This page is to explain some of the commonly used terms for some of the "funkier" colors of chins as well as what we mean by what we call them.  For an explanation of the "normal" colors of chinchillas and how to determine their genotypes and phenotypes please go to the MCBA website.

Common Color Terminology



Tans are a combination of ebony and beige genes that show in different degrees and variations.  All tans, like beiges have pink ears and many will also develop freckles on their ears, just like beiges.


Light Tan, Beige Ebony Carrier or Pastel

With this coloration, the stomach will be lighter, or even appear white, the fur on the back will appear in an agouti patterning.  The chin may very well appear to be hetero beige, and you may very well not see the ebony influence until you breed them and see what their offspring turn out like.

Medium Tan

With this coloration, the chin will be more of a solid color all the way around their body, including their stomach.  There is no agouti patterning with this coloration.  It is darker and more of a smooth coloration then the light tan.

At shows, this is a beige wrap

Dark Tan

With this coloration, the chin is just a very dark variation of the medium tan.  This shade is very dark and often mistaken for chocolate.  The belly will be the same color as the back.  If you blow into their fur, you will see that the under fur is a lighter color than the outer fur, this tells you this is a dark tan chin and not a chocolate.

At shows, this is a dark beige wrap



This is the darkest shade of tan.  The way to tell the difference between a dark tan and a chocolate is that if you blow into the fur of a chocolate, the fur will be the same color to the skin.


Homo Tan

This is a very interesting coloration and can appear very different from chin to chin.  The chin shown here looks like he has white genes, but does not.  He has two tan genes, meaning two beige and two ebony genes.  The chin still has the pink ears of the beige as well as the red eyes.  And when bred can pass on the ebony gene.



Ebonies are one of the darkest color variations, which come in several different shades as well.  At shows, these may be split into three or four categories, it depends on how many chins are there and the color of those that are there.


Light Ebony, Ebony Carrier

This color variation can look VERY similar to a standard.  Many times they will appear to have what is called a "dirty belly", but not always.  As with light tans, sometimes you do not know for sure if this chin is carrying ebony until you breed it and see what it produces.


Medium Ebony

This color variation will also have a dark belly.  Normally it is darker than a standard, still shows the agouti patterning.


Dark Ebony

This coloration is often times mistaken for homo ebony.  There may or may not be lighter places on the chin, many times the chin will appear to be black all over.  If you blow into the fur, you can see lighter coloring underneath.


Homo Ebony, Extra Dark Ebony, Every Hair Shiny Black

This is the darkest shade of ebony and the chin has to have two ebony genes to actually be homo ebony.  This chin will have every single hair shiny black.

The term homo ebony really is not used by ranchers or at shows anymore.



Whites are very interesting.  You can get whites by combining many different colors. For more explanation on whites, look at the link to the MCBA site above.  The definitions for ebony/white and tan/white would be the same if it were violet/white or any other mix with white.



Mosaic refers to any chin that is not pink white.  They can have a pattern or not.  They all have grey ears.


Pink White

This coloration will be bright white and have pink ears and red eyes.  These chins have a beige gene in them.


We don't have a pink white at this time, so we have no picture to show

Ebony/White, Mosaic Ebony

This coloration carries the ebony and white gene.  They will show ebony on them somewhere on their body, Especially when they are young and most often at the base of the tail.  Where the ebony shows will be black to the skin.


Tan/White, Tan Ebony

This coloration carries the ebony, beige and white gene.  They will show tan on them somewhere on their body, This may be hard to tell until the chin has been bred.


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