The Chinchilla Giganta rabbit is part of a group of bunny breeds that are classified as giants. If you’re thinking of adding one of these beauties to your family, you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared.
In this complete guide, I’ll show you how to care for your bunny, what they eat, how to set up a rabbit safe enclosure and tell you a bit about breeding (and how to avoid it).
Read on to learn more about the breed called Chinchilla Giganta.
Somewhere in the 1800s in France, a kit with a silver coat was born to agouti (Sandy) coloured rabbit parents. This kit looked exactly like its littermates with black-tipped fur, but instead of the rusty red or tan band underneath the dark tips, this baby had a band of pearly white. Some call it silver agouti since it’s basically the wild fur pattern of agouti with the rusty brown colour replaced by pearly white.
The French farmer, in whose hutch this baby appeared, was quite fascinated and decided to try and breed more of them. Parisians found these rabbits, with a very similar coat to the South American Chinchilla rabbit, very fascinating creating a rimple of interest.
Officially, Monsieur Dybowski, a French engineer and rabbit breeder, is listed as the creator of the French Chinchilla rabbit, but this fur colour predates him without a doubt. Monsieur Dybowski worked hard to improve this early chinchilla. Eventually, he got to show them for the first time in 1913. In 1914 he improved so much that his chins took top honours at the national rabbit show.
From here the ‘Chinchilla rabbit’ craze spread to the UK in 1917 and to the USA in 1919. From there, they were officially recognized as ‘Chinchilla Rabbit’ in the USA in 1924. Later it became known as the Standard Chinchilla Rabbit when the Giant Chinchilla and Chinchilla Giganta breeds appeared individually during World War 1.
The Chinchilla Giganta was developed during WW1. The development of this breed started in England and continued in Germany. Chris Wren wanted to produce a giant variety of the Standard Chinchilla that can be used for meat in addition to its fur.
To produce this breed, they crossed the Standard Chinchilla rabbit with Flemish Giants and a few other rabbit breeds. As a result, a larger chinchilla coloured rabbit was born. The Chinchilla Giganta became very popular very quickly and is now known as one of the best fur and meat rabbits available today.
This rabbit has dense, but silky resilient fur that's about 3.18cm (1¼ inches) long. The undercoat is a deep blue slate that stretches about half the length of the fur.
From there you will find a pearly white band and after that, you’ll find black guard hairs and the ends will be tipped with alternating black and white tips that give the rabbit its grey colouration. The belly should be pure white.
The body is semi arched, long, graceful and finely boned. The ears, head and limbs should be in proportion with the body. You’ll find black lacing all around the ears.
Overall, the Chinchilla Giganta will appear to have the grey coat of a chinchilla rodent, hence the name.
Chinchilla Giganta size differ between adult bucks and does. The does must weigh a minimum of 4.07kg (9Ib) and the bucks 3.86kg (8½Ib) when fully grown. The Chinchilla Giganta, no matter sex, aren’t allowed to weigh more than 5.44kg (12Ib) per breed standards.
These stunning giants can live for around 7 to 10 years. A lot will depend on how you care for your bunny, however, so make sure you do the research before getting one.
The Chinchilla Giganta is very friendly with a docile nature. Depending on personality and sex, you’ll find them to be very cuddly and will even seek you out for some head scratches. Aggression is rare in this breed, but it does occur occasionally.
Most of the time you can expect your bunny to be very lively and curious. They love to explore and will rarely sit still during their crepuscular time (dawn and dusk). Later you might find them sleeping under the couch or table until the fridge is opened…
Chinchilla Giganta rabbits are escape artists. They jump quite high and are excellent diggers. Keeping them confined is a challenge.
Chinchilla Giganta bunnies make excellent pets. They are, however, extremely undervalued as pets due to a lack of knowledge about them. Their size makes them suitable for households with small children and other pets such as cats and dogs.
They are very friendly, cuddly and soft with a lively nature. This means you’ll never be bored with all their antics.
Being gentle giants, Chinchilla Giganta rabbits easily get along with other rabbits as well as other pets. It’s best, however, to keep them with others of similar size to avoid any accidents.
If you’ll be keeping your rabbit with an animal of another species, you’ll need to make sure they are compatible. Bunnies can get along with predatory pets, but extra supervision will be required.
It’s recommended to keep Chinchilla Giganta bunnies in groups of at least two. They are very social and need companionship to be happy rabbits. Here’s a quick list of some possible friends for your bunny.
These stunning rabbits are herbivores. Their main diet should consist of lots of grass hay, rabbit pellets, fresh veggies and a few pieces of fresh fruits once in a while. It’s very important to feed your giant bunny a balanced, yet varied diet for optimal health.
The Chinchilla Giganta is quite large which means it also needs to eat a lot. A rabbit also has a very sensitive digestive system so you can’t make any quick changes in diet. Another thing, rabbits eat constantly. They have to since they can’t ruminate like other herbivores.
It’s best to supply your Chinchilla Giganta bunny with an unlimited supply of fresh, good quality grass hay. These include timothy hay, oat hay, barley hay, teff hay, meadow hay and orchard grass hay. You can create a mix of several kinds of hay to make it more interesting for your bunnies.
Legumes like Alfalfa and Lucerne can be given in small amounts. One handful per day is usually enough for adult rabbits. This type of hay is very high in protein which is great for growing babies, but very bad for the adults that don’t need as much protein.
Too much legume hay can cause kidney problems in your adult rabbits. Youngsters under 6 months can eat as much of it as they like though.
Your bunnies should also be supplied with a good quality rabbit pellet. This means commercial rabbit food without any coloured bits in it. The pellets are only there to help wear down the teeth and supply your Chinchilla Giganta with vital vitamins and minerals.
Depending on your brand (it's best to read what the package says) you can feed your youngsters unlimited pellets until one year old. After that, you can bring it down and feed your adults between 100-120g (3.5-7.1 Oz) of pellets per day.
It’s best not to feed youngsters under 3 months any veggies, greens or fruits. At this stage, they have very sensitive digestive systems. Adults on the other hand can get one tablespoon of fruit three times a week.
They can also get one cup made up of a mix of three kinds of greens and veggies every day in addition to their normal food. Make sure to switch up the greens and veggies every day for a varied diet.
Chinchilla Giganta rabbits are fairly low maintenance pets. They need to be brushed once a week to remove any loose hair in their coats when they aren’t moulting. During the moulting season (spring and autumn) you will need to increase your brushing to twice a week.
They also need their nails clipped at least once a month to stop them from becoming too long. If you feel brave enough, you can check your rabbit's teeth during this time as well, if not, ask a rabbit savvy vet to do it.
If you live anywhere that is not South Africa, you also need to get your bunnies vaccinated once a year. South Africa is free from all major rabbit diseases and thus doesn’t require any vaccinations. There is a vaccine against snuffles available for South African rabbits, however.
Chinchilla Giganta rabbits are very easy to care for, but they do require quite a lot of space. Fortunately, these bunnies can adapt to both indoor and outdoor lifestyles.
They will thrive in any environment that has been made rabbit safe, has enough space to run and jump and has lots of places to sleep the day away. In this section, you can learn how to set up the perfect Chinchilla Giganta enclosure.
Many rabbit owners like to keep their bunnies cage-free, but this isn’t an option for everyone. If you have a free-roaming bun, you will know how difficult it can be to keep them and your furniture safe.
A good option is to close off one room to turn it into a bunny room. Alternatively, you can set up a nice pen for your rabbit, or build a large outdoor hutch. Keep in mind that the minimum cage size requirement is 90cm (35.5 inches) high by 90cm wide by 90cm long. If your cage is this small, however, you will need to make time to let your bunny out to stretch its legs.
It’s best to have an enclosure that is a minimum of 1.2 m (47 inches) wide by 1.8 m (71 inches) long by 90cm high in my opinion. This allows them to run, jump and play to their heart's content.
If your enclosure is outside, you will want to place wire on the ground. The reason for this is that rabbits are excellent diggers. If you turn your back for 30 minutes, you might come back to an empty play area.
For an outdoor area meant as an exercise or play area only, you can place 50x100mm wire mesh on the ground. This means the wire mesh has blocks that are 50mm wide and 100mm long. These blocks allow your bunny to graze without being able to escape the enclosure.
Move the pen whenever the grass gets too short or if the area gets yucky with poop.
If you have a permanent outdoor play area, you can bury the wire. This allows the bunnies to dig and graze without being able to dig too deeply and escape.
If you have an indoor enclosure, you want to put something absorbent and nonslip at the bottom of the pen/cage. These bunnies can be potty trained, but it might take a while so you want to protect your floors. Something like washable puppy pads or waterproof sheets work well.
Some people also put linoleum flooring on the bottom of the cage to protect existing carpet or wooden floors.
Toys are always a good idea when it comes to Chinchilla Giganta rabbits. These bunnies get bored easily so giving them something to do prevents a whole lot of destruction.
The toys don’t need to be all fancy and expensive, they’ll probably chew them up pretty quickly. The best is to make your own by giving them branches from fruit trees, toilet paper rolls stuffed with hay or vegetables, tunnels made from cardboard boxes and platforms to jump on.
You can also buy hay balls and all kinds of fancy rabbit toys, but do make sure they are actually safe. Not all toys in pet stores are safe for chewing critters. If possible, avoid anything made from plastic. Stick to pet safe wood, grass and carton boxes that are safe for chewing on.
If your bunnies live indoors, you can litter train them to make cleaning easier. For that, you need a large litterbox, bunny safe cat litter (those made from wood or recycled paper are great).
Place it in the corner your rabbit chose to potty in. If you can, place some hay in there or hang a hay feeder from the wall above the litterbox. You’ll notice bunnies eat and poop at the same time.. This will ensure the litter box gets used.
For the feeding area you need bowls and something to put water in. You might also want a hay feeder to minimize the mess.
Hang the hay feeder over the litterbox to encourage pottying in the right place. The bowl will be for the pelleted food and another for veggies. Make sure these are heavy enough so your bunny can’t pick them up. The same goes for the water bowl. If you like, use a bottle instead that’s attached to the pen or cage.
If left unattended, your rabbit will start to smell pretty quickly. It’s best to clean the litterbox every two days. If it smells sooner than that, you will want to change to a different cat litter or make it deeper. Just make sure not to use any clumping litter or those made of crystals.
For the rest of the cage, you can do spot cleaning whenever you notice an accident. Clean out the whole setup once a week to remove stray poos, hair, dust and hay laying around. You can also use this time to sanitize everything.
Don’t use any harsh chemicals. White vinegar mixed with water is perfect for the job.
Unless you’re a registered breeder or planning on becoming one, breeding your bunnies definitely isn’t a wise thing to do. There are so many homeless rabbits due to people breeding these wonderful creatures and then abandoning them when they can’t sell or care for them anymore. The best way to avoid breeding is to get your bunnies sterilized.
Sexing rabbits isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially when they are young. It’s generally easy to tell male and female from each other when the rabbits are fully grown.
Females, called does, have a dewlap which is a flap of skin under the chin. They are also finer with a smaller head. Generally, you’ll find that they are larger than the males overall.
If you apply light pressure just in front of the genitals you’ll see the vulva protruding. You can tell it's a female if you can see a slit on an oval-shaped protrusion.
Male bunnies, called bucks, have a very large head with no dewlap. They are stockier than the females and usually a bit smaller. When checking the genitals you might see a testical or two, but they aren’t always visible so don’t rely on it.
Same as with the females you can apply light pressure just in front of the genital area. This will cause the penis to protrude. If you can see a round head with only a small opening, it’s a male.
The only way to sex babies and youngsters is by looking at the genitals.
If you want to breed, you don’t need to do anything special. Just make sure your female is a decent weight. Underweight females might not make it if they have a very large litter.
You also need to make sure your chinchilla Giganta females are at least 6 months old (8 months is better). The males can breed from as young as 5 months old.
The breeding process itself is very straightforward. Just remember to always put the female in the male’s cage, never the other way around. Does can be extremely territorial and might hurt the buck if he enters their territory.
During breeding the male and female will chase each other around and grunt. The male will nip the female and attempt to mount her until she submits. The breeding itself will take a few seconds.
You know the job is done when the male falls off the female and appears stunned for a minute or two. This is normal. Allow them to breed three or four times during one session. It should take around 30 minutes.
Around 28 to 36 days after mating you can expect babies. Make sure the doe has a box to nest in from day 26 of pregnancy. Once the kits are born check that they are clean, alive and have round bellies. This means they are well cared for. Allow the doe to do the rest.
Once kits reach around 2-3 weeks old you can start giving them pellets and grass to nibble on. Also, make sure there’s a water bottle for them to experiment with. Large bunnies like Chinchilla Giganta tend to drink from their moms until they are 6 weeks old. For this reason, never separate the kits from thier mom before 8 weeks old.
If you’d rather avoid having kits around, get your rabbits sterilized at a rabbit savvy vet. When a buck gets sterilized it’s called neutering. When a doe gets sterilized it's called spaying. Neutering is generally a smaller operation and is much cheaper and less risky to do.
Sterilizing will prevent your bunny from being overly aggressive, destructive and hormonal, but this isn't always the case. All bunnies are different. It will definitely prevent problems like reproductive tract cancer, however.
Chinchilla Giganta rabbits are very healthy and don’t have any major hereditary problems. There are a few general things you need to pay attention to, however.
To evaluate the health of your bunny, take note of everyday behaviour. If you notice any sudden changes like laying down more frequently, it’s worth checking out.
Do an overall health check at least once a week. This means picking up your bunny, looking into the ears, checking the eyes for mucus or tear stains and checking the nose for the same. Also, check the front paws for any dried mucus.
Next check the genital area and tail. If there's any dried poop on the tail, your bunny might have/had diarrhoea.
Healthy bunnies have clear eyes, clean ears, dry noses, clean genital areas and clean front paws. They also act lively, jump and run around, especially during dawn and dusk.
Some issues you need to look out for are:
Sudden lack of appetite followed by lack of poop or very small poop pellets.
Upper respiratory infection that causes difficulty breathing.
Bacterial infection of the ears that affect coordination and balance.
The virus is spread by insect bites. Can be prevented with a vaccine.
A virus that causes internal bleeding. Can be prevented with vaccines.
Loss of movement of one or more limbs. Usually caused by a physical injury.
Rabbits can’t pant or sweat to cool down. In extreme conditions, they may need some help.
If you see any mucous around the eyes, nose and paws with attempts to mouth breathe your rabbit might have a respiratory infection.
Flystrike is caused by a botfly that lays its eggs on damp fur during warm weather conditions.
Small critters that cause dandruff-like skin flaking in the ears. These can turn to crusty, bleeding lesions if left untreated.
Swelling caused by fluid under the skin.
A common disease among livestock. Characterised by sudden weight loss, depression, bloody diarrhoea and loss of appetite.
See a vet as soon as you notice something amiss with your rabbit. Being prey animals, they are excellent at hiding illness until it's almost too late to help them. The sooner you get treatment, the better chance of survival and recovery for your bunny.
Make sure you see a rabbit savvy vet.
The best place to buy these critters is directly from a registered breeder with a good reputation. This way you know you’re getting the best, healthiest bunny possible. Never support petshops!
If you live in America, you might have some problems finding a Chinchilla Giganta rabbit. They mostly only have Giant Chinchillas which is a very similar breed. You can try contacting the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) for possible breeders. If you’re in Europe, you can contact the British Rabbit Council (BRC).
If you’re in any other country, it’s best to contact the rabbit club or association in your area.
If you’re in South Africa, the best places to try are the Gauteng rabbit breeders association (GRBA) in Gauteng, Judy Stuart from the Natal rabbit club in KwaZulu-Natal and Mighty Paws Rabbitry (Owner Rita Wagener) from the Cape Rabbit Club in the Western Cape.
No, despite the name, chinchilla rabbits can’t breed with the rodent called a chinchilla. They are completely different species. The chinchilla rabbit got its name due to the similarity of its coat to the coat of the rodent called a chinchilla.
The maximum Chinchilla Giganta size, no matter sex, is a max weight of 5.44kg (12Ib) per breed standards. The minimum weight for bucks is 3.86kg (8½Ib) when fully grown and for does it is 4.07kg (9Ib).
Chinchilla rabbits cost around $40 per rabbit. In South Africa, the cost varies from R300-R950 per rabbit depending on quality.
Yes, they are a very underappreciated breed. They are most well known as commercial rabbits but aren’t that well known in the pet trade. As a result, they are now on the livestock endangered list.
The Chinchilla Giganta is a very easy to keep, lovable breed. You won’t be disappointed in this bunny if you’re looking for a new family member to love. Do you have your enclosure set up ready? If so, you’re ready to adopt your new family member!
Tell me in the comments below what you think of this wonderful breed.