There are many different guinea pig breeds. Some on this list aren’t official. This list of 15 piggy breeds provides brief facts about their hairdos and personalities.
You might know them as American guinea pigs, but they’re also called English guinea pigs. They’re the most popular guinea pig breed and the oldest. The fur of an American piggy is short and straight. There’s also a variation known as the Satin American. With Satin American guinea pigs, their coat has a shine to them. There are more than 20 different color variations for the American guinea pig. This breed of piggy is known for being laid-back and easy-going. They are low maintenance when grooming because of their short coat.
An Abyssinian’s coat is about 1.5 inches long and can have 6-10 rosettes. Rosettes are parts in their fur that turn outwards and look like cowlicks. Abyssinians that have ten rosettes are usually show guinea pigs. They have strong personalities! They’re curious and always looking for an adventure and thrive on attention. This breed can be particularly vocal. Abyssinians are a more popular breed, with American and Peruvian included. They’re considered a short-haired breed, but it’s a good idea to brush them once or twice a week to keep their fur from becoming tangled. Abyssinians are one of the most active breeds of guinea pigs. This breed is more susceptible to getting diabetes and some eye problems like microphthalmia and cataracts.
White Crested guinea pigs sometimes get referred to as American Crested or English Crested. They’re rare to come across and got recognized as a breed in 1974. Their bodies are a solid color coat with a white rosette on the top of their head. Their fur resembles an American guinea pig and doesn’t require daily grooming. White Crested piggies are known for being shy, relaxed, and intelligent!
Peruvian guinea pigs date back to the 15th century! They’re one of the first long-haired guinea pig breeds to get selectively bred for showing. Peruvian guinea pigs have long, silky hair growing up to 14 inches or longer. They have a middle part in their fur and bangs that sweep across their face. This breed of guinea pig has a big personality. They’re known for being extremely curious, outgoing, and affectionate. If tame, they also enjoy cuddling more than the other breeds. Peruvian guinea pigs require daily brushing to keep their fur from becoming tangled. Round-edged scissors are necessary because their hair doesn’t stop growing and needs trimming every so often. Because of their long hair, they may need a bath to help stay clean. Peruvian piggies are more susceptible to heatstroke, flystrike, and mites.
The Silkie guinea pig got discovered in the 1970s from cross-breeding Peruvian and American guinea pigs. Their hair is long and straight and can grow up to 24 inches. Unlike the Peruvian guinea pig, their hair sweeps unparted across their body. They have calm and gentle personalities. Silkies require daily brushing and hair trimmings every few weeks to keep up with hair growth. They may need a bath sometimes to keep their hair clean. This breed is more susceptible to respiratory infections, heatstroke, and flystrike.
Coronet guinea pigs are long-haired and a cross-breed of Silkie and American piggies. They became an official breed in 1998. The difference between a Silkie and a Coronet is that their forehead is shorter, and their hair flows forward at the rosette on the top of their head. Coronet piggies are playful and love to socialize. These piggies require daily brushing and occasional baths to keep their fur clean from debris. Just like other long-haired breeds, they need trimming to keep their hair at a comfortable length. Coronets are susceptible to respiratory infections, heatstroke as well as flystrike.
Lunkarya guinea pigs got discovered by Swedish breeders. They’re a genetic mutation from a Peruvian guinea pig. Their hair is thick, long, and curly, doesn’t lie flat, and can’t be combed down. Three different variations of the breed include the Lunkarya Peruvian, the Lunkarya Coronet, and the Lunkarya Sheltie/Silkie. This breed tends to be calm and gentle. Because they’re long-haired, they need daily brushing with occasional bathing. Like other long-haired breeds, they’re more susceptible to respiratory infections, heatstroke, and flystrike.
This breed got discovered in the 1980s. Texels result from cross-breeding a Silkie with a British Rex guinea pig. They got recognized as a breed in 1998. Texels are sweet, calm, and love getting handled. They’re known to be mischievous. This breed’s curly hair is more prone to getting stuff stuck in it, so it’s important to brush daily. They should get a bath every so often to help keep them clean. Common health problems for Texels include skin problems, eye infections, weight problems, and heatstroke.
Merino guinea pigs are most likely a cross-breeding of the Coronet and Rex breed. They aren’t recognized as an official breed by any professional guinea pig association. They are outgoing, curious, and laid back. Merinos have a long, curly coat and a short forehead crest. Their long hair requires daily brushing and occasional baths. Common health problems include skin problems, heatstroke, and eye infections.
Sheba guinea pigs are a combination of Peruvian and Abyssinians. They aren’t recognized as an official breed by any association. Shebas have medium-length hair. Although they have longer hair than short-haired piggies, it grows rather slowly. This breed is curious, gentle, and social. They don’t require haircuts as often as long-haired piggies but should get brushed at least every other day. The most common health problems associated with this breed are respiratory issues, heatstroke, and skin problems.
Teddy guinea pigs are most likely the result of a genetic mutation. Their nose is broader than those of other piggy breeds. A Teddy’s fur is short but longer than most short-haired piggies. Their fur resembles a brush and is plush. There are Swiss Teddys and American Teddys. American Teddys have a fluffier, shorter, dense coat. They enjoy being cuddled more than other breeds and are friendly and calm. Because they’re short-haired, they don’t require brushing or baths as often as long-haired piggies. This breed is more susceptible to skin problems, eye infections, and respiratory problems.
Skinny pigs are descendants of guinea pigs with a genetic mutation commonly bred into lab piggies. In labs, they often get used for testing related to human skin. Skinny pigs are born without hair but will grow some on their nose and feet. Their skin has a smooth texture and can have many different color pigmentations. They’re usually docile and calm. Skinny pigs have to eat more to maintain their body heat. Because they have no fur, they’re more susceptible to skin damage. If your Skinny pig has dry skin, rubbing coconut oil on them will help keep them moisturized. Keeping their enclosure clean and their nails trimmed will help prevent them from getting infections. Skinny pigs can get cold, so you should have something soft and warm so they can cuddle. Skinny pigs are more susceptible to fungal infections because of their bare skin.
Baldwins are another breed of hairless guinea pigs. These piggies were discovered by Carol Miller when she noticed the recessive hairless gene in her White Crested guinea pigs. Baldwins are born with a coat of hair that falls out within a few days after being birthed. Usually, when they hit two months of age, they’re hairless. Their skin has a shiny look and leathery feel to it. They’re known to be social, mellow, and gentle. Common health problems include respiratory infections and fungal infections.
Rex guinea pigs aren’t recognized as a breed by the American Cavy Breeders Association but are by the British Cavy Council. Rex is a form of genetic mutation in their fur that makes their fur lack guard hairs. Guard hairs are longer hairs surrounded by shorter hair. A Rex guinea pig’s hair is bristly and wiry. Rex guinea pigs resemble Teddy piggies, with the defining feature being that a Rex’s hair is coarse. They’re one of the larger-sized guinea pig breeds. Rex piggies are known for being easy-going, friendly, and social. Their fur only needs to be brushed about once a week. This breed is more susceptible to heatstroke, flystrike, and respiratory infections.
Himalayan guinea pigs are albino with a white coat and red/pink eyes. Their nose, ears, and feet are usually dark brown or black. This breed tends to be friendly and calm. Himalayans are short-haired, so they don’t require daily grooming like long-haired piggies. This breed is prone to the most common illnesses, such as respiratory infections, skin infections, and scurvy.
Personality traits differ between all guinea pigs. Each guinea pig has their own personality. They may differ from the characteristics listed for each breed. When bringing home a new piggy, be sure you know all the necessary care for each guinea pig breed and that you can provide it.
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