Californian Rabbit Guide – A Breed History

Last Updated : May 7, 2021
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Californian Rabbit: Everything You Need to Know

The Californian rabbit is a beautiful breed. The rabbits make great pets because of their friendly and versatile nature. If you plan on getting Californian rabbits as your pet, you may be curious about its character, appearance, and history. Keep reading to find out more.


The Californian rabbit is large.

They have a compact well-rounded body, and their typical weight is 3.5-4.75 kg. Their ears are larger than other rabbit breeds.

Californians are white, and they have dark spots around their ears, tail, or nose. They have striking pink eyes, a muscular physique, and short necks. The rabbit breed has a coarse and dense coat. The undercoat is thick, and the fur is short.

They require grooming with a bristled brush at least once a week. They shed most of their fur in spring.


The most notable thing about the appearance of Californian rabbits is their white color and dark markings. They look a lot like their Himalayan ancestors.

Californian Rabbit Guide - A Breed History
A pair of Californian Rabbits


How big does a Californian rabbit get? Californian rabbits are bigger than other breeds. The female ones are bigger than males and can weigh up to 6kgs (13 pounds). Their shape is plump, and they have lots of muscle around the hindquarters.

While they are young, the rabbits look like round fluffy balls.

Baby californian rabbits in a nest
Baby Californian Rabbits in their nest

Californian Rabbits Character

The general nature of the Californian is shy and good-natured.

They are friendly, delicate, and a great pet choice. Even though most of them seem shy at first, they settle into your home fast. The even-tempered bunny loves to play.

However, it is a prey animal and may get skittish. This will pass once they have been tamed.

As a handler, you must identify the right way to hold it when it seems uneasy. Even though the breed seems delicate, they are powerful. Handle gently and always offer an escape route so they don’t feel trapped.

If they feel threatened they are likely to kick out, which can hurt!

Like other rabbits, they get bored quickly. They should always have toys to keep them engaged. Safe toys include paper towel rolls and balls. Litter training a California rabbit can be difficult. It takes a longer time than other pets such as cats and dogs.


The Californian was originally established in warm climates. They, therefore, may not thrive in cooler temperatures.

If you plan on keeping them as pets, you should provide them with warm living conditions. If you keep them in cages with wire flooring, they may establish aching hocks. Use strong solid floorings to help prevent this.

The Californian rabbit breed is generally healthy.

It does not experience any major health conditions. However, its teeth grow so fast that they may trigger mouth injuries. The bunnies require a high-roughage diet.

It should be rich in green vegetables such as kale and cabbage. The vegetables ensure that their teeth remain worn down.

They require regular visual checks and veterinarian appointments to ensure that their molars and enamel remain healthy.

Keep them in a clean, well-ventilated environment to protect them from breathing problems. If you keep them in a shed, clear and clean it routinely.

They need to exercise regularly to prevent obesity. If they eat a lot and do not exercise, they may be susceptible to obesity. They grow very big since they were first bred for meat.

Give them just enough treats and ensure that they get regular exercise.

When kept as pets, they can live for five to 10 years. Like other bunnies, they thrive in companionship. If kept on their own, they may get depressed. They also get along with cats and dogs.

History and Origin

The Californian breed was developed by George West in 1923. He developed it in an attempt to make a breed with ‘perfect’ meat and a desirable coat.

After years of breeding, he crossed a Himalayan White with a standard Chinchilla. The resulting breed was crossed with some of West New Zealand rabbits to make it bigger.

George West gave some of his stock to California breeders who perfect the California rabbit breed. It was recognized as a breed in by the ARBA in 1939.

Today, it is the second most popular rabbit amongst rabbit breeders for meat in the world. It is classified as a fancy breed because of its fur.

Recognized Varieties

The California breed comes in only one standard variety. It is white with bright pink eyes and dark spots around the nose, tail, ears, and feet. No other coloration is excepted for the Californian.

Californian Rabbits Facts

Californian rabbits are interesting animals. They make great pets because of their friendly nature and cool temperament.

The Californian rabbit was originally bred to be used for their meat and fur. However, they make excellent show rabbits as well.

If you plan on breeding them, you should know that they produce litters of up to 12 kits.

They grow very fast and may reach adult weight in eight weeks. Whether you plan on keeping the rabbits for show, as pets, or for food, caring for them is very easy.

They are popular and, therefore, easy to find. There are lots of ARBA-approved breeders that can help. The most important food for the rabbits is hay.

Ensure that they always have access to high-quality hay. It wears down their teeth and gives them the nourishment they need. They also need green leafy vegetables like basil, kale, parsley, and mustard green. They also like crunchy foods such as carrots and apples.

Choosing Californian Rabbits

Choosing a Californian does not need to be difficult. However, you must do your research to find the right fit for your needs.

There are different considerations for pets, show rabbits, and food rabbits. The breed is typically friendly and docile. Do not choose young Californian rabbits with a sour attitude. It is often an indication of future problems.

Work with reputable breeders as they can help you find high-quality rabbits.

Pay attention to their health. Consider seeking the help of a veterinarian to determine the general health of your Californians before making a purchase.

Quality is essential, regardless of whether you are buying show-quality Californians or a few pets.

Some of the most important things to check for include the parents’ size, coat thickness, and general health. When buying young rabbits, the quality of their parents is the most important thing to keep in mind. If you are looking for a show rabbit, avoid those with dark spots.

They are more appropriate for meat or pets. The price of Californians varies from one breeder to another and their location. It may depend on their popularity and demand, age, performance, and health. Even though younger Californians are cheaper, they require a lot of attention.

They aren’t a great choice if you are unable or unwilling to give them constant attention.

If you plan on getting meat rabbits, consider the cost of processing them when they achieve mature weight. Most breeders do not offer that service. Other costs to keep in mind include the cost of veterinary care, neutering or spaying, food, housing, and annual checkups.

Are Californian rabbits good pets?

In conclusion, Californian rabbits are a great pet choice. They are versatile and cute. If you are a rabbit enthusiast, they may be an excellent choice for you.

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