Yes, there is a difference. Notice the following photographs. Pet quality chins are shown first followed by show quality. Specifics that chins are judged on include clarity, density, pattern, texture, veiling, strength, length, volume, size and conformation. No one chinchilla will have all of these but those that go and show are learning what their animals are lacking and how to improve their herd.
This is an example of a pet quality chinchilla. This beige male lacks size, conformation, clarity and density. He is small, with a "wedgy" shaped body type; meaning his hips are wider than his shoulders. The clarity of color on this animal is poor as he is beginning to oxidize, or turn a reddish hue. His coat can also be seen laying down around his hips and back; this is due to the fur not being dense enough to stay standing upright.
Before you decide that you want to get into breeding, go to a few shows. Look, learn and observe, this will help you to choose the best "building blocks" for your herd.
The biggest mistake I see people making is jumping into breeding and throwing just any two animals together. They want to make pretty colors verses starting with standard grays which should be the basis of all herds.
Show Quality Animal
This TOV Violet chinchilla bred by Sunshine Chins received Color Class Champion for violets at the Ohio ECBC show in 2018.
She is show quality due to her outstanding conformation, density, veiling, clarity of color, and her large size. Her hips and shoulders are equally wide, allowing her to have a rounded square appearance; this is the ideal shape for a quality animal. Her fur stands upright, is densely packed, and bounces back to this position when disturbed. Her color is clear and blue rather than muddy or red. Here At Sunshine Chinchillas, this is the quality we strive for in our animals.