Empress Chinchilla Breeders Cooperative, Inc. 


In Memory Of
Robert Gunning
Known for developing the black velvet mutation

      Robert (Bob) Gunning started in the Chinchilla business in 1943.  He was instrumental in starting the Washington Branch and later the Columbia Basin Branch of ECBC and served on the national board of directors of Empress for many years.  Bob was always an enthusiastic supporter of the Empress organization and a lifetime member.  He started judging Chinchilla shows in 1950 and was one of the top chinchilla judges in the world. 

Bob Gunning was forced to make a second start in the Chinchilla business following a disastrous fire in 1955.  Within a short time an offspring appeared in his herd that had a ‘dirty face’, as it was called at the time.  This male with the dirty face and black nose was the beginning of what is now known as the Gunning Black Velvet.  A dozen or more years were to pass before a Black Velvet baby appeared, one that was all black and with a velvet fur.  Many believe that the Gunning Black Velvet is one reason for a strong Chinchilla market today.

The Chinchilla industry can be thankful for and very proud of Bob Gunning for his determination and belief in a dream that has done so much for the success of the industry!

Robert Gunning Trophy


established 1991

awarded at ECBC National shows for

Highest Number of Breeder Points
Black Velvet Live Animals Color Section

1991 - Jim Maddux  2001 - PSK Chinchilla  2011 - Joe Brown
 1992 - Vin Somavia  2002 - (Tie) Bowen Chinchilla/Vin Somavia  2012 - Shahna Thomas
 1993 - Jim Maddux  2003 - Vin Somavia  
 1994 - PSK Chinchilla  2004 - Vin Somavia  
 1995 - Hank McClenahan  2005 - Diamond Blue  
 1996 - Ralph Shoots  2006 - Ralph Shoots  
 1997 - Ralph Shoots  2007 - Ralph Shoots  
 1998 - Richard Ryerson  2008 - Ralph Shoots  
 1999 - Bowen Chinchilla  2009 - Ryerson Chinchillas  
 2000 - Bowen Chinchilla  2010 - Ryerson Chinchillas  

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