Breeds & Varieties

Blonde, brunette, or redhead?   Well, for guinea pigs, there are many more hairstyles and colors!

 

Guinea pig breeders and fanciers have created a huge number of varieties taking advantage of the genetic varieties in coat color, texture, and length.  See below for for a look book of guinea pig varieties, or check out the definitive reference for breeds.

Short Haired

Smooth Coat

  • Short, smooth fur

  • Often one color

  • Also referred to as the American or English short hair

  • Does not require regular grooming or trimming unlike long haired breeds.

  • Oldest breed of guinea pig    

  • First domesticated in 5000 B.C.

  • Originally known as the English Guinea pig and the American Guinea pig in the 1960's

 

American Crested

Smooth Coat

  • Resembles the English Crested guinea pig

  • Has a single rosette on the crown of its head which is a different colour to the rest of its body

  • They usually have a white crest but it can differ

Ridgeback

Smooth Coat

  • Has a raised "ridge" on its back coat

  • Is not a common breed of guinea pig

  • Can be any color

Sheltie

Long Coat

  • Has a long coat of fur which does not sweep over the face

  • No rosettes

  • The coat does not have a part in the middle section

  • Hair has a longer length in the rear compared to the front

  • Has a very silk-like coat and can also be referred to as a "Silkie"

  • A recognized breed in 1973

  • Often seen as lap pigs, mellow and docile

  • MUST be groomed daily

 

Peruvian

Long Coat

  • Has a long sweeping coat which extends to the face in a "fringe"

  • Have rosettes

  • Have a part in the fur

  • They are usually born with two rosettes with the hair extending forward and one extending the hair towards the rear in maturity

  • One of the oldest breeds

  • First seen in Paris in 1886

  • MUST be groomed daily

Texel

Long Coat

  • Similar to a Sheltie with the coat being curly instead of straight

  • Can be any coat color

  • Can have a part in the middle, but usually this is not seen

  • Originated in England

  • MUST be groomed daily

Alpaca

Long Coat

  • Similar to a Peruvian with a curly coat

  • Has two rosettes at the rear

  • Heavy textured coat

  • Not a common breed

  • Originated from English Peruvian Guinea Pigs

Coronet

Long Coat

  • Similar to a Sheltie with a long silky coat

  • Has a rosette at the top of its head where the hair grows downwards

  • Originated in England in 1970

  • Recognized breed in 1998

Sheba

Long Coat

  • A long-haired coat with numerous rosettes

  • Also called the "Sheba Mini Yak"

  • The rosettes push the coat upwards creating an appearance of hair in all directions

  • originated in Australia

  • MUST be groomed daily

Merino

Long Coat

  • A long-haired curly coat with a rosette on its head

  • Also called the "English Merino"

  • The rosette or crest is positioned evenly between the ears and eyes

  •  

Lunkarya

Long Coat

  • Rough and coarse coat structure which causes a myriad of curls and waves

  • They can have rosettes which are underneath the coat, and are not plainly visible, usually two on the rump

  • Dense thick undercoat

  • Coat falls in “corkscrews”

  • Variation of a Peruvian guinea pig

  • Originated in Europe in 1986

  • The coat cannot be combed out and doesnot lie flat

  • Can be any colour 

Abyssinian

Rough Coat

  • A short coated guinea pig with many rosettes across the body

  • Usually 8 to 10 rosettes

  • Hair can be any color or variation

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

Teddy

Rough Coat

  • A thick dense coat which is even. Thecoat will tend to stand on end giving a puff-like appearance

  • Can have longer fur over the ears

  • Straight Whiskers

Rex

Rough Coat

  • A short coat with a crimped erect fur over the body

  • The fur can be slightly wavy in appearance

  • Curly/crimped whiskers

Swiss

Rough Coat

  • Short coat with a crimped erect fur over the body

  • The fur can be slightly wavy in appearance

  • Curly/crimped whiskers

Baldwin

Hairless

  • Completely hairless except for the nose and paws, the hair may fall out completely

  • Have wrinkles and folds of skin even on the head

  • The skin is marked as per the coat color would be

  • Born with hair which falls out at 2 months of age

  • Not available in Australia

Skinny

Hairless

  • Completely hairless

  • Skin is marked as per the coat color would be

  • Originated in Canada in 1982

  • A genetic mutation caused the lack of fur

  • Not available in Australia

Himalayan

Colorations

  • A short white coat with dark chocolate or black colored fur on the nose, ears and feet

  • Usually have red eyes

  • An albino guinea pig with pigmentation

Self

Colorations

  • A short coat which is all of one color

  • Black, chocolate, red and white shades

  • Can have red or dark eyes

Tortoiseshell

Colorations

  • Short coat which has red, black and white patches on the body

  • A central line is formed when the patches meet

  • Smooth coat

  • Patches are usually one solid color

Agouti

Colorations

  • Smooth coat with a base colour of black or chocolate. The coat then has a “ticked” color throughout the fur.

  • Shades of ticking can vary with the most common being seen as gold, silver and cinnamon

  • The stomach usually has the base color

Dutch

Colorations

  • A smooth coat with a white band on the back with a distinct upside down “V” in white on the face.

  • White on the chest and front paws

Brindle

Colorations

  • Specks of red and brown in a continuous even pattern throughout the coat

Magpie

Colorations

  • Black and White coat with a distinct patching of colors

  • Usually has black ears

  • Harlequin guinea pigs are the color red version of the Magpie

  • Derived from Roans, brindles and Dalmatian

  • Roans should not be bred with another Roan or Dalmatian breed. Roans and dalmatians have a 25% chance of producing microthalmic babies, commonly known as lethal whites

Dalmation

Colorations

  • Specks of black on a coat of white fur

  • Roans should not be bred with another Roan or Dalmatian breed. Roans and dalmatians have a 25% chance of producing microthalmic babies, commonly known as lethal whites.

Roan

Colorations

  • A speckled coat of fur similar to an Agouti.

  • Coat has a solid under layer and a top layer of fur tips that are white in color

  • Commonly referred to as a “dappled”coat

  • Roans should not be bred with another Roan or Dalmatian breed. Roans and dalmatians have a 25% chance of producing microthalmic babies, commonly known as lethal whites.

Harlequin

Colorations

  • Primary black coat with specks or bands of orange/white.

  • Colors fade near the rear and have increased bands

  • Colored variation of the Magpie

  • Derived from Roans, brindles and Dalmatians

  • Roans should not be bred with another Roan or Dalmatian breed. Roans and dalmatians have a 25% chance of producing microthalmic babies, commonly known as lethal whites.

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What's My Guinea Pig?: A Guide to Gu
What's My Guinea Pig?: A Guide to Guinea Pig Breeds - December, 1999
by Peter Gurney (Author)
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