WELCOME to the Empress Chinchilla website! Empress Chinchilla has always stood for the finest in chinchilla and chinchilla products and that tradition continues strong today! We hope you will take a few moments to read about our rich heritage, where we have been and where we are today!
In the 1890s and early 1900s, chinchilla was prized for its luxurious fur, the likes of which had never been seen before. Royalty, in Europe and around the globe clamored for Chinchilla garments and capes. Consequently, chinchillas, which are native to the Andes Mountains region of South America were nearly hunted to extinction. An American engineer, Mathias Chapman, working in South America paid native Indians to bring him live chinchillas. His dream was to bring them back to America and farm raise this animal for its prized fur. In 1923 he set sail with 11 animals and set up a farm in the general area of Los Angeles, CA. This was the beginning of chinchilla farming. By the 1940s this idea was well on it’s way to a thriving business and it was realized that chinchilla ranchers needed a way to market their chinchilla pelts.
Empress Chinchilla was established in 1945 as an organization to help educate the new chinchilla ranchers that were springing up by the hundreds, to provide a reputable grading system for the animals and market pelts. In the last 67 years we have come a long way, we have evolved with the needs of the chinchilla producer and we know a lot about chinchilla!
Through the years we have evolved into less of a pelt marketer and more of an educator. Although Empress Label chinchilla pelts are still highly sought after worldwide! We have the finest show system with the toughest competitors. Empress members are proud of our rich tradition and our superior quality animals.
Just as chinchilla ranching has evolved from those early beginnings, so has Empress. We once saw ranchers with hundreds of animals per year producing thousands of pelts a year. Today’s chinchilla producer raises the animal for many reasons, they like to compete in shows, they simply enjoy bringing two animals together to produce an even better animal, some members start very young in 4-H or FFA programs, and we have many ranchers who still raise chinchilla for their beautiful fur which is a natural, renewable resource. Whatever the reason, they are an active group and demand the most up to date information to give their animals the best possible care. Empress is still here to help them!
If you are up for the challenge or want to guarantee you are purchasing the finest quality herd improvement animals, or simply want to be part of a loyal group of people who are committed to this wonderful animal, you have come to the right place and we invite you to be part of Empress Chinchilla!