The Californian rabbit is a great domestic rabbit. They're friendly, intelligent and well tempered. If you're thinking of adopting a Californian rabbit, this is the perfect breed sheet for you.
In this AnimalWised breed file, we're going to go through the origin, physical characteristics, characters and more of the Californian rabbit. Keep reading to learn how to best care for your Californian rabbit.
- United States
Origin of the Californian rabbit
As its name goes on, the Californian rabbit is a breed developed in California, United States, during the 1920's. Its development is attributed to Mr. George West. This man had selectively crossed Himalayan rabbits with American chinchilla rabbits to obtain a new breed that would highlight a dense coat that is, at the same time, soft and delicate. In addition, some theories state that the first offspring obtained from these crosses could have been crossed with New Zealand rabbits to obtain the appearance that, today, characterizes the Californian rabbit.
This breed was first developed and commercialised for the fur industry and for meat. They were not meant as domestic pets at first. But thankfully, this has now changed and these rabbits are not exploited for their fur but rather cared for as a pet companion.
Physical characteristics of the Californian rabbit
The most characteristic feature of Californian rabbits is their abundant coat made up of two layers. Despite being dense and thick, it is also soft and pleasant to the touch. Regarding coat color, the ARBA only recognizes the standard pattern, which consists of the white base with black pigmentation on its nose, tail, feet and ears. However, the British Rabbit Council (BRC) in the United Kingdom also recognizes Californian rabbits with dark brown, chocolate, lilac and blue pigmentation, in addition to the traditional standard variety.
These lagomorphs also have a robust body with well developed musculature, usually weighing between 3.5 and 4 kg in adulthood. Their ears are long, measuring up to 3 cm in length. Their ears have rounded tips and are generally erect, as a sign that the California rabbit is alert to its surroundings. In addition, these rabbits have red eyes.
An interesting curiosity about the metabolism of the Californian rabbit is that the pigmentation of its fur can react in different ways depending on the climate of the place where they reside. When they live in colder cities, these rabbits tend to have more dark parts on their body. Whereas in the fur of these rabbits that live in warmer regions, the white base of their fur predominates.
Californian rabbit character
Californian rabbits are known to be friendly and affectionate, making them one of the best rabbits breeds for children. These rabbits are shy but very curious when arriving in their new home. They are also quite social. You can train these rabbits through positive reinforcement. Learn more in our article about training your rabbit. Training these rabbits is quite easy as they are very intelligent.
Caring for a Californian rabbit
As with all rabbits, Californian rabbits will need a healthy and balanced diet to maintain a healthy life. The base of this diet is high quality hay and also a wide variety of vegetables. As a treat you can give them a small piece of fruit, but stay away from commercial treats as they often lead to obesity and other health issues.
Rabbits are usually happier when they are accompanied by another rabbit. This is why it's recommended to adopt them in pairs. Make sure their cage or cages are big enough for them and that they are clean. Another important factor is play. Californian rabbits are very playful and will need plenty of rabbit toys and time to play with their rabbit companion and caregiver. You must also remember to allow them enough time outside of their cage. This way, you can reinforce physical activities, as well as avoid certain health issues, such as anxiety or aggression.
When it comes to their hygiene, you will need to brush their coat once per week and a bath whenever they truly need them. Other times, you can simply use a damp cloth and gently stroke them with it to clean any dirt they may have.
Lastly, you must remember to take them to the veterinarian for regular check-ups so as to detect any possible health issues early on.
Californian rabbit diet
Californian rabbits will need a rich and balanced herbivorous diet. This mainly consists of plenty of hay and a variety of vegetables. Your rabbit will need fresh water available throughout the day. They will also need lots of hay and a great variety of vegetables to get all the vitamins and minerals they need to thrive
California rabbit health
Like all rabbits, Californian rabbits adapt best to temperate climates. They can easily suffer from high temperatures and extremely low temperatures. This is why we should always be careful when letting them outside. On days where we see that the climate isn't adequate, it's best to allow them to play indoors. This way we avoid that they suffer from heat stroke, hypothermia, etc.
In addition to suffering with climatic adversities, the Californian rabbit can also develop certain common diseases in rabbits. To avoid these and catch them early on before they get serious, it's important to take our rabbit to the veterinarian for regular check-ups. We must also keep up with their vaccination and deworming schedule.