If you are contemplating the possibility of adopting a lagomorph as a pet, you need to know more about the Californian rabbit, a breed of American origin that stands out for its soft coat and its very affectionate temperament with its relatives.
How much do they weigh? What do they eat? What is your average size? What are their characteristics? This is the right place to find out because we are going to tell you everything you need to know about this breed of rabbits.
The origin of the Californian rabbit breed
This breed as we know it today was obtained after the crossing of several breeds of rabbits in 1923 by George West. He began by crossing Himalayan rabbits with American Chinchilla rabbits, then the resulting offspring were crossed with New Zealand rabbits so that they had the characteristics with which we know them today.
The aim of this rabbit breeder was to come up with a breed that could be bred for good fur and good meat, which made them very popular during the 20th century. In the middle of this century it was losing popularity as a livestock animal and became more coveted as a pet.
Characteristics of the Californian rabbit
The breed of Californian rabbits has a series of peculiarities of its own, such as its average weight, the pigmentation of its fur and its density.
The most characteristic feature of California rabbits is their abundant coat made up of two layers of coat that, despite being dense and thick, should be soft and pleasant to the touch. Regarding the color of the coat, 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 pigmentation in dark brown, chocolate, lilac and blue, in addition to the traditional standard variety.
This rabbit can vary in weight, like any breed, but normally it can weigh between 3.64 kg and 4.77 kg. California rabbits are quite muscular and corpulent, in addition to having a fairly dense coat, thick since, as we mentioned, it has two layers. The Californian rabbits usually measure between 40 and 60 centimeters long. Their ears are long and usually end with a rounded tip. Another feature to highlight is their red eyes, which are particular to the breed and are part of their heritage from New Zealand rabbits, along with the white color of their fur.
What is the character of the Californian breed rabbit?
This breed of rabbit is ideal for a family environment that wants to have a small pet. The Californian rabbit is affectionate, calm, quite friendly with people and very sweet. Sometimes they may be very shy and lead us to think that they are lonely, but they are very reserved and you have to earn their affection.
In addition, the Californian rabbit is possessed of a great intelligence and, when they are well stimulated, they tend to be very predisposed to learning. Therefore, when adopting a rabbit, it is important to commit to its education and mental stimulation, presenting it with different orders of obedience, tricks, tasks and varied activities.
Caring for a Californian rabbit
One of the main cares of the Californian rabbit is the maintenance of its delicate coat. Ideally, brush it at least three times a week, always using an appropriate brush to avoid breaking the fiber of its soft hairs. It will be very important to stimulate the mind of your California rabbit, both to educate them and to prevent symptoms of stress or boredom.
In addition to working their intelligence, California rabbits also need physical activity to strengthen their body and expend energy to maintain a stable behaviour.
How long does a Californian rabbit live?
They are considered a long-lived breed, since they can live from 5 to 10 years, depending on the care and diet they have, since they are determining factors in the life of these rabbits. Let us also remember to make visits to the vet to see the state of our rabbit in its growth and to vaccinate it against all viral diseases that may affect it.
California rabbit health
The Californian rabbit, like all rabbits, is better adapted to temperate climates, usually suffering a lot from high temperatures. Therefore, it is essential to properly condition your rabbit’s environment during the hottest days to prevent excessive heat and sunlight from leading to heat stroke. However, rabbits are also sensitive to cold and sudden changes in temperature. Although it has a dense coat that helps it retain heat, your rabbit will need your help to protect itself from the low temperatures.
In addition to suffering from adverse weather conditions, the Californian rabbit can also develop some common rabbit diseases.
California rabbit diet
Our Californian bunny will need a balanced diet. The main food eating Californians rabbits is the hay, since this makes up 70% – 80% of what to eat for a healthy life.
Factors to take into account
- Its delicate coat requires constant care and dedication, so it is recommended to brush it at least 3 times a week using a special brush for this purpose. Make brushing time an experience of relaxation and pampering.
- Hygiene is another fundamental factor in caring for your rabbit. Although it does not require bathrooms, its spaces must always be clean.
- Taking into account what I already told you about the importance of mental stimulation of your rabbit. You should take it out of its cage daily at least 3 times a day, and provide it with an open space for it to run.
- Finally, it is necessary that your furry has moments of tranquillity and calm especially when he is going to eat or sleep.
What should my rabbit’s house be like?
Concern for the rabbit house should begin at the time of purchase. Because, although we may think that it does not matter how it is, it is not like that. This cabin must meet certain conditions that are worth knowing.
- Before preparing a hutch or cage for rabbits, we must be clear about the space we have, the size that our little one will have as an adult and the time that he will spend inside it. The appropriate area should be at least 0.3 m2 per rabbit. Regarding the height, it can be defined by what it measures when it stands on its two legs.
- It is important that it has good ventilation, away from drafts and where it does not get direct sunlight.
- Inside your house we must separate the sleeping, eating and toileting areas well so that you do not suffer from stress and maintain good hygiene. Your bunny should have a litter tray, a feeder, and a waterer. We must also provide them with a small burrow so that it can take shelter in it as well as a play area with special objects to gnaw on.
- Wire floors should be avoided, because they tend to hurt the legs of rabbits. Cages of this type can be covered with artificial grass or cardboard.