If you have decided that you wish to keep pet chinchillas, congratulations! Chinchillas are lovely, friendly, entertaining and highly rewarding pets, which are excellent companions for people of all ages. Due to their popularity as pets within the UK, it is not hard to find chinchillas offered for sale in pet shops and various other places, but if you want to be sure that you pick well kept, healthy chinchillas, you should do plenty of research first, and consider buying directly from a responsible breeder.
Just as with other pets such as cats and dogs that are bred for sale as pets, chinchilla breeders range from the excellent to the terrible, and as a first time buyer, you might not always know what to look for in a good breeder, nor why finding a good one is so important.
In this article, we will look at how to find and select a good breeder to buy your new chinchillas from, as well as how to spot clues on breeders to avoid. Read on to learn more!
Anyone who owns chinchillas can breed them, and there is no regulation or licensing required to set up a small-scale home breeder operation. Larger, commercial operation must be licensed as a business by the local council, and it is advisable to buy from a smaller hobbyist breeder, or small scale professional breeder who is knowledgeable about their pets, breeds responsibly, and cares about the welfare of their animals.
As the chinchilla as a species is threatened in the wild and also as they are not native to the UK, it is very unusual to find a seller offering wild-caught chinchillas rather than domestically bred specimens, and wild caught chinchillas should be avoided for a huge variety of reasons. There are three different chinchilla breeds, and the Lanigera chinchilla is the pet variety, and your breeder should know this and be able to speak knowledgably to you about their breed lines and full ancestry.
Using your instinct is a great start in ensuring that you only buy chinchillas from a good breeder, and you will soon get a feel for the breeder that you are talking to about their animals.
A responsible breeder will of course be very knowledgeable about their pets, and selectively breed for good health and longevity rather than putting animals together and letting them do what comes naturally. No breeder should be producing or mating more chinchillas than they can reasonably be expected to care for properly, and this also means that by the time you buy or adopt a young chinchilla, they should already be familiar with people and being handled, and not be semi-feral or afraid of people.
A breeder that is a member of one of the chinchilla breed societies or organisations and is listed on their approved breeder pages is a good start, and this should be your first port of call when seeking a good, recommended breeder. There are also numerous chinchilla websites, chat forums and enthusiast’s groups on the internet, which can also help you to narrow down good local breeders by gathering feedback from other keepers.
A good breeder should be more than happy to allow you to visit them (by appointment) to see the chinchillas that they have available for sale, and they should be happy to let you see their full set up, and not bring you individual chinchillas into a closed off room for you to view. They should also be interested in you as a person, and ask lots of questions to establish your knowledge and understanding of keeping chinchillas, and provide advice if needed.
As well as the good, responsible breeders who really love their pets, which is fortunately most chinchilla breeders, there are also some irresponsible or potentially unscrupulous breeders out there who are only in it for the money, and best avoided.
Beware of breeders that claim to have show-winning animals or lots of accolades as a breeder and chinchilla keeper but is not able to back this up with verifiable references, or by listings on formal chinchilla approved breeder registries.
Do not buy from a breeder who cannot provide verifiable references from previous buyers, nor any breeder who will not allow you to see their full set up and all of their animals. Meet the breeder at their home, and view all of the chinchillas available rather than being shown each animal one by one before they are returned to a room out of sight.
It is also important to remember that many chinchilla keepers are simply enthusiasts and not professional breeders, who may be selling a one-off litter and so, will not have a commercial seller history. This is fine and often, will provide you with the best socialised and most loved chinchilla, so do not automatically disregard a private seller who is not trading as a commercial breeder.