Chinchilla Grading Terminology

Chinchilla Grading Terminology


Blocky - round body, wide through the neck and shoulders

Blended Bar or Muddy Bar - the chinchilla lacks a sharp, sparkling white bar.

Bright - the degree to which the color reflects the light. ‘Very bright’ refers to a truly lustrous blue coat.

Bull Neck or Roach Neck – the chinchilla has a ruff of fur behind the ears. Usually found in big, blocky animals.

Casty - the fur is off-color (not a clear blue-grey). It is sometimes caused by a muddy bar.

Clear - Having precisely the desired color; very sharp in appearance. Sometimes, a judge may say ‘off-color’ when referring to clearness but this is not a preferred comment as it doesn't tell you exactly how far from the ideal the color is.

Close knit - a large volume of fur with many fibers per square unit. The chinchilla fur looks nice and plushy

Compact - usually refers to a densely furred chinchilla that has shorter fur than preferred. Preferred length is 1 1/8” - 1 3/16 ".

Costina type - wedge-shaped chinchilla with silky fur

Cottony fur - kinky fur (hairs are too fine); may also have a tendency to form an uneven flow or pattern; also lacking in fur strength

Crew cut - the fur is silky and strong but doesn't have enough loft. The guard hairs are too short.

Density - thickness of fur. Density is controlled by the number of fur follicles on the chinchilla. There are 80-120 hairs per follicle on average. The thickness of these individual hairs also determines density.

Dull - if the judge uses this term, he is pointing out that the fur lacks luster, likely the result of being over prime. There is no sheen to the coat.

Fur pattern - the appearance of the surface of the fur. A good fur pattern has an unbroken, smooth flow over the surface of the fur.

Good size- a favorable comment implying satisfactory growth.

Grotzen - the dark pattern lengthwise down the top center of the chinchilla

Guard hairs - the long, coarser hairs coming up above the base coat. Each guard hair has its own hair follicle. The term ‘spiky’ means the guard hairs are higher than 1/4" above the rest of the fur. Guard hairs should only be 1/16" longer.

Halo - light ring around the back of the neck

High on sides - the demarcation line between the darker fur and the white belly is higher than it should be either on the sides or on the legs.

Lack of conformation - refers to a narrowness in the neck and shoulder area, as opposed to the hips

Lack of conformation in the shoulders - this refers to the height of the chinchilla from the floor to the top of the shoulder when viewed from the side

Lacking guard hairs - the guard hairs are either too short or there are not enough of them.

Lacks finish- lacks eye appeal; is not a sharp blue; perhaps lacks prime

Large - the chinchilla has achieved the desired size regardless of sex or age, namely, more than 18 oz if weighed.

Loft - density plus fur strength

Muddy - the idea behind the term is easy to understand if you think of water: crystal clear water as opposed to murky water. Muddy is an expression sometimes used when the judge is commenting on the state of the bar. The bar is the white band between the underfur and the tip. If the bar is muddy, it is not perfectly white and makes the fur appear dull.

Not sharp - The judge is indicating the fur could be better, and the sharpness again refers to the brightness that the chinchilla projects

One step down in color - again this reference to color doesn't mean the chinchilla is a medium as opposed to a light medium, but refers to the clearness of that particular shade. ‘One step down’ means precisely that there is something better by one degree.

Pattern break - is caused by saddle backs, lack of density, or by lack of veiling in the neck

Plushy fur – a good combination of silky fur, fur length, and loft

Saddle backs - fur on the back is shorter than on the rest of the chinchilla. Check for a dip in the back: this is a very dominant characteristic.

Small chinchilla - a comment made about an adult chinchilla that has not achieved the optimal size for its age

Small for its age - self explanatory; a downfall in the chinchilla; should be larger

Soft fur - lacks fur stength. Soft fur may be due to a lack of guard hairs.

Straight fur shaft - each individual strand of fur is without any kinks or waves

Stand-up type of fur – this is a strong fur with good resilience, and with the ability to bounce back if touched. It is perpendicular to the skin and does not lie down

Texture - refers to the fineness or course-ness of the individual fur fiber

Uneven density - the judge is telling you that some parts of the chinchilla’s body are not as thickly furred as others. The less dense areas are commonly found in the neck, shoulders, hips or sides. The areas over the back and rump are usually the thickest.

Woolly hips - along with the fur being soft, it is also shaggy. Wooly hips are caused by a type of hair that is not straight (it has a hook on the end of it).

Veiling Tip - the dark tip of the fur. If veiling is very shallow, the chinchilla will look off-color. To get more veiling tip, breed to a lighter chinchilla.

Wedge shaped - the chinchilla is pointed at the nose, narrow at the neck, and wide at the hips

* Chinchilla Grading Terminology courtesy Wendell Byrd