Show Quality Chinchillas
The definition of 'show quality' varies between countries. In the United States, chinchillas are judged against a breed standard, not each other, with the exception of the selection of champion animals. Therefore there can be multiple 1st place chinchillas in the Black Velvet class, for example, but only one Class Champion and Reserve Class Champion. A typical class of 20 chinchillas might have six 1st place chinchillas, seven 2nd place chinchillas, five 3rd place chinchillas, and two 4th place chinchillas. Of the six 1st place chinchillas, one will be named Class Champion, and another will be Reserve Class Champion. The Class Champion and Reserve Class Champion will be held over until the Show Champion and Reserve Show Champion are selected at the end of the show.
Usually to achieve optimal show condition, the chinchilla will be in the 6-14 month range at the time of showing, it will have been caged alone so that it has no pulled spots, and it will have been dusted regularly. Chinchillas are groomed in the week(s) before and immediately prior to showing by an experienced groom. Chinchillas typically show their best when they are 'in prime,' which happens about once every 4 months. Chinchillas regrow their fur along a priming line, which starts are the base of the tail and moves forward across the body towards the nose, then the process repeats. Ideally, a chinchilla is shown when there is no major priming line spanning the body. A few chinchillas appear to maintain themselves in show condition constantly. Due to priming, breeders may qualify 'numbers of animals' each year for the National shows, rather than specific animals. Therefore, just because a chinchilla places 1st place at a show in January, for example, that same chinchilla may not be the strongest contender for another show two months later.
On the Chinchillas.com web site, chinchillas are described and categorized using the following terms:
Herd Improvement Quality / Top Show Quality, Premium Production Quality, & Exceptional Quality Chinchillas
The terms Herd Improvement Quality / Top Show Quality, Premium Production Quality, & Exceptional Quality are terms that describe basically the same quality of chinchilla, depending on color and sex, and sometimes age. The term 'herd improvement quality' designates the highest quality standard and dominant mutation males. These are generally the males used to 'improve a herd.' Breeders hesitate to describe even the best multi-mutation hybrid and recessive mutation males as herd improvement animals, so the latter are referred to as 'top show quality.' The term 'premium production quality' designates the highest quality standard, dominant, multi-mutation hybrid, and recessive females. Last, the term 'exceptional' is usually reserved for the highest quality or most unique specialty chinchillas, including dwarfs, minis, Royal Persian Angoras, and Lockens.
Show Quality Chinchillas
Show quality chinchillas are generally 1st to high 2nd place equivalents at the time of grading or assessment. Any reservations concerning the grade, such as size or off color, are noted under the animal description.
Intermediate Show Quality Chinchillas
Intermediate show quality chinchillas are generally 2nd to 3rd place equivalents at the time of grading or assessment.
Not-for-show Quality Chinchillas
Some not-for-show chinchillas mature into show quality chinchillas, but these chinchillas are generally sold as young animals and are not expected to be strong show contenders. Not-for-show chinchillas are equal in vitality, health, and potential breeding soundness to show chinchillas, but they lack one or more of the following attributes necessary to qualify as strong show prospects: conformation, veiling, color hue, size, and/or fur quality.
Proven Show Chinchillas
Proven show chinchillas have competed in sanctioned shows, and have received the award described. These chinchillas come with their show cards, and any ribbons or trophies they have won. The airlines will not always allow ribbons or trophies to be shipped in live animal containers. Therefore, the buyer is responsible for the cost of shipping ribbons and trophies separately.
Specialty chinchillas include dwarfs, minis, Royal Persian Angoras, and Lockens.
It is important to note, concerning showing and grading assessments, that judging is subjective. Awards for the same animal or quality of animal will vary from judge to judge, and from show to show. Some judges are not adept at judging quality and clarity in mutations, or lack the experience and confidence to award a worthy hybrid or recessive over a dominant mutation. Specific strengths and weaknesses must be noted by the buyer, as he or she determines the qualities needed in his or her own herd. Although quality and aesthetics are universal to some degree, show specifications differ from country to country. If you have specific requirements for your breeding program, such as a need for a herd improvement male with an extremely white belly, or a female with very good veiling, or if you are looking for a show prospect to compete in a non-US show system, please contact us for more specific details about any chinchilla you are interested in.