Ark of Taste
American Chinchilla Rabbit
The original Chinchillas from Europe were rather small at 5 to 7 1/2 pounds, so American breeders set out to produce a larger animal that would be better suited for meat and pelts. Through selective breeding for larger size, fine bones, and a good dress-out percentage, a breed standard was issued for the Heavyweight Chinchilla. It was a larger form of the Standard Chinchilla, with the same shape, color and genetic make-up. According to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, the American Chinchilla is critically endangered.
Though widely popular from the 1920s to the 1940s, today it is the rarest of the Chinchilla breeds. It is found only in the United States, with the largest concentration in the Midwest. Its small population is largely due to the demise of the rabbit fur industry in the late 1940s. Despite the breed’s fine meat producing qualities, today producers prefer an all-white rabbit for the meat market.
The American Chinchilla rabbit is medium boned with a deep loin and broad shoulders that produce good meat proportions on finished rabbits. They are easily dressed and their meat is considered to be of good quality and taste.