If you’re looking for a new pet and you love the idea of guinea pigs, there are a few things you should know before you pick out your little bundle of joy.
There are many different breeds of guinea pig, and each one has its own personality and quirks.
Some of the most popular breeds include the American, Peruvian, Himalayan, Silkie, Texel, Teddy, Abyssinian, and Skinny. Within these eight categories, there is a wide range of individual appearance and personality traits.
For example, the American guinea pig is typically stout and muscular, while the Peruvian breed is known for its long, luxurious hair. Similarly, the Himalayan guinea pig is characterized by its light-colored coat and dark points on the face, ears, and feet. With so much variation among the different breeds, there is sure to be a guinea pig that appeals to everyone.
While all guinea pigs have distinctive fur patterns and colors, there can be a lot of variation within each breed. For example, some American guinea pigs have short, smooth coats while others have long, wavy hair.
Here is a list of some of the most popular breeds with pictures, so that you can do your research before making a decision.
Its worth noting that not all of these are recognised as breeds by the American Guinea Pig Breeders Association. However other countries do recognise them as official breeds.
1. Abyssinian Guinea Pig
If you’re looking for a friendly guinea pig that is loveable and looks incredible, the Abyssinian is the breed for you. These guinea pigs have very unique fur that consists of rosettes, or small tufts of hair that stand up all over their bodies. This distinctive coat gives them a very regal appearance, which is why you may see them take part in competitions such as “best of show”.
The Abyssinian is one of the most popular breeds. It has a short, dense coat that can be various colors, including brown, black, and white. Abyssinians are active and playful, and they enjoy interacting with their human companions. They’re more suitable for adults or those that have experience looking after Guinea pigs due to the amount of grooming they need.
Abyssinian Guinea Pigs are very excitable, so not suitable for smaller children or first time piggie owners.
2. American Guinea Pig
The American Guinea Pig is the most common type of guinea pig found in pet stores. They’re also one of the largest breeds, which means they require a bit more space than some of the other breeds. American Guinea Pigs have short, smooth coats that come in a variety of colors. In fact they come in 19 different color classifications including black, brown, cream, and white.
Since their coat is smooth, they don’t require much grooming and will often do it themselves.
American guinea pigs are known for being outgoing and friendly. They enjoy interacting with their human companions and are very social creatures. They’re suitable for all types of owners, including those that have never had a guinea pig before.
3. Peruvian Guinea Pig
You can always spot a Peruvian Guinea Pig by their long, luxurious hair. In fact, they have the longest hair of all the guinea pig breeds. It can grow up to 2 feet long. If you ever see a Peruvian guinea pig with its hair at full length, you might struggle to tell one end from the other.
They require a lot of grooming due to their long hair, so they’re not suitable for those that don’t have the time to commit to this task or first timers.
Peruvian guinea pigs come in a variety of colors including black, brown, cream, and white. Peruvians are very social creatures and once they become used to you, they can be very affectionate.
4. Teddy Guinea Pig
The Teddy Guinea Pig is a very popular breed, which you would expect as it looks just like a teddy bear. This also makes it a fairly rare Guinea Pig. They are known for its soft, cuddly fur. Teddy guinea pigs have short, thick fur that can be various colors including black, brown, grey, orange, chestnut and white.
It is important to brush them on a weekly basis to prevent their fur from matting.
Teddy guinea pigs are very social creatures that enjoy interacting and playing. They’re also enjoy being around other Guinea Pigs. They make great pets for all types of owners, including those that have never had a guinea pig before.
5. Texel Guinea Pig
The Texel Guinea Pig is a very unique breed, which is easily recognizable by its curly fur. If you was to mix the Shelties and Rexes, you would get a Texel.
They’re a farily rare guinea pig, as they are a British breed. More often than not because of the way they look, they’re more often seen in shows than as a pet.
The fur on a Texel is very unique and grows in ringlets. Since the fur curls, they dont have as long hair as other guinea pigs.
Texel guinea pigs require a lot of grooming due to their long hair. They also need to be brushed every day to prevent their fur from matting.
Texel guinea pigs are very friendly and loving creatures. A beginner guinea pig owner could get a Texel, you just need to be prepared for the work involved in grooming them. A Short haired guinea pig might be best to begin with.
6. White Crested Guinea Pig
There are two types of White Crested Guinea Pigs, the American and the English. The American White Crested is the most popular of the two and is easily recognisable by the white patches on their head. They come in a variety of colors including black, brown and white.
The English White Crested is less common and has completely white fur. The only exception to this is if they have a colored patch on their head.
Both types of White Crested Guinea Pigs require very little grooming as they have short hair. In fact, the English White Crested doesn’t even require brushing as their fur is so short.
They do tend to be a little shyer than others but are also very intelligent. A good choice if your looking to teach them to do tricks.
White Crested guinea pigs are very friendly once they get to know you and make great pets for all types of owner, even those that have never had a guinea pig before.
7. Sheltie/Silkie Guinea Pig
The Silkie and Sheltie is actually the same breed of Guinea Pig. Sheltie is what they call this breed in the United Kingdom.
It is probably one of the most popular of the long-haired guinea pig breeds. It grows pretty long and sweeps back from the forehead. The hair itself is dense and looks very luxurious.
The Silkie guinea pig is very shy at first and can get scared easily, so if you have noisy children then perhaps not the best breed to go for.
They’re one of the gentlest breeds and once they get to know you very calm and love their cuddles.
Since they have long hair and require a lot of grooming, they’re not the best breed for young children or first time guinea pig owners.
8. Sheba Guinea Pig
Now the Sheba Guinea Pig is a very special breed, they’re very intelligent, adventurous and caring. Although they are very high-maintenance, so not the best choice for first time owners.
They have crazy hair that looks completely out of control. in fact they’re known as the bad hair day cavy in Australia. The coat is dense, long and needs to be groomed every single day.
9. Coronet Guinea Pig
The Coronet Guinea Pig is very similar to the American Crested, and originated in the UK. They are one of the more popular long-haired guinea pigs. A Coronet is another word for crown and this is how it got its name, as it has a rosette of hair on its forehead.
They’re a very friendly breed and love the company of people and other guinea pigs. They’re known for being very adventurous and inquisitive.
The Coronet Guinea Pig might not be the best breed for beginners as they do require alot of attention. Due to their long hair, they do need grooming on a weekly basis.
10. Lunkarya Guinea Pig
I’ll be honest, I cannot even pronounce this breeds name. I have a hard enough time spelling it. Which is why I refer to it like so many as “The Lunk”.
It stands out so much, they can be spotted a mile away and are one of the rarest breeds. They stand out due to the long, rough coat that is also incredibly curly.
They’re very common in Sweden, Norway and other Nordic countries.
Like other long haired guinea pigs, these are not really suitable for beginners as they do require a lot of care and grooming.
11. Rex Guinea Pig
Rex Guinea Pigs are one of my favourite breeds. They look incredibly cute with short hair which is wooly. Their ears set them apart from other breeds. They’re long and drop down.
Guinea Pigs tend to grow fairly long but the Rex Guinea Pig is the longest, at 17 inches.
This breed is perfect for first time guinea pig owners and children, as they require very little maintenance.
If your wanting a Guinea Pig thats outgoing, cuddly and affectionate then the Rex is just right.
12. Baldwin Guinea Pig
Did you know that the Baldwin Guinea Pig is not always hairless? They’re actually born with fur but this falls out after a few months. These Guinea Pigs are really only recommended for those that have experience with Guinea Pigs because of the extra care and attention they need.
Since they don’t have a coat of fur, it’s more common for them to get wounds or skin infections.
You also need to keep them extra warm, as they don’t have fur to give them that extra heat.
As you can imagine, since they have no fur you should also not let them go out in direct sunlight.
13. Alpaca Guinea Pig
The Alpaca Guinea Pig is another rare breed of guinea pigs. Can you guess where they get their name from?
Yep, their fur looks just like that of an Alpaca’s.
They are known as the Alpaca guinea pig but are known by other names such as English Peruvian, Boucle and Curly Coronet.
As you can imagine, they are not suited to beginner guinea pig owners. Their fur can get matted and tangled up, so they need to be brushed and groomed on a daily basis. Unlike short haired breeds, they also need bathing on a monthly basis.
14. Skinny Guinea Pig
Many people get the Skinny Guinea Pig mixed with the Baldwin. you can see why as they do both look very similar.
They’re a hairless breed, except for a little hair around their nose, back, legs and feet.
Since they don’t have hair, you do need to provide them with extra care. Its important that they dont get in contact with direct sunlight. Since they don’t have the fur to protect them, their is also more chance of them getting infections.
Unlike guinea pigs that can simply lay and sleep on bedding hay, with these you want to give them a nice soft bed. This will prevent them from getting hurt.
15. Himalayan Guinea Pig
Finally we have the Himalayan Guinea Pig. These are a unique guinea pig as their hair is completely white. The only colour that can be found on them is the back or brown tips of their ears and nose. Unlike other piggies, they all usually have red eyes.
They are known as an albino breed, they do have a sensitivity to the sun so you should keep them out of direct light. Since they are Albinos, its recommended that beginners do not get this breed as they do require extra care.
There are many different breeds of guinea pigs, each with their own unique set of characteristics.
Whether you’re looking for a cuddly Rex Guinea Pig or an exotic Alpaca Guinea Pig, there’s definitely a breed out there that will fit your needs.
Remember to do your research before getting a guinea pig, as some breeds require more care than others.