Chinchillas come in a vast array of colors. The color of the chinchilla is determined by the genes, whether they be dominant or recessive. Some of the colors of chinchillas are:
1. Beige- This is a dominant gene. If a chinchilla is called only beige, it is actually a genetically beige and standard. It can also be referred to as an incomplete dominant gene, since recessive colors can many times be seen through the beige.
2. Charcoal- This gene is recessive. Most of the time, when chinchillas are called charcoal, they are genetically charcoal and charcoal. It appears as a medium light Ebony. It is rather difficult to tell them apart if one isn’t aware of the animal’s pedigree history. More than likely, it is found in places other than the U.S.
3. Ebony- This gene is a slightly dominant gene that is accumulative. If a chinchilla is called simply ebony, then genetically it is ebony and ebony, but a Hetero Ebony is standard and ebony. Any color mixed with it is made darker, and gives a wrapped look as well, meaning the stomach color would be the same as the back color. Therefore, a tan chinchilla, which is beige and ebony, is dark with a beige underside. The nature of the gene means that future generations of breeding make animals that keep getting darker.
4. Sapphire is a gene that is recessive. When a chinchilla is called sapphire, it is sapphire and sapphire. They appear as an extremely light standard, with a blue color and ears that are pink.
5. Standard- This the original color from the wild, called also standard gray or simply standard. It is recessive to velvet, beige, and white. With ebony, it is slightly dominant.
6. Velvet- Called black or touch of velvet, this is a dominant gene. Instead of being a gene for color, it is one for the pattern of colors. Any color mixed with it is darkened and made more solid. This creates a big contrast between the tummy and back color; it also makes stripes on the front of the paws. So, a black velvet is a standard and touch of velvet.
7. Violet- This is a recessive gene. Chinchillas of this color are violet and violet.
8. White- This is a dominant gene that is incomplete. Wilson White, White Mosaic, and Silver chinchillas are genetically the same- white and standard.
If you were to breed a beige chinchilla to a standard gray, half will be standard gray, and half of the kits will be beige. If you were to breed two beiges together, you would get beige babies of course, but could also get lighter beige.
The genetics of chinchillas is extremely complicated, and requires a great deal of research and study to fully understand, but this is essential if you plan to breed chinchillas, and desire certain colors and color combinations.