Giant Chinchilla Rabbit Association

Questions, Comments & Information about our Million Dollar Rabbits

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THE GIANT CHINCHILLA RABBIT (a presentation made to the National Judge's Conference, November 7, 2010) by Mr. Carl Filliater

                      It is also known as the MILLION DOLLAR RABBIT. 

I have yet to make my first free and clear dollar off of them in the forty (40) + years I have been raising them!I

      The Giant Chinchilla is a unique rabbit in its own right.   It is the only rabbit that requires a Moderately Long Body.  It is the only breed raised for, and to be judged on its  commercial value.    It is the only Chinchilla breed or variety that is required to have a  fly back fur.   All the rest have a roll back, stand up, layback or wool coat.  The reason I stress fly back  is too many judges say it is a very good coat when it rolls back.  However, they should be faulting it severely for having roll back fur.  I will have more to say on that later.

      The first thing I am going to cover is the proper pose of a Giant Chinchilla, which is the same for a lot of other breeds.   The end of the toes of the front feet are to be under the center of the eye, on both sides of the rabbit.  The toes of the hind feet are to be under the
front of the stifle joint (also known as the knee).  The rabbit is NOT to be stretched out or PUSHED TOGETHER.  It should look to be, more or less, in a relaxed pose.  Also read the article "To Strike a Pose" on page 37 of the Official Guide Book, RAISING BETTER RABBITS AND CAVIES, printed in 2000, put out by the ARBA.

      The first sentence of the Standard of Perfection of the Giant Chinchillas states:  "The  body is to be moderately long."  That begs the question how long is a moderately long body?  How is that different from a medium length or a long body?  How do you tell one from another?  The American Rabbit Breeders Association has four (4) different lengths of bodies listed throughout the Standard (compact, medium length, moderately long, and long) but nowhere does the Standard of Perfection address how long each should be or how long the body should be when it is properly posed.  And, to top it off, there are several different sized rabbits that are to have a medium length body.  The Standard does list five (5) different body type profiles.  When you sit down and analyze the different types it doesn't help you very much in your judging.  In fact, the Compact and the Commerical type have basically the  same type description.  I have found over the years that a moderately long Giant Chinchilla should be 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 times its width.   This will give you a well balanced body.  Everything will be in harmony.   If it is longer that 2 1/2 times its width, it is getting into the body type of another breed, and if it is shorter than 2 1/4 times its width, it is too short and very possibly will not make minimum weight as a senior.  A short Giant Chinchilla would be classed among the medium length typed rabbits, for which the Giant Chinchilla should be disqualified (DQ'd). 

      Right after moderately long follows the words massive and powerful.   These two (2) words are expressive only, and you shouldn't be overly concerned about them.  When you get a buck at 13 1/2 lbs. or a doe at 14 1/2 lbs. (which is the ideal weight)they are automatically going to be massive and, if you compare a Giant Chinchilla to a Chinchilla Netherland Dwarf, the Giant Chinchilla is a very massive rabbit.  At the same time, it goes without saying, a rabbit that size is going to be powerful.  If you dont think so, let one kick you in the chest!   

       On down in the General Body Type it states:  "The back is to rise gradually, with the arch starting in the middle of the shoulder.....".  Now, where is the middle of the shoulder?  The way some Judges push them together, I don't think they know, or don't care.  The Rabbit Glossary, in the front of the Standard of Perfection book, states, and I quote, "Shoulder--That portion of the body from the neck back through the last rib and the upper joint of the foreleg."  Since the Giant Chinchilla Standard states the middle
of the shoulder, this is about 2 1/2 inches to no more than 3 inches back from the base of the ears.  If the rise starts any further back than that, the rabbit is going to be too long.

        The Standard goes on--"continuing to the highest point over the CENTER of the hips (I made center in bolder print and capitalized for emphasis).  The CENTER of the hips is a point on the back, halfway between the front of the stifle joint and the rear of the rabbit.  It is NOT the center of the back or halfway between the base of the ears and the back end of the rabbit.  Too many judges push the rabbit together to get depth and forget about where the high point is supposed to be and end up with it over the stifle joint or forward of the front of the stifle joint.  Pushing it together also changes the type, by shortening the rabbit, and that is not what the Standard calls for.

        Now we move on to the HINDQUARTERS.  The third line states:  "DEPTH AND WIDTH TO BALANCE."  The word balance, as used in the Standard of Perfection, seems to cause a lot of problems for some Judges.  In the Rabbit Glossary, Balance has two (2) different meanings listed.  The first one is the one we are interested in.  It states:  "BALANCE"  (1)  Type--Shape or conformation.  An orderly and pleasing arrangement of the physical characteristics, so as to present a harmonious appearance.  (I emphasized for attention.)  In Webster's Unabridged Dictionary it states many things under "Balance."  The one we, as breeders and Judges should be concerned with states:  "...the equilibrium of various elements in a design, (the total of the rabbit) etc...; 
"Harmonious Proportion."  When everything is in harmony it does not mean everything is exactly alike.  Take we humans as an example--we have two (2) of lots of different parts to our bodies--but each one is not EXACTLY alike.  Take your hands for example.  Held apart they look to be exactly alike, but if you put them together you will find your strong hand is the larger of the two and the fingers are a fraction longer than on your weak hand.  All of this means the rabbit should NOT have any more depth than it has width, or vice versa, but they should be in harmony.  The depth could be just a little more, or a little less, than the width.  The idea of making the rabbit have more depth is counter to what the Standard of Perfection states.  So, once you have the rabbit posed, DO NOT CHANGE ANYTHING.  (At this point go to the Giant Chinchilla web site and take a close look at the way I am showing how to check the depth and width)  This is listed under the section "Evaluating the Giant Chinchilla."  It is a very quick and easy way to check and most people will not even catch on as to what you have just done!

       The mid-section and the shoulders should be in harmony with the hindquarters and the rest of the body, head, ears, feet and tail.

        Now, let's move on to the FUR.   That should be, more or less, self explanatory.  The Standard states:  "(FLYBACK) Fur to conform to the ARBA Commerical Normal Fur Standard.  What is so hard about that?   From what that states I am under the impression the Giant Chinchilla is to have the same type of fur as the New Zealands, Californians, Florida Whites and a lot of other breeds.  Anything else is to be faulted severely.  Now, is that so hard to understand?  One thing the Commercial Fur Standard should say, but doesn't, is the fur should be about one (1) inch long, plus or minus no more than 1/8 inch.  Any shorter than 7/8 inch is next to Rex fur and any longer than 1 1/8 inch is getting into Roll Back fur.

        COLOR:   This is where just about every Breeder and Judge has trouble.  The undercolor is to be dark slate blue from the base (skin) up to the ring color.  If there is a wide strip of white at the base of the hair shaft the rabbit should be Disqualified (DQ'd).  (A judgment call , but can be protested.)  Also check "ARBA Disqualifications from Competition" in the Color Section:  "Wrong undercolor:  Color other than called for in the breed or variety standard."  In the Rabbit Glossary it is defined as BASE COLOR--the fur color next to the skin.

          Ring color should be silvery white or bluish-white color, with a black edging on the top and bottom of the ring.

          Surface Color.  Now this is where Breeders and Judges have problems.  The way it was explained to me by probably one of the best Standard Chinchilla Breeders a good many years ago at the Convention in Detroit, MI, was that the waviness should look something like the waves on a large body of water when there are boats running about.  You have waves of different lengths running in all directions.  There is a light color at the top of the wave and a dark color at the bottom of the wave.  Now, flatten these waves out and you have a good idea of what a Chinchilla (all breeds and varieties) should look like.  The light part of the wave on Chinchillas is gray, with a scattering of black hairs.  The dark part of the wave should be as black as possible, with a scattering of gray hairs.  Ideally this should be all over the body except for the head, back of the neck, and the chest area, which will be evenly ticked.  The belly will have  a white surface color with the undercolor of the belly being blue, white, or a combination of both.

          Good Luck in judging the Giant Chinchillas and may you help us in improving them!  

           Respectfully Submitted:
           Carl W. Filliater, Judge #463
           President of the National Giant Chinchilla Rabbit Association