Guinea pigs make the perfect pet for families. Although they are not recognized as much as other pets, they are timid and loveable creatures to have around. Matter of fact, if you're looking to adopt there are many guinea pig breeds to consider.
What are the common breeds of guinea pigs? The American Cavy Breeders Association recognizes 13 different breeds, however there are several other breeds known to exist. Below we mention all the guinea pig breeds that exist to date from are most popular known breeds to rarer breeds.
Every breed has a special characteristic about them, that makes you want to adopt every kind of guinea pig you see. Although every guinea pig is different, we love them the same. Always remember to adopt guinea pigs in pairs and to care for them by supplying lots of healthy hay and clean GuineaDad Liners. Now, let's go over each one of them!
Here's a chart for quick access to our individual blog posts on each of the breeds!
|The Complete List of Guinea Pig Breeds
Breeds Recognized by the American Cavy Breeders Association
Abyssinian Guinea Pig
This breed of guinea pig is known for the numerous cowlicks, formally called rosettes, that cover their bodies. Ideally, an Abyssinian will have six to eight open standing rosettes that are evenly spaced across their body. What breed is the friendliest guinea pig? Abyssinians are also known to be one of the more vocal, friendly, and energetic guinea pig breeds.
Abyssinian Satin Guinea Pig
Abyssinian Satins are very similar to Abyssinian guinea pigs, with the largest difference being the satin sheen of their shiny fur. This can make the colors and patterns of their rosettes appear even more striking. Their glossy fur is what gives them their name, however, the breeding of this variety brings a gene that makes these type of guinea pigs prone to many health problems and shorter life span. This might be a breed you come across if you are around guinea pig rescues.
American Guinea Pig
This type of guinea pig is the most commonly-owned, likely thanks to their sweet and docile personalities. Their short and smooth coats can come in 19 different color classifications and should have no cowlicks or rosettes. They have a matte appearance and generally need less grooming than other types of guinea pigs. American Guinea Pigs are a great breed to choose when it comes to first time pet owners.
American Satin Guinea Pig
Just like the Satin version of most breeds, the American Satin is nearly identical to the American guinea pigs. The most obvious difference in their appearance is that their smooth, short coat, void of rosettes is also shiny. Just like Abyssinian Satin Guinea Pigs, they are prone to many health concerns and deformities. This breed is great for people who are ready and are patient with caring for special needs piggies.
Coronet Guinea Pig
Most easily identified by their voluminous, flowing mane, Coronet guinea pigs have quite the appearance. Their long fur grows mostly backward except for one single rosette on the top of their head, hence their name. Thankfully, this breed loves playing and receiving attention, because their coat needs to be regularly brushed and maintained.
Peruvian Guinea Pig
The Peruvian guinea pig’s are another breed with longer hair. Their coat is certainly impressive if not enviable. Their smooth, straight fur grows from back to front along a center part and can grow up to two feet long! Despite two rosettes, one over the hindquarters and one on the head, their mature coat usually covers their face and requires frequent grooming and trimming.
Peruvian Satin Guinea Pig
The coat of a Peruvian Satin guinea pig is equally impressive as the standard Peruvian breed. Added to its long beautiful coat is a satin sheen, evident through the middle part along the back down the length of the fur. Unfortunately, like all satin breeds, they come with many health concerns and need patient and loving care.
Silkie Guinea Pig
Silkie guinea pigs, sometimes also known as Shelties, have a soft, luxurious curtain of fur. Their fur is naturally parted down the middle of their back and guided away from their face, unlike Peruvian guinea pigs. Their fur is slightly longer along their hindquarters. Silkies have no parts or rosettes in their fur, and should ideally, have a teardrop body confirmation when viewed from above.
Silkie Satin Guinea Pig
Just like the standard Sheltie, Silkie Satins may also go by the name of Sheltie Satin. Their coat grows from front to back with no center part, and thanks to no rosettes, their hair is quite straight and smooth. This breed is like other satin breeds in which they exhibit health issues, including bone and dental complications.
Teddy Guinea Pig
Unlike other guinea pig breeds with smooth, sleek fur, Teddy guinea pigs have a short, dense coat that stands up out from their body. Their plush coat is resilient to the touch, and greatly resembles a teddy bear, hence their name. This fun, fluffy appearance suits their loving and playful nature and allows for only periodic grooming and maintenance.
Teddy Satin Guinea Pig
Teddy Satin guinea pigs, similarly, have a short, plush coat which gives them a bear-like appearance. Their dense fur, which stands away from their body, has a bright, satin sheen. This type of guinea pig breed needs patience and love, as they may come with many health concerns.
Texel Guinea Pig
With a coat type more unusual than other types, Texel guinea pigs have a medium-length, fluffy, curly coat. Texel guinea pigs are a cross breed between a Silkie and Rex guinea pig. Their dense fur is prone to tangles and matting so they require coat maintenance pretty much every day. Their fur should be curly all over, including their stomach, and is typically parted along the middle of their back.
White Crested Guinea Pig
This short-haired breed can come in a variety of colors and is most recognizable by its single white whorl or rosette on its forehead. They are considered to be very closely related to their cousin, American guinea pig breed, as they short coats. White Crested guinea pigs should have short, smooth fur, and in show cavies, the rest of the coat's color must be a different solid other than white.
Hairless Guinea Pig Breeds
Baldwin Guinea Pig
This breed guinea pig is completely hairless, thanks to a genetic mutation in a white-crested golden agouti. They are the largest of the hairless guinea pigs and often live longer as well. Since so much of their skin is exposed, special care should be provided to keep them clean, reduce irritations, and avoid wounds. Always be sure to keep easy to clean guinea pig bedding, like GuineaDad Liners, so they can live in a warm and clean environment.
Skinny Guinea Pig
Although Skinny Guinea Pigs are also classified as hairless, they tend to have hair on their muzzles, legs, feet, and sometimes along their back. They tend to be smaller and live shorter lives compared to other hairless guinea pigs. Being hairless means that they require special consideration such as specialized skincare, avoiding direct sunlight, and having access to a warm and soft GuineaDad Liner at all times.
Miscellaneous Guinea Pig Breeds
Alpaca Guinea Pig
Often considered one of the most beautiful breeds, Alpaca guinea pigs have dense, curly fur. Although it isn’t super long, their coat is prone to tangling, so it will need to be brushed regularly. Because of its coarse nature, their fur should feel plush, and springy to the touch when properly groomed. The Alpaca breed can live up to eight years!
Lunkarya Guinea Pig
This breed actually carries three variations: Lunkarya Peruvian, Lunkarya Sheltie, and Lunkarya Coronet. They all boast a long, curly coat that cascades in all directions, giving them a mop-like appearance. Because their fur is so thick, “Lunks” don’t do well in heat, and require daily grooming.
Rex Guinea Pig
Rather than a typical guinea pig appearance, Rex guinea pigs look more like a chinchilla. Their fur is short and similar in texture to wool, making it much more manageable than breeds with long fur. Additionally, their large droopy ears and desire to be handled make them stand out even more.
Sheba Guinea Pig
While lots of guinea pig breeds have unique fur, Sheba guinea pigs have long mutton chops which frame their face. The odd way their fur sticks out without a true part gives them the nickname “Bad Hair Day” guinea pig. Although they will need regular maintenance to care for their coat, it grows slower than other long-haired breeds.
Now that you've read a brief description on each breed of guinea pig, it's a good idea to go and read our blog posts on the individual breeds, as well as learn about the kinds of care and maintenance that they require, especially if you're thinking of owning one yourself!