Just as with any other animal, there are going to be at least a few different species that exist that vary to some degree in their appearance, conduct, and overall demeanor. When it comes to guinea pigs, what are the different types out there?
The different types of guinea pigs include the Texel, Silkie, Sheba, Merino, Peruvian, Coronet, Alpaca, Lunkarya, Abyssinian, Teddy, Satin, Agouti, Rex, Himylian, American Crested, and American guinea pig
For anyone who is considering bringing a guinea pig into their home or personal space, it may be daunting to look and see the expansive list of various species. However, the beauty of so much variety is that, as a potential owner, you have the ability to choose a guinea pig that perfectly suits your personality, your care capabilities, and your expectations for the future. Continue reading below to find all the different types of guinea pigs out there.
What are the Different Types of Guinea Pigs?
When it comes to guinea pigs, some may be inclined to believe that these animals are a very singular type of pet with little variance or breed differences. However, guinea pigs are actually a species that have quite a variety of different breeds that differ in color, size, and temperament. Take a look below to find a list of all the different guinea pig types out there.
Before diving into more common guinea pig breeds, let’s first consider the Texel guinea pig. This breed is known for its very soft, long, and thick hair that will curl if grown long enough. These guinea pigs are typically multi-colored and can be found in a variety of different opposing colors, making their long locks even more appealing. They require a bit more care due to the nature of their hair, but it can be managed with regular grooming.
Next in line to the long-hair guinea pig bunch is the Silkie guinea pig. Although this breed is considered to be long-haired, one of the biggest appeals of this breed is that their coats grow in a very predictable and neat way. No hair grows in a way that will cause unruly patterns on their coat and you will not need to worry about hair growing around their eyes. They are incredibly soft, revealing the origin of their name - Silkies.
If you aren’t looking for a guinea pig that has a well-mannered fur coat, then look no further than the Sheba. The Sheba breed is one that resembles a tousled head of hair rather than an actual guinea pig, but they have some very distinct qualities. With very long coats and multi-colored fur, they also have mutton-chop whiskers and always have a rosette, which is a particular pattern in their fur that causes the hair to grow in a swirl-like way.
If you like the Sheba guinea pig but are looking for a breed that has just a bit less hair, consider the Merino guinea pig. This guinea pig has long hair over the span of its body that is loosely curled, but on its face, it has very tame, short hair. For owners, this may make things a bit less complicated when it comes to grooming, feeding, and interacting, as hair is not constantly falling into their line of few. They are also very well-known for their laid-back temperament.
If you aren’t opposed to long-hair but would like a breed where the hair is a bit more manageable when it comes to grooming, the Peruvian breed may be the best choice for you. This is one of the oldest guinea pig breeds which host two rosettes on their bodies from birth. As they grow older, their hair grows with them without cease. They will need to be regularly groomed and trimmed, but their silky straight hair makes this manageable.
Similar to the Peruvian is the Coronet guinea pig. This guinea pig also hosts a very long and straight coat of hair that is very soft and easily brushed through when groomed regularly. They have a crest on their forehead that is a different color than the fur on their face and body, but their hair does not grow as long as the Peruvian guinea pig. The hair around their face is also short, giving owners an easier go at grooming around this area if needed.
Many guinea pigs are considered to be relatively coarse when it comes to the consistency of their coats, which is why the Alpaca guinea pig is so desirable. This breed is rare, but when you are able to find one, you will notice that their hair is very cotton-like, as it is fluffy and incredibly soft to the touch. They require extensive grooming to keep their hair in this state, which is why they are typically used for showing.
If you are looking for a guinea pig that is a bit rougher around the edges as far as appearances go, the Lunkarya guinea pig breed is your patch. They are born with a rough, long, and widely curly coat which gets thicker over time, making grooming rather difficult at times. These guinea pigs are found in a variety of different patterns and colors, but be advised, as they age, their coats dull and those colors will fade.
For those of you wanting a guinea pig that has an incredibly unique look, look no further than the Abyssinian guinea pig. This breed hosts a variety of colors within one coat, but more than that, it has eight rosettes that are found all around its body. Their coat is very rough, but is very shiny and will appear to have bursts all about it due to the way the rosettes impact the fur.
After reading through all of the long-haired breeds, you may be thinking that (although cute as can be) that type of maintenance just isn’t for you. If this is the case, you may want to consider bringing home a Teddy guinea pig. These guinea pigs have a medium-length coat that is coarse and dense, giving it a rather puffy appearance, giving them their name. They require little grooming, and when you do, it is rather simplistic and quick.
You have seen that a breed exists with the name “Silkie,” but for those wanting a soft guinea pig without the long coat, there is the Satin breed. Satin guinea pigs have a very fine coat that is extremely soft to the touch. Their coats are reflective, so when light touches them, you are able to see just how satin-like this breed really is. Their fur is also very thin, which makes grooming very easy and also contributes to their satin-ish feel.
Another smooth and soft guinea pig is the Agouti breed. Their coats are actually very intriguing as they can look almost as if the hair has been peppered due to each strand of hair displaying a different shade of color. They have round faces and large eyes, making them rather appealing to owners as they seem almost cartoon-like upon first glance. Their ears are also noticeably drooped over right above their eyes.
The Rex guinea pig has a coat that is just about as rough as its name sounds. The coats on this breed do not have guard hairs beneath them, which makes the coat feel more like wool than guinea pig hair. Because of this, although their hair is short, they appear to be very fluffy, giving them a rounder appearance than those with flat hair. They are also well-known for their large, droopy ears that jut out from their puffy coats.
Himalayan guinea pigs are not what you think of when you consider the normal appearance of an average guinea pig, which is just what some potential owners may be looking for! This short-haired breed is born completely white, but over time, they begin to develop brown or black areas around their feet, nose, and ears. These features give them a very unique look and show off their smooth coats that are incredibly neat.
If you are someone who prefers a guinea pig that is solid in color with a few small distinct features but is not necessarily inclined to the Himalayan guinea pig, consider the American Crested guinea pig. This guinea pig is a solid and rich color, with a rosette that sits right on top of its head. Even more original though is that the rosette is a different color from the rest of the guinea pig’s coat.
American Guinea Pig
This is one of the most common guinea pigs out there, and for good reason. This particular breed can come in a variety of different color variations, is very well-tempered, and has a very long life expectancy of 7 years. American Guinea Pigs are pets that are acquired with the expectation that they will be around for quite some time, but they are active and friendly with a prominent nose and floppy ears.