Just one look at this gorgeous little guy, and it’s easy to see why it’s been named after every kid’s favourite cuddle buddy, the teddy.
And why it’s featured on our top 10 piggy breeds of all time! Have you looked to see if yours is on the list?
We’ve already featured the hugely popular and well-known Abyssinian and American guinea pig, the Peruvian guinea pig (or as some of us like to refer to them, the Noel Fielding of piggies), the Texel and the follicly challenged Skinny pig.
But today, you’re in for a real treat, as we tell you everything there is to know about the delightful Teddy, a guinea that looks like a toy teddy who’s as comfortable on your lap as it is on Instagram!
The History Behind The Teddy Guinea Pig
The first wild guinea pigs’ (or Cavia porcellus) originated in South America, in the Andes Mountains, to be exact. At one time, perhaps due to the large population of cavies, the people of Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador considered them pests and started using them as a food source.
Of course, it didn’t take long before one or two were domesticated, and soon these furry, funny and oh-so-lovable rodents became family pets.
It didn’t take long for them to be brought to Europe, including the UK, where they quickly became a popular pet choice, especially for royalty.
But where does the Teddy Guinea Pig come from? Unlike the American guinea pig, for example, which is considered one of the original (and oldest breeds), the Teddy cavy is a relatively new pig on the block.
A new cavy breed? How is that even possible, you ask? Well, because guinea pigs are still used in labs for research, there’s a good chance this particular breed was the result of genetic mutation.
More experienced cavy owners will also cross-breed their favourite piggy breeds, like the Texel guinea pig which is a result of cross-breeding a British Rex with a Silkie.
The Teddy Guinea Pig Appearance
Size and shape-wise, the Teddy guinea pig looks pretty much like every other guinea pig. They have a cylindrically shaped body, four legs, and two wiggly years. Where the Teddy does differ in appearance, however, is when it comes to its nose. It’s much wider than other breeds and is affectionately referred to as a ‘Roman nose’.
Size-wise, this adorable cavy fits somewhere in between the biggest and smallest. The Rex is, by far, the largest of the cavy crew, while the American and the Texel are on the smaller side of the scale, measuring between 8-9 inches and 8-10 inches long respectively.
The Teddy Pig Coat
Let’s start with the colour variations. Like most other breeds, Teddies come in a wide range of colours, including gold, chestnut, white, brown, black, orange and grey. They can also be multicoloured and tricoloured.
At first glance, you may think the Teddy looks like any other short haired breed, but on closer inspection, you’ll notice that the Teddy guinea pig has more hair
It almost resembles a good old-fashioned bottle brush, and to the touch, it feels like the plush fur of a toy teddy bear, hence their name.
Did you know there are two types of Teddy guinea pigs? Yup, cavy lovers can choose between the Swiss Teddy or the American Teddy. To the untrained eye, they look alike, but the US Teddy’s coat is fluffier, a bit more dense and shorter than its yodelling counterpart!
The Swiss Teddy is considered to be the rarer of the two.
The Teddy Guinea Pigs’ Personality
Like its namesake, the Teddy loves being held and cuddled. However, like all guinea pig breeds, you must always handle your pet with care.
Knowing how to pick it up and hold it the right way is crucial, and will prevent any injuries to your precious pet.
Also, don’t leave small children or people with limited experience alone with your cavies. While they may look like solid potatoes on legs, all guinea pig breeds are prone to injuries and stress.
For example, dropping them, handling them roughly, or even holding them for too long can leave your piggy feeling stressed out.
The Teddy, like other cavies, needs companionship and will thrive with two or more cage mates. Their friendly temperament means they also find it easy to get along with other animals, including dogs and cats.
However, for your pet’s safety and your peace of mind, we recommend supervised play dates only. If you’re at work for the day, or unable to keep a close eye on any pet shenanigans, make sure your guinea pigs are safely locked in their cage or hutch, away from other animals.
Keen to find out more information on how to handle your piggy? Take a look at this helpful article!
Caring For A Teddy Guinea Pig
Even though the Teddy is slightly smaller than some other cavy breeds, its care is pretty much the same.
Let’s take a look at this in a bit more detail.
When choosing a cage for your Teddy guinea, bigger is always better. Your best bet is to invest in a quality handmade wooden hutch.
If you’re not sure which cage is best for your Teddy, our team of experts will be more than happy to recommend the right one for you.
Avoid cages with wire flooring – because your little piggy’s legs and feet are small, there’s a chance they could fall through the wiring and get their feet or legs stuck. There have been cases when a piggy’s broken its leg as a result of this.
Hutch Set Up
How you set up your Teddy guinea pigs’ hutch is as important as the one you choose. Guinea pigs need plenty of hay throughout the enclosure. Not only do they enjoy chewing on it all day, but they also like burrowing and cuddling in it with their cage mates.
Other essential items to stock up on include:
- Ceramic food bowls
- Water bottles with spouts
- Hay racks
- Litter trays (yes, you can teach your guinea pigs to use a litter box – this guide tells you how)
- Animal-friendly cleaning products
- Nesting boxes
Hutch hygiene is crucial when it comes to your guinea pigs’ health and mental well-being. We recommend doing a daily once over, removing soiled and wet bedding. Check around water bottles for spills, as well as in the areas your piggies like to pee and poo.
Get rid of uneaten and old food bits lying around the hutch, and don’t forget to restock the hay racks. Make sure the water bottles are full and working properly.
A weekly clean is your opportunity to remove old and soiled hay and bedding. Check for any chewed up or broken toys and remove these too.
A deep clean should be done once a month! This involves cleaning inside and outside the hutch with an animal-friendly disinfectant, wiping down toys, food bowls, water bottles and any other accessories.
Make sure the cage is dry before you put everything back in.
Like all other cavies, the Teddy is a strict herbivore and needs a diet that consists of hay, fortified pellets and a small serving of fresh vegetables every day.
They, like us, can’t make their own vitamin C, so you need to ensure their diet consists of foods that are packed with this essential nutrient.
You can also include small portions of fruit. But remember, guinea pigs are prone to weight issues, so we suggest giving them a sweet treat once a week.
Always make sure your teddy guinea pigs have access to plenty of water. If you have two guinea pigs (or more) there should be enough water stations around the hutch to keep them all hydrated.
Did you know? Baby guinea pigs under six months old can eat alfalfa hay. Adult piggies, on the other hand, should be fed Timothy hay.
In the wild, guinea pigs are free to run around and forage for food all day. When kept as pets, however, exercise space can be somewhat limited.
Ensuring your guinea pigs have a large enclosure with plenty of floor space is crucial, as is a good size run. This allows them to explore outside their cage while being kept safe from potential predators and poisonous plants and flowers.
Mental stimulation is as important as physical exercise for your piggies. When setting up their hutch, remember to include things they can chew on, as well as tunnels and treat balls.
With Christmas just around the corner, why not spoil your royal cavy with this majestic play castle?
Playtime with you is essential. We can’t stress enough how much cavies thrive when they’re interacting with their human. Without it, they can experience loneliness, boredom, depression and anxiety. Games your piggy may enjoy include hide-and-seek or a round of tug-of-war!
For more game ideas, why not take a look at this article?
Unlike the Peruvian guinea pig, this breed doesn’t need a lot of grooming. Their dense coat makes them fairly low maintenance, only requiring a brush now and then. The occasional bath will help if your piggy is getting pongy.
It’s important to keep an eye on your Teddy’s nails and teeth. Because both grow continuously throughout their life, they can quickly become overgrown, leading to painful and serious health conditions such as bumblefoot and malocclusion.
Like other guinea pig breeds, the Teddy is susceptible to various health issues. These include:
- Upper respiratory problems
- Skin problems
- Bladder infections and bladder stones
- Dental issues
- Eye problems
- Scurvy (vitamin C deficiency)
- Tumours and abscesses
Like all other guinea pigs, Teddy guinea pigs need to be cared for correctly so that they live long, healthy and happy lives. As a prey animal, a guinea pig will hide any signs of illness or injury, so regular health checks are essential.
For minor injuries or health concerns, it’s a good idea to have a piggy first aid kit on hand. This article tells you what you need, and why.
If you notice any changes in your guinea pig’s behaviour, including weight loss, loss of appetite, lethargy, or a change in its personality, we recommend you get it to the vet as soon as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions About Teddy Guinea Pigs
Like the Texel guinea pig, the Teddy is a relatively new breed. Here are some of the more frequently asked questions we receive from our readers about the adorable Teddy guinea pig.
How long do Teddy guinea pigs live?
Like all cavies, Teddy guinea pigs have a lifespan of between five and 10 years. However, genetics and day-to-day care are key to your piggy living a long and healthy life.
What’s the difference between a Swiss Teddy Guinea Pig and American Teddy?
While both the Swiss Teddy and the American Teddy are relatively new breeds, the Swiss Teddy is considered to be more rare.
At first glance, to the untrained eye, they look the same. On closer inspection, however, you’ll notice the Swiss Teddy’s dense fur, which is coarser and has a slight curl.
Its coat is also considerably longer than the American Teddy and other short haired breeds.
Are Teddy guinea pigs good ‘starter’ pets?
Teddy guinea pigs, like other cavy breeds, make awesome pets. They’re affectionate, curious and charming, but they do need a lot of time and commitment.
If you don’t think you’re able to meet the basic care requirements of a guinea pig, then this may not be the pet for you.
Are Teddy guinea pigs friendly?
The Teddy guinea pig is known for being one of the most relaxed and friendliest cavy breeds. True to their name, they love cuddles and enjoy spending time with their humans.
Where can I get a Teddy guinea pig?
Since lockdown ended, shelters have seen an increase in guinea pigs being dumped or neglected, which is why it’s best to adopt, rather than shop!
If you’re thinking about getting a Teddy guinea pig, we recommend looking at local rescue centres such as the Blue Cross or the RSPCA.
We really hope you enjoyed this article and found it helpful.
Of all the guinea pig breeds we’ve featured so far, which is your favourite – the Teddy, the Texel, the Peruvian, the Abyssinian or the Skinny Pig?