We have been breeding dwarf chinchillas for about 3 years now, but studied them, from people who have actually been raising them for over a decade for 3 years before deciding to breed them ourselves. You can see our ever-growing dwarf herd on our My Chins page on this site.
There are a lot of misconceptions about dwarf chinchillas on the internet, mostly put out by people who have never owned or even seen a dwarf chinchilla in person. We hope to clear some of that up here.
Dwarf chinchillas are a smaller size version of chinchillas. Size is not the only factor in determining whether or not a chinchilla is a dwarf however, there are many chinchillas that are just small. Dwarfism is a recessive gene that has been very selectively and specifically bred for.
Size: Dwarves are typically said to be about half the size of a "normal" chinchilla, however, since people keep breeding "normal" chinchillas to be larger and larger, its better to give the weight than just go by "half size". A true dwarf is typically between 300 and 400-450 grams at full growth and fit in the palm of your hand.
Physical Characteristics: Dwarf chinchillas have a very distinct look, that separates them from being "just a small chinchilla". Well bred dwarves have small feet (about half the size of a "normal" chinchilla), short legs, short, very bushy tails, wide hips, large, heads for their body size and blunted faces.
Health: Dwarf chinchillas are just as healthy and tend to live just as long as "normal" chinchillas do. They are also prone to the same illnesses as any other chinchillas.
Breeding: Dwarf kits are born at the same size as "normal" chinchilla kits are. For this reason, true dwarf females should never be bred, because her pelvis may not be able to accommodate a normal sized kit. It is best to breed a dwarf carrier female to a dwarf male. Keep in mind that dwarf males have very short legs and cannot reach to mate with large females.
The picture below shows the difference in feet of kits the same age. The one on the bottom is a dwarf and has back feet about half the size of the one on the top.
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