The range of Chinchilla brevicaudata includes the Andes of southern Peru, Bolivia, northwestern Argentina and northern Chile.
C. brevicaudata are found in mountain shrub and grassland areas at elevations between 3000 and 4500 m. They make their dens in rock crevices.
The litter size is fairly small and average only 1.45 young per a litter.
As soon as C. brevicaudata's fur was discovered, wild populations were hunted almost to extinction.
1524 The Spaniards discover the Chinchilla. Queen Isabella of Spain receives a Chinchilla coat.
1591 The first written record of Chinchillas appears: accredited to Josef de Acosta
1829 The first Chinchilla comes to London Zoo, the first held in captivity worldwide
1865 Chinchilla shown for the first time at Hamburg Zoo in Germany
1874 With 500 Brevicaudatas Sir John Murray (Englishman), working in Chile tries to develop the breed. This was the first known chinchilla breeding farm.
1893 Dr. Pechuel-Loesche editor of the mammal section of Brehmís Tierleben 1893 edition states that observation of the Chinchilla has drawn to a conclusion they can live without drinking liquids
1895 Fransico Irrazaval of Santiago received a pair of Chinchillas from the province of Coquimbo. The first offspring were born that same year in October. Every year after they would have two litters a year one in March the other in October. An epidemic in the summer of 1898 killed all of his 13 Chinchillas within a 2-month period.
1900 Frederico Alberrt, director of the zoological and botanical research station in Santiago, Chile, asked the government to protect the Chinchilla and develop a management program, this was ignored.
1910 Bolivia, Chile, Argentina as well as Peru governments decide to restrict the number of pelts obtained to stop the wild chinchilla being made extinct
1920 Decree Law was passed which authorized the Director General of Hunting and Fishing to issue individual case licenses to establish domesticated Chinchilla breeding pens and the trapping of a stated number of wild Chinchilla to stock them. The quota of 50 animals was trapped over a four-month period.
1921 A second application was granted in 1921 and among these were some of the Brevicaudata species of Chinchilla. These were found a considerable distance from the breeding farm over the Bolivian border and had to be smuggled in.
1930 Fritz Ferger has the first Brevicaudata birth in captivityChapman started selling animals to other breeders to establish their own herds
1934 On 28 December 1934 Mathias Ferrel Chapman, died at the age of 54
1936 Establishment of the first Chinchilla organization NCBA, in Salt Lake town center (Utah/USA)
1936 Fritz Ferger delivers the first Brevicaudata into the USA
1945 National Chinchilla Breeders of America, Inc. was started and published their first magazine.
1947 Chinchilla Breeder OF Canada (N.C.B.C.) is created
1949 Establishment of the Chinchilla Association OF America (C.A.A.)
1950s Chinchilla Fur Breeders Association Ltd was formed in the UK following the first imports
1954 Petrol Wellman reports in New York State on the first Recessive beige
1955 On the Ranch "Blythe Wilson" in California the first dominant gene factor chinchilla appeared: the white Chinchilla.
1955 The first beige Chinchilla is born to Ned Jensen in Oregon
1960 The first Violet Chinchilla was born in Rhodesia/Africa, and was sold to Lloyd Sullivan's farm in California
1961 The first Black velvet (Gunning Black) is mentioned by Robert Gunning in Washington State.
1963 Merle Larson shows the first sapphire Chinchilla to the world.
1967 Violets were born in Rhodesia, S. Africa and moved to the Sullivan Ranch
1990 Chinchillas become ever more popular as pets. However the high price and the lack of information deter many from attempting to keep them.
Aug 2003 Greenwood Chinchillas established Jan 2004 Fur farming made illegal in the UK following new legislation