So Many Chinchilla Colors! Which One Do I Choose?

by Morgan Mulac

 Chinchilla Colors Image

If you are looking to get a chinchilla anywhere, you will probably notice that they are available in an array of different colors that make them unique. Among them, you'll find white chinchillas, violet chinchillas, mosaics, sapphires, and even more!

In this blog, we will discuss all the different colors your chinchilla come in, whether there are any health considerations, and which colors are rarer. so let's jump right in!

How Many Colors Of Chinchillas Are There?

Chinchillas come in all the colors of the rainbow! Well, not quite; you are not likely to find a bright red chinchilla anytime soon. However, chinchillas come in a larger variety of colors than you may expect!

In the wild, chinchillas generally express grey fur, so the color variations of chinchillas you can find will generally be centered around a more neutral tone of fur. However, selective breeding has led to chinchillas with more or less pigmentation in their fur, resulting in a white or black coat.

Mutations have also resulted in slightly more pigmentation coming through in chinchilla fur, either in a brown-ish hue or in colors lower on the visible light spectrum (blues and violets).

The interplay between these genes can also result in different chinchilla color both expressing themselves, creating a mosaic of colors in the chinchilla’s fur. Read on to learn more about all the different, distinct colors of chinchilla down below!

 Chinchilla Colors Chart Image

What Chinchilla Colors Are Rare? 

The color of a chinchilla is dictated by its genetics. To give a quick biology lesson, genes can have traits that are either dominant or recessive. If the chinchilla’s pair of genes contain the same color trait, that is the color they will be! However, if it gets two different color traits from its parents, the dominant one will determine the color of that chin. As such, the rarest colors are the ones that result from a twin pair of recessive traits. These colors include sapphire, violet, and goldbar.

Note that because the dominant trait is the one that is expressed, it is possible for two chinchillas of the same color to produce offspring of a different color, if they both have the same recessive trait. Given that, it is entirely possible (although unlikely) that two gray chinchillas could have a sapphire kit! 

What Are Show Quality Chinchillas?

There are two main qualities of chinchillas: show quality and pet quality. You can think of show quality chinchillas as being the supermodels of the chinchilla world! They will be judged on a variety of different factors, including:

Clarity

Clarity refers to the clearness of the chinchilla’s color. The more blue that is coming through in the color, the less clear the color.

Conformation

Conformation refers to what we would generally call the chinchilla’s “build” if we were talking about a person. The most desired conformation for a chinchilla is for them to have a broad neck and shoulder area, with the hips being the same width as the shoulders (“conforming” to the shoulders).

Density

Density refers to the density (“volume”, if we were talking about a person) of the chinchilla’s fur. The optimal density of soft fur should provide a cushion of fur around the chinchilla. If you can see past their fur to their skin, the chinchilla is lacking in density.

Length

Length refers not to the length of the chinchilla, but specifically the length of their fur. Too short of fur is undesirable; a show chinchilla will have long enough soft fur to provide that cushion of fur around their body.

Pattern

Pattern refers not to the symmetry of the chinchilla’s fur (you’re not likely to find too many perfectly striped chinchillas), but rather to the surface of their fur. A show chinchilla should have a smooth pattern of soft fur, in both length and color. Any choppiness or mottling would be considered undesirable for a show chinchilla.

Size

Size is the most easily understood quality of a show chinchilla. This refers simply to the size of the chinchilla in relation to other chinchillas its age. A show chinchilla will be in the mid-range of sizes, neither too large nor too small.

Strength

Strength in this sense doesn’t refer to your chinchilla’s muscles (although just imagine how cute a chinchilla would look lifting tiny little weights!). Instead, it refers to the strength of their fur, meaning how quickly it reforms to its original position after being messed up. The more swiftly it goes back to normal, the stronger the fur.

Texture

Texture refers to the fineness or coarseness of the chinchilla’s fur. The ideal fur texture is for it to be silky smooth, while still retaining a good density and strength.

Veiling

Veiling is perhaps the most complicated quality that show chinchillas are judged on. Chinchilla fur has three levels of color: the underfur, the bar, and the tip. As you would expect, the underfur is the portion of the fur that is closest to the chinchilla’s skin and is generally a grey color. The bar is a portion of white in-between the underfur and the tip that provides some contrast to the chinchilla’s fur color. The tip is the outermost portion of the fur, and its length is the primary factor in the overall color of the chinchilla. The longer the tip, the darker the color of the chinchilla.

In terms of judging a show-quality chinchilla, the key factor is the consistency of the veiling across the chin’s body. For example, veiling is generally inconsistent in the fur around a chinchilla’s neck, so having that area retain the veiling pattern of the back is very important for a show-quality chinchilla.

And now you have a basic understanding of all the qualities that go into determining whether a chinchilla would be considered show quality! However, the difference between show quality and pet quality chinchillas is primarily aesthetic; a pet quality chinchilla is not inherently less healthy than a show quality chinchilla. If you are looking for a fuzzy companion, either quality of chinchilla can be a great fit for you!

Are There Any Health Considerations Between Different chinchilla Colors?

Not at all! Any color of chinchilla can have a happy, healthy life alongside you! The only impact of their color is on their appearance, but no matter the color they’ll still be cute!

What Colors Of Chinchilla Are There? 

Standard Gray Chinchillas

 Standard Gray Chinchilla Image

As you might guess from the name, standard gray chinchillas are the most common variety of chinchillas. This is the coloring that results if the chinchilla doesn’t have any dominant or recessive gene mutations showing. They will have a blue-grey hue on their head, neck, shoulders, and back, with a lighter grey along their sides and tail. 

White Mosaic Chinchillas

 White Mosaic Chinchilla Image

Mosaic chinchillas, sometimes called a Wilson white chinchilla, are the result of the very first color mutation to be noted in chinchillas! These chinchillas have a mix of gray and white in the fur, which can be concentrated in different spots, resulting in patches of color, or result in a seemingly even chinchilla coat where the different colors appear to blend together into one color! In those cases, the wilson white chinchilla could appear all white, mostly white, frosted grey, or mostly grey.

White chinchillas will always have black eyes and dark ears, which can be used to help distinguish them from other white mosaic.

White Black Velvet Chinchillas

 White Black Velvet Chinchilla Image

This chinchilla color results from a chinchilla having both a white fur gene and a black fur gene. While both these genes would be dominant over other mutations, in this case they result in mosaicism, where certain cells will contain the white fur gene while others simply do not! This results in the chinchilla having a variety of colors in their coat.

Typically this will result in a relatively even chinchilla coat, where the fur appears the same all over the chinchilla but is some variation of mostly white, frosted grey (where the black and white hairs coexist to blend their colors together), or mostly black. However, in unique cases, this will result in the chinchilla having splotches or marks of black fur amidst a coat of white.

Beige Chinchillas

 Beige Chinchilla Image

Beiges are also among the more common colors of chinchillas. Depending on their genetic makeup, they could look anywhere from a brown-beige color to a more champagne hue. The beige gene is dominant, so it will express itself even when paired with a different color gene, but if the chin has two beige genes it will be lighter in color than a chin with one beige gene and one grey gene, for example.

In addition to their fur color, you can also identify a beige chinchilla by their eyes and ears! They are known for having pink ears, and either pink or red eyes (although they are not the only color of chinchilla known for these, as you’ll see in the next chinchilla color mentioned). The fur around their stomach will also be whiter when compared to the rest of their fur.

Pink White Chinchillas

 Pink White Chinchilla Image

The pink white chinchilla is very similar to the black and white chinchilla, except that in this case it is a mix of beige and white that results in the mosaicism of the chinchilla’s fur. Unfortunately, this does not actually make the chinchilla appear pink; rather, the name comes from the main difference between a normal white mosaic chinchilla and a beige white mosaic chinchilla, which is that the chin’s ears are pink and their eyes are red, rather than the dark ears and black eyes of a white mosaic.

Like with the other mosaic, the fur of a pink white chinchilla can range substantially from one to the other, appearing to be mostly white, mostly beige, or somewhere in between, with patches of beige coming through an otherwise white coat

Black Velvet Chinchillas (BV)

 Black Velvet Chinchilla Image

Black velvet chinchillas result from a dominant gene mutation that results in much darker fur for much of the chinchilla’s coat. However, these chinchillas are not completely black! While they might initially appear that way, given that their face, head, back and hips are mostly black, this fades into a grey color as you go further down their sides and a bright white bellies.

Brown Velvet Chinchillas

 Brown Velvet Chinchilla Image

As you might guess, brown velvet chinchillas are very similar to BV chinchillas. In these cases, the chinchilla has dark brown fur over their head and back, which then tapers into a lighter beige down their sides, with their belly still being bright white. In contrast to the BV chinchillas though, which have black eyes and dark ears, brown velvet chinchillas have light ears and red eyes characteristic of the beige chinchilla.

Ebony Chinchillas

 Ebony Chinchillas Image

Ebony chinchillas are similar in appearance to black velvet chinchillas, but they can have even more black fur! These chinchillas tend to have a more uniform coloring across their bodies, which may fade a little as you go down their sides to their belly, but will not reach the bright white color of the BV's.

However, while the fur color of the chinchilla will be more consistent, there is quite a variation in shading across ebony chinchillas. Some are light enough in their coloring to appear like a standard grey chinchilla, while others can get all the way to an inky black. If you are planning to buy or adopt an ebony chinchilla, it is a good idea to make sure you see a photo of them first to get an idea of their coloration.

White Ebony Chinchillas (Ebony Mosaic

 White Ebony Chinchilla Image

While white ebony might sound like a contradiction, these chinchillas display the mosaic-ism of the previously mentioned mosaic breeds, like the black and white chinchilla. The main distinction between the ebony mosaic chinchilla, which can also have a fur pattern ranging from mostly white to mostly ebony or have splotches of white and ebony, from the black and white mosaic chinchilla is that the ebony gene allows for black or ebony to show up in the fur on the chin’s belly.

Sapphire Chinchillas

 Sapphire Chinchilla Image

Sapphire chinchillas are born with two of the same recessive mutation in their genes, resulting in their fur taking on a light blue tone in addition to gray. They will have black eyes and a bright white belly, but unlike standard gray chinchillas, they will have pink ears instead of dark ears.

Goldbar Chinchillas

 Goldbar Chinchilla Image

Goldbar chinchillas look very similar to the pink-white chinchilla, but with a golden streak (a bar, if you will) of fur along their back. Depending on the origin of the chinchilla (and the mutation that causes their coloring, as it originated separately in two different countries), this streak could be a fairly light gold or more yellow gold. Like the pink white, these chins also have white bellies, pink ears, and red eyes.

Violet Chinchillas

 Violet Chinchilla Image

Similar to the sapphire, violet chinchillas have two of the same mutation, but in this case, it causes their fur to take on a slight violet hue instead of a light blue. They will also have black eyes and a bright white belly, but their ears will be either a light gray or a slightly pink gray.

Blue Diamond Chinchillas

 Blue Diamond Chinchilla Image

What happens when you take two different recessive genes and put them together? You get the blue diamond chinchilla! These cuties are born with both of the recessive mutations that cause the sapphire and violet chinchilla colorations, and so their coat ends up having both hues. This can result in a light gray/periwinkle color or a deeper gray blue-violet color. Like the violet gene of chinchilla, it will have dark eyes, grayish-pink ears, and a white belly.

Black Pearl Chinchillas

 Black Pearl Chinchilla Image

This is the newest coloration to evolve in chinchillas, and as such is very rare! While it is very similar in appearance to the black velvet chinchilla, this mutation actually evolved from the standard gray genes, and that is where you will see the main difference between the black pearl and the black velvet. While the black velvet chinchilla’s coat fades from black to gray down its sides, before reaching the white belly of the chin, a black pearl chinchilla will have black fur all the way down its sides until it meets the white fur of the belly. Like the other dark-toned chinchillas, black pearls have dark ears and black eyes.

In Conclusion 

With so many beautiful chinchilla colors available to choose from, you can almost certainly be assured you will be able to get a beautiful pet to enjoy as a companion. But regardless of the color of your chinchilla, what matters most is that it is healthy and happy with you for their whole life.

Questions?

Have Questions About Chinchilla Colors or Chinchillas?

Email us at cages@qualitycage.com

Author Bio: Morgan Mulac
Morgan has been a professional copywriter for over five years. Morgan also happens to be a chinchilla owner for many years. Now she is merging her two passions to create chinchilla expert care guides to help other chinchilla owners.
Morgan loves all things artistic and enjoys making others happy through her art and stories.

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