I'm a guinea pig mom! After weeks and weeks of researching guinea pig breeds, habits, dietary needs, their life span, and more, my youngest finally won me over and I relented on getting guinea pigs. I say "pigs" and not "pig", because we learned that guinea pigs actually do better when they live with a friend.
So, two guinea pigs later, we can now say we are proud guinea pig parents to Minnie and Mars.
Guinea Pigs as Pets
Guinea Pigs are a wonderful pet for people of all ages, but they do require daily care and a lot of research. There are several different guinea pig breeds to choose from, each with its own unique traits. When you are choosing guinea pigs, it is important to understand the needs of the guinea pig breeds you are considering before bringing one home.
For example, though it sounds like a hairless guinea pig would be low-maintenance, they require a lot of care.
Choosing an Abyssinian guinea pig or Teddy Guinea Pig will give you a piggie with a special personality.
Those with extra time for grooming might enjoy a Peruvian guinea pig or a Long Haired Guinea Pig.
Learn more about these unique breeds to make the best choice for your family pet.
Unique Guinea Pig Breeds
Abyssinian Guinea Pig
The Abyssinian Guinea Pig is a special breed of guinea pigs that have distinct rosettes in their fur. While other breeds have a rosette on their head or shoulder area, the Abyssinian has up to 10 over the entirety of its body with ridges between.
It can be a bit challenging to groom these animals because of the multiple directions of fur growth.
An Abyssinian Guinea Pig may have an excitable personality and might be better for more experienced owners.
Teddy Guinea Pig
As a Teddy Guinea Pig has a short, sometimes wiry hair texture, they can be a wonderful choice for children. Owner grooming is minimal with these breeds.
A Teddy Guinea Pig does have a tendency to get dry skin, so bathing them should be a rare event.
You may wish to find a good small animal vet for your Teddy Guinea Pig to help when dealing with issues such as ear wax build up or skin issues.
Peruvian Guinea Pig
A Peruvian Guinea Pig can grow beautiful fur that can reach up to a foot in length. Those who select this breed of guinea pig must have time for extensive grooming or access to a groomer who is comfortable working with small animals.
Frequent brushing and cleaning, plus trimming the length of Peruvian Guinea Pig fur is absolutely necessary for the comfort and health of the animal. These may not be the best choice for inexperienced pet parents.
Long Haired Guinea Pig
The Peruvian is not the only long haired guinea pig. Sheltie guinea pigs, also commonly called the Silkie, have long hair but less so than the Peruvian.
Owners still need to take care to clean and groom these adorable animals frequently to prevent matting and other issues. Long haired guinea pig owners must be conscientious of the care of their piggies.
Hairless Guinea Pig
The Hairless Guinea Pig, also known as the “Skinny Pig”, is a surprisingly adorable guinea pig breed with very little hair. It can be a great choice for those who have allergies to animal fur who want a sweet piggie friend to love.
It is important to note that is more difficult for a Hairless Guinea Pig to maintain their body temperature. Owners will need to be sure that they are kept in a cozy area, free of drafts, and that they have enough food to maintain their higher metabolism. More food = more expense.
American Guinea Pig
American Guinea Pigs are one of the oldest breeds of guinea pigs around. They're typically friendly and laid-back, which explains why so many people choose them as pets. Our guinea pigs are American Guinea Pigs and we can definitely attest to their friendly, snuggly nature!
The American Guinea Pig typically weighs about 2-3 pounds and has short, straight hair. That means that they don't require too much grooming and are easier to care for. As with all guinea pigs, American Guinea Pigs eat a lot!
Texel Guinea Pig
The Texel Guinea Pig is one of the newest breeds of guinea pigs, thought to have begun in the 1980s. They were bred through a genetic mutation and are the product of crossbreeding between a long-haired Silkie guinea pig and a curly Rex guinea pig.
Although their long, curly hair makes them beautiful and unique, it also is the most difficult of all of the breeds to groom. Regular attention to their fur is a must or it will quickly become matted. They would probably work best for the experienced guinea pig owner!
No matter what guinea pig breeds you are considering, there are wonderful options for families that have the time and resources to properly care for them. Take care as you make your choice to find the right guinea pig breed for a suitable pet.