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Chinchilla Mutations and Colors
The standard is the natural color of the chinchilla. Anything different from this color is a mutation. An crucial foundation to any worthwhile breeding program. A standard should have a pure crisp white belly, a perfect confirmation, strong veiling and a striking blue hue. At a chinchilla show they are usually classed as light, medium, dark and extra dark.
Standard (Violet and Ebony Carrier)
The Ebony mutation is one of the favorite mutations around. Their color can range from a light gray to a solid black. Only one parent needs to be carrying the ebony gene in order for it to show in the offspring. Heterozygous Ebonies can have a gray belly, not a white like in the Standard. The Homozygous Ebony should have an even black colored coat, including the belly. Strong veiling and a blue hue are important. It also seems that the Ebony chinchilla will take longer to reach his/her potential, up to 2 years while most chins will reach maturity between 8 and 14 months of age.
Hetero Ebony (Medium Ebony)
The Charcoal chinchilla differ greatly from the Ebony. It can exist in both Heterozygous or Homozygous state. Similar to the sapphire and violet mutations, the Charcoal is a true recessive. Both parents must be carry the charcoal gene in order for it to show up in the offspring. The charcoal will have a matte appearance to the coat, where as an ebony is generally pretty glossy. There are other mutations that exist off the charcoal gene. When combined with a Brown Velvet, will yield a Charbrown chinchilla.
This mutation is very strong and will have very full veiling from the face, draped down the back to the base of the tail. It should also have a crisp white belly and naturally beautiful blue hue. The Black Velvets are also known as "TOV" or Touch of Velvet. The BV is basically a TOV Standard Chinchilla.
The beige chinchilla can exist in either the Homozygous or Heterozygous state. The Homo Beige has the two recessive genes and will tend to be a lot lighter in color, with bright red eyes and pink ears. The Hetero Beige will only have one recessive gene and will be somewhat darker, with dark red eyes, and sometimes freckled pink ears. The hetero beige at chin shows, is separated in light, medium, and dark categories. Both Hetero and Homo should have a crisp white belly, and the coat should have a nice blue hue. If bred with a black velvet the result will be a Brown velvet. Same veiling as in the BV, only beige with a brown veil. Pearls are another mutation of the Beige. It is a cross between a Beige and a Violet. Sometimes when Pearls are born they can look like Pink Whites, but as they get older their color changes to a strange beige color with a white nose. They tend to have very soft fur.
Pearls (Beige Violets)
This mutation is very rare and only real dedicated and experienced breeders should work with them. This mutation first showed up on Lloyd Sullivan's ranch in 1960. They are very close in appearance to the Hetero Beige, only they have bright red eyes, shorter and not too dense fur, poor veiling.
Tan and Pastel
This mutation is similar in color to the beige except the Tan/Pastel carry the Ebony gene. Because the ebony gene is present, tans will not have a white belly like the beige, it will be all one color. Pastel and Tans are the same, Pastel is just used to describe the lighter color of a tan chin. Tans will range from very light Pastels to very dark Chocolates. Tans can exist in the Homozygous state, and can also have TOV.
There are many variations of the 'white' chinchilla. First there is the Pink White, which is a white chinchilla that carries the beige gene. It can be hetero or homozygous for the beige gene. They have pink ears, can have red eyes, and can have freckles on their ears, as hetero beiges. The PW can have patches of beige in their fur, this is sometimes known as PW Mosaic.
Homo Beige Pink White
Second is the Mosaic (when used on its own). This refers to a white chinchilla bred with a standard. They will have dark ears and eyes and will have grey tipping or patches throughout the fur. A 'reverse' mosaic will have more color showing then it does white. Mosaics can be blotchy, show a pattern, have solid patches, or have a 'silver' appearance to their fur. There are also TOV Mosaics, which is a White crossed with a BV.
Mosaics can be produced combining a white chinchilla with almost every other mutation out there. An Ebony mosaic is a Mosaic but instead of having the standard gene, has the Ebony gene. Best way to tell the difference between the Mosaic and the Ebony Mosaic is by their pedigrees. Otherwise coloring and patterns are usually the same. There are also TOV Ebony Mosaics which is a BV cross with a white cross with an Ebony.
A Tan White is a white crossed with beige crossed with ebony genes. The chin can show both white and tan markings.
A white crossed with a Violet or a Sapphire will produce a White Violet or a White Sapphires. A Solid Sapphire (sapphire x ebony) or 'Sapphire Wrap' crossed with a white will produce a Solid White Sapphire. These mutations, genetically, are some of the weakest mutations out there. Only experienced and knowledgeable breeders should play with these. These mosaics will show both white and violet, or sapphire coloring.
Solid White Sapphire
(cross between solid sapphire(sapphire x ebony)and white)
A Wilson White is the Dominant white gene. Also called the Predominantly White, they will have a solid white body There should be no color tipping on the fur. Some tipping on the head and tail base is forgivable. These chinchillas will have dark eyes and ears.
Recessive White or as some call 'White Tail' were uncovered by The PSK ranch in a herd they'd purchased from another rancher. Their Class Champion Standard that had been in breeding for a while, developed white rings around the ears and tail (hence the name "White Tail"). They realized that its color was changing. The chin as well as some others who were showing to be in a lighter color phase were separated from the others and started in a breeding program. Over time, progress was made, the white coloring takes a long time to show (they're born Standard and develop growing white markings later). On rare occasions, they noticed some of the offspring starting to change at about 8 months to a year of age, but most of them either change much later, or even not at all. We seem to think it is based on the amount of 'White Tail' the parents have, similar to the Ebony gene. In theory if the parents have a lot of white (once the color changed) and changed early, the kits have a better chance of changing early. No one is sure if they are really recessive. It could be cumulative trait that's not recessive. With White Tails, if the parents are Heterozygous White Tail, the kits are "possible White Tail carriers" AND "possible White Tails" (since any that are Homozygous don't show at birth). PSK ranch moved and most of the herd was sold to the Bowen Ranch. The rest were purchased by the ToV Ranch from the Bowen Ranch, and are at the ToV Ranch in a closed breeding program.
The Violet chinchilla has a beautiful soft colored coat with a gorgeous blue hue. If you are looking for a violet, don't buy the first one you see. Research the breeder and know the genetics behind the animal. The violet is a recessive gene that can only be produced by breeding two parents who each carry the gene. Violets have no black tipping on the fur which allows them to have that very soft look. The violet should have a bright white belly. They can be crossed with an Ebony which will produce a 'Violet wrap', or a 'Solid violet'. The wrap refers to the coat color, that the white belly is replaced with the violet color inturn making the chin Solid in color. A Violet crossed with a Black Velvet (violet carrier) will produce what is called an 'Ultra Violet' with the characteristic veiling of the BV. These offspring must be bred back to a Violet (unrelated) to create a deeper color of Violet.
Solid Violet (Violet Wrap)
Ultra Violet (TOV Violet)
The sapphire is a recessive that is still being improved on. A gene that only experienced and knowledgeable breeders should work with. The Sapphire is similar to the violet in that it has no black tipping on the fur. But where the violet leans towards the 'purple' end of the spectrum, the sapphire leans towards the blue and more to the true color of the standard, with the black removed. A cross between a Sapphire with a Black Velvet can produce a Royal Blue Chinchilla. Sapphires crossed with Ebony as with Violets, will produce a Sapphire wrap, or a Solid Sapphire. A Sapphire crossed with a Black Velvet(Sapphire Carrier) will produce a 'Royal Blue' however these offspring must be bred back to a Sapphire (unrelated) and this will create a darker deeper Royal Blue color in the offspring of that generation. The Royal Blue should have a nice deep blue veiling as in the Black Velvet, only blue.
This is a very rare recessive gene. There are very few found in the world today and not many breeders working with them. A very beautiful chinchilla with a real 'golden' appearance. The Goldbar has the golden color spread over the tips of the back, and down the sides a bit. The belly and underfur are white and eyes are a dark red. The Goldbar is not related to the Wellman or Sullivan beige, and not to the Wilson white. The first Goldbar was born in 1995 from two standards purchased from Ellis Adcock at June Baar's herd in California.
A mutation that is catching every one's interest is the Blue Diamond. This is thought to be a combination of two recessive mutations, sapphire and violet. This is doubly difficult to breed due to the fact that carriers will have to carry both recessive mutations. As yet there is only one breeder in the UK producing this mutation. There are also thoughts that the beige gene is some how mixed up in it all.
***Any one attempting this combination (Blue Diamond) must realize due to the softness of the violet fur any chin produced will have a weakness in this area. The double mutation combination can also lead to smaller kits with poor confirmation. They should at some point be crossed back to Standards or violet carriers to improve the strength of the offspring. Ultra Violets and Royal Blues should also only be bred by experienced breeders who have researched the genetics of these chins and can recognize the weakness in each mutation in order to avoid dangerous combinations ***
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