The Many Colors of Chinchillas
The chinchilla comes in many colors and variations of light and darks of the colors. Originally chinchillas were only a grey color with a white under belly. Over the years through selective breeding there are a wide range of colors.
The standard color or commonly known as grey is the most common and the original color of wild chinchillas. The standard color ranges from very light grey to almost black looking on their back. The standard should be darker from the top of the head and back and lighten in color towards the belly. The belly and chest of the standard should be white. This color is often used to help improve the quality of the mutation colors. When used to improve the mutation colors often times you will get a grey kit that is a carrier for another color, such as ebony. When breeding you should take care when breeding carriers as they can make the belly of standard chins become "dirty" or not as white as they should be. Often the chest will not be white if the standard is an ebony carrier for example. Standards can be carriers for many of the colors below and you may not know it until you put them into breeding. That is why it is important only to breed them if you are familiar with their backgrounds. In the past the quality of the standard chins have decreased due to breeding ones that were carriers for other colors.
The black velvet color is much like the standard except that it is black instead of grey. The black velvet can also come in a range from light black to very rich dark black. They should also have a darker vale that lightens slightly as it gets closer to the belly. The belly and chest should be clean and white as with the standard. A common color problem that arises with the black velvet is what is called a "halo" and is when there is a break in the black color between the head and the back of the chinchilla. It is usually a lighter black or grey color and sometimes will become black as the chinchilla ages, however is still a color defect. When breeding you should try to avoid breeding black velvet chinchillas that have this trait. Also it should be noted that you cannot breed a black velvet to black velvet as this color carries a leathal gene cannot have two black velvet chromosomes (homo black velvet). In order to get black velvet kits one parent will be standard and one will be black velvet. The black velvet also passes on a gene known as the TOV gene that can cause the chinchilla to have a darker facial mask and dark legs.
The beige chinchilla ranges from a very light tan almost pink color (homo beige) to a very dark tan/brown color. All beige chinchillas will also have a white belly and chest. The beige is crossed with many other colors to create different mutations including the brown velvet, pink white, and tans. Beige chinchillas most commonly have pink or red eyes. The homo beige is produced when a beige is bred to a beige creating a very light tan almost pink color. The homo beige is hard to distinguish the white belly as they are very light.
The brown velvet is out of a beige and black velvet. The brown velvet like the black velvet has a dark mask on its face and a dark vale from the top of the neck and over the back. They also have the white chest and belly. The brown velvet will also have darker brown legs.
The ebony chin unlike the black velvet is black all over including the belly. Ebonies come in all shades of black from very light grey that resemble a standard with a grey belly to what is often referred to as a homo ebony or extra dark ebony. There is really no such thing as a homo ebony but the extra dark ebony, that has no lighter hairs over its body, often times takes this incorrect name.
Tan chinchillas are from an ebony and a beige chinchilla and can range from very light tan sometimes called a pastel to a very rich dark tan, called a chocolate. The tan unlike the beige has the tan color all the way under the belly with no white.
Silver Mosaic/ White Ebony
The silver mosaic or white ebony is a cross between a white chinchilla and an ebony. This color comes in wide variety of color patterns from a very light silver color to white with black body spots.
The pink white comes from crossing a beige and a white and is noticeable for its very pink ears. They are often white but will have a beige tint to them and may also have beige spots on their body or beige highlights around their tail and heads.
The mosaic carries one standard gene and one white gene. Unlike the white ebony or silver, the mosaic has no ebony in it but can still have dark grey or black body spots. This color can carry a large range of patterns in the coat.
The violet color is not actually as violet as the name suggests but does have a violet hint to the color of the chin. Violets also come in a range from light to dark and also should have a white chest and belly. When bred to other colors you can get white violets, violet wraps, beige violet, and other variations. This gene is a recessive gene so in order to get a violet you must breed two violets, which is not a good idea as the quality of their fur decreases greatly, or breed to a violet carrier. The only way to know if the chin is a carrier is to be familiar with their background or to breed them.
Sapphire is much like the violet in that it is a recessive color that is not as blue as it sounds. This color can sometimes look like a light light standard or have light blue appearance to them. They also should have a white chest and belly and when bred to different colors can get a wide arrange of sapphire variations.
The goldbar is a rare color that is like the beige but has more of a "gold" color to it and originated out of two standard chinchillas in 1995. This is also a recessive color and breeders that are breeding this color are finding out more about it and keeping many of the kits so finding a goldbar available is not common.
Sullivan Recessive Beige
Sullivan recessive beige is another relatively new color that originated at Loyd Sullivan's ranch. These chins have very red eyes.
Recessive white is another rare color. This color came from a ranch purchase and a standard male that had been in breeding for a while developed white around the ears and tail. This color is also called the White Tail for the white around the tail. This color is born as a light standard and as they age they begin to show white characteristics around the ears, tails and heads. Most of these chinchillas are in closed breeding programs and not offered for sale very often.
The Wilson white is a white chinchilla with black ears and a very white body and dark eyes. This color is often referred to as predominantly white.
For More Information on Chinchilla Colors
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