If you want to add a pet chinchilla to your family, you’re in for a treat! Chinchillas make wonderful and rewarding pets for all animal lovers. Because of their soft fur and playful demeanor, the chinchilla is a favorite among small pet owners. It’s not hard to find a chinchilla for sale in pet shops because of their popularity.

However, when buying a chinchilla, it’s always wise to buy from a responsible breeder. How can you find one? What are warning signs of a bad breeder? How can you get the most value for your money?

Let’s dive into all that and more.

Breeder vs. Pet Shop

You may wonder, ‘Should I buy from a pet shop or a breeder?’ If you can find a reliable breeder, it’s always better to purchase from a breeder than a pet shop. The only benefit in a pet shop option is their accessabilty. Chinchilla breeders, on the other hand, are more reliable when it comes to the health of your chinchillas.

Because of the number of animals that pet stores carry, they simply do not have the resources necessary to give the best care to all their pets. This lack of attention is prominent in the case of chinchillas. Chins are delicate creatures, are sensitive to temperature, and should be given a specific diet. Sometimes, out of carelessness, a lack of information, or a lack of resources, chinchillas receive subpar care from pet stores. A lack of care often leads to a weakened immune system, making your chin susceptible to sickness even with better care.

Even if your local pet shop keeps a close eye on their chins, breeders still have an ace up their sleeves. Quality breeders can give you a great deal of information on specific bloodlines, habits, and preferences in your chosen chin. For example, a good breeder can tell you the temperament of a chinchilla. You may want a more playful chinchilla or one that’s more docile. A responsible breeder can easily pair you with a chin that’s perfect for your needs!

Who Can Be Chinchilla Breeders?

Because there are no regulations or licensing that you need to become a chinchilla breeder, pretty much anyone with a pair of male and female chinchillas can start breeding. A bigger operation will require a permit, not because they are breeding chinchillas, but because they are operating as a business. A lack of regulation makes finding a good breeder difficult, as there is no governing body overseeing who can get into the market.

How to Find the Right Breeder

But with all that said and done, the question remains: How do you find the right breeder?

Ask Around

Asking local animal lovers’ groups, online chinchilla forums, and chinchilla-specific sites is the best way to locate a trusted breeder. Even if your sources haven’t personally dealt with the breeders they’re recommending, they may be able to point you in the direction of those who have. Otherwise, you can look up a breeder online to search for testimonies.

Personally Visit Your Breeder

Personal visits are a great way to ensure that your breeder is legitimate. A breeder that won’t let you see the chinchillas in their home environment is a huge red flag; in this case, it’s best to move on. When visiting, check for the chin’s living conditions to ensure that they are healthy and cared for. Look for the following signs:

  • One-level enclosures for kits, or baby chinchillas
  • Cages are kept clean and odor-free
  • Temperature is from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Each habitat has toys and cubbies to hide in

Observe for Signs of Illness

Other than living conditions, also check up on the health of the chinchillas. The following are common signs of disease:

  • Labored breathing
  • Dull, yellowed, matted coats
  • Lethargy
  • Too much or too little weight

Ask the Breeder a Lot of Questions

Because breeders work closely with their animals, reliable breeders will be happy to tell you everything about their pets. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • How long have you been breeding chinchillas?
  • What food do you give chinchillas?
  • Can I see the parents?
  • Are you connected to a local association?
    • Good connections are a sign of a passionate breeder
  • Do you provide follow-up care?

Is Your Breeder Asking You Questions?

Good breeders are invested in their pets even after a sale is made. They want to make sure that their chins are going into good hands. Breeders may ask you the following questions:

  • Have you prepared a cage? What is the size, and what is it made of?
  • Are you planning on getting two chinchillas?
  • Are you planning to neuter your chinchillas?
  • What are you planning to feed them?

Now that you know how to find a good breeder, go out there and find your new chin!