The Himalayan rabbit is a small to medium-sized breed and the only kind of rabbit with a cylindrical body type.
Believed to be one of the oldest rabbit breeds, the Himalayan rabbit has a white coat and color points on its ears, nose, and feet.
But, are Himalayan rabbits good pets? Calm and good-natured Himalayan rabbits make great pets to people of all ages and families with children. This breed of rabbit likes to interact with its owners and loves to be handled and petted. Although not very energetic, Himalayan rabbits like to play and will need time out of their cage.
If you’re looking to get a Himalayan rabbit as a pet, keep on reading! In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this breed and hopefully help you decide if Himalayan rabbit is the best breed for you.
What Is Himalayan Rabbit?
The Himalayan rabbit is one of the oldest rabbit breeds, and is often mistaken for the Californian rabbit. Best known for their small size and coloring, Himalayan rabbits are the only cylindrical rabbit breed.
Himalayan Rabbit History and Origin
Being one of the oldest rabbit breeds, the exact origin of the Himalayan rabbit has been lost in time. Some believe that this breed, in fact, originated in the Far East as opposed to the Himalayan mountain area, as their name suggests.
Since this breed has been around for quite some time and might have originated in different countries, the Himalayan rabbit has several different names. This breed is also known as Black Nosed Rabbit from China, Black Nose, the Chinese rabbit, the Egyptian Smut, and the Russian rabbit.
Himalayan rabbits were brought to the United States in the early 1900s and are among the first breeds recognized by the American Rabbit Breeder Association. At this time the Himalayan is the only cylindrical rabbit breed officially recognized by the ARBA (source).
Originally bred for fur in the U.S, the Himalayan rabbit is nowadays a popular pet and show rabbit.
Characteristics of Himalayan Rabbit
Typically small, the Himalayan rabbit has short white fur and differently colored markings on the ears, nose, and feet, similar to a Siamese cat.
Himalayan rabbits will always have pink irises which are not to be confused with red eyes. While red eyes are seen in some types of rabbits a purebred Himalayan rabbit will never have red eyes!
Size, Weight, Shape
Small in size, the Himalayan rabbit is the only rabbit breed with a cylindrical body shape. When you are looking at a Himalayan rabbit from above, its sides should be straight from the shoulders to the hind legs.
Himalayan rabbits are posed stretched out and their body should ideally be 3.5 head lengths long. When it comes to weight most adult Himalayan rabbits weigh from 2.5 to 4.5 pounds, with an ideal weight of 3.5 pounds.
The Himalayan rabbit is well-known for its coat color and markings. Their body is always white with different colored markings.
The markings include darkly colored ears, front and hind feet, known as “socks” and “boots”, and a dark spot on the nose. These markings can come in black, blue, chocolate, and lilac colors.
Interestingly, these colored markings can change depending on the rabbit’s age and the environment. For example, cold temperatures can darken, enlarge, or add markings around the eyes, genitals, or other white parts of the rabbit’s body.
Baby rabbits are extremely sensitive to temperature. When kept warm, most Himalayan babies will look like albino kits, but if a baby rabbit gets cold or falls out of the nest it will get dark bands and spots on its fur.
Both black and chocolate genes are dominant so most Himalayan rabbits have one of these colors. Lilac Himalayan rabbits, on the other hand, are the rarest since they carry two recessive genes.
Regardless of their markings, all Himalayan rabbits have short and soft flyback fur. This means that the fur will go back to its original position after you run your hand through it.
This rabbit breed doesn’t have any special grooming requirements, and their coat is easy to maintain with weekly brushing and spot cleaning. If your rabbit starts to shed more than usual, brush them two or three times a week to keep the shedding to a minimum.
Himalayan rabbits have an average lifespan of five to eight years. However, when properly cared for and taken to regular veterinary check-ups some may live up to 10 years.
The Himalayan rabbit is one of the calmest breeds of rabbits you can own. Easy-going, gentle, and friendly, this breed makes a great pet and companion to people of all ages.
Himalayan rabbits are social creatures and they like to interact and spend time with their owners and be involved in all activities. They also love to be handled and will enjoy being petted or carried around.
Due to their small size and calm demeanor, this breed can easily fit in smaller hands. And unlike some types of rabbits, the Himalayan rabbit is not known to bite or scratch people, making them an ideal choice for families with younger children.
Generally, good-natured and docile, Himalayan rabbits aren’t particularly active as some high-energy breeds. However, they still need time out of their cage to play with toys and explore their surroundings.
Like any other breed, Himalayan rabbits can learn how to use litter boxes. Bear in mind that litter training a rabbit won’t be easy, but with time and patience, you’ll be able to teach your bunny to use the litter box (source).
Himalayan Rabbit Care
Himalayan rabbits are generally low-maintenance pets and are easy to care for even if you’re a novice owner.
Like any other rabbit breed, your Himalayan rabbit’s diet will need to consist of 70 percent hay. The remaining 30 percent should include pellets, leafy greens, vegetables, and fruit.
Don’t forget that baby Himalayan rabbits are very temperature sensitive and should be kept indoors only if it’s cold outside. When exposed to cold temperatures the fur of Himalayan rabbits will darken but they can live in outdoor enclosures as long as temperatures aren’t below freezing.
When it comes to the enclosure, keep your rabbit in a wire cage with a firm bottom so they can walk without injuring their paws. Spot clean your rabbit’s cage daily and remove the bedding completely once a week to keep the enclosure clean and livable.
Himalayan Rabbit Health
The Himalayan rabbit isn’t prone to any hereditary health problems and is considered a generally healthy breed. However, like all other breeds, the Himalayan isn’t immune to common rabbit diseases.
The most common issues observed in this breed are ear mites, flystrike, and overgrown teeth. Luckily, all of these problems are easily preventable if you care for your rabbit properly.
Inspect and clean your rabbit’s ears regularly to prevent waxy buildup and mite infections from occurring. And if your bunny does get ear mites, take them to the vet for a check up.
When it comes to preventing flystrike, the key is in keeping your rabbit and their enclosure clean. Flystrike is an extremely painful condition caused by flies that hatch their eggs in the rabbit’s fur, near dirty areas.
Once the eggs hatch into larvae they start eating the rabbit alive in order to get the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. If not diagnosed and treated in time, flystrike can be a potentially fatal condition, so don’t hesitate to take your rabbit to the vet if something seems amiss.
Where to Get Himalayan Rabbit Breed?
If you are looking to get a Himalayan rabbit as a pet or show animal, the American Himalayan rabbit Association is a good place to start (source). Since they are a fairly common breed you might be able to find them in shelters or rescues as well.
Himalayan rabbits are popular pets and show animals thanks to their pointed markings, so you shouldn’t have trouble locating a reputable breeder. As always, research different breeders before you make a final decision.
Himalayan Rabbit Price
Himalayan rabbits on average cost from $15 to $60 depending on whether they are pet or show quality animals. Please note, you might end up paying more depending on the breeder, your location, coat color, and the quality of the rabbit’s markings.
Small in size and finely boned Himalayan rabbit is a popular rabbit breed, best known for its white coat and color points. Gentle, easy-going, and friendly, this breed makes a great pet for people of all ages, including families with children.
Easy to care for and generally healthy, Himalayan rabbits can be kept both indoors and outdoors as long as the temperature is above freezing. If you decide to get a Himalayan rabbit, keep their enclosure clean and make sure that their diet consists of 70 percent hay to keep them healthy.