Where to Buy a Chinchilla
The healthiest chinchillas will come from professional breeders that are involved in shows. This stands to reason since these people are aiming to win prizes. Even their castaways are going to be strong and healthy.
However, there may not be any professional chinchilla breeders in your area which means an added expense due to shipping. The next best alternative is another chinchilla owner. Buying from a fellow pet owner gives you someone you can meet first and determine whether they're worthy of your business. Good sellers will also be willing to offer you support and advice (within reason) after your purchase.
Two other options include pet stores and rescue organizations. Pet stores are certainly convenient, but many of the big chains simply don't pay enough attention to their pets. You could end up with a chinchilla that has gone through some hardship. There's also the option of getting a chinchilla from a rescue organization. These people are knowledgeable and will do their best to ensure your chinchilla is healthy, but by their nature, rescued chinchillas may have gone through some hardships as well.
The one place we recommend against purchasing a chinchilla is from a fur breeder. These chinchillas are ones that the breeder is rejecting for being sub-par. This reason alone isn't a problem though. The real problem is that chinchillas from fur breeders have grown up in very small cages with no toys or “play” time. Chinchillas raised in such environments will be more likely than not to require added patience and care from you to become good pets.