Showing Chinchillas – Here’s What You Need To Know

Here is a brief run-down of what showing a chinchilla may entail.

Showing Chinchillas

When a chinchilla is being judged at a show – the judges consider several main points – clarity, density, condition, and conformation.

  • Conformation – a show chin should be big and “blocky” in shape – and not “necky” (weak-necked) or “wedgy” (narrow at the shoulders).
  • Clarity – the color should always be a “clear” blue and not tinged or off-color. Regardless of the color, be it brown velvet, pink/white, ebony or pastel there should always be a blue “aura” to the color. Any white (including the under-belly) should always be a persil-white and not yellowish or off-white. In standards, there should always be plenty of veiling or “tipping” to the fur, this may be described as “good veiling coverage.”
  • Density – the fur of the chinchilla should be very thick, silky, plush and strong and so packed-in that it stands up on its own and you can barely see the skin if it is parted. Some colors tend to have silky, weak fur (such as self-blacks) that can flop around everywhere. Chinchillas that are weak-furred tend to “fall-open” at the hips (the fur parts at the hips).
  • Condition – A chinchilla that is molting (priming) – will not get as good an award as a chin that is in “prime” (finished molting). A chinchilla that is not in the best condition (this could be weather influenced) will “break-open” this is where the fur parts or “splits” at the sides or around the neck (this can also relate to the chinchillas fur-quality too). A good groom can sometimes prevent “splitting,” but it is hard going to hide any “priming-lines” (a wave of fur that spreads out from the crown of the back, downwards across the chin in a horseshoe shape, as the chin molts or “primes.”


Keep the chinchilla in immaculate conditions from birth.

A daily sandbath in fresh, clean sand, and perhaps an occasional quick groom to remove the dead undercoat.

No sandbaths any later than a day or two before the show.

No food that may stain the fur!!

Showing Chinchillas-brushing
Removing dead fur ensures that your chinchilla will look at its best

Preparation On The Day

Give her a final, thorough groom ………………………………..

  1. Using a medium-gauge chinchilla grooming comb – starting from the head, comb the coat in the direction of the tail – gently removing dead undercoat.
  2. If you encounter any snags or tangles – tease them out gently from the tips working down to the roots – don’t just drag the tangles out.
  3. Make sure you do groom around the chest and hindquarters – but there is no need to groom the belly.
  4. Once you have gently de-tangled the chinchilla from head to tail – then work from tail to head – grooming the chinchilla’s fur backward in the direction of the head.
  5. Once the chinchilla has been groomed, I then use my hand to firmly stroke the chinchilla backward from tail to head. This helps to remove any loose hairs that may be sitting on the top of the fur after grooming – and will detract from the overall appearance of the animal.
  6. A final tidy with the comb through the tips of the fur – backward from tail to head again.
  7. When you have finished grooming – place the chinchilla on a solid surface (careful not to touch the beautifully groomed fur) – and grasp the tail, close to the body (this will not hurt) – lift the hindquarters a little and very gently and lightly “shake” the chinchilla. This does not harm the chinchilla in the slightest – apart from being a little undignified – and merely serves to drop out any “grooming lines” that the comb may have made, as well has to help the fur to fall back into place.
  8. Gently place the chinchilla into the show cage, ready for the judging!
    Chinchillas are not handled at all, once groomed. They are placed in a regulation show-cage and graded, judged and scrutinized under show lights on white benches, which bring out their true colors.
Showing Chinchillas
Chinchillas are kept in their cages and not handled, as this will spoil the well-groomed fur.

Register your Chinchilla

Don’t forget to take a pen – as you will need to register your chin into a class ……. (you have to register before 10.30am)

Main Classes

  • A: Young standard females under 7 months.
  • B: Young standard males under 7 months.
  • C: Adult standard females 7 months and over.
  • D: Adult standard males 7 months and over
  • E: Young Mutations under 7 months.
  • F: Adult Mutations 7 months and over.

Novices can show in the same classes – but their cage cards will be suffixed with an “N” (for the novice).

There is a fee per chinchilla to enter into a show. You do have to be a National Chinchilla Society member to actually exhibit chinchillas – but all shows do welcome non-members as spectators (I believe it is possible to become an NCS member on the day too).

The showing season is from September to March/April. This is for several reasons. Firstly this avoids the hotter weather, as chinchillas are extremely prone to heat-stress, and secondly, the chinchilla should have a more superior winter pelt at this time of year.

Regional Shows are held throughout the season all around the US. They then culminate in the best and final show of the year – The National Show!!

So come along for a fun day out, there will be hot and cold refreshments, a raffle and, of course, experienced NCS members available to give full advice and support – not to mention some of the top US chinchillas too!!

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