I have soft fur, a cute little nose, and big ears. What am I?
A chinchilla! Yes! Adorably playful, highly expressive, and so easy to train – chinchillas make one of the best pets you can have. The only bummer is the time they might take to trust you and get comfy cuddling. Hey, but you’ll get there.
However, before adopting these fluffy rodents, you must know the various types of chinchillas.
Are there different types of chinchillas?
Yes, there are! Chinchillas differ in terms of breeds, colors, patterns, and fur types.
In this article, we’ll look at the different chinchilla types and their characteristics. It’ll help you pick one that suits your personality best.
There are two main types of chinchillas: short-tailed chinchillas and long-tailed chinchillas. In terms of chinchilla colors, there are 30 different types. You’ll find black velvet, pink white, ebony white, and beige chinchillas. There are also violet and all-white chinchillas. Standard grey chinchillas are the most common.
Does the color affect the personality of these little furballs? Do they all require different care?
Let’s dive in and find out!
Table of Contents
Types of Chinchilla Breeds
Chinchillas are furry critters with social personalities. They are crepuscular, enjoy a fiber-rich diet, and jump like kangaroos! They belong to the rodent family, so you know better than to expect them to be calm and still all day. Chinchillas are active, curious creatures that need room to explore.
Okay, there’s a lot of information coming your way about these little beings. Let’s break it down by type.
How many types of chinchillas are there?
There are two main types of chinchillas. Both these types look similar, with a subtle difference in features.
What are the different types of chinchillas?
The two types of chinchillas are:
- Short-Tailed Chinchillas
- Long-Tailed Chinchillas
Let’s look at each one in more detail below.
These cute whisker puffs were formerly known as C. Bervicaudata. Today, they are known as Chinchilla chinchillas, Peruvian chinchillas, Bolivian chinchillas, or royal chinchillas.
Short-tailed chinchillas, as you might've guessed, have short, fluffy tails. They rock some big ears, super-dense fur, and seriously powerful hind legs.
Interestingly, these little munchkins are bigger and heavier than their long-tailed cousins, tipping the scales at around 2-3 pounds and stretching out to 12-18 inches long.
Unfortunately, short-tailed chinchillas are in a bit of a jam out in the wild, especially in Bolivia, where they’re critically endangered.
So, I can’t have a short-tailed chinny pet?
You can! Breeders made sure you could have one at home. If you take proper care of your chinny, he’ll stick around for 8-20 years easily.
Long-tailed chinchillas, or Chinchilla Lanigera, have long, lush tails, large ears, broad heads, and big black eyes. They hail from the Andes Mountains in Chile, so sometimes they go by the name “Chilean chinchillas.”
Compared to their short-tailed cousins, these little rodents are lighter and shorter. They only weigh around 1-2 pounds and are about 9-15 inches long.
These adorable fuzzters have silky, long fur, which comes in all sorts of colors. These chinchillas have long hind legs and short forefeet that they put to good use – they can jump up to 5-6 feet high and grab things like champs.
Most of the pet chinchillas you’ll meet are descendants of these guys. And if you take care of your long-tailed chinchilla buddy, they could be your sidekick for a solid 10-20 years.
Varieties of Domestic Chinchillas
Ever since people began keeping chinchillas as pets, three distinct varieties of these furry friends have emerged. Interestingly, all these trace their roots back to the long-tailed chinchilla breed.
What are the three varieties?
Let’s check them out below.
These chinchillas are the strong and beefy ones. They look kind of round and packed, with short, stubby ears. Their shoulders are as broad as their chests, and their heads are small and wide.
These chinchillas are a bit slimmer in the muscle department. They rock long hind legs and ears, giving them a V-shaped head when you look at them head-on. Their noses are pointy, and their ears are at a 45-degree angle.
The Raton chinchillas are like a mashup of the La Plata and Costina crews. They have that muscular, round bone structure, like the La Plata chins, but their noses are sharp like the Costina bunch. And bonus, they’re on the smaller side compared to the other two groups.
Types of Chinchilla Colors
Chinchillas are the fashionistas of the rodent world. Their beautiful, dense chinchilla fur can come in a variety of colors – 30 to be exact!
All these 30 colors are a mutation of the original color.
Tip: Mutation is a natural process that results in a change in the genetic material of an organism.
What is the original chinchilla color?
Scroll to find your answer.
The Original Chinchilla Color
Standard grey is the original chinchilla color.
In the wild, chinchillas boast a natural grey color. It looks like a mixture of white, black, and blueish-grey fur. If a chinchilla gets a different color (because of a gene mutation), the poor fellow might struggle to camouflage himself in the wild. He’ll stick out like a sore thumb or, rather, a fluffy sore thumb and become someone’s dinner before he can pass down the new color gene.
What does a standard grey chinchilla look like?
A standard grey chinny has an even (dark or light) grey coat with hints of blue in it. His underbelly is white, and his eyes are black.
Is standard grey common among chinchillas?
Yes, standard grey is the most common color you’ll find in pet chinchillas. In fact, it’s so common that the other colors are referred to as “mutations.”
What’s the science behind standard grey?
Standard grey happens when two recessive genes team up and say, “We’re in charge here.” But when you throw in some dominant genes, they take the lead, and standard grey steps back.
Dominant Chinchilla Colors
The dominant chinchilla colors include:
- Standard Grey
- Wilson White
- Gunning Black
- French Blue
Recessive Chinchilla Colors
The recessive chinchilla coat colors include:
- Stone White
- Larsen Sapphire
- Sullivan Violet
Charcoal and brown are the other two recessive colors. Whereas the beige gene is considered dominant.
Dominant? Recessive? What are all these terms?
We know genetics can be confusing. So, let us make it easier for you. If you’re planning on breeding chinchillas, this information will be of great help!
Understanding the Genetics of Chinchilla Colors
Essentially, there are two main types of genes:
- Dominant genes
- Recessive genes
These genes give a kit (chinchilla baby) different characteristics. Since we’re focused on chinchilla coat colors, we’ll stick to that.
Dominant genes are like the bossy ones. When they’re around, they call the shots on fur color.
But some dominant genes can be a bit wishy-washy and not take charge completely. These are weakly dominant or incomplete genes. In this case, other genes will have a say in the coat color.
Recessive genes are more like the shy ones. They only get to decide the fur color when there are two of them together (homozygous). If there's just one recessive gene (heterozygous), it doesn't show its color but carries it secretly.
This sneaky gene stays hidden until a chinchilla with the mutation is matched up with another chinchilla carrying the same secret gene.
Sometimes, two different genes can team up and create something new, which is cool if they’re dominant. But if they’re both recessive, they just stick with the regular chinchilla gray.
So, that’s the lowdown on chinchilla fur colors and the genes that make the magic happen! Now, let’s hop back to different chinchilla colors.
Exploring Chinchilla Color Varieties
White chinchillas are like little snowballs with a heartbeat. They are white because they don’t have the gene that gives fur its color. No yellow, no beige – just pure white.
However, if you look at these clouds of fur in the sun, their coat will look silvery.
There are two types of white chinchillas:
- Ebony White Chinchillas: White with a touch of gray or black on his head and back.
- Sapphire Chinchillas: These guys have fur with a diluted, almost blueish hue.
Are white chinchillas albinos?
Oh, no! Not all white chinchillas are albinos. Albinism is a genetic condition that results in no pigmentation, which also means no color in the eyes. Most white chinchillas have pigmented eyes, so they are not albino.
These little guys look like black velvet in chinchilla form. They are fluffy, have dark eyes, cute and sparkling white underbellies, and white and black striped feet. Some might have hints of dark grey on their coat. Quite the stunner, aren’t they?
An ebony or black velvet chinchilla can have four different shades, ranging from:
- Light Ebony
- Medium Ebony
- Dark Ebony
- Extra Dark Ebony
Since the ebony gene is dominant, mixing it with any other color will give you TOV chinchillas.
TOV? What is a TOV chinchilla?
A TOV chinchillas is a “Touch of Velvet” chinchilla. When ebony and another recessive color are mixed, the resulting baby will have slightly velvety fur. Hence the name.
These active babies look like they’re covered in sandy beaches and warm rays of sunshine. They have a light tan or cream-colored coat with beautiful pink ears and white bellies.
A beige chinchilla can either be homozygous or heterozygous.
- A homozygous beige chinny has a darker-than-belly back and deep ruby eyes.
- A heterozygous beige chinny has a nice, toned-down champagne shade with red eyes.
When a violet gene meets the ebony gene, we get these sweet, lilac-colored fuzzballs. They grow into stunning violet adult chinchillas with white bellies and black eyes.
These stunners are slightly tricky to breed. You need two violet parents, or a violet parent and a violet carrier parent, to get a violet kit.
Violet chinchillas are like the heartthrobs of the chinchilla world. They attract a lot of attention, so be prepared for that.
Sapphire chinchillas are the cool kids on the block with a unique style – no black tipping on their fur. Just a smooth, slightly bluish coat.
Like most other chins, these beauties also sport the classic white underbelly and black peepers.
Basically, sapphire chinchillas are like the chilled-out cousins of your standard gray chinchilla, bringing a fresh twist to the family tree!
Breeding a black velvet chinchilla with a beige chinchilla will give an adorable chocolate brown chinny. These softies have white bellies, paws, and mouths.
These guys also have white fur under their jaw, and their eyes are a beautiful dark shade of black. Brown chinchillas are also referred to as “brown velvets” because of their soft fur.
Rare Chinchilla Varieties
Now, let’s talk about the real VIPs of the chinchilla world – the ones that don’t just stand out with their fancy fur colors but also come with unique patterns or even a whole different fur type.
These fuzzy babies aren’t an easy find. Even if you hit the jackpot and stumble upon one, your wallet might feel a little lighter because these gems come at a premium price.
So, which are the rare chinchilla breeds to look out for?
Royal Persian Angora Chinchillas
These beauties have incredibly long and soft fur that looks like a fluffy cloud. They also have smaller ears and adorably petite faces compared to your regular chinchillas.
Their luxurious fur can grow up to 1.75 inches around their neck and 2-3 inches near their behind. That’s double the fluff, but it also means extra grooming and care.
Angora chinchillas come in different colors, including white, ebony, and standard grey.
However, finding them is like a treasure hunt, and they don't come cheap. Prices range from $1,500 to a whopping $5,000!
Locken chinchillas are like little curly-haired poodles. Their fur spirals, give them a unique look among other chinchilla breeds. They also have slightly smaller bodies compared to other varieties.
Locken coats come in different colors, including ebony, beige, and white.
Do Locken chinchillas require special care?
Nope, nothing fancy. The same hay-rich diet, roomy crib, fresh water, and chew toys.
Since these fuzzters are a new mutation, only a few breeders sell them. Expect to pay about $3000 for a baby Locken.
Mosaic chins look like a work of art with their intricate patterns and colors. These beauties have a base color of white with random patches of black, grey, brown, or beige scattered around their body. Some also have a stunning orange patch.
Each mosaic chinchilla has a unique pattern. Some may have larger patches, while others have smaller spots. However, all these lovelies have dark brown eyes.
Mosaic chinchillas are also rare and expensive. They can cost anywhere between $500 and $750 on average.
Gold Bar Chinchillas
Gold bar chinchillas have a unique and stunning coat pattern. They have a base color of white and gold or beige stripes running down their back, like little golden bars.
These cuties also have striking black eyes and come in different shades of gold, from light to dark.
If you’re lucky enough to find one for sale, be prepared to spend upwards of $800.
Caring for Different Chinchilla Types
Do different types of chinchillas require different care?
The best part about chinchillas is that their care routine remains the same, no matter which variety you have. However, some chins may require a bit of extra grooming, like angora chinchillas.
All chins need plenty of hay and fresh water, a spacious cage with shelves and platforms to jump around on, chew toys to keep their teeth in check, and regular dust baths.
If your chinchilla has special needs, it’s probably an individual thing and not specific to their breed. In this case, your vet will advise you on the best course of action.
What about their personalities?
Just like humans, each chinchilla has a unique personality. Some may be more active and playful, while others may be shy and reserved. But don’t worry; each chin is lovable in its own way!
In general, chinchillas are intelligent animals that can bond with their owners and show affection. They also have a natural curiosity, which makes them fun to interact with.
And breeding? Any difference there?
This is the only area where different types of chinchillas may require a unique approach.
- Two white or two velvet black chinchillas will never be able to reproduce successfully.
- Ebony and TOV chinchillas can only produce dark-colored offspring.
- Beige or Pink-white chinchillas will never produce black velvet offspring.
- Violet chinchillas must have a violet parent or a carrier parent to produce violet offspring.
- Never breed unpedigreed chinchillas. They can pass on fatal conditions like malocclusion, blindness, and underdeveloped organs.
The Breeding Process
Ready to welcome some adorable chinchilla kits into the world? Here’s a quick overview of what the breeding process looks like.
Before you begin, make sure you know the breeds of each chinchilla, and that they are both healthy and free from any genetic disorders.
- Pick Sexually Mature Chinchillas. Make sure the chinchillas you’ve selected are at least ten months old.
- Outfit The Breeding Cage. There should be enough room in the cage for the male to escape if things go bad. Also, put two hideouts.
- Introduce The Parents. Let your chinny couple get to know each other in a neutral territory before placing them together in a cage. This helps reduce aggression and unwanted behaviors.
- Monitor The Couple. Male chins rub their chins on the cage’s floor and wag their bushy tails when they’re ready for the act. You need to observe them to make sure your female chinny doesn’t attack the male – she can get aggressive.
- Look For Signs of Mating. Look for copulatory plug and fur clumps.
- Check The Male Chinny For A Hair Ring. Hair ring is a condition where the male’s genitalia gets stuck in his fur ring after a mating session. It’s painful for the little guy. If your chinchilla is suffering, you’ll need some lubricant and tweezers to help him out. Or, simply take him to the vet.
- Monitor The Female Chinny For Pregnancy Signs. Your femal chinchilla will become moody and less active. She’ll also sleep on her side instead of her belly.
Chinchilla Breeds: One for Every Fluff Lover!
Chinchillas make wonderful pets. They’re undeniably adorable, enjoy socializing, and are relatively easy to train and take care of.
The best part is that you’ll find several different types of chinchillas to choose from, each with its unique characteristics and traits.
Whether you go for a sassy pink-white chin or a luxurious Angora chinchilla, one thing is for sure – bringing home a chinny will add some extra fluff and fun to your life!
Since all chinchillas require the same care routine and face similar health risks, there isn’t much to worry about when picking a chinchilla breed.
Just be sure to provide them with the love and care they deserve, and you’ll have a happy and healthy furry friend for years to come.
Did you find this article useful?
At Oddly Cute Pets, we are dedicated to bringing you all the latest and most interesting facts about your favorite pets. If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out our other articles on chinchillas, hamsters, guinea pigs, and more.
Thank you for reading, fluff lovers!