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The Dreaded White Rabbit

Updated: Feb 18, 2022

Despite what some backyard breeders may tell you, a white American Chinchilla is not a normal trait for AmChin. By definition, chinchilla rabbits should the the gray "bullseye" pattern that American Chinchillas are know for.

Per the American Chinchilla Breeders Association when I inquired, white rabbits are a flaw from one of two sources.

1. There are some unscrupulous breeders out there who know that heritage-breed lovers want rare animals, so they cross AmChins with - usually - a white NZ. You often get a number of babies who LOOK like American Chinchillas, but are not. To avoid this, you can buy pedigreed rabbits (though this is only worth the paper it's printed on) or make sure to buy from a breeder where the parents are on the premises.

In rare cases, however, you WILL get a white rabbit in a litter, even with purebreds. The development of the breed included white NZs, way back in the day, and that gene is sometimes hard to breed out. It's recessive, which why we haven't seen it until now, but we now know we have parents that carry it.

One cannot definitely prove the lack of a recessive gene, but the more litters, the less

likely the gene is present. Gomez, for instance, has had MANY litters and nary a white hair in the bunch. Both parents were relatively new breeders, so we haven't had many litters by them. Since we now have male and female rabbits we know carry it, we will be breeding other rabbits to them to test for the gene and separating out those who show it.

Is it the end of the world? No. They can still be healthy rabbits and are fine for meat production. They just shouldn't be bred or registered as show-level American Chinchilla. We will never give pedigrees to offspring whose parents may carry it, no matter their colors. Until we are done testing and culling over the next year, we will be selling all young even distantly related to this baby bun with a disclaimer.

It may hurt sales in the short term, but for true conservation breeding, and our own peace of mind, it seems the ethical thing to do.

2/18/22: This article has been edited from it's original form to clear up some questions we got from readers

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