The Giant Chinchilla is a breed of large rabbit with unique coloring that resembles the coat of an actual chinchilla. Another nickname for the breed is the million dollar rabbit. The breed was first developed in the United States by crossing two other rabbit breeds in the early 1900s. It is commonly bred for use as a livestock animal because its size makes it ideal for meat production. The Giant Chinchilla is also bred as a pet rabbit, and it is known to be a gentle companion for its human owners.
The Giant Chinchilla is a relatively large breed of rabbit. Males typically weigh about 12 to 15 pounds (5.4 to 6.8 kg) and females weigh about 13 to 16 pounds (5.9 to 7.3 kg). The rabbit has a large head with long upright ears, sizable shoulders and front legs, and a lengthy body with a rounded bottom. The unique coloring of the coat is caused by bands of color present on each hair. Closest to the skin the hair is a bluish color, then comes a band of pale off white, then the tips of the hairs are black; these bands produce a striking effect that is highly prized by some rabbit fanciers.
The development of the Giant Chinchilla breed occurred in 1921. A breeder named Edward H. Stahl decided to breed a larger Chinchilla rabbit because he thought it would be very desirable to the fur industry due to the fur's unique appearance. He bred a perfectly colored, regular-size chinchilla male with a female Flemish Giant, a breed known for its enormous size, in his basement. After a few tries he produced his ideal Giant Chinchilla rabbit, a female whom he named "Million Dollar Princess." The new breed proved to be popular, and he was actually the first rabbit breeder to earn a million dollars from the sale of rabbit breeding stock.
Young Giant Chinchilla bunnies grow very quickly, weighing 7 to 9 pounds (about 3.2 to 4.1 kg) at only 12 weeks old, and females can bear several large litters each year. Breeders can produce large quantities of rabbits in a short time, and if they are being grown for meat production they quickly reach useful weight. They are also relatively cheap to feed, making them a cost effective livestock animal.
When kept as a pet, the Giant Chinchilla has a reputation as a gentle companion. They are easy to care for, having docile natures, and they frequently enjoy human attention. They need to be groomed about once a week, more often when they are shedding, and their diet consists mainly of standard rabbit pellets and hay. They require a sturdy hutch or enclosure due to their size. Some owners allow indoor pets to roam freely during the day, much like a dog or cat.