Chinchilla Mini Rex Seminar
In this discussion we will be going over the various aspects of Chinchilla Mini Rex colors, and the different names for all of them. We will be discussing genotype and phenotype, and possibly some coat type traits that follow with certain variations of the chinchilla coloration.

 

Trying to collate a large number of Chinchilla Mini rex breeders is almost impossible except at a National level. With very short notice and thought I have put together this pamphlet, as well as a large showing of the different Chinchilla varieties in person. I am going to be going over the normal Black Based Chinchilla (Black Chinchilla), and Black Based Chinchilla with the shading gene (Sable Chinchilla). I am omitting the other varieties of Chinchilla (Squirrel, Chocolate Chinchilla, Lilac Chinchilla, Smoke Pearl Chinchilla, Chocolate Point Chinchilla, and Lilac Smoke Pearl Chinchilla) at this time, although after this seminar, you will be able to apply this information to the other varieties of Chinchilla as you come across them in your herd.

 

Us as breeders cannot put any blame on any one breeder’s line for carrying the shading genes. We have to think back to when Mini Rex were originally accepted in 1988 as a breed, and look at the proposed list of available colors. There were only 6 colors, and they are a far cry from the numerous ones we have now. Remember that Seal was one of the first Mini Rex colors presented.

 

The colors were:

 

Broken
Castor
Californian (Converted to Himalayan for the 4 class)
Chinchilla
Ruby Eyed White
Seal

 

Blacks were accepted only recently, and although there were a lot of Blacks being shown as Seals, most of the Chinchilla came from these Seals. Seal is a good color to use in the breeding of Chinchilla Mini Rex, but we must cull for the lighter Sable Chinchilla.

 

In the current reading of the Mini Rex Standard of Perfection they call for Chinchilla to be a sparkling blend of Black and Pearl. They disqualify for ear lacing any other color than black, which takes care of most of the other colors of Chinchilla. It does leave open the showing of Black based Chinchilla, which is correct, as well as the shaded Sable and Seal Chinchilla. The ear lacing on these animals is Black as the standard calls for, and for all technicalities, they can be shown. There is no Disqualification in the standard for a sable or seal based body.

 

I will readily use an animal showing all of the traits for good Mini Rex type and fur with the improper coloration. I feel that these animals are useful in the breeding program, and if all we were to use were properly colored Chinchillas; we would soon find that the type and fur traits of these are less than what’s to be desired. Since I know a little about genetics, I feel comfortable with the infusion of something slightly off, to further the development of this gorgeous variety.


 

Chinchilla Phenotype/Genotype

 

Chinchilla
Normal Black Chinchilla
A* B* cchd* D* E*

 

This is a normal colored chinchilla. This animal shows good black ticking all over the body. This animal also has the normal intermediate band width, as well as normal under-color width. It is lightly tipped with BLACK, no other color is allowed. The eat tips are black, and the lacing carries fully down the ear as possible. The under-color on the belly is slate or dark gray, and the lap spots are decidedly darker. If you blow into the top of the feet where the fur is white, the under-color will also show its presence there. The under-color on the tail is white.

 

Light Chinchilla
Normal Black Chinchilla
Widened Intermediate Band
Rabbit also has modifiers controlling the amount of ticking present on the surface of the coat, as well as determining the intermediate band size.
A* B* cchd* D* E* Ww

 

This is a normal colored chinchilla, but has a lighter overall color than the above more desirable Chinchilla. This chinchilla will show an intermediate color that is wider than the above animal. You can see this widened color the best where the coat is densest, usually over the back of the Hind Quarter. This chinchilla also has a white belly, with decidedly dark lap spots, but he may be totally lacking in the slate or dark gray under-color elsewhere on the belly. When blowing into the white portion of the top of the foot, the under-color will usually be white. This rabbit also tends to be lighter ticked with black, adding to his lighter look.

 

Sable Chinchilla
Shaded Black Chinchilla
Cocoa Colored Under-color
In this animal, there is the double presence of the “chin light” gene. This is a GENE, and not the Phenotype of the rabbit. It differs greatly from the Light Chinchilla color.
A* B* cchl * D* E* WW

 

This animal has a ruddy cast to its entire body, most noticeable between the eyes, as well as on the sides. The under-color will be a coffee-and-cream color, with a heavy tan appearance. The ring color will also appear muddy because of the lack of contrast. The tan under-color in the lap spots is the dead give away to the Sable Chinchilla. The Sable also shows a ruby pupil in subdued light, as all of the shaded, and recessive Chocolate colors do. The under-color on the tops of the feet will be that same cocoa color. This animal should not be used in a Chinchilla breeding program except for Seal or unrecognized colors (Sable Point, Siamese Sable). These animals are useful for seeing what genes your “correct” Chinchilla’s are hiding. I will get into detail below.

 

Ghost Chinchilla
Normal Black Chinchilla
Double Widened Intermediate Band
A* B* c(chd)* D* ee ww?

 

This animal also has modifiers controlling the lack/minimal under-color on some areas. I do believe that this color would fall in the group “Wide Band”. There is some under-color present, and it varied from animal to animal on the amount. It is most noticeable on the HQ.

 

This animal will show a VERY light surface color, almost resembling a Frosted Pearl or Ermine. The under-color will be present on the Hind Quarter however, and in some, on other areas of the body. The intermediate band will be excessively wide, almost how Red looks with small color on the HQ. I believe that this is a true wideband animal that should be in the wide-band color group genetically. This rabbit totally lacks the under-color on the belly, and sometimes is totally devoid of lap spots as well. The ear lacing is very light, and usually only confined to the tips. There will be darker markings present on the legs as well where normal Chinchilla markings are. This animal overall is a very light variation of the Chinchilla, and can be used in the breeding program with success.

 

Frosted Pearl/Ermine
Normal Black Based
A* B* cchd* D* ee ww

 

This rabbit will show an almost white surface color. They can have shading all over the body to various degrees, but this animal is not banded. There is NO under-color anywhere on the rabbit, but it IS within the Agouti Group. They usually show faint black ear tips, rapidly fading to a very soft, almost diffused gray further down the ear. They show minor smoked ticking around the nose area, lower legs, and lower Hind Quarter. The sides are very white, and the belly is pure white to the skin as well. This color is also acceptable to breed in the Chinchilla program, as it should not have a shading gene to pass on to its offspring. It is genetically correct for Chinchilla, and will produce normal colored offspring. However, the Ermine carries the “ee” extension gene, which is recessive and can show itself when it is least wanted. I also think that this color has the wideband gene as well. These animals vary greatly in overall appearance, and the color differences can be great. Please use caution when using this animal in a breeding program. It is a good color to use when you know what it is carrying.

 

Black Silver Martin
a(t)*B*c(chd)*D*E*

 

This animal is a Tan patterned rabbit, without the Rufus modifiers of Otter. It should be a clean black over the entire body with no shading. The agouti markings are apparent and marked in silver/white. There is silver ear lacing, silver eye circles, silver lacing around the nose that carries under the jaw and down onto the belly. The legs are silvered as well as the underside of the tail. This rabbit looks just like a Chinchilla where the gray has gone black. It is also the Chinchilla’s counterpart, and when used in the breeding program, will produce nice clean Chinchilla.

 

Seal
aa B*c(chl)c(chl)D*E*

 

Chinchilla can be bred to Seal with very good results. You must be careful when breeding them when you are not familiar with your lines. If when breeding a Seal to a Chinchilla, you get a Sable Chinchilla kit, you KNOW that your Chinchilla parent is “c(chd) c(chl)” and not “c(chd) c(chd)”. Usually Chinchilla babies resulting from this type of mating have good even coloring. You must remember that ALL of the resulting kits are recessive for Sable, and should not be bred to Seal or Sable Chinchilla unless you want more Sable Chinchilla. Strict culling will ensure gaining good results with Seal. Seal appears to be a Black rabbit at first look until you blow into the coat. The under-color is the same mocha tan that the Sable Chinchilla shows, and some even show discernable body shading as well. The eye will be brown with a ruby pupil in subdued light. The easiest place to see the under-color on seal is to blow into the fur where the lap spots would be on an Agouti. Blacks have slate under-color, and Seals have brownish. ANY Chinchilla colored offspring out of a Seal should be bred to a REW preferably, and second to a Himalayan. This will clean the color, and gaurentee that the normal chinchilla Kits are “c(chd) c” or “c(chd) ch” ONLY!

 


Genetics Briefer

 

For those of us unfamiliar with reading genetic code, I have added a map to learn by. I myself have trouble with the genetic makeup when it is put in print, but I do know basics, and “Layman’s” terms does seem to help. I am trying to keep this simple as there are a great many book in print that are much better and more thorough than I can ever hope to be

 

C-
This allele will give the rabbit full color throughout the body(Chinchilla is NOT full color, Castor, Black, Opal, Lynx, and Chocolate are some examples of full color).

 

c(chd-
This is called the chinchilla dark allele. This allele is most known for combining with the "A" allele of the agouti gene. This creates the Chinchilla.

 

c(chl)-
This is called the chinchilla light allele. This is a shaded version of the chinchilla dark allele. This allele is most known for forming shaded colors such as the sable, Siamese Sable, and the Smoke Pearl. A rabbit with this allele may appear lighter in the summer and darker in the winter due to the temperature.

 

c(h)-
This is called the Himalayan allele. It is responsible for making Himalayan marked rabbits (also called Pointed Whites or Californian). These rabbits only have color on the nose, ears, feet, and legs. This color is thermal, and also varies with temperature changes.

 

c-
This gene produces a white rabbit with red eyes. These may be called albinos or Ruby-Eyed-Whites. Although it is the most recessive of the Color gene alleles it will block out all the showing of the other gene groups. The "c" allele will block out all color.

 

c(chd) c(chd) Chinchilla Rabbit
c(chd) c(chl) Chinchilla Rabbit carrying Shaded
c(chl) * Sable Chinchilla Rabbit
c(chl) c(chl) Seal Chinchilla Rabbit
c(chd) c Chinchilla Rabbit carrying REW
c(chd) c(h) Chinchilla Rabbit carrying Himalayan

 

WW
Normal intermediate band, normally carried in conjunction with the “ee” gene (extension) and Agouti patterned rabbits.

 

Ww
Normal intermediate band, carrying for wider width carried in conjunction with the “ee” gene (extension) and Agouti patterned rabbits.

 

ww
Double width intermediate band. Carried in conjunction with the “ee” gene (extension) and Agouti patterned rabbits.


 

Overview of the Chinchilla Color

 

When breeding the Chinchilla, there is usually some kind of passion for the color. Type, fur, and body condition traits can be bred in very well, but the color genes are what really make the Chinchilla color attractive to its breeders.

 

Beginning with the head, we should have the shortest fur here, and hence, any banding present on the head with be very tightly banded. The head should have the darkest overall appearance, followed by the feet and tail. The ear lacing should be thick and distinct, and should come down the ear as far as possible. The eyes should have tight bands of white edging, the outer edge of the ear, as well as its entire inside should be white. The nostrils are lined with white as well. The jaw line will be expertly trimmed with white, showing a nice white chin, and throat. Many chinchilla have a tiny “goatee” of black on the chin itself. This is usually best seen when the young are still in the nest box. The wide banded animals have lighter heads, less ear lacing, and less definition over the entire facial markings.

 

The chest will be a paler shade of the overall body color and rapidly fade to a well-defined line of white marking the belly. From between the front legs, down between the back legs and the entire underside of the tail will be white on the surface. The lap spots should be present on the surface of the crotch, should show an intermediate band of white, and then a wide DARK under-color of slate. The entire belly from the front legs to the tail should show slate under-color to about ˝ of the hair shaft. In rabbits carrying wideband, the belly will be entirely white, from the tip to the base of the hairs-shaft. The lap spots will still make their presence in some, and will only show a narrow band of under-color, and usually no surface indication.

 

There will be white markings all along the front and hind legs, but they SHOULD NEVER show shadow bars like that of a harlequin, or weaker colored animal. The toes should be wholly white; the inside of the legs should also be white. The outer portion that is visible when the animal is in a normal pose should be very dark. When blowing into the white portions of the fur of the legs, you SHOULD be able to see under-color, but it will be VERY narrow. A rabbit not showing under-color on the feet and legs should be noted as one carrying possible wideband if all of the other “ww” markings fit the bill as well.

 

The saddle area will show a nice uniform color throughout, and I personally prefer the even colored animal over the entirely correctly banded one. The hair-shaft should show a wide base color of slate, a narrow white band, and have a nice distinct black tip. The wide banded animal will show an intermediate color nearing or exceeding the under-color width. The tip usually goes unchanged, unless there are modifiers controlling the tip size, or the extension gene showing a gradual decrease in overall ability to carry the color throughout out the animal. The deepest coloring will be shown in the area of coat that is the densest, which is usually directly above the tail. When in doubt of your under-color and bandings, check this area first.

 


Selecting Your Pairs

 

When breeding the chinchilla, select animals first on type. The best-typed animals should be bred together. Second, consider the fur on the two rabbits. The coat of the chinchilla tends to either be soft in its resistance, and lacking overall density, or again lacking density, but with a coarse texture. Try to find a coat that you are happy with, and breed for it…but that’s later.

 

So you breed your Chinchillas, and 31 days later in the nest box your little bundles of joy arrive. But wait! What’s that? There are some in there that have a mocha tint, looking more like a tort would than a Chinchilla. As they grow to about 5 days, this odd color tends to “go away”, or at minimal become less noticeable. Those odd colored kits are more than likely Sable or Seal Chinchilla. At weaning or sometimes earlier, you notice the ruby pupil. It is a dead giveaway to the Sable/Seal Chinchilla.

 

So what do we do with these improperly colored animals, and the parents as well?

 

Look over the litter, and select your best typed and best coated individuals, regardless of color. These animals will be your foundation Chinchillas. This is also the time to select a pair of either REW’s or Himalayans, or if your budget allows, a pair of both. Select these new animals also on type and fur. Good REW can be found easily, and these should be used as your “color producers”. The REW’s should be from Black or Blue based stock, ABSOLUTELY NO recessives here such as Chocolate or Lilac based animals. Castor breeding in the REW is ok, as is Opal and the rest of the Black and Blue counterparts.

 

Begin by breeding the Chinchilla pair out to the REW/Himalayan respectively. In the resulting litter, you will see what you are looking for. Select only normal colored Chinchilla from these breedings. Cull all other colors such as Squirrel, Sable/Seal Chinchilla and the like. The resulting Chinchilla offspring from the REW X Chinchilla will be genetically c(chd) c, and the resulting ones from the Himalayan X Chinchilla will be c(chd) c or c(chd)c(ch). They are now Dominant for Chinchilla, and recessive for either REW or Himalayan. This is a much better situation than the non-showable Seal and Sable Chinchilla.

 

At this time, the junior chinchilla from the first cross will be almost breeding age and you can decide to include them in the breeding program, or wait until their show careers are over. When including them, pay attention to who you breed to who. The normal appearing Chinchilla’s should be bred to the REW or Himalayan to see if they are carrying recessive Seal/sable. Resulting Seal/Sable kits will be c(chl) c or c(chl) c(ch). These animals are basically useless in any of the Mini Rex colors, and should be culled. The normal colored kits will be c(chd)c(chd),c(chd)c, or c(chd)c(ch). We are desiring a c(chd) c(chd) animal, and as you can see, we are getting there!

 

If you have any Sable Chinchilla kits that have tremendous type and fur, by all means, use them in your program. Just remember that any offspring from them will be carrying the Sable’s chin light gene, and be noted to yourself, as well as any perspective buyers. The Sable Chin should be bred to a normal dark chin c(chd) c(chd) only, and then the resulting normal Chinchilla offspring be used in a program such as the pone mentioned above, with outcrosses to REW and or Himalayan. Breeding directly to a REW or Himalayan will only produce more Sable Chinchilla, and if the Sable is c(chl) c(chl), then that production of more jumps to 100%.

 

Remember, breeding the outcrossed (Chin X REW or Himi) animals together will produce approximately 50% non-Chin. This is fine if you don’t mind getting additional REW or Martinized Himalayans, but for those working on a strong Chinchilla line, you will want to breed back out to animals you know, through selective crosses, are c(chd)c(chd).

 


Conclusion

 

The biggest thing in breeding better Chinchilla Mini rex is to be aware of what is in your herd. If you have a lot of wide-bands, breed them to animals that are normal in color. If you have shading gene, clean it by first breeding to a normal Chinchilla, and then taking the offspring and breeding to REW or Himalayan. Hidden recessives can be brought out by breeding to other colors as test breedings. A pedigree is only as good as its maker, and the line is only as good as the knowledge brought into the selection of the animals to be bred. If they have traits that make them useable in your herd, then they should stay in your herd. Use them to the best of their ability. The biggest issue is type. Next should come fur quality, then and only then can we consider color.