the next, based on popularity, quality, reputation, and demand. A single, young rabbit can cost as little as $40. Breeders often sell trios for $175 to $250. Age and performance (if you’re looking for show quality rabbits) will affect the price of Californian rabbits as well. A young rabbit can cost as little as $20. However, the younger rabbits may require more time and attention to keep them healthy. Meat rabbits weighing about 5 to 6 lbs. may cost as little as $15. But, you may need to find someone to process them when they get to a mature weight. Many breeders don’t provide this service.
There are always start up costs for housing, toys, pens, boxes, and supplies. There are costs associated with feeding show or meat rabbits and finding a reputable supplier of quality hay. There are costs for veterinary care, including annual check ups and the cost for spaying or neutering, if you plan to house multiple rabbits together.
Locating a Californian Rabbit Breeder
Locating a reputable Californian rabbit breeder is essential, for buying a healthy, well bred rabbit for any purpose. The list of breeders at RabbitBreeders.us is a good place to start. It provides the name, location, and any areas of specialization for hundreds of Californian rabbit breeders across the U.S. By taking the time to search for reputable breeders, you’re more likely to be happy with the Californian rabbits you buy.
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