Chinchilla Colors

Over the years through selective breeding, chinchillas have taken on a variety of colors. Here's the most complete list we've come across.

Standard Grey

This is the original color of the chinchilla i.e. the color of a wild chinchilla. A "good" standard grey chinchilla will have a dark grey back with grey sides and a bright white underbelly. A hair from a standard grey chinchilla has three colors: at the bottom you have a blue-grey followed by a thin white bar and finally a black tip.

Hetero Beige

Hetero beige refers to several shades of light beige. Often, the backs of such chinchillas are darker than the rest. They also have pink ears and red eyes. The first beige chinchilla was born in 1955. Its owner, Ned Jensen of Oregon, didn't believe that it would be possible to breed the animal so he sold it to Nick Tower. He was wrong.

Homo Beige

Somewhat lighter than Hetero Beige. Homo beige chinchillas also have bright red eyes.

Silver Mosaic

These chinchillas come from breeding standard grey chinchillas with white chinchillas. The result is a chinchilla with white fur that has patches of gray tipped fur.

White Mosaic

White mosaics are said to be the first color mutation. Like Silver Mosaics, they are produced by breeding standard greys with whites. The differences is that instead of having grey tipped fur, they have actual patches of grey fur. They have dark ears and dark eyes. The first white chinchilla was born in 1955 in North Carolina.

Pink White

These chinchillas, also known as beige mosaics have pink ears and pink eyes. Sometimes they have beige patches.

Black Velvet

Black velvets are very much sought after. Although largely black, the color transitions to grey on the sides and to white for the belly area. They have dark ears and dark eyes. The first black velvet chinchilla was born 1956 on the farm of Bob Gunning of Washington. There is a lethal factor attached to the velvet gene which means that one should not breed black velvets with other chinchillas with the velvet gene.

Brown Velvet

These chinchillas are also called tov homo beige and tov hetero beige. They are distinguished by brown fur that fades to beige on the sides and to white for the belly area.

Homo Ebony

These chinchillas are all black with black ears and dark eyes. Quite popular in the chinchilla community.

Hetero Ebony

This is another popular color. They usually have a mix of black and gray fur. They can have gray to black underbellies.

White/eb

These chinchillas are white with gray or black patches on their bodies. Sometimes they have no color other than white. They have very dark ears and dark eyes.

Violet

Violets, despite the name, are not quite as purple as the name suggests. Instead they have a light hint of violet. Solid violets are generally darker. Violets also have dark eyes with almost dove grey ears. The first violet chinchilla was born in Rhodesia, Africa in 1960 and was later sold to Loyd Sullivan's farm in California.

Light Pastel

Light pastel chinchillas are generally the first generation offspring of ebony and beige chinchillas. They resemble a beige in color as adults, but when they are born, they are almost near white in color.

Dark Pastel/Tan

Dark pastels begin to get a darker coat closer to a light brown. This will come about in a 3rd to 4th generation of breeding to ebony.

Sapphire

Sapphires are said to be the hardest to breed and take care of. They are generally a very light gray in color with hints of sapphire throughout their fur.

There's a really good page with descriptions and photos that probably do a better job than just the descriptions above.

Sources:
Bettina Hansen's (website no longer live)

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31 Comments

  1. I got my pet chinchilla as a Christmas gift from my fiance and I fell in love with him. I named him KB after my fiance lol. We both have spoiled him and he knows it. There's one thing I haven't heard anyone say is how they will chew everything, we learned that the hard way especially my fiance and his apple headphones. So before we let him out we put up every cord and chinchilla proof our bedroom. KB is an original grey chinchilla and he's so playful grabbing hold of my fiance legs when he's out. He made my life fun and interesting.

  2. I have 2 standard grey chins there very loving and sweet they love to be hidden under there little house together one is a male and one is a female there names are ( Isabell, Ozzy) they never tried to mate and i really dont want to have another chin(s). im kinda lucky because i got my chinchillas for free from my science teacher it was almost kinda like a good bye gift ive known that teacher for a long time the cool thing about my science teacher she. Has a lot of animals hamsters,gerbils, guinea pigs, hegde hog, sugar glider , tree frogs

  3. I bought a 'male' standard grey chinchilla (JellyBean)($160+ food) from a pet store 2 1/2 yrs ago and 30 days after I brought it home-----it gave birth to a dwarf chinchilla (Skittles). (Obiously, a sibling mated with her) So pet store personelle are NOT experts cause I was assured that they only sold males at that particular store. Anyway, she and her son have been very well looked after and my kids love them and treat them with kindness. Like a year after that I bought a Albino male chinchilla (MarshMellow)(white hair, pink eyes, pink ears) for 1/2 price ($80) from the same pet store and he mated with the girl chinney and she had TWO white chinneys (Snickers and Starburst), so now I have 5 wonderful chins. They all have food names (family tradition). They love to be loose around the house and are VERY playful. The grumpiest of the bunch is JellyBean, she barks at everyone. And the most docile is MarshMellow. I recently saw a cripple chinchilla at the pet store, and I was wondering how they didn't notice when they bought him. I felt so sorry for him, I might buy him. Still thinking about it.

  4. I got a chinchilla when I turned 11 or 12, and he is a hetero ebony. He costed around two or three hundred dollars. I paid for him myself, and I am very happy with him. I was originally going to get a violet, which I named Despereaux, but instead I went with the other. His name is Trouble. :)

  5. Chincillas are the most expensive small animals for a few reasons: first of all they live a minimum of 15 years, they are the biggest rodent in the pet industry, and thry are considered hypo-allergenic because of their thick fur; they cannot carry fleas or other parasites, they don't shed or produce dander, they don't have nails and they never need a bath (in the water). Pet stores price chinchillas high because they pay alot of money to get them themselves. I work for a pet store in Canada and we charge $120 for the standard colour of chinchilla and $190 for all fancies. We buy all of our animals from local breeders and choose only the best ones at that, plus if any of our animals get sick in the store, they are isolated from the healthy ones and sent to the vet immediately. We charge higher prices because we guarantee a healty animal and we don't want just anyone to come and buy an animal on a whim and kill it 3 days later!

    • I got mine as a baby for $50 from a breeder. I have had her for over 2 years, and she is beautiful. She is a hetero beige. If you do some looking you can find adoption websites and breeders that won't rip you off. My chinchilla came with a cage, food, vitamins, treats, and bedding... ALL FOR $50!!

      • you were lucky- 50 dollars was a steal- cage alone can cost that much- I have seen people get 60 dollars for the fur of the chinchilla- I would never sell one that cheap for fear the buyer would kill it for it's fur

      • Why the heck are you giving your chinchilla vitamins? I would stop the vitamins and just give her a good quality pellet, grass hay and filtered/Reverse osmisis water. She obviously didnt come from a reputable breeder, was a rescue. Good breeders charge more because they offer quality animals. Only 25 percent of the animals they breed are worth breeding in the future based on quality. Most breeders will only charge 60 to 75 for a nice standard. I personally am anti pelt, but good breeders(on both sides of the issue) breed for quality and disease free animals. Good breeders go to shows and have their animals shown. Its just like breeding any other animal. Dog breeders dont just buy a dog from a pet store and breed it, at least not good ones. They breed from quality stock. I have 9 of my own, 6 of whom are rescues. The rescues I got all for I believe 250(not at the same time but total over the years) that doesnt mean they are great quality, but Im not breeding. The three that I paid good money for are also pet quality, but there is definate different between the ones that were sold to innocent people who didnt know what they were doing by back yeard breeders and them. The coats are thicker and softer. Also if a person was going to use the animal for fur then the wouldnt be going for the cheap ones on craigslist and other sites, the quality just isnt there. I must also say, yes they do have nails. They are very similar looking to our toenails(well sort of). They are not completely hypoallergenic, they do emit a small amount of dander, but most people are allergic to the dust not the animal. Just be aware of health problems in the future if you go the cheap route, i.e. Malo. Be sure you also have a vet who knows chinchillas, not just rodents or exotics but chinchillas. I will never forget when I took my 6 year old into the vet and was told that he was very old for a chin. lol, we switched vets immediatly.

    • Despite what you've heard, chinchillas are NOT hypo-allergenic. They can shed (in high stress times) and they take baths in DUST which is one of the top allergens for allergy sufferers, and they retain dust in their coats for a good while. Also, Chinchillas DO have nails, my bf has a nice lovely scar on his back because I put a 3 month old on his back, and she started to run and I grabbed her at the base of the tail (sounds cruel, I know but its harmless and the best way to grab a chinchilla to get ahold of them) And she tried running, and he was without a shirt and got a huge scratch on it within seconds. We looked at her nails, and they were short, but they DO have nails. I just looked at my newborn baby chinchilla today, born at about 4am, and he even has nails. Also, pet stores have a high markup, The ones here (missouri) charge from 120-150 for a chinchilla, sometimes standard grays and occasionally a beige or if you're really lucky a mosaic or pink white, or ebony. Anyways, I know several people that run pet stores in the area, and I also know the breeders that supply them, and they only pay about 30-50 a chinchilla and sell them for 120-150. Pet stores charge so much just because they have a huge mark-up on everything. Which sometimes is good, so theres not as many impulse buys, but a lot of pet stores will tell you they are rare, and thats a complete lie. I would never buy a chinchilla from a pet store, since pet stores are almost always very very shady, I only bought one once, and it was a black velvet male, for $175 and that was great, because the closest ones I ever found from me was atleast 8 hours away and the chinchillas were old breeders or young adults, and in the end it wouldve costed us about $400 or so for the chin, gas, and hotel room for the trip. BUt anyways, this comment here shows that people that work in petstores dont always know much about animals, yet they seem to think theyre experts. So lets re-cap: CHinchillas DO have nails, they are NOT hypo-allergenic, and they dont necessarily SHED, but blow their fur out when stressed out (when first acquiring, or cleaning cages when theyre not use to you yet, etc, none of mine do but they can)

      • Hi, I paid $20.00 for a very healthy adult male with a large, 3 tiered cage, hay, pellets, new water bottle and dust bath. I was very lucky and so is my chin. His pevious owner didn't want to care 4 him anymore and I was looking into getting one. It was ment to be, we are very happy and our fuzzy friend gets lots of love, attention, and exercise!

    • Hypo-allergenic is a joke, I'm deathly allergic to my moms chinchillas. The first time I touched them I was rushed to the ER cause my throat closed up and I was put on IVs and given shots. I can't even be near them or I start to have breathing problems.

  6. i got mine for 40, and it was off one of the top breeders in germany, hes hetero beige aswell

  7. So I guess seeing chinchillas for over 300 dollars. Means the pet shop is trying to rip u off right?

    • i got mine for seventy lol

    • Well not really. Chinchillas are exotic animals. Ones priced for 300 are jus some of the best thou. They have certain contests based on the softness and shine of the fur as well as its health and physical status. I'm frm missouri and they selll em here for round 150 but pet stores sell em as pets. A serious pet owner for chinchillas tend to price more cuz they usually maintain them better. I love chinchillas thou so id know bout em lol

    • Different Quality of chinchilla's can reflect on price, many pet quality Chinchilla's would be cheaper than show quality. Also colour plays a part in the cost, Standard Grey - Goldbar... I wouldn't advise anyone to buy from a pet shop as alot of the time they can be poor quality and you wont know about illnesses which could be hereditary. So i would not say that you are being riped off but buying quality bred Chinchilla's... You get what you pay for..

  8. thank you so much for the advise! i am very close to buying a baby, 6 week old beige chinchilla that i am looking foward to naming chilli! i want to cuddle with him so much but other websites advised me to not cuddle, he will come to me if he wants to. I was also wondering if it would be better to get a chinnie at a young age so it respects me more? i love the saphirre looks but i am going to settle for a baby beige for only $90.

  9. What makes the black velvet chinchillas so lethal? WHT ARE THEY MORE DANGEROUS OR HARMFUL? I have an original chinchilla. His about five to six months old. I got him from Scalley Daves pet store in Manhattan. I paid 130.00 dollars for him alone. His name is Ziggy. I learn something new about him every day. He gets a dust bath every other day. He loves baby carrots. I slice them for him. I let him out every day to play in his excersise ball and he has a blast. I have not chinchilla proofed my house yet. He still has to get used to my husbands cat. That seems to be going okay with him. The cat plays with him in the ball and she chases him all over the house. Its funny to watch them play.

  10. Thank you for such a wonderful site. I have an Ebony named Darla she is a joy to have around and loves playing with my little dogs. that would be one concern with her.... she loves the dogs so treating and care is a bit harder so she nor my dogs don't catch anything strange does anyone know if there is anything a Chin is allergic to ? Mine does eat her vid.C everyday. My sister says they only eat it if they need it but she does eat hers everyday. Allergic?? or bad reactions??? to what???

  11. WOW! This site helped me so much on my report I had to turn in! I never knew there were so many different colors!

  12. HOW MUCH FOR THE FIRST ONE

    • Average For Gray is $75.

      • aww! maybe i should settle for a grey instead of a biege, but anywhere i've seen them they are up to $150! HELP!

  13. I've been considering getting my chinchilla a mate. She's a beautiful white ebony and I was wondering what traits and colors to look for in a male. Thanks :]

  14. Hi there, we have two homo beige chinchillas but they have not bred with any of the partners they have been with. Does anyone know anything about sterility in homo-beige chins?

    • are you treing to mate them at home if so the may die or get a disease.

  15. I breed a beige chinchilla with a standard gray chinchilla..but the beiges dad was a standard gray...what are my chances of getting a standard gray chinchilla?

  16. Chris Celnar

    Marilyn, We're not sure what specifically people find different about sapphires. We haven't raised any ourselves so we're basing that comment on what others have reported.

  17. You mentioned that the Sapphires are hard to take care of. Is that in reference to their temperament, general health, or just the measures taken to take care of their fur?

  18. Chris Celnar

    Jasmine, The lethal factor or lethal trait that chinchilla breeders refer to comes about from the combination of certain genes that together result in fewer offspring. It is not known what side-effects there are on the mother chinchilla. To be safe, breeders prefer to avoid breeding two colors that are known to possess the genes that when combined become "lethal".

  19. Could you explain that lethal factor that is attached to the velvets...I don't understand what that means.

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