Imagine a spectrum of the color silver ranging from nearly white to medium gray--Chinchillas and Shadeds run the full spectrum of color variation. So what definitively defines a Chin from a shaded? Chinchillas should have just trace shading (hardly visible) on their foreheads, cheeks and legs. Some look at the feet but that is not definitive, but Chins generally have white or soft grey tuffs of fur between the paw pads, but often one paw or two are more sooty! Shadeds have sooty tuffs of fur between the paw pads. Various undercoat textures affect the way in which the tipped guard hairs present on the cat. Some shorter coats have a salt and pepper appearance, while on some long coats one sees only a horizontal band of tipped guard hairs flowing four inches down from the center of the back. The former generally is a shaded and the later a chinchilla. But that too cannot be definitive and of course many, many Silver, Golden or Blue Chinchillas and Shadeds fall somewhere in the middle or the ends of the spectrum of color and are either a too light or too dark Chinchilla or too light Shaded or too dark Shaded.
The standard for a chinchilla states the cat must have enough tipping for a 'sparkling' effect and the standard for a shaded states the cat must have a 'mantle of black' tipping. So the 'salt and pepper" shaded falls short of the standard, but perhaps in a month or two as the coat flows the guard hairs can lengthen to become that sought after "mantle of black and sometimes the cat will remain a soft gray/silver 'salt and pepper' especially if the undercoat is thick, shorter in length and more cottony. The 'silkier' coats show the sought after 'mantle of black (or blue)' more readily, but are not as fluffy. There are exceptions to every rule and so as you can see it is challenging to show Chinchillas and Shadeds!
Long ago, many breeders and exhibitors defined a Chin as having one-quarter inch of tipping and the Shaded as having one half inch of black tipping on the long guard hairs. However if you look closely at a chin or shaded the length of black or Blue tipping varies from hair to hair cat to cat so that old rule is not an accurate rule to follow in my opinion.
When kittens are born, generally one can tell if a kitten will be a Chinchilla or a Shaded. The Chins will have very little tipping, generally present the Spotted Tabby Coat pattern and appear almost white or a very soft light gray, the kittens with the Mackerel Tabby Pattern can either be Chin or Shaded depending on the lightness or darkness of the shading. Lastly, generally the Shadeds present the Classic Tabby pattern and are relatively darker. Remember there are exceptions to every rule and some are 'in- between'. Please see the Tabby Pattern Chart below.
One 'old' rule I have found true is to take photos of your kittens at age six weeks--this age is extremely important in terms of evaluating the quality of your kittens--mark the date on your calendar! At that age you will glimpse what the cat will look like at age three years. Look at the coat color too and if very light it will be a Chinchilla when it matures, which is not to say at one year of age will look like a shaded but have trace amounts of tipping on the face, cheeks and legs. Your kitty will again lighten to Chinchilla after the first darker adult coat eventually sheds and the second lighter adult coat comes in the following year or the third year--you must be patient. Yes, have I mentioned it is difficult to show Chins and Shadeds? In addition, it is true many will fall somewhere in the middle or the ends of the color spectrum and present as neither a perfect Chin nor a perfect Shaded.
Compounding the issue of what is a true Chinchilla and what is a true Shaded is the fact that today Breeders are not deliberately breeding for exclusively Shadeds or exclusively Chinchillas as the breeders of yester-year did. In the past many bred primarily for Chinchillas for many, many years and others bred for the well-colored Shadeds. Today we see many too light Shadeds presented in the ring. Look at the photos of GC, NW Diadem Dilemma and GC Wyndcreste Liaison. Today, Many would say they are too dark, but I must disagree. On both you can see the 'mantle of black' clearly. Instead many shadeds today sport a "mantle of gray" or silver if you will.
The ideal or the 'perfect' Chinchilla should not be too light or almost white and have sufficient black or blue tipping to achieve the description 'sparkling' effect, with just trace or barely visible shading on the forehead, cheeks and legs and the perfect Shaded should have sufficient black tipping to achieve the description 'mantle of black', with visible shading on the forehead, cheeks and legs and of course no tabby barring or markings visible on either color.
Optimally the 'ideal' or 'perfect' Silver Chins and Shadeds should have rich/deep eye and lip liners (Silver: black; Golden: deep sepia/bistre; Blue: Blue), brick red nose leather (Silver), rose nose leather (Goldens and Blues), black paw pads (Silvers), bistre/sepia or rose (Goldens) or blue (Blues). In reality, the color spectrum ranges from Charcoal to black (Silver), rose to bistre (Golden), slate blue gray to resene avalanche (blue) and the thickness of liner and depth of color presented varies just as widely as well and most as described above satisfies the standard as written well. (20 points for color inclusive of coat color)
The standard for eye color states Chinchillas may only have Green eye color while the Shaded can have eye color that ranges from Green to Blue Green. In reality the color spectrum of shades of 'green to blue greens' encompasses a wide range of possible hues and values (some saturated and some not) and all of which satisfy the standard as written brilliantly. (10 points for eye color). The elusive 'ideal' or 'perfect' Chinchilla will have the rare deep emerald green eyes and the 'perfect' Shaded will have the rare deep aquamarine blue green eye color.
Anything less than the 'ideal' or 'perfect' description of a Chinchilla or Shaded stated above, should not be faulted in the show ring. The 'ideal' or 'perfect' attributes indentified are simply goals we are ultimately endeavoring to acheive--the 'perfect' Chinchilla or Shaded are simply 'ideals' we are striving for or dreaming about to acheive in our breeding programs. The 'perfect' or 'ideal' Chinchilla or Shaded as described above does not exist in reality...yet!
Chinchillas are generally paler in terms of overall color intensity/saturation and be lighter or paler in overall effect than Shadeds, however color intensity (eye, liners and nose leather) is sought after with both colors as are the highly prized saturated green and blue green eye color. As I have said, the 'ideal' or 'perfect' Chinchilla or Shaded has yet to be born and presented on the show bench, but we must keep reaching for our ideals of perfection and presenting our best efforts in the show ring!
The CFA Persian Standard for color is awarded as follows: up to 20 points will be awarded against the color standard we have been discussing above, in which the cat on the bench was entered. Thus if a Chinchilla Silver is presented at a show, the Judge will evaluate the cat against his or her interpretation of the color standard for Chinchilla Silvers (see below). Additionally, the judge can award up to 10 points for eye color based on his or her interpretation for a Chinchilla Silver's eye color standard, which calls for green eyes. The ten points for Coat is evaluated on the presentation of the Persian coat. The remaining 60 points in our standard is awarded on the structure of the cat, e.g. head (30 points), body (20 points), balance (five points), refinement (five points).