Guinea pig breeds

Common Guinea Pig Breeds

Guinea pigs, in spite of their name, aren’t really a type of pig.  Guinea pig breeds all descend from a species of rodent native to the Andes. Yes, rodents. But this type of rodent is known as “Cavy” as they basically belong to the Cavia genus. The guinea pigs we know and love are a domesticated descendants of a related species of Cavy such as Cavia Aperea, Cavia Fulgida, or Cavia tschudii.

The Guinea pig has enjoyed widespread popularity as a household pet since the 16th century when it was introduced to the Old World by European traders. Since then, guinea pigs earned the love of countless people. Guinea pigs now are one of the most popular choice of pet, especially for families with a children.

Guinea pigs make a great pet due to their sweet and docile nature and how easy they are to handle, care for and feed.  But before selecting a guinea pig, you should learn more about the the many different types of Guinea pig breeds that are available.

Now in case you are thinking of bringing in a Guinea pig as a pet, we need to find out a bit more about the animal. To begin with you need to be aware of their breeds and first one that you should notice is the most popular English Cavy. This breed has a smooth covering over it and has a significant resemblance to its ancestors from the Cavia genus.

While there are now hundreds of different breeds of guinea pigs, only a select number of breeds are commonly used as for pets.

Abyssinian guinea pig breed

The Abyssinian guinea pig breed is another popular type of guinea pig known for having a short, rough coat. One of the unique features of this guinea pig are the multiple swirls on their coat.  The swirls are also known as “rosettes”.  The average Abyssinian has around 10 eye-catching rosettes.

Watch the amazing video below of a little herd of cavies making guinea pig sounds while “popcorning”.  If you love the guinea pig popcorn, tweet about it!


American guinea pig

This short haired guinea pig is often called the English or American guinea pig.  They look like the black and white cavy shown above. They have beautiful short, glossy and straight hair. Their hair typically doesn’t have a part and is usually less than 2 inches (3.8 cm) in length.

Silkie or Sheltie guinea pig

Sheltie guinea pigs have one of the most amazing manes of hair!  This unique variety has long and smooth hair that flows like water back over its body. The Sheltie guinea pig’s hair tends to get longer towards the back of its body.  Their hair never falls over their face as with the Peruvian guinea pigs and Sheltie guinea pigs never have rosettes in their hair.  Their hair is nice, soft and silky – perfect for petting.  It does, however, a bit more grooming than short-haired guinea pigs.

Rex guinea pig

Distinguished by their short, fuzzy hair, Rex Guinea pigs can look like Teddys but are quite distinct.  This lively breed don’t  have any rosettes in their short furt, which is typically less than a half inch in length.  Rex guinea pigs are a great breed to get first since they don’t require as much maintenance as some of the long haired varieties like the Peruvian guinea pig.  Rex guinea pigs also have a very sweet temperament and loved to be held and pet. For this reason, they’re great pets for children and classrooms.


Peruvian guinea pig

Want an exotic and unforgettable guinea pig? Consider the Peruvian guinea pig, which has one of the most lush coats of hair. This modern variety has magnificent long hair that grows all over its body, sometimes as long as 20 inches! They have both a top and an undercoat of hair and the coat typically has a part along its back. Because of this long hair, this guinea pig breed requires a bit more attention and grooming.  Read more about the Peruvian Guinea Pig in our “5 crazy cute breeds” blog post.

Texel guinea pig

Originally imported from England, the Texel guinea pig has a compact, little bottle with a well-sized head. Its hair is long and similar to a Silkie guinea pig, but overflowing with lovely curls.  Even the hair on its belly is peppered with beautiful hair curls. The Texel guinea pig breed does require a bit more grooming, but it really is worth the time spent.

Teddy guinea pig

Teddy guinea pigs are an ideal family pet and are one of the most popular guinea pig breeds in the United States. Teddy guinea pigs are often confused with Rex guinea pigs. Teddy guinea pigs also have very thick and fuzzy coats that makes it easy to groom. Unlike the Rex, a Teddy’s hair may be longer on their belly. This is a great breed to keep as a pet and it’s well-suited to living outside in a guinea pig hutch.

What next?

Now you’re aware of seven key guinea pig breeds.  It’s also import to learn about guinea pig health, guinea pig good, guinea pig sounds, the lifespan of  the lifespan of a guinea pig and what type of guinea pig cages to get for them.

One thought on “Guinea pig breeds

  1. I work with a pet store and yes we screen our breeders. we are looking for a new guinea pig breeder to help provide for our stores. if you have any info please email me at

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