If you are looking to get a pet chinchilla, you will discover that there are three different breeds or groups of Chinchillas, each having its unique characteristics including fur length, coloration, eye shape, and more. Before committing to buying one of these delightful animals, it will serve you well to learn the basics of caring for them. This includes familiarizing yourself with their diet and health requirements as well as what type of environment they live in. Knowing enough about each breed will allow you to pick the one that best aligns with your interests and lifestyle.
One of the most popular breeds of chinchillas, this breed is known for its long soft fur that looks similar to mohair. They are very attractive and adorable animals, perfect as pets. The color of their dense coat may be different depending on what region they come from, but they are mostly white with a light gray shade. They are bred as pets and they tend to be more expensive than regular chinchillas.
This breed grows longer and silkier fur than other breeds, which can cause issues if not properly taken care of. Since Angora requires constant grooming and brushing to prevent its fur from matting, this breed will need a gentle touch and thus might not be the best choice if you don’t have enough time or resources to take good care of them. For one thing, they need plenty of space, this breed of chinchilla would not do well in small spaces such as cages or basements. They also require changing bedding at least once every two days which can be extremely tedious work if you’re not used to it. That being said, if you have enough time and resources to take good care of them, they are excellent pets as long as you treat them with love and respect.
The Regular or Standard Chinchilla
The standard variety is a hardy animal that is a favorite among many first-time chinchilla owners due to its gentle nature and friendliness. It has a short soft coat that comes in various shades of gray coloration. They grow about 12 inches long from head to tail and weigh up to 1 pound at maturity. Like other chinchilla breeds, they come from South America where they live in the rocky crevices of the Andes Mountains. In terms of costs, standard chinchillas are cheaper than other variants.
However, they require frequent handling to get used to people. This can be extremely difficult for first-time owners especially if it’s your first time holding or touching an animal with which you’re not familiar yet. Another issue breeders have noted is due to their short fur, they don’t do well in cold areas because they are unable to retain body heat as effectively as other breeds. With this being said, regular chinchillas are best kept inside where the temperature would remain moderate throughout the year.
The Teddy Bear Chinchilla
Considered “designer pets”, teddy bear chinchillas are a hybrid of the standard and Angora breeds. They are known for their soft, silky fur that is longer and softer than most regular chinchillas. On average they grow about 18 inches long from head to tail and usually weigh between 1-1.5 pounds at maturity. The teddy bear is considered by most breeders to be the perfect mix between the standard of the two breeds.
Teddy bear chinchillas also need a lot of care because they have similar grooming needs as the Angoras. However, the teddy bear has a gentle and friendly personality just like the standard variety, but some breeders have noted that they are more sensitive than other breeds. This means new owners should learn how to care for them properly from the start which is not always easy for first-time owners. However, one of the most important things to remember is that teddy bear chinchillas need to be handled daily to get used to people and ensure that they don’t become assertive later on.
The Rabbit Hair or Silk Chinchilla
These are the less common chinchillas due to their high cost and rarity. They are also very different from other breeds because they have short, sleek fur that is extremely soft, similar to that of a rabbit. Also known as “powder-puff”, these animals were developed in Germany during World War I when many European countries began banning pet breeding. The reason why they’re so rare is that back then breeders could not import chinchilla breeding stock from South America because of wartime restrictions.
Rabbit hair chinchillas share the same needs as the standard variety but require much more care in terms of grooming because their coats grow very fast especially when compared to other breeds. Proper upkeep requires about an hour every day which can be very tiring, tedious, and time-consuming, so new owners need to be fully committed and prepared to take on this breed’s unique grooming routine.
Chinchillas are unique, lovable creatures that require a lot of attention and care that can be difficult for new owners. As with most pets, you should always think about the kinds of needs you can provide before making any decisions. While some breeds are less expensive than others, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re easier to care for because different animals have different needs and personalities. Just make sure you learn as much as possible about your future pet’s breed before taking on the responsibility of owning one.