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New member
May 23, 2024
Hi! We put my standard Grey(I assumed long tailed chinchilla) down last week, I loved her oh so dearly.

When this rescue chinchilla came up, I thought she was beautiful and grabbed her immediately. Now she’s still beautiful don’t get me wrong, but her build is SO different so I’m curious on everyone’s opinion. Is she long or short tailed? And is there health issues I should worry about?

More back story on her if you want the long version. I got her from a rescue a few states away, barely looked at her before taking her home. Apparently someone brought her in because they simply didn’t realize how much work they are, decided they don’t want her, ect.

The rescue told me they assume she was a pet store chinchilla before that, and probably poorly bred. Which I do wonder if she’s a bad bred chinchilla, and a cross between long and short tailed chinchilla. Because her face is rather mouse like, and longer, but she has a short tail, smaller ears, and her fur seems shorter, but almost thicker?

Also I question her weight, she’s roughly 570g, but looks chonky! Is that a short tailed chinchilla trait?

Do we think she’s mixed?

Which also makes me question, is there a health concern with short tailed chinchillas or mixes??


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First, long and short-tailed chins are not different breeds, they are different species (short-tails are Chinchilla chinchilla and long-tails are Chinchilla lanigera). The closest thing to different "breeds" of chinchillas would be ones like the Angora (long haired) and Locklen (curly coat), though both are still long-tailed chinchillas.

I would say she is definitely a long tail, she does not look like a short-tail (most photos of short-tails online are misidentified long-tailed). Also short tails are very rare in the US and an endangered species, so may even be illegal to own in the US (I don't know I am just guessing), but from what I've heard are still sold in Europe. Most pet ones are just long-tails not short-tails or mixes, short-tails were only used in some fur farm breeding lines for a very short time decades ago to increase size for the fur industry. So the ones that might have a small percentage of short-tail in there genetics would be ones from fur farms or those bred for show. Domestic short-tails are much bigger, like in the 1,000g+ range, whereas most domestic long-tailed chinchillas bred as pets are normally in the 400-800g range (chinchillas bred for show or for fur are normally in the 600-1,200g range).
As you can see the short-tails have much smaller ears, shorter tail, more of a blunt face, and a larger body.

This is a short-tail in the wild.

Most likely she is just a breeding mill long-tailed chinchilla, which are commonly sold at pet stores. The most common issues if poorly breed include things like genetic malocclusion, heart and kidney issues, and fur chewing (as well as reproductive issues but I assume you aren't breeding her). Just like humans chinchillas can come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and fur types based on genetics, even of the same species. So you commonly can get ones with shorter or longer tails, though from what I've seen ones with short tails (much shorter then your chin's) are commonly the result of injury, like the mother accidentally nipping part off during birth. (I have also commonly seen those being posted online as short-tailed chinchillas as well 🙄 which can confuse things) Some have shorter or longer noses and many people like the "rat/mouse like face" look so it's not uncommon in the pet world now, but is considered a "fault" in the show lines. Some have nice thick plush fur others have thinner fur, etc, though to some extent diet can effect coat as well.
Chinchillas can come in all shapes and sizes :) but congrats on the beauty. She's a a stunning mosiac, which would be her mutation.
I also have a mosaic and she has a bit of a more "mousey" face with a longer snout and tail while my brown velvet I refer to as little miss piggy nose, she's got a more flat face and smaller, curlier tail.
As mentioned above, chinchillas come in all shapes and sizes and weights. All chinchillas on the pet market are chinchilla lanigera (long tailed chinchillas). You can breed traits into them, like shorter or longer fur, skinnier or thicker tails, blocky bodies, etc. For show we like that thick blocky body with super plush fur, a nice head and thick neck, but they are all the same 'breed'.

As far as short tailed chinchillas, chinchilla brevicuadata - they were bred in a state owned ranch in South America but haven't been since the 1980's and they are illegal to export. They are more brown in color and have a much longer gestation period than our domestic chinchillas at 130 days. There are modern photos of some in this article; most hybrids between the two subspecies were sterile and they are super slow breeders so they were never as popular as the lanigera subspecies.