Does A Truly Black Chinchilla Exist?
Once can find a black chinchilla advertised for sale in many places, so one would think that black chinchillas are somewhat common. The problem is, while the term black chinchilla is quite specific, from the point of view of the chinchilla, there is no such thing as a purely black chinchilla.
Black Is Not Pure Black - In the first place, those chinchillas called black chinchillas almost always have a white belly. So as black as the rest of their fur may be, they are not pure black. Secondly, there are two color types that are involved. One is the Black Velvet chinchilla which is widely sought after, and often simply referred to as a black chinchilla. The Black Velvet chinchilla can be largely black but always has a gray transition zone between the black fur on the back and sides and the white fur on the belly. Most Black Velvet chinchillas, if you look close, are closer to a gun-metal gray, though through breeding, the color can become darker, approaching black. The Black Velvet chinchilla was originally called the Gunning chinchilla after the breeder who developed it. It at times is described as pitch black, but this is an exaggeration. One of the problems associated with the Black Velvet chinchilla has to do with the velvet gene. A Black Velvet chinchilla should not be bred to another Black Velvet chinchilla or any other chinchilla carrying the velvet gene. Offspring born from such a union will often not survive. The velvet gene is said to be potentially lethal in this instance. This obviously complicates the breeding process of trying to establish a truly black chinchilla. Another name for the Black Velvet is the TOV, which stands for "touch of velvet".
If one neglects the white belly fir, the chinchilla seems to demand a white belly, breeding a pure black chinchilla is as challenging as trying to create a pure black tulip. One can come close, but never quite get there. Still the Black Velvet chinchilla, which we can call the Black chinchilla if we want, is quite an attractive little animal. Chinchillas come in a wide variety of colors, seven so-called standard colors and a number of mutations. Bluish-gray is the most common color, while black is likely the most sought after.
Ebony Comes Close - Another color variety worth look in into is the Ebony chinchilla or Ebony Black chinchilla. Here again, most chinchillas fitting this description are not pure black, but some come awfully close. The Ebony Black chinchilla, while often more of a charcoal color, is often blacker than the Black Velvet chinchilla, possibly because the velvet gene is not a factor in the breeding, giving the breeder a little more leeway in selecting the breeding pairs. The Ebony and Ebony Black still have the white belly. You can't get away from that. The best one could do would be to purchase a Charcoal chinchilla which does not have the white belly but, despite its name, is more of a dark gray than black in color.
Try Violet - Unless one is obsessed with owning a black chinchilla, there is a range of other colors worth looking into. The primary colors are the standard gray, white, ebony, beige, sapphire and violet. Violet chinchillas are also greatly sought after and somewhat difficult to breed. While ranging from a dark to a light violet, their underfur and the mask around their eye is more of a lavender color. The mask on the face of the Sapphire chinchilla is a crystal clear blue and there is also a light blue tint to their bellies.
Whatever the color, chinchillas as pets tend to be cute at worst and downright adorable at their best. If one isn't satisfied with merely having one as a pet, one can always try breeding, and studying all the possible color mutations, probably a lifetime job.