Himalayan Rabbit (Size, Color, Temperament, Behavior)

If you are looking for a unique pet rabbit, consider buying a Himalayan.

Himalayans are calm. They are small.

With its distinct appearance of a white body and colored points, this medium-sized breed has been around for ages, making it one of the oldest known rabbit breeds in the world.

They are the only rabbit with a cylindrical body type recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association.

And they change their color with age and temperature.

We will discuss the history, appearance, care, and feeding of these one-of-a-kind rabbits a little later in this article.

First, let’s go over some of the names you will find associated with Himalayan rabbits and some essential facts about Himalayan rabbits.

Himalayan Rabbits Are Also Known As

  • Black Nose Rabbit
  • Chinese Black Nose RabbitC
  • Black Nose Rabbit from China
  • Black Himalayan Rabbit
  • Chocolate Himalayan Rabbit
  • Lilac Himalayan Rabbit
  • Egyptian Rabbit
  • Chinese Rabbit
  • Himmie
  • Russian Rabbit

Essential Facts About Himalayan Rabbits

Scientific nameOryctolagus cuniculus domesticus

Care level, compared to other rabbits: Easy to care for, but especially sensitive to “junk food” (bread, potatoes, snack foods intended for human consumption).

Temperament: Calm, friendly.

Color: All-white or all-gray as bunnies. Develop marking on their noses, tails, feet, and ears in response to temperatures to which they are exposed.

Lifespan: 4 or 5 years.

Litter Size: 6 to 8 kits.

Maximum size: 4-1/2 pounds (slightly over 2 kilograms). Some Himalayan rabbits only weigh about 2 pounds (a little less than a kilogram) at maturity.

Dietary requirements: As much dry hay as the rabbit wants, abundant water, some crunchy green vegetables.

Compatible breeds: Gets along with other small and medium-sized rabbits,

Cage size: Like most other rabbits, Himalayans need cages about 4 times as large as their bodies. Larger is always better. A Himalayan rabbit needs a cage or kennel with 24 inches by 36 inches (609 cm by 90 cm) floor space, and 14 inches (35 cm) clearance of its head. An outdoor hutch with an enclosed play space is ideal.

Some breeders keep these rabbits at constant temperatures of 70° to 75° F (around 23° C), so they develop frosted-color fur.

History of the Himalayan Rabbit

The origins of Himalayan rabbits are unknown.

These rabbits have existed in the Middle East and China for hundreds of years, although it is not known that they originated in the Himalayas.

Himalayan rabbits have been appearing in rabbit shows since the 1850s. The American Himalayan Rabbit Association says that a definition of the breed was published in 1857, and the first Himalayans were brought to the United States in 1896.

American rabbit breeders immediately noticed the similarity of Himalayan rabbit fur to ermine fur.

For several years, Himalayan rabbits were enormously popular among rabbit farmers for their fur.

In the early 1900s, the Himalayan rabbit became one of the first true breeds to be recognized by the American Rabbit Breeder’s Association (ARBA)

After about 1900, rabbit breeders began crossing Himalayan rabbits with other breeds to create different colors.

The original Himalayan rabbits had white fur with black highlights.

A California rabbit breeder named Ron Smelt crossed Himalayan with English Spot rabbits to create Himalayans with chocolate features.

A blue-highlighted Himalayan rabbit was created about the same time. Crossing blue Himalayan rabbits with Himalyans with chocolate highlights resulted in Himalayans with blue-lilac features.

Californian rabbits were the result of a cross between Himalayans and New Zealand (and possibly Giant Chinchilla) rabbits.

Because many other breeds were derived from California rabbits, Himalayan features occur in almost a dozen breeds of rabbits.

Appearance of the Himalayan Rabbit

Himalayan rabbits look a lot like Himalayan cats. These rabbits are white, with black, blue, chocolate, or lilac markings.

They have dark ears, “socks” (dark front feet), “boots” (dark back feet), a dark tail (called a scut), and a dark spot on their noses.

Exposure to cold weather can make markings darker and larger. Himalayan rabbits exposed to cold can develop colored rings around their eyes, and around the genitals (called smut).

Warm weather causes markings to become lighter. Extremely hot weather can even cause a Himalayan’s toenails to turn white.

Lilac and chocolate Himalayans often develop larger markings than black and blues.

Just a few minutes of exposure to the cold can cause a color change, so it is important to keep your rabbit warm if you are entering it in a show.

Size and Weight

Himalayan rabbits are a small-sized breed with a cylindrical body shape, which appears round when viewed head-on with the rabbit stretched out.

Their weight typically ranges from 3 to 5 pounds

Coat Color Is Especially Temperature-Sensitive in Bunnies

Kits (bunnies) start their lives either all-white, looking a lot like albino rabbits, except they have colored eyes, or all-gray.

As long as they are warmed by their mother’s body, the hair shafts in their fur cannot produce dark pigment.

Young Himalayan rabbits only develop their characteristic colors after they leave the nest.

A bunny that falls out of the nest into cold air will develop dark markings on its body.

Eye Color

Himalayans have pink, not red eyes. Any other color of eyes suggests it is a mixed-breed rabbit.

One other unusual fact about the appearance of the Himalayan rabbit is that the females have an extra set of teats.

Ear and Nose Features

Himalayan rabbits have unique features on their ears and nose.

The ears have dark coloring, while the nose markings are oval-shaped, running beneath the jaw and well up the profile of the nose towards the eyes. 

Temperament of the Himalayan Rabbit

Himalayan rabbits are known for their easy-going and docile temperament, making them ideal pets for people of all ages, especially families with children.

Their gentle nature and small size make them easy to handle and care for.

Himalayan females are very good mothers and have a high survival rate with each litter.

Gentle and Sociable

These rabbits are gentle, easygoing, and sociable animals.

They enjoy being around people and other rabbits, making them well-suited for families or individuals looking for a companion animal. Some key traits of their sociable nature include:

  • Easily adapting to new environments
  • Enjoying interaction and attention from their owners
  • Coexisting peacefully with other pets or rabbits

Independent Yet Interactive

While Himalayan rabbits are friendly and interactive, they can be quite independent when needed.

This is useful when you have a busy schedule, as they won’t demand constant attention.

However, it’s important to remember that, like all rabbits, Himalayan rabbits still require daily socializing and playtime to maintain their overall happiness and well-being.

Good Temperament for Handling

Himalayan rabbits generally enjoy being handled and petted, provided that you approach them with care and gentleness.

Their calm demeanor and delicate bone structure make them suitable for children, as long as they are taught how to handle the rabbit responsibly.

To summarize, Himalayan rabbits possess a temperament and behavior that make them an ideal pet, particularly for families with children.

Their gentle, sociable nature ensures that they can easily adapt to various environments and get along with other animals.

With proper care and attention, these rabbits will enrich your life and bring joy to your home.

Care of the Himalayan Rabbit

Himalayans need standard care. Lots of hay, abundant fresh water, and protected playspace keep them happy.

There are also four important health concerns for these rabbits.

Healthcare for Your Himalayan Rabbit

Himalayan rabbits are at risk for predators, parasites, gastrointestinal stasis, and dental problems.


Himalayan rabbits are too small to keep with dogs and cats.

You probably would not want to keep them outdoors in a hutch because of the effects of temperature on their coat color, but if you did, you would need to give them constant protection from dogs, cats, and carnivorous wildlife.


Himalayan rabbits can get ear mites. Gently wiping their ears in and out with a warm, damp cloth (never with Q-tips!) helps to remove them.

Like most other rabbits, Himalayans are susceptible to a condition known as flystrike.

Flies lay their eggs in fecal pellets or other debris that gets stuck in the rabbit’s fur, and the larvae burrow into the rabbit’s skin for nourishment.

Cleaning your rabbit’s coat with a warm moist cloth keeps it free of the debris that can attract flies.

Never give a rabbit a bath. They become excited and extremely stressed. They may kick and bite to get out of the water.

Gastrointestinal Stasis

The most common health issue for Himalayan rabbits is gastrointestinal stasis.

It is an accumulation of undigested food at the pyloric valve, in the bottom of the rabbit’s stomach, or in the duodenum, its large intestine.

Usually, owners have to make two mistakes in feeding their rabbits for gastrointestinal stasis to occur.

They don’t give their rabbits all the hay they want. And they do give their rabbits some kind of carbohydrate food that their digestive tracts are not designed to handle, such as bread or potatoes.

Gastrointestinal stasis stops the normal flow of digested food. A rabbit may produce only a few very small stools.

Alternatively, the mass of undigested food can block the colon so it does not absorb water, and the rabbit develops diarrhea. Your rabbit may stop eating, hunch over because it is in pain, or grind its teeth.

One of the treatments a vet may use for gastrointestinal stasis is a tummy rub.

Your rabbit may not like this, or the tummy rub may dislodge the undigested material and trigger sudden runny diarrhea.

Gastrointestinal stasis is best treated by a vet. For owners, prevention is better than cure.

Tooth Problems

Dental issues are another common health problem in Himalayan rabbits.

They don’t get enough high-fiber food, so they don’t keep their constantly-growing teeth in check.

Rabbits that do not get enough food to chew on develop malocclusion, teeth that do not fit together. In extreme cases, teeth can grow into the face of the rabbit.

There is a simple solution to this problem. Make sure your rabbit always has something to chew on!

If you notice your rabbit has teeth that do not fit together, see your vet.

Exercise and Play

Himalayan rabbits need regular exercise and playtime to stay healthy and happy.

As a caring owner, you should provide at least 4 hours of exercise daily for your rabbit.

Here are some tips for keeping your Himalayan rabbit active and engaged:

  • Chew toys: Rabbits love to chew, and it helps keep their teeth in good condition. Provide your rabbit with a variety of chew toys, such as wooden blocks, cardboard tubes, or hay-filled toys.
  • Interact with your rabbit: Spend time each day interacting with your rabbit. You can gently pet them, talk to them, or even teach them simple tricks. Building a bond with your rabbit will make exercise and playtime more enjoyable for both of you.
  • Kick toys: Give your rabbit toys they can kick and toss around, like small stuffed animals or softballs. Kicking is a natural behavior, and it helps improve physical coordination and strength.
  • Exercise area: Set up a dedicated exercise area or pen for your rabbit to explore and play in. Include fun elements such as cardboard boxes or tubes for them to run through and jump on. Make sure the area is safe and free of hazards like electrical cords or toxic plants.

Don’t forget that Himalayan rabbits are most active at dawn and dusk.

So, try to schedule their exercise and playtime during these periods for the best results.

Popular Bunny Names for Himalayan Rabbit

Here’s a table with popular Himalayan Rabbit names reflecting their breed characteristics.

The Himalayan Rabbit is known for its medium size, cylindrical body shape and white fur with colored points.

Many of these names are inspired by their unique appearance and calm nature.

Boy Bunny Names for Himalayan RabbitGirl Bunny Names for Himalayan Rabbit

These names emphasize the distinctive white fur with colored points, reminiscent of snow-capped mountains, and the serene personality of the Himalayan Rabbit breed, making them fitting choices for your rabbit.

Also read: Named for Pet Rabbits/Bunnies

Frequently Asked Questions About Himalayan Rabbits

Where can I buy a Himalayan rabbit?

In the United States, check with the Rabbit Breeders Directory.

You can also check out the Adopt-a-Pet and Pet Finder websites.

How much will I have to pay for a Himalayan rabbit?

Himalayan rabbits are sometimes offered for as little as US $25. You will not pay more than $60, unless you are buying a show-quality rabbit.

Do Himalayan rabbits enjoy being petted?

Himalayans love being petted. They enjoy cuddling next to you on the floor or at ground level.
They are not fond of being held in your lap.

Is a Himalayan rabbit a suitable pet for small children?

Himalayans are friendly with small children, but they aren’t a good choice for a pet until the child is about six years old.
Younger children may drop the rabbit, causing it to suffer broken bones.

This can be a traumatic experience for both the rabbit and the child. Wait until your child is old enough to hold the rabbit securely.

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