Table of Contents
Over the years through selective breeding, chinchillas have taken on a variety of colors. Here's the most complete list we've come across.
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 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.
Somewhat lighter than Hetero Beige. Homo beige chinchillas also have bright red eyes.
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 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.
These chinchillas, also known as beige mosaics have pink ears and pink eyes. Sometimes they have beige patches.
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.
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.
These chinchillas are all black with black ears and dark eyes. Quite popular in the chinchilla community.
This is another popular color. They usually have a mix of black and gray fur. They can have gray to black underbellies.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
Bettina Hansen's (website no longer live)