While most people are simply looking for an adorable family pet, guinea pigs do have different breeds. Most of these breeds address the guinea pig’s hair, rather than an underlying genetic difference. Still, it is essential that you understand the breeds of guinea pigs, so you know the health risks some traits pose.
Why CBAs Matter to Breeds of Guinea Pigs
There are several different cavy breeders’ associations, such the American and European variations. These associations determine which breeds of guinea pigs are valuable. They’re also concerned with ensuring pedigrees and the health of bloodlines. After all, no one wants the guinea pig breeds to start becoming too closely related genetically.
American guinea pigs, which are also referred to as English cavies, are the most common breed available. These guinea pigs are short-haired and generally do not need help with grooming. A breeder’s association may recognize the regular and satin varieties. This variety is also the most likely one you’ll see in a pet store.
Abyssinian guinea pigs have a distinctive hairdo. They have rosettes, which look like swirls in their fur. In order to meet the breed requirements, your guinea pig must have at least eight rosettes and match on both sides. However, these lovely guinea pigs are fun and always look a bit disheveled regardless of whether they’re pedigreed.
Peruvian guinea pigs win the award for flowing locks on this list since their hair can grow up to two feet if you do not cut it. These guinea pigs do have a central part near their spine. They also have hair that grows forward over their heads. This breed requires grooming help, from daily brushing to occasionally hair trims, for optimum health.
Silkie and sheltie refer to the same type of guinea pig. Like the namesake, these guinea pigs grow long, luxurious coats. They have no rosettes, no parts, and their hair only grows backward, away from their adorable faces. Often, they do require grooming help.
Crested guinea pigs are cousins of the American variety. These animals are also short haired, which is great maintenance wise. Their defining characteristic is a rosette of hair on their forehead called a crest. There are white crests and crests that match the rest of the piggle’s fur. Either variation is adorable.
Teddy guinea pigs are named after the bear. These piggles have a short, dense coat that usually has kinks in the hair shafts. Their hair constantly appears on end. These guinea pigs make excellent pets since their hair only requires an occasional brushing.
The rex breed of guinea pigs has a special feel to them when being handled. Their fur is short and has a wool-like feel to it. Plus, who doesn’t love a fuzzy piggle? While this breed is a big hit, many breeders’ associations do not recognize it.
Texel guinea pigs are a fun cross between shelties and rexes. This mix gives their fur a wavy texture, especially as it grows longer. Texel is a rare breed, and their coat is hard to take care of. Like humans with curly hair, it tangles very quickly and can be challenging to detangle without hurting the guinea pig.
Sheba guinea pigs are known as Sheba mini yaks in some circles. These guinea pigs look like they’re always having a bad hair day. The mix of rosettes and longer fur tends to create their adorable appearance. With hair like this, though, comes daily maintenance responsibilities for you.
Coronet guinea pigs have a unique look. This breed has long hair, but no part along their spine. They also have a rosette on their foreheads. The long hair does require you to help this breed of guinea pigs groom themselves. Otherwise, they will end up with hair matting. Most coronet guinea pigs are curious by nature.
Merinos are a super soft guinea pig breed. Their hair is curly and may grow long if left unclipped. These guinea pigs also have a single rosette on their forehead. This breed of guinea pigs is rare.
Alpaca is a fun looking guinea pig. They have coarse, wavy fur, which requires almost daily brushing to maintain. Most breeders’ associations do not recognize alpacas. These fun guinea pigs have a way of endearing themselves for guinea pig enthusiasts worldwide.
Lunkarya guinea pigs are affectionately known as Lunks in the breeding community. They have distinctive long, rough curls. Since the hair is thick, it does not do well in sunlight or heat. This breed is not recognized as a distinct variation by many breeders’ associations.
The Himalayan is perhaps the most distinctive-looking breeds of guinea pigs. They have an albino appearance, with a white coat and typically red eyes. They also tend to have brown or black feet, noses, and ears. Himalayan guinea pigs may also experience fading of their spots when ill or scared, which is unique.
There are two varieties of hairless guinea pigs. The Baldwin variety is entirely hairless and must remain indoors. Meanwhile, the Skinny breed has some hair, usually on its face and paws. Both types require specialized care. Typically, they need more options for shelter, something to cuddle into, and a bit closer veterinary care.