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Guinea Pig Breeds

The good news is, there are many wonderful breeds of guinea pig for us to enjoy! Ever since their domestication as long ago as 5000 BC, humans have been breeding guinea pigs for all sorts of different reasons (from keeping agricultural stock for food and ritual sacrifice, to breeding for scientific testing and selling to the well-to-do). But latterly, it’s all been about showing them off!

Here’s our handy guide to guinea pig breed types…

Smooth Coated Breeds

American Short-haired Guinea Pig

The American Short-haired guinea pig is the most common breed of guinea pig and arguably the most iconic.

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Crested Guinea Pig

Crested guinea pigs are easy to spot. As their name suggests, they have a crown-like crest (or rosette) of hair on the top of their head.

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Ridgeback Guinea Pig

The Ridgeback guinea pig has a smooth short coat with a distinctive ridge of standing hair along it’s back. This “mohawk” runs from its neck until its rump.

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Long coated breeds

Peruvian Guinea Pig

Of all the guinea pig breeds, the Peruvian is arguably the most striking, with long, flowing locks spilling over its forehead and out from the spine of its back.

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Silkie Guinea Pig (also known as a Sheltie)

The Silkie guinea pig is also a long haired guinea pig, but in contrast to a Peruvian guinea pig, its hair grows back from its head and is known for being very soft and silky (hence the name!).

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Texel Guinea Pig

Texel guinea pigs are long-haired piggies, with curly soft hair that appears in ringlets down their back. Their heads are generally wider and rounded in appearance.

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Coronet Guinea Pig

The Coronet is a combination of a Silkie and a Crested guinea pig. It has the long, straight hair of a Silkie, but with a rosetted ‘crown’ of a Crested guinea pig on its head.

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Merino Guinea Pig

With its long, curly hair, the Merino guinea pig is not dissimilar from the Coronet, only it’s a curly version! It has shorter hair on its forehead, with a crest.

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Lunkarya Guinea Pig

The Lunkarya is a variation of the Peruvian guinea pig and was discovered in Sweden. Not a product of crossbreeding, this long, thick, curly, ‘sheep-haired’ guinea pig is actually the result of genetic mutations.

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The Sheba (or Sheba Mini Yak) Guinea Pig

The Sheba Mini Yak, or Sheba, is another of those guinea pigs with the most amazing ‘I just got out of bed’ hair. Their untamed locks only serve to add character to their personality and (as you might guess from the name) they have been likened to a shaggy-haired creature, the Yak.

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Alpaca Guinea Pig

The Alpaca guinea pig is best described as a Peruvian guinea pig with curls! They are often mistaken for Texel guinea pigs because of their curly long hair, but while a Texel’s hair falls backwards from its head, an Alpaca’s head hair hangs forward.

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rough coated breeds

Abyssinian Guinea Pig

Another of the older breeds, the Abyssinian guinea pig has been recorded as far back as the 16th century. They are known for their characteristic medium length hair, that appears in swirls all over their body (called rosettes).

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Teddy Guinea Pig

Teddy guinea pigs are short-haired, with a dense, wiry coat. Because their hair is so short and bristly, it does not tangle and will only need lightly brushing to keep it free of debris.

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Rex Guinea Pig

The Rex is another short-haired guinea pig but it deferrers quite distinctively from other short-haired piggies. A Rex’s fur is course, dense and woolly and its ears are long and droopy.

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Swiss Guinea Pig

The Swiss guinea pig is a relatively new breed of piggy originating from Switzerland. It has been bred by crossing a Rex with a Teddy guinea pig. It has a short, dense coat with wavy, wispy hair that stands up all over its body.

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Hairless Breeds

Skinny Pig

Skinny pigs are almost entirely hairless, with the exception of some wisps of fuzzy hair on their feet and nose. They are characterised by their droopy ears, rubbery skin and wrinkles!

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Baldwin Guinea Pig

Like the Skinny pig, the Baldwin guinea pig can be easily recognised by its lack of hair! They are born fully furred and then lose all their hair 2-5 days later.

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Colourations & Patterns

As well as variations in their coat and appearance, guinea pigs also appear in a variety of colourations and patterns. Here are some of the popular ones:

Coat Patterns

Self

All one colour.

Agouti

A base colour "tickled" with a secondary colour.

Dutch

A white band around their middle and front legs with a "V" shaped pattern on their face.

Himalayan

A white body with distinctive dark features on their noses, ears and feet. More often than not, will also have red eyes.

Dalmation

Predominately white coat with black spots. Black head with a white stripe down it.

Roan

Similar to Dalmation guinea pigs but with speckled fur instead of spots.

Tortoiseshell

Clearly defined patches of black and red.

Tortoiseshell and White

Like Tortoiseshell but with the addition of white to their coat.

Brindle

Equally mixed, solid patches of a red and black colour.

Magpie

Features a chequerboard pattern of square-cut patches.

Harlequin

A cream and black half-and-half patchwork look.

Colours

Guinea Pigs can only ever have a maximum of 3 colours in their coat.

Coat Colours

Cream

Buff

Red

Gold

Saffron

Chocolate

Black

Lilac

Beige

Slate

White

All About Guinea Pigs

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