Companions to royalty and celebrities around the world, we have been a cavy-loving country for quite some time now. And it seems our love for guinea pigs isn’t going away anytime soon.
Trying to pinpoint precisely how many guinea pig breeds there are is not as easy as we thought. The American Cavy Breeders Association says there are 13 recognized breeds, while the British Cavy Council has as many as 30. If you are a cavy connoisseur, perhaps you can help clarify this for us.
Guinea Pig Breeds We Love
As a whole, guinea pigs are cute and cuddly little creatures that make great companions. But some breeds have the right kind of temperament and charm that just makes them a little more suitable as pets. Let’s jump straight into our top 10 list, and see if you agree with us.
Our Top 10 Guinea Pig Breeds
1. Abyssinian Guinea Pig
The Abyssinian guinea pig is one of the more common pet guinea pig breeds, but this doesn’t make them any less adorable. Not only are they incredibly lovable and friendly, but they also have outrageously long hair with swirls and rosettes hairdos that set them apart from other varieties. Abyssinian cavies with their dashing good looks, and hairstyles to die for, often take part in ‘best of show’ competitions. It is not unusual to see a show piggie with as many as 10 swirls.
Although the Abyssinian is a lot of fun and somewhat mischievous, their strict grooming regime means they are not the best match for smaller children.
2. American Guinea Pig
Like the Abyssinian, the American guinea pig is a popular choice as a pet. This is because they are incredibly lovable, don’t bite and are relatively robust. They are hardy little characters and don’t pick up diseases easily. Unlike their hairy counterpart, this particular breed of guinea pig has short hair and is happy to do most of its grooming itself.
3. Texel Guinea Pig
The Texel was created in the UK, in the 80s when guinea pig breeders crossed the British Rex with the Silkie. These little beauties are absolutely adorable and have been nicknamed the ‘Shirley Temple’ of guinea pigs. Unfortunately, grooming a Texel is hard work, and experts recommend daily brushing, preferably in the mornings and at night. And if your cavy is particularly active, it might need even more grooming. Our nifty grooming kit has all the tools you need to get the job done properly.
4. The Peruvian
If a Texel piggy is the Shirley Temple of cavies, then the Peruvian is the Cher. They have spectacularly long hair, which can grow between 12 and 14 inches. Their hair is straight, and as you can imagine, it requires a lot of grooming to prevent knots and tangles. Unfortunately, Peruvian guinea pigs are susceptible to flystrike, so keeping your piggy and his home clean is absolutely essential.
5. Teddy Guinea Pig
The Teddy guinea pig is one of the cutest cavies around. Their coat is dense and almost wiry to the touch, but it is short and easy to maintain. A distinguishing feature of this breed is its little upturned nose, making it look more like a plush toy than a pet. Lovable and friendly, their coats can be brown, grey, orange, white, black and chestnut, or made up of two or more of these colours.
6. White Crested Guinea Pig
As its name suggests, the White Crested guinea pig has a tuft or crest of pure white hair on the front of its head. Considered to be one of the rarer breeds, the white-crested cavy tends to be somewhat timid, so might not do well with too many other guinea pigs or very young children. These intelligent piggies are easy to groom and enjoy one on one time with their favourite humans.
7. Baldwin Guinea Pig
No list of the most popular cavy breeds is complete without at least one hairless variety. The Baldwin guinea pig, unlike the skinny pig, is born with hair. However, it all falls out with the two to three months, leaving it completely bald. Although owners don’t have to worry about brushing their hairless guinea pigs, special care needs to be taken when they are out in the sun, and when the temperatures drop. Not only is the Baldwin extremely cute, but it is also the perfect pet for people that suffer from allergies.
8. Rex Guinea Pig
With a very similar genetic makeup to the Teddy, the Rex is a guinea pig breed that is cute, cuddly and playful. They have a dense, wool-like coat, which is easy to maintain. A unique feature of this particular cavy is its long, droopy ears and upturned nose. While they require very little grooming as far as their coat goes, the Rex’s toenails grow very quickly and need regular trimming.
9. Alpaca Guinea Pig
This rare guinea pig breed originates from the Peruvian variety and is often mistaken for a Texel because of its long hair. However, what distinguishes this charming breed is its fringe. While the Alpaca has a long fringe that hangs forward, the Texel guinea pig has shorter hair that naturally falls backwards. Not only is it considered one of the most beautiful breeds of guinea pig, but it is also affectionate and extremely lovable.
10. Coronet Guinea Pig
The Coronet guinea pig originated in the UK in the 70s and has quickly become a popular choice for cavy lovers around the world. This particular breed got its name from the rosette of hair in the middle of its forehead, that resembles a small crown or coronet. But don’t let its regal name fool you. They are inquisitive and love the company of people as well as other guinea pigs. They also enjoy lots of attention, which is a good thing because as you can imagine, Coronet guinea pigs need regular grooming to stop their hair from knotting.
There you have it, our list of the most popular guinea breeds in the UK, and the rest of the world. Of course, it is not a definitive top 10, and there is a very good chance we have accidentally left off your favourite. If so, why not leave us a comment below, with a photo of you and your cuddly pal. Got an Instagram account for your gorgeous guinea pig? Let us know, and we will be sure to take a look.