2. Improving and establishing our herd

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We continued to increase our herd obtaining large blocky animals from Otto who was quite successful at the CFBA shows and we took a liking to both him and more particularly his type of animal. Otto himself used a line of females which he had started many years before with the introduction of high quality herd improvement males purchased from the foremost breeder of that era, Joan Emery. At this stage we were breeding around 20 to 30 animals each year and retaining 10 to 12 females for our own use to build up our herd.

Our outlook was similar to Otto’s as we too were bringing in top quality herd improvement males to use on our females. High quality males are much easier to obtain than similar quality females and by this method we improved steadily. A telephone call out of the blue, from Otto, warned us that he had discovered a male, from which we had had progeny, had maloccluded. His advice was to dispose of this stock and start again with those left. This was done which decimated the herd but did leave a nucleus to continue. A chap living close by took the animals from us, knowing the problem, and bred from them for many years with no occurrence of malocclusion in them or their descendants. This herd was dispersed several years ago.

We, of course, wished to improve and add to our stock but Otto could not help as he had a similar problem. So we turned to Joan Emery, the premier breeder of the time, who either bred the show champions or bred the parents of show champions with which other people were winning. Her dominance at that time and for many years previous with her late husband, Frank Emery, was extra-ordinary. Her very large, extra-dark, extremely blocky animals were very much sought after. We also obtained animals from Fred Duggins, who had imported animals from Canada and America in the late 1980’s. These were principally from Jack Humphreys stock, which had strong influences of Ralph Shoots animals. These were the first imports into the UK for a considerable time and their quality and outcross potential with the existing in-bred UK lines was exactly what the UK chinchilla needed at the time. Fred was persuaded to part with a top quality male and female and in 1990/1 we bred five females from this pair, three of which became show champions, one of them a multiple show champion. The remaining female though not so successful on the show bench became the best producer of quality animals we have had and is basically the matriarch of our herd. Incidentally these animals were the old UK lines only the male having an imported grandfather. By 1991 we had used this initial male from Fred extensively on our existing female lines and were able to select many top quality females to take us forward. Our success on the show bench in that year was second only to Fred who had also made enormous strides improving with his imports.

Over the next years we used our own bred females with new males, principally from Fred’s imported lines, establishing a reasonably sized herd of Standards and Dominant Mutations. We had seven or eight Black Velvets and occasional Beige and Wilson White for some variety but considered that a strong team of Standards was paramount. We have always used the polygamous system and this has enabled us to breed ‘specific lines’ even with such a small herd size. We consider ourselves to be serious breeders of high quality show chinchilla focussing on large, clear, very blue animals having good length of fur with strength and density. This has been achieved over some time by giving reference to animals having these properties but all breeding stock must be blue. We do not have a particular preference for Dark animals but the herd has evolved to be mainly Dark or Medium-dark as this seems to be where the quality resides, especially in relation to producing chinchillas with defined clear-white bar colour and deep tipping to promote good veiling coverage.


Home... Contents... 1.Birth Of... 2.Improving & Est... 3.Our Start... 4.Our Units... 5.Our Involvement... 6.Show Success...