List of Guinea Pig Breeds

An Introduction to Guinea Pig Breeds

There are many different guinea pigs of all sorts of shapes, sizes, colours and hair types. When you are looking to get a new guinea pig, and are unsure as to which breed to get, it is helpful to have a list of the different guinea pig breeds that you can compare; this is what I have put together. This list gives the name of the breed and a short description as well as a picture (if one is available). There are many guinea pig breeds; in this post I have listed what I believe to be the most common ones that people are most likely to have as pets, as well as a few interesting ones.

Abyssinian Guinea Pigs

Abyssinian Guinea Pigs

Abyssinian guinea pigs are often remembered for their amazing coat; long and short, rough fur which stands on end in ‘cowlick’ rosettes. These guinea pigs are often tri-coloured, although you can get some which have just two colours on their coat and even one colour. The ideal Abyssinian guinea pig has 10 rosettes, one on each shoulder, one on each hip, four on the back and two on the rump – the rosettes on the shoulder are apparently optional for the breed, but desirable for show guinea pigs of this breed. They need to have quite a lot of attention lavished on their coat to stop it becoming tangled.

My Abyssinian guinea pig, called ‘Aurea’, tends to be the most squeaky and loudest of all my guinea pigs – although this does not mean that all Abyssinians are noisy!

Silver Agouti Guinea Pig

Agouti

Strictly speaking the Agouti guinea pig isn’t a breed but actually a colour. The root of the hair is a different colour to the rest of the hair. Normally the root is whatever colour from the black series the guinea pig has; the rest of the hair is likely to be of the colour from the red series that the guinea pig has.

Alpacas

The guinea pigs are like curly haired Peruvians – See ‘Peruvian’ further down in this list. Most Alpaca guinea pigs are likely to be first generation hybrids of breeds such as the Peruvian guinea pig.

Coronet

If the guinea pig has long hair like the sheltie guinea pig but also a crest, the guinea pig is likely to be a Coronet guinea pig.

Crested

The crested guinea pig is very similar to the American Short-hair guinea pig (see below) except that is has a rosette that must be white on the top of their head.

For a guinea pig to be of the Crested breed, according to the ACBA standards, there must be no white hairs anywhere on its body apart from the crest. On the other hand the Australian National Cavy Club (ANCC) recognises two main types of crested guinea pig, American Crested and English Crested, but also a third group, the White Crested.

American Cresteds must have a crest where the colour of it contrasts to the rest of its body, the crest usually being white, but can be other colours. Guinea pigs can only be of the American Crested breed if they are of a self colour (one solid colour) with a different colour crest.

English Crested guinea pigs must all be one solid colour with the crest being the same as the rest of the guinea pig’s body. Cresteds are able to be any colour with the exception of ‘Coated’ pigs (guinea pigs with rough or long hair).

The white crested has a white Crest and a self colour on the rest of its body, similar to the American Crested. If the guinea pig has any other white markings it is not counted as a white crested or any other type of crested guinea pig.

Short Haired Guinea Pig with Dutch Markings

English Or American Short Haired

These guinea pigs have a constantly and consistent smooth, glossy coat and can be of any colour. Their coats tend to be fairly short, although like all guinea pigs they need regular brushing to keep their fur in prime condition.

Short haired guinea pigs are the most common breed of guinea pig that is kept as pets. They come in many different colours: black, white, brown, chocolate, dutch colours e.t.c. Many of these guinea pigs also have more than one colour on their coat. When they are being shown, they are put into classes depending on their colour, e.g Self chocolate, self black, Dalmatian, Himalayan e.t.c and not (usually) whether they are American or English short hairs.

I have five short haired guinea pigs – two with dutch colourings, one self white, and two that are black, brown and white mixtures. From experience I have found that Short hair guinea pigs don’t moult as much as other breeds.

Himalayan

These guinea pigs’ coats resemble a Siamese cats – they are completely white for the first few weeks of its life, and then it gains darker points, depending on the temperature it lives in (the colder it is the darker points it is likely to have) – this is the same with a Siamese cat. The darkest areas of the guinea pig’s coat are likely to be the face, paws and feet. The colour of the points can range from a light brown through to black. Their eyes should be dark red for them to be of the Himalayan breed. They originated in south-east Asia.

Peruvian Guinea Pig

Peruvian

The Peruvian guinea pig is possibly one of the longest-haired of all guinea pig breeds. It’s hair tends to keep growing throughout it’s life and can reach up to and over 20 inches in length if left, though this is not advisable as it can get tangled around the animal. They need a lot of care and attention and maintenance of their fur.

Rex

The Rex guinea pig has short fuzzy hair all over it’s body, much like the rex rabbit. Consequently their hair feels very soft. These guinea pigs should have fur that is a consistent length (usually no more than half an inch) with no ‘tufts’. Rex guinea pigs also don’t have any rosettes. Rex guinea pigs look very similar to Teddy guinea pigs, but the two breeds are genetically different so if you breed the two together you won’t get a Teddy or a Rex but most likely an American Cavy.

Silkie or Sheltie Guinea Pig

Silkie/ Sheltie

The Silkie, or Sheltie guinea pig as it is also known, has long flowing hair – the difference between this breed and the Peruvian is that the Silkie never has hair going forward over its head, whereas the Peruvian often does.

Skinny Pigs

Skinny Pigs

This breed is a virtually hairless guinea pig, but with hair typically on their muzzles, legs and feet. Their skin is fairly sensitive compared with other guinea pig breeds. Skinnys can come in many different colours and patterns. The term ‘skinny pig’ refers to a specific guinea pig breed and not all guinea pigs who are hairless.

Teddy Guinea Pigs

Teddy guinea pigs get their name from the fact that their fairly long curly or frizzy hair that covers their body makes them look like a child’s toy. Teddy’s are quite different compared to other breeds because they are one of only a few piggy breeds who have lots of hair on their tummies; most other guinea pigs have little hair on their tummies. Baby Teddy guinea pigs are often mistaken for Rexs, as both breeds look similar but are genetically different.

There are two types of Teddy guinea pigs; the US Teddy and the CH Teddy (Swiss Teddy). Both of these guinea pig breeds are visually and genetically different to one another.

Texel

Texel guinea pigs are very much like silkies but their long hair is curly, usually tight corkscrew curls. Unlike Silkies or Shelties, a parting down the middle of the guinea pig’s hair is allowed for the breed. Texels originated from England.

I wouldn’t recommend getting a Texel as a first guinea pig due to their long hair needing a lot of regular maintenance and attention.

Guinea Pig Image

There are of course many other breeds. Any questions? Comment below and one of our Admin team will try to answer as soon as possible – Don’t forget to check the box if you want the reply emailed to you.

August 24, 2010 · Maddia (Admin) · 21 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Guinea Pig Breeds, Guinea Pig Information

21 Responses

  1. Tilly - September 13, 2010

    Short-haired Guinea Pig Breeds is the coolest. These kinds of guinea pigs are the most popular in America and are the breeds most commonly sold in shops. These short haired “cavies” come in many different breeds; the most popular among them is the American, which is characterized by a roman nose which is slightly rounded.

  2. Paula Harper - September 14, 2010

    I have a lovely guinea pig that we found in our front yard. I guess it must have gotten loose or was turned loose from its’ owner. She was munching on fallen tomatoes in our garden and living in the rocks around our pond.

    I’ve not been able to find out what type of g.p. she is. She is a black and silver “brindle” with a slight brindled white stripe just at the shoulders. Her underside is white. I’ve never seen another one like her over the 3 years we’ve had her.

    Do you know what kind she could be?

    Paula

  3. Mjad (Admin) - September 14, 2010

    Hi Paula,
    the most likely answer is that your guinea pig is a mixture of more than one breed and possible a mixture of colours too. ‘Brindle’ is a colour, yet I’m not sure that your pig is simply one colour as brindles don’t usually have more than three colours – you mentioned silver, black and white. Usually brindles have 2 colours, one black and one red. It is possible that your piggy has some magpie colour in her for her to have a white brindled stripe. The silver colour could come from the agouti colouring, but their are also many other breeds it could have come from.
    What fur type does she have? Most brindle coloured guinea pigs have long hair and are of the Abyssinian breed – their fur has rosettes that stick up at many different angles. The most common breed is the short haired American or English, so it is possible that you have a brindle coloured short haired American/English cavy.
    Without seeing a picture it is hard to identify a specific breed and colour, so I can not guarantee this is right, but your description was very useful.
    Here is the link to my post on guinea pig colours: http://www.madelinedyer.com/guinea-pig-colours/
    Hope this has helped.

  4. Paula Harper - September 15, 2010

    As to your question about her fur….she has short, straight hair that feels coarse, yet soft and smooth too. I will send you a picture as soon as I can replace my camera. You may find her as interesting as I do.

    Thank you for the information you have given.

    Paula

  5. Mjad (Admin) - September 15, 2010

    From the description of the fur type it sounds as if your guinea pig is an American or English short hair; this is the most common breed. Another thought – because she has lots of different brindle colours she may be a tri-coloured or broken-coloured brindle guinea pig.
    Yes, a photo would be good and I may be able to identify further :)

  6. Angela - September 25, 2010

    Hi,Today I bought a guinea pig it is tri-coulered but I do not know it’s breed it’s got short fluffy hair and is very shy has anybody got any ideas if so please reply! thank you

  7. Ellie (Admin) - September 26, 2010

    Hi Angela, the most common guinea pig breed is the short-haired American or English Short haired guinea pig so it is fairly likely that your guinea pig is of this breed. These guinea pigs have short, smooth hair, which is often fluffy in the younger guinea pigs. They also tend to have rounder heads. However if your guinea pig has a crest or whirl on his/her head this means the guinea pig could be of the Crested breed. Another likely possibilty is that your piggy is a mixture of many breeds. The size of the guinea pig can also help determine the breed – however the pig needs to be fully grown if you are to use the size as a factor. Many breeds grow up to 25cm long, and males are slightly bigger. The typical weight is 1.2-1.5kg depending on gender. Some breeds, such as the Abyssinian are sometimes smaller, although their hair can make them look bigger, and lighter than other breeds.
    The term ‘Tri-coloured’ indicates a colour from each the black, brown and red series. If your guinea pig has two colours from one series and one from another, or colours that aren’t recognized as any patterns the guinea pig is a ‘broken colour’ guinea pig. (Here’s the link to the page on guinea pig colours: http://www.madelinedyer.com/guinea-pig-colours/ )
    Hopefully this has helped.

  8. allie - October 23, 2010

    hello madeline,
    I have decided to start showing guinea pigs. Do you have a suggestion on a beginner breed to start with ? I was thinking one with long hair and a stunning appearance ? the grooming would not be a problem.

    p.s I was thinking a silkie or a coronet maybe a rex ?

  9. Maddia (Admin) - October 23, 2010

    Hi, there are many different types of guinea pig that you can show. Firstly you’ll need to decide whether you’ll be breeding these guinea pigs yourself or buying them from a pet shop or another breeder. If you do decide to breed them yourself make sure you can look after all the guinea pigs adequately. Also don’t breed guinea pigs of under 2 months old as although they may be mature enough it could affect their health. A female guinea pig should have her first litter at about 4-5 months of age – Do not breed your female piggy for the first time when she is 8 months or older; this is because her pelvic bones may have began to fuse together, if she then has to have a litter it is likely to kill her and her babies. Also never breed a Dalmatian with a roan as it can pass a lethal gene onto babies.

    Ok, so now on to the different breeds of guinea pig to show. Most guinea pig shows are mainly for pedigree guinea pigs and not mixtures, although this is not always the case.
    The most popular breeds to show, in my opinion, appear to be the self coloured American, or English short-hairs – these are a good breed of cavy to start with as they are popular and easy to look after and look very sleek.

    You mentioned long haired breeds… these guinea pigs are quite popular so you may have a lot of competition with professional full-time guinea pig breeds – but don’t let that stop you.

    Popular long haired breeds to show are Peruvians, satin Peruvians, texels, coronets and silkies. You mentioned rexes – these guinea pigs have shortish fuzzy hair similar to teddies, and not long flowing hair.

    Texels have long curly hair that can go into ringlets – the overall appearance is stunning but their fur is hard to wrap to keep it in its curly condition. Similar to texels are alpaca guinea pigs, although alpacas are quite a new breed and you may not be able to find many shows that specialise in classes for them.

    With long haired breeds if your guinea pig is growing tresses for the show you’ll need to wrap their fur – this will prevent their fur becoming tangled and messy.

    It would be a good idea to look around in your area for shows, and see which breeds have classes especially for them. You don’t want to get a rare breed then have to travel a long way to enter a show especially for that breed where the guinea pig breed will be more widely known about.

    You may also want to focus on breeding one colour of guinea pig, and then you can concentrate on breeding ‘quality’ guinea pigs of a certain breed and colour. (Here’s the link to my post on guinea pig colours: http://www.madelinedyer.com/guinea-pig-colours/).

    To show guinea pigs you may have to belong to a guinea pig club to enter some shows, so it may be worth looking into this too.

    I would also say that you shouldn’t go straight into showing guinea pigs if you have no experience in keeping and looking after guinea pigs at all. Instead you should keep one just as a pet and make sure you can look after him/her without having the added factor of showing your pet too.

    Hope this has helped :) Any more questions? Feel free to leave another comment.

    Good luck!

  10. phill - December 11, 2010

    Hey there! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

  11. kavish - August 15, 2011

    Hi
    do you have a Dutch guinea pig because my’n I think is a very odd one

  12. Maddia (Admin) - August 22, 2011

    Hello,

    Yes I have two dutch guinea pigs:
    Hazel – http://www.madelinedyer.com/my-pets-hazel/
    Pixie – http://www.madelinedyer.com/my-pets-pixie/

    Why do you think yours is a very odd one?

  13. shona - August 28, 2011

    hey im thinkig about geting a cavy but i need short heared i was thinging crested wat do you think is best

  14. Maddia (Admin) - September 4, 2011

    Hello,
    Ok, three of my guinea pigs are short haired cavies and they make excellent pets. I have two dutch ones and an albino dutch. Cresteds do make good pets, but they can be hard to find. And often when you go to pet shops the guinea pigs they have are a mixture of two or more breeds.
    If you like the crested look then it may be worth waiting to see what you can find, but if you’d be happy with a ‘mixed’ guinea pig then have a look in your local pet shop. Alternatively contact guinea pig breeders near you.
    If you do get a crested look for a good specimen, and make sure he or she is on good health.
    Remember, just because short hairs don’t need a lot of grooming, they still need some grooming in order to maintain a healthy coat.
    Any more questions? Feel free to leave another comment.

  15. lam - December 17, 2011

    alpacas are never first generation crosses with peruvians as they are teddy coated peruvian based but the teddy genes are highly recessive and must be atleast second generation crosses for the genes to be visable

  16. Anne - February 13, 2012

    Hi, I have a teddy sow and a rex sow, i would like to know if it is safe to breed them with a tortoise shell abysynian, we do hobby breed and have got other breeds, shelties, alpaca’s and short haired guineas, and have been keeping guinea pigs for several years. We would like to breed these sows while they are still young but need to know it will be ok to mate teddy or rex sows with an aby and What would the litter be likely to resemble.
    Thanks for you help.

  17. Maddia (Admin) - April 8, 2012

    Hi, I’d say it would be safe, but, take note, I’m not a vet. I do know that you shouldn’t breed dalmation with dalmation, and that rex with rex can be a problem in some cases.
    As to what the babies will look like, I’m not sure! You never can be. The abyssinian fur is likely to be dominant in the alleles of the genes, so many of the babies will have the aby look. However, this look may not be complete in all of them – some will have a few rosettes, others could have them all, and some may not show any signs of aby in their phenotype.
    Remember all females should be bred for the first time before they are two years of age, as it is at this age when their hip bones fuse and won’t be able to move. Therefore if they breed before 2yrs their hips will fuse wider apart, making it safer for them to breed.
    You should never breed a female who is over two for the first time, as her hips would’ve set too small.

    -Jade.

  18. Ally - February 21, 2012

    Hi, i recently baught a strange looking guinea pig. He has a medium grey, orange, and white spots. He has very coarse fur and his face (compared to other piggies) looks more like a wombat’s face. Any ideas as to what breed he is? Or what his color is? My friends keep saying his color may be rare because i have never seen any other piggie like him. Thanks!

  19. Maddia (Admin) - April 8, 2012

    Most likely this lovely piggy is a cross of many breeds. When you say he has course hair this could suggest that he’s an abbyssinian guinea pig (I have one and she’s beautiful).
    Now, when guinea pigs are multicoloured they always have one colour from the black, red and white series.
    So grey would be from the black series, orange from the red, and white from the white. This means that he is a tri-coloured (I wouldn’t say tortoiseshell because of the grey), albeit an unusual one. It is rather rare for a tri-coloured piggy to have grey and orange on him.

  20. Elaina Peters - August 3, 2012

    Hi,
    I want to buy my first guinea pig. I’m 12 and want something friendly, easy kept, and something not all my friends have. Any ideas for my perfect breed? :)

  21. Maddia (Admin) - August 3, 2012

    Ok, so as for breeds, with it being your first guinea pig, I’d definitely go for a short-haired guinea pig (maybe an American Short Hair), as they don’t require such high amounts of grooming and are easier to look after over all. Most guinea pigs are very friendly, so the breed you get shouldn’t limit this.

    Now, you say that you want a guinea pig a little different… well, I would still go for an American or English short-haired guinea pig, but why not see if you can get one with a crest (this is a section of hair on the head that’s a different colour), or a white ring around the body. There’re many different colours and markings that you can get, such as dutch (like the dutch rabbit) and self colours. For more info on colours go to: http://www.madelinedyer.com/guinea-pig-colours/

    Alternatively you could get a himalayan guinea pig; these have short hair and are easy to look after.

    You shouldn’t just get a guinea pig based on their appearance; always get a happy and healthy pig that seems interested in you and its surroundings, and is alert.

    My first guinea pigs were:
    – An English short-hair with chocolate dutch markings
    – An English short-hair with red dutch markings
    – An self white English short-hair