We all love guinea pigs, but not all of us know that there are numerous breeds of these adorable creatures. And different breed types come with different features: while some have swirly cowlicks, others have long fur.
In this article, we are going to discuss 13 amazing guinea pig breeds. We hope this post will help you learn about your options, and make informed choices.
- 13 Guinea Pig Breeds – Most Complete List
- Guinea Pigs by Colors and Patterns
13 Guinea Pig Breeds – Most Complete List
Guinea pigs are adorable rodents that make good pets. They live longer than most other rodents, and have amazing personality traits. Just like other pets, guinea pigs come in many different breeds with varying physical and behavioral traits.
According to the British Cavy Council, there are over 50 breeds of guinea pigs. If you are interested in guinea pigs, learning about their breeds can help you choose the right breed.
Before we discuss them in detail, let’s glance over the notable features of these breeds.
|Guinea Pig Breeds||Coat||Color||Availability/How Common|
|American||Silky||Comes in 19 colors||The most common breed|
|White-Crested||Smooth coat with a white crest||A variety of colors, honey-brown being the most common||Rare|
|Abyssinian||Soft texture||Black, brown, albino, roan||Very common|
|Peruvian||Long fur||Many colors including white, russet red, cream, chocolate brown, and black||Fairly common|
|Silkie||Long, smooth coat||Many colors including red, white, brown, and black||Relatively rare|
|Coronet||Long, flowing coat||Cinnamon and agouti, coffee and white||Not very common|
|Lunkarya||Dense coat with a coarse texture||Comes in many colors and patterns||Not easily available beyond Nordic countries|
|Texel||Thick, long, curly coat||Black, gold, and white||Pretty rare|
|Merino||Soft, long coat||Comes in a variety of colors including chocolate, black, golden, and red||Rare|
|Teddy||Soft, smooth coat, mid-length fur||Comes in brown, black, gold, chestnut, red, gray, gold, orange, and white||Easy to find|
|Sheba||Messy, rosette coat||Tricolor, rosessted, solid, tortoiseshell||Easy to find|
|Baldwin||Hairless||A variety of colors including tortoiseshell, Dutch, Himalayan, broken colors, and self.||Rare, but some breeds are not that hard to find.|
|Skinny||Mostly hairless||Chocolate brown, black, golden, cinnamon, white, and pink||Rare|
Now, let’s dive in!
American Guinea Pig
The American guinea pig is the most common guinea pig breed, and it comes in as many as 19 colors. They have short and silky coats, which are easily manageable.
They grow up to 9 inches long, and live up to 8 years. This breed originated in South America, especially the areas that cover present-day Peru, Bolivia and the neighboring countries. The breed was first domesticated around 5,000 BC.
This popular breed is also characterized by a Roman nose, broad shoulder, and full crown. These guinea pigs are popular also because they require less grooming.
If this is the first time you are going to keep a guinea pig as a pet, the American is the best breed to choose.
Visit your local pet store to buy an American guinea pig. It will cost anywhere between $10 and $40. The food cost for an American guinea pig will be between $10 and $15 per month.
White-Crested Guinea Pig
This breed is very much like the American guinea pig. However, the feature that separates this breed from the American breed is a white rosette on the forehead.
They are roughly the size of American guinea pigs. Originally, they were native to South America, and domesticated about 3,000 years ago.
They are a bit shy and take a little bit longer to warm up to humans. They require extra patience and a gentle touch. If there are senior citizens or older children in your home, you should probably pick this breed.
Once they have developed familiarity with their human friends, they make great companions and love gentle petting. The breed is somewhat rare. Prices are usually around $10 to $20.
Abyssinian Guinea Pig
Known for their whorl-like tufts, Abyssinian guinea pigs are one of the most popular breeds. Despite its name the breed did not originate in Abyssinia, which is present-day Ethiopia.
It actually originated in South America. Abyssinian guinea pigs live up to 7 years, grow up to 1 foot and weigh around 1 kg.
These piggies are also known for their abundant energy. They have a short coat with a soft texture, and crooked ridges. If you have kids who love to play with small pets, get an Abyssinian guinea pig.
They are clever, and can easily learn how to maneuver obstacles. An Abyssinian guinea pig will cost between $15 to $75.
Peruvian Guinea Pig
With their long flowing fur, these guinea pigs look like mops. Peruvian guinea pigs are originally from South America, and were domesticated around 5000 BC. The long smooth flowing fur is the most prominent feature of this breed. These piggies weigh 500 to 1500 grams and grow 8 to 16 inches.
They are also known for their alert, cautious and pleasant personalities. They pretty quickly become friends with humans. On their forehead, the fur is long, and can swoop over the face.
The long fur requires a little bit of extra care. The breed is a good choice for those who can commit to daily brushing. A Peruvian guinea pig can weigh between 1 to 3 pounds and grow up to 14 inches. Prices run around $20 to $30. This breed is fairly common.
Silkie Guinea Pig
A Silkie, also referred to as a Sheltie, is known for its long, smooth coat. This breed doesn’t have growing hair pointed upwards, or a rosette on the body. An adult piggie reaches between 8 and 16 inches in length, and weighs 700 to 1,200 grams.
The Silkie is a relatively new breed, first discovered in the 1970s. It resulted from crossbreeding a Peruvian with a Shelf Black.
Silkies are gentle, sociable, and make good family pets. They have a better managed hairstyle than the Peruvians: their hair doesn’t cover the face. This breed requires a little bit of extra care, and tends to exhibit health issues such as dental and bone deformities.
Silkies are relatively rare; you won’t usually find them at pet stores. A Silkie guinea pig will cost $20 to $30.
Coronet Guinea Pig
It is another long-haired breed that derived its name from its crown. The Coronet guinea pig is a relatively new breed, which originated in the UK in the 1970s. These piggies are known for their curious and lovely personalities.
An adult Coronet guinea pig grows up to 16 inches and weighs up to 3 pounds. It’s one of the newest guinea pig breeds, and not abundantly available.
The long coat of this guinea pig requires daily brushing. If you have time and energy for this, the Coronet can be a great choice for you. These piggies make great pets in households with children and older people.
They don’t take long to become friends with humans. A Coronet guinea pig usually costs $25 to $30.
Lunkarya Guinea Pig
Lunkarya guinea pigs have long, rough and curly coats that grow dense over time. Originally developed in Sweden, this breed is often found in the Nordic countries.
The Lunkaryas are found in three variations: the Lunkarya Peruvian, the Lunkarya Sheltie, and the Lunkarya Coronet. An adult Lunkarya piggy grows up to 16 inches and weighs about 2 pounds.
An unkempt appearance is the most prominent characteristic of this breed. This is not a high-energy breed; these cavies are gentle and mild-mannered.
Thanks to its calm temperament, a Lunkarya guinea pig is very easy to handle. Unless you are living in one of the Nordic countries, this breed is pretty rare.
Texel Guinea Pig
Texels are blessed with thick, soft hair that ends up on their curls or ringlets. This is another new breed that originated in England in the early 1980s.
The Texel was created by crossing a Silkie guinea pig with a British Rex. The average lifespan of this breed is about 7 years. An adult Texel guinea pig measures 8 to 10 inches and weighs 1.5 to 2.5 pounds.
The Texel guinea pigs are characterized by compact bodies. In terms of appearance, they are very much like the Silkies. The only notable difference is that the Texel has curly hair. To keep their curls in a good shape, these piggies need regular brushing.
They have an easygoing and calm temperament. They come in many colors. The most common colors are black, gold, and white. A Texel guinea pig costs $20 to $50, or even more in some cases. The Texel is a new breed, and it’s still pretty rare.
Merino Guinea Pig
The most notable characteristic of this breed is its soft, curly and dense hair. It is very much like the Coronet; the only difference is the curly hair.
The Merino originated in South America. In Europe, it is now recognised as a standard breed. The Merino comes in a variety of colors.
These guinea pigs have a sweet temperament, and are very easy to take care of. They are outgoing, curious, and love being around humans. They have a sensitive digestive system, and are susceptible to gastrointestinal illnesses.
These cavies have simple diet requirements that consist of hay, fruits, vegetables, and pellets. This breed is considered rare. The price of a Merino guinea pig ranges from $30 to $70.
Teddy Guinea Pig
With mid-length fur that makes a soft, smooth coat, a Teddy guinea pig looks fluffy. Like most guinea pig breeds, the Teddies hail from South America, and were domesticated thousands of years ago.
However, originally they were not pets; rather, they were raised to be food. An adult Teddy guinea pig measures 10 to 12 inches long, and weighs between 1.5 and 3 pounds.
These piggies are characteristically gentle and quiet. They require regular care and maintenance, so they are good for people who can commit to daily brushing and cleaning to remove debris and tangles.
These piggies are more commonly found in the United States. They are not selected eaters, so you can feed hay, vegetables and fruits. This breed is not rare to find. The price of a Teddy guinea pig ranges from $10 to $30.
Sheba Guinea Pig
Known for its mutton chop whisker, the Sheba guinea pig is a relatively new breed that originated in Australia in the early 1960s.
It is a cross between the short-haired Abyssinian guinea pig and the long-haired Peruvian guinea pig. An adult Sheba weighs 700-1,200 grams. The lifespan of this breed is 5-7 years.
Instantly recognizable by their shaggy, messy, rosette coat, these piggies are highly social. They have a curious, scruffy and gentle personality. They are low maintenance, so you can keep them as pets if there are children in your home.
They are very vocal, and love to play around. The Shebas love hay and good quality pellets. They also love vegetables and greens. These guinea pigs are pretty easily available. A Sheba costs $60 to $90.
Baldwin Guinea Pig
The Baldwin guinea pigs are characterized by skin of a rubbery texture, large droopy ears, and many wrinkles. The breed originated in the United States.
It’s actually the outcome of a spontaneous genetic mutation of white crested golden agouti. An adult Baldwin guinea pig measures 8-12 inches and weighs 700-1200 grams. The lifespan of this breed is 5-7 years.
Baldwin guinea pigs are born fully furred, but begin to lose their hair at two to three days of age. And they become fully hairless by the time they are two months of age. The skin has a rubbery texture.
To maintain body heat, Baldwin guinea pigs eat more. They are energetic and friendly, and love being around humans. Baldwin guinea pigs are considered rare, but some breeds are not very hard to find. Expect to pay $50-$100 for a Baldwin guinea pig.
Skinny Guinea Pig
The name may suggest it, but the Skinny guinea pig is not necessarily slender. The “skinny” part here actually implies that the breed is hairless. Well, these piggies are mostly hairless.
This breed is a cross between a hairless and a haired guinea pig. A Skinny guinea pig lives 5-7 years. An adult Skinny guinea pig measures 9-12 inches long, and weighs 1-2 pounds.
These cavies should stay indoors, because their hairless skin cannot provide protection against chilly winds and hot sunshine. This breed has a relatively weak immune system, but it’s very sociable.
It may require a little bit of extra care. If you think you can manage visits to the vet, consider getting a Skinny guinea pig. These piggies are rare, and rather expensive. The price of a Skinny guinea pig can be anywhere between $100 and $200.
Guinea Pigs by Colors and Patterns
Many people want to choose guinea pigs by coat colors and patterns. Here are some of the best options:
Self Guinea Pig
A guinea pig of a single color is known as a self. The color may be black, cream, red, golden, white, chocolate, or lilac—to name a few. Selfs are characterized by broad Roman noses and flat faces. The top color of a self guinea pig is usually an even shade, and the under color is slightly pale.
Ticked Guinea Pig
A ticked guinea pig is one that has black hair with red ticking. Each individual hair has both a red and a black series color. A ticked guinea pig may also have a tortoiseshell pattern, that involves a uniform red series patches and nonuniform black hairs.
Agouti Guinea Pig
The most distinguishable trait of the Agouti is its flecked coat. It has a ticked coat that consists of two colors alternating throughout the head and body. The stomachs usually consist of just one color.
The Solid Agouti is a relatively new variant with a ticking pattern throughout the body. However, this variant is pretty rare. The Agouti’s two alternating colors can be any two colors that contrast considerably.
Brindle Guinea Pig
A brindle cavy has a coat consisting of black and red series colors, with no ticking. However, apart from organized square patches, brindles can have more colors and patterns.
Usually, the hair colors are evenly intermixed, with the dominant red and black colors prominently visible. Some brindles also come with glossy fur that may or may not be smooth.
Magpie Guinea Pig
Magpie guinea pigs are characterized by black and white patches and stripes, just like those of a magpie bird. And between those patches and stripes, there are lots of crossover and brindling.
Balanced on both sides, these colors are very appealing. Their feet can be any color. The magpies are considered rare.
Dutch pattern Guinea Pig
Dutch pattern guinea pigs come in many different colors, both in monocolor and agouti. The chest and front legs are always white, and the lower stomach and rear can have any color.
That means, the main characteristic of a Dutch pattern guinea pig is its white chest and front legs. The color is even and the coat is glossy.
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Himalayan Guinea Pig
Himalayan guinea pigs are known for their white bodies and colored points (feet, face, ears). The white color of a Himalayan guinea pig is temperature-responding, which means the depth of the color depends on how cool the animal is kept in.
When a Himalayan piggy is born, it’s usually solid white. The colored points appear after a few weeks. A Himalayan guinea pig looks very much like a Siamese cat.
Otter and fox
Both otter and fox cavies have ticking. Otter cavies have yellow ticking, and fox cavies have white ticking. They are named after the different shades of the black series. For instance, black otter, gray fox.
These piggies are identified by bright dark eyes and red and black patches. With regular, well-defined patches on each side, these guinea pigs look gorgeous. Ideally, a tortoiseshell guinea pig has well-colored square-shaped patches. Diluted tortoiseshells, also known as broken colors, follow the same pattern ideal.
These guinea pigs are identified by their single base color with tan areas. The markings are on the muzzle, belly and eyes. There may be sparse markings on the lower sides. Next to the ears there are “pea spots”—little patches of color. These piggies come in black, chocolate, beige and lilac.
Roan and Dalmatian
Roans are bicolored: white hairs are intermixed with another color. The pattern covers the body, except the feet and the face. Roans come in many different colors and coat types.
Dalmatian guinea pigs look rather like tiny dalmatian dogs. Their faces have large, whitish patches. It is to be noted here that breeding two dalmatian piggies is not a very good idea, because there is a 25% risk of ending up with a malformed pup.
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What is the nicest guinea pig?
Known for its wiry coat and cuddly nature, the Teddy guinea pig is arguably the nicest breed out there. It’s an immensely popular breed, and available in most pet stores.
These piggies are generally quiet, and love being around humans. A great thing about Teddy guinea pigs is that they don’t just tolerate being handled—they actually enjoy it.
What is the most affectionate guinea pig breed?
When it comes to interacting with humans, no other guinea pig breed is as warm as the Abyssinians. Abyssinian guinea pigs exhibit a lot of energy, and love being held. They have a curious personality, and they are always up for some active interaction. These piggies also go along with kids.
Are girl or boy guinea pigs nicer?
Both male and female guinea pigs make great pets, it’s all about your personal preference. The overall health friendliness of your guinea pig is more important than its sex.
With that said, guinea pig owners notice that male guinea pigs are a little bit bolder and more confident than females. Male guinea pigs are easier to train than females.
Is it better to get male or female guinea pigs?
Both male and female guinea pigs make great pets. If you are interested in training your guinea pig, choose a male piggy. And if you want to get two guinea pigs at once, consider getting two immature females.
Guinea pigs are amazing rodents that make excellent pets, and there are many breeds to choose from.
Before you commit to a guinea pig, it’s good to learn about various breeds, their characteristics and special needs. We hope now you know a lot about different breeds, and will make an informed decision.