The Ultimate Guide to American Guinea Pig

Are you looking for the best guinea pig breed to add to your family as a pet? The American guinea pigs may be your best choice. This breed exhibits good qualities that make it one of the best family pets.

American guinea pigs are friendly and easy to maintain. Compared to other breeds, they rank among the best pets to consider for your family.

In this guide, we will unveil what American guinea pigs are. Find all details if you are looking for a pet or want to know more.

Cute Reptiles as Pets
Cute Reptiles as Pets

The Ultimate Guide to American Guinea Pig

The Ultimate Guide to American Guinea Pig

The American guinea pig is one of the most popular breeds for various reasons. They have short, smooth hair that comes in different colors and patterns.

These American guinea breeds have good temperaments and are easy to maintain. Their short fur means you will not battle with parasites and other disadvantages of short hair.

American guinea pigs also have a good reputation as friendly pets. They like people and get along with other guinea pigs very well.

When fully grown, American Guinea pigs can weigh from 1 to 3 pounds and extend from 8 inches to 12 inches in length.

A well-fed and healthy American guinea pig can live for up to 14 years of age. However, many average at about 5-7 years.

Origin and Appearance

The American guinea pigs are the oldest breeds on the planet. It is believed that these pigs were first domesticated in 5000 BC in the Andes. They are the surviving offspring of South American Tschudi Guinea Pig breeds.

A few years later, the American Guinea pigs reached Europe. Only high-profile families such as royalties and presidents had them as pets.

The American guinea pig breed is distinguishable from all others by its chubby-looking appearance. They are also characterized by round eyes and petal-like ears.

This breed bears almost the same body size with a general brick-like shape. They have small tails that are often hidden under the fur.

Comparing males and females, the only readily noticeable difference is their genitals. The females take a Y-shape while the male’s genitals appear like a straight line with a dot on top. Males are also a bit bigger and heavier.   

Range of American Guinea Pig Colors

Range of American Guinea Pig Colors

American guinea pigs have more than 20 different colors. These can form on their fur as one block color or a combination, forming different patterns. The list has the following colors:

  • Beige
  • Cream
  • Brindle
  • Agouti
  • Dalmatian
  • Tortoiseshell
  • White
  • Black
  • Lilac
  • Roan
  • Red, etc.

For classification purposes, the American Cavy Breeders Association (ACBA) categorized the colors. We have the agouti, self, marked, solid, and tan.

Typical Behavior and Temperament

Typical Behavior and Temperament

American guinea pigs are outgoing and have more friendly personalities than other breeds. Provided you maintain them as recommended, they should be happy with you throughout their lives.

The American Guinea pigs are happy in groups. If it is your first time getting them, consider taking two of the same gender or a fixed one.

But if you want to raise your own little piggies, go for a male and female one. This breed of pigs thrives in groups. Companion is almost everything for them.

The American guinea pigs are as intelligent as any other pet. They can also be trained to do some fun tricks that strengthen the bonds between you and the pet.

Consider making them respond when called, return to the cage on command, move in circles, push a tennis ball, among other tricks.

This breed is charming, friendly, and curious, making them the best pet for a family. They are safe and do not bite.

They may only do so if they are provoked or feel unsafe. Keep your cavies happy and content to avoid the unexpected from happening.

Conservation Status

The American guinea pigs are large in numbers and are safe. They are nowhere near extinction. So, they are not on the list of threatened animal species. In fact, you can still find them in the wild, especially the South American cousins.

In the U.S., guinea pigs are still served as exotic meat in various restaurants and hotels. That means their numbers are still good enough.

American Guinea Pig Care

American Guinea Pig Care

Generally, you can care for the American guinea pigs as you would for other species. They require proper housing, food, grooming, medical attention to keep them healthy and happy. As a pet owner, you should ensure it gets all it needs.

House Requirements

American guinea pigs may be a bit smaller compared to other breeds, but they need more space to exercise and run around as they play with each other.

The cage should be spacious for playing and separate compartments where the piggy can hide or enjoy some time alone.

The ideal cage size for one American guinea pig has about 7.5 square feet of floor area. If you cage a pair, the cage size should be increased to about 10.5 square feet.

The cage can be made of plastic, metal, or wood materials and placed in a draft-free and quiet area.

However, ensure you have solid flooring and not a mesh. American guinea pigs are prone to foot sores. Giving them a comfortable cage is the only way to prevent that.

Food Requirements

Feeding your American guinea pig is crucial to its health and happiness. You should have a constant supply of high-quality timothy hay. That is needed for their high fiber content that enhances digestion.

American guinea pigs should eat about 20% of their body weight daily. Their diet should comprise a high percentage of fresh vegetables and colored vegetables for vitamin C.

You also need about one-eighth of food pellets a day. Buy only food pellets with vitamin C, and be from a reputable company.

American guinea pigs are happy eating leafy greens such as romaine, green leaf, and red leaf lettuce. Do not feed them darker green vegetables such as kales, collards, or spinach.

Their high calcium content can cause bladder stones. Also, avoid fruits and other sugary foods.

Grooming Requirements

The American guinea pigs can keep themselves clean because of their short hair. However, you still need to groom them to strengthen your bond.

Older piggies may require more grooming often than the youngsters. Also, consider giving occasional baths. That is even recommended if your pet has diarrhea.

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American Guinea Pig Health Problems

All guinea pigs, including the American guinea pig breed, are prone to infections and other health problems. These pets are good at hiding their injuries and illnesses, meaning you should regularly check them to find out.

Your American guinea pigs are likely to suffer from the following health conditions:

  • Tumors and abscesses
  • Scurvy
  • Diarrhea
  • Vitamin C deficiency
  • Bumblefoot
  • Heatstroke
  • Pneumonia
  • Eye infections
  • Respiratory problems
  • Teeth or dental issues, etc.

To keep them healthy, have a constant supply of hay and clean drinking water throughout the day. Supplement their food with pellets fortified with vitamin C and practice proper hygiene in and around their cages.

Remove any sharp objects and trim their nails to keep them short. Lastly, call a vet if the health conditions deteriorate further.

Where Can You Buy an American Guinea Pig?

Where Can You Buy an American Guinea Pig?

There are many pet centers where you can buy American breed guinea pigs. You can also make your order online without leaving your home.

Consider Petco, Petsmart, and Lafeber. If you cannot get to these places for the cavy you need, you can also try nearby dealers.

How Much Is an American Guinea Pig?

The cost of an American guinea pig is low compared to other pets. It costs between $10 and $50 from a breeder, but that depends on the age. This is just an estimate. Don’t feel upset when other dealers offer lower or higher prices.

Are American Guinea Pigs Good Pets?

Yes. American guinea pigs have a friendly personality. They get along with the entire family, provided no one scares them. They are little cute piggies that can be a perfect addition to your family.

American Guinea Pig with Other Guinea Pigs

Yes, American guinea pigs are generally social animals that bond well with other breeds. You can consider the following breeds as an alternative to American guinea pigs or as their companion:

  • Silkie Guinea Pigs
  • Texel Guinea Pigs
  • Teddy Guinea Pig
  • Black Guinea Pig
  • Peruvian Guinea Pigs


How big do American guinea pigs get?

American guinea pigs can grow up to 12 inches long and weigh 3 pounds. That, of course, depends on the health status and food availability throughout the growing period. Keep them healthy for the best results.

Do American guinea pigs bite?

Yes. American guinea pigs bite as their defense mechanism. They will always run and hide. But if they are pushed, they can use their teeth. Biting is rare and only happens if the pet is provoked or distressed.

Which breed of the guinea pig is friendliest?

Teddy guinea pigs are the friendliest of all guinea pig breeds. If that is the quality you are looking for in a guinea pig, they become your best choice. They are, however, not friendly to each other. Cage sharing may not go well with this breed.

Are male guinea pigs nicer than females?

Yes, but it all depends on your preference. Male guinea pigs are more courageous and explorers than females. Due to their curiosity, they are easier to train and bond with. Generally, both male and female guinea pigs have nearly the same outgoing personality.

What is the rarest guinea pig?

The White Crested guinea pig breed is somewhat the rarest guinea pig breed on the planet. Santa Catarina’s guinea pig is equally rare. It may take you weeks or even months to find them.

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Last update on 2022-08-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Wrapping Up

The American guinea pigs are among the friendliest breeds that make the best family pet. They are easy to maintain and clean up due to their short fur. They are, however, susceptible to stress and illness.

If you have or want to buy one, ensure they are well-fed and keep their cages always clean.Thank you for your time at Petsive. We appreciate your time and invite you to explore more about caring for your cavy friend.

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