Breed profile of the Himalayan rabbit, one of the oldest breeds known for its distinctive colouring of dark points on a white coat. Popular childrens pets and house rabbits, Himalayans are generally very calm, good-natured and friendly.
The early origins of the Himalayan breed are obscure. White rabbits with dark colouring on the ears, nose and feet have been known in many parts of the world for hundreds of years. They have been given many names including the Chinese, Russian, Egyptian and Black Nose. It is one of the oldest and most widespread breeds. (In fact, the mutation responsible for the 'Himalayan' colouring may have occured spontaneously in different breeds in different parts of the world. Scientists have shown that the British Himalayan breed shares no genetic link with a similar breed developed in France around the same time, and therefore must have had different origins).
The Himalayan breed, as we know it today, originated in Britain in the mid 19th century. It is thought that the breed was developed from rabbits brought back from the Himalayas by English merchant adventurers. The Himalayan was developed both for its distinctive colouring and the quality of its fur and became popular as both a commercial and show breed. The first Himalayans were black, a blue variety was achieved through cross-breeding, followed by several other colours. The Himalayan was exported to the United States in the early 1900s.
The Himalayan is a small rabbit, usually weighing around 1.5-2.5kg (3-5½lbs).
Himalayans have a slender, 'snaky' build. They have a long body with a level back and hips the same width as the shoulders, and long, slender legs. The head is long and slim, with short, tapering, upright ears.
The Himalayan colouring is white with coloured ears, nose, legs and tail. The oval nose marking runs beneath the jaw and well up the profile of the nose towards the eyes. The ears are coloured from the base to tip, as is the tail. The feet, including the nails are dark and the colouring runs well up the legs.
The actual colouring of the Himlayan is imprinted through a recessive gene and only shows itself on the body extremities which are colder through poorer circulation. Himalayan rabbits are born white or pale grey; the colouring starts to appear at about 4 weeks and develops fully over the first 6 months. The colouring is susceptible to change, growing darker in cold temperatures and lighter in warmth.
The Himalayan has short, fine hair and a smooth, soft coat.
Black, Blue, Chocolate and Lilac.
Himalayans are generally very calm, good-natured and friendly. They are intelligent, playful and social rabbits and thrive on attention. Himalayan rabbits are usually excellent with children, they are very tolerant, content to be cuddled, and rarely bite or scratch.