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Guinea Pig: Breeds and Colors


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Thursday, 11 de December 2008

Guinea Pig: Breeds and Colors


Long-haired breeds are not recommended for inexperience owners since it takes a lot of time and dedication to groom the coat. Sometimes owners trim the hair to make the grooming easier. Usually the hair is wrapped so it doesn’t get messy or tangled.

Peruvian – Smooth, straight and long hair falling symmetrically for both sides of the body is the typically coat of this cavy. The hair grows over the eyes and it can reach 30 cm in length. There are also Satin Peruvians that have glossy and shinning coats.

Silkie or Sheltie – Originally called Angora, the Silkie is very similar to the Peruvian, with long straight hair, but instead of having the hair over the eyes, the coat grows backwards from the head. With the same type of hair but with sheen is the Satin Silkie.

Coronet – This Guinea Pig has long hair and straight hair, but it has a “coronet” or a rosette on the forehead. It doesn’t have any other rosettes on the body.

Texel – With not only long but also curly coats, these cavies are probably the most difficult to groom. The body is short but the head is broad.

Merino – This breed has long and curly hair with a crest on the head.

Alpaca – Like the Texel Guinea Pig but with hair growing forward over the eyes.

Short- haired

Easier to maintain, the short-coated Guinea Pigs are very popular amongst the cavies’ fanciers.

American or English Cavy – These cavies have short and smooth coats that can be of any color. There is also the Satin variety in which the light is reflected making it shine.

Abyssinian – With an uncombed look, the Abyssinian has a rough coat with swirls of hair, or rosettes. The hair can be a bit longer than the usual “short coated breeds”. The rosettes need to be symmetrical and very well defined. The cavy should have at least 8 for show purposes, although 10 is usually preferred. It can have many colors or a solid one. The Abyssinian Satin is the glossy coat variety.

Crested – Most like the English Cavy, the crested guinea pig sets himself apart because of his crest: a rosette on the forehead. There are two varieties: the White Crest (American Crested), where the white is restricted to the crest and the Self Crested (English crested) with a rosette of the same color of the body coat.

Teddy – It has a short and wiry hair, giving the Guinea Pig a fuzzy look. The nose is roman. There is also the Satin variety of this breed.
Rex – Identical to Teddy, but it is genetically different

Hairless breeds

Originally bred for laboratory research, these types tend to have fragile immune systems and its introduction in the market is being controversial. They are more sensitive to temperature changes and tend to eat more to maintain their body heat.

Baldwin – These cavies are totally hairless, although they may be born with hair, they loose it until they reach adulthood.

Skinny - Almost hairless, these cavies have patches of hair in specific areas like: paws, nose, head, or even on their back.

Color breeds

Self – A single color, solid, that covers the entire body. 

  • Beige
  • Black
  • Buff
  • Chocolate
  • Cream
  • Golden (pink or dark-eyes)
  • Lilac
  • Red
  • Saffron (pale yellow)
  • White (pink or dark eyes)


Tortoiseshell – Smooth hair with a black and red pattern. The patches are similar in size and are rectangular. The dividing line between the rectangles should be the middle of the back and belly. There is also the tortoiseshell and white which has besides the black and the red it also has rectangular white patches.

Roan – A speckled pattern that results of the combination between lighter and darker shades of hair mixed evenly in the coat.

Agouti – Sometimes mistaken with roan, the Agouti coat is also the combination of lighter and darker colors but on the same hair, meaning each hair has two shades of color.

Himalayan –The Himalayan is mostly white, but it has darker feet, ears and nose, usually chocolate or black. The eyes are red.

Dalmatian –The name says it all. These Guinea Pigs have white coats with darker spots over the body.

Dutch – These Guinea Pigs have two colors: a darker shade covers the entire body, except for a white band that covers the upper back and belly. The face is dark but it has a white blaze.

Brindle – A bicolor coat where the light and the darker colors are spread over the body.
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