The Royal Persian Angora Chinchilla - Originally Long Furred Type, 1966-1987

The Royal Persian Angora Chinchilla - Originally Long Furred Type, 1966-1987

Prior to the preeminent rise in popularity of hobbyist mutation chinchillas, which occurred in tandem with the founding of in 2000, the value of new mutations in the chinchilla industry was weighed according to pelt market value. The subsequent article was written by Dr. J. Lauridsen in 1987, and offers valuable insight into the evolution of the long furred mutation, later renamed the Royal Persian Angora chinchilla. Please note that does not advocate for chinchilla pelt production, but is publishing the following article for its educational and historic value.

The Long Furred Type of Mutation of Roy Wilson
by J. Lauridsen, M.D.

There have been at least three places that a long furred chinchilla has developed. One of these was in Fort Worth, Texas and was studied by Dr. Caraway, who felt it might be the answer to faster production and finally was fumed down because of its color. This mutation, which did not arise on his ranch but was found on a ranch close to his, became completely mature at about 5 months and they were able to be put in breeding. They were short and stocky and when pelted, looked just exactly like any other pelt except for the long fur. In other words, the short, squat appearance did not make a short, square pelt. The problem was, however, besides having the fur almost twice as long as the standard fur, all the fur was medium or lighter, and all of this fur was third color. Since Dr. Caraway liked to experiment a lot, he said he would straighten it up and improve the color. Unfortunately, he was never able to do so, although he did get some crosses into the Blacks where in the carrier state the length of the fur [of] the Black was somewhat increased; but he never got a homozygous long fur that was not significantly off color.

Royal Persian Angora Chinchilla Tan White Mosaic Extreme Long Furred TypeThe next time I saw this mutation, or a similar one, was in Canada and again, the fur was almost twice as long but medium or lighter and again, always had third color. I can’t remember the name of the rancher but he was of Polish extraction and when I saw him a couple of years later, he said he had given up on the long fur mutation because he was unable to improve its color by crossing it to clear animals, so he had quit working on it.

The “new” long fur type mutation of Roy Wilson is not actually new. The first of his animals that showed evidence of this change was P4, which was born in 1966, which of course was 21 years ago. Of interest in this mutation, however, there was never any evidence of off-color, either in the belly or in the fur of this mutation, although otherwise it looked quite similar to the other mutations. This animal produced carriers and eventually other homozygous long fur animals, and he worked with this mutation for several years. This proved to be a simple 2-gene recessive and some of the carriers but not all of the carriers, showed evidence of the fur being longer than the Standard fur.

Through the years, Mr. Wilson continued to work with it some but in the last few years his friend, Doyle Briscoe has taken over the raising of the mutation and is half-owner. He lives in a little town South of Waco, Texas, and also a little bit South of Temple, Texas. If somebody wants to see these animals, they had better call the ranch, however, because it is hard to find.

Before we discuss the long fur type mutation, we should review fur length in the standard chinchilla which on an average is ¾ to 1 inch in the neck and 1½ inch [to] slightly longer over the buttocks.

As compared with the Standard, this animal has a full 3 inch fur over the rear and 1¾ inch approximately in the neck. It is a rather confusing picture since we’re not used to this. You pick them up by the tail and there is a big bush around the rear-end since the fur lays down in this area, and you have to shake them out and comb them around a little to get used to these. However, in the homozygous state it does not appear that this fur would be of value because not only is the fur much longer than other chinchilla, there is quite a market difference in length of fur from the neck to the rear. He had a few White animals there that had been pelted which had a beautiful appearance, but you couldn’t match them up with anything because the fur was so long that the pelts would not fit into an ordinary coat in a cosmetic manner.

            In summarizing the consensus and opinion on this animal:

(1) It is a definite recessive and apparently it is a single gene recessive.

(2) Carriers are marked or somewhat lengthened in their fur shaft in about half or more of the offspring.

(3) The homozygous form probably has too long a fur to have merit in the fur market at this time.

(4) The carrier or one gene animal has fur only slightly to moderately lengthened and has a good appearance as saleable pelt. Actually, this is an important product from a pelting standpoint.

(5) Clarity of carriers and in the homozygous form seems to be good, with good white bellies in contrast to the previous mutations of this type. Average color is medium to dark medium, with no definite darks yet developed.

(6) When crossed to Blacks in Munich one gene was carried by the Blacks, half or more of these had satisfactory darkness like dark medium and medium dark, and in the Standards most of these were medium, although some were dark medium.

Doyle and Sandy Briscoe [have] worked on the animal in the last few years, and they have a rather excellent herd with good pelt prices. It is expected that a considerable number of the carriers will be sold as pelts and probably they should make rather good pelts, as far as I [can] tell.

Royal Persian Angora Chinchilla Tan White Mosaic Extreme Long Furred TypeIn the last year or two, some of the carriers have been used in shows and the Briscoes have one male Black who is a carrier, who received Champion Black in one of the Texas shows. It looks just like the usual Black except if you examine it carefully, the fur is just a little longer and it makes him appear a little bit more plushy. It must be remembered, however, that some [of] the carriers have practically no markings or no markings that we [can] recognize easily, and if they came from a homo long fur, they have to be a carrier. Therefore, they should all be carefully marked on their pen card so the breeder knows where all the carriers are. The main function of the carriers, even if they aren’t marked with longer fur, they should be pelted because if you have too many carriers running around it makes it very difficult to locate these. Pretty soon, the tendency would be to breed carrier to carrier. When you do that, you get one homozygous long fur, two carriers and one that carries no gene; and when you don’t know which one this is, it makes it difficult. All breeding should indicate whether you’re working with a carrier, a possible carrier or a homozygous long hair which is quite easy to see.

Accordingly, this mutation in its present understanding is probably a tool to make good pelts with a little more plushness and fur length than other pelts from the same ranch. The problem is, what to do with the homozygous form. Apparently the homozygous form should be used for breeding only and specifically should be bred to fairly dark animals to darken up the carriers, because the fur prices at this time dictate a rather dark pelt to get the top dollar.

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