The Texel guinea pig, also affectionately known as the ‘Shirley Temple’ because of its curly long coat, has got to be one of the cutest cavies around. If you’re new to the world of guinea pigs, there’s a chance you may not be familiar with this little cavy, but trust us, after reading this article, you’ll be as smitten as we are.
The History Behind The Texel Guinea Pig
This curly-haired cutie came about in England in the 1980s after a Silkie guinea pig was cross-bred with the British Rex guinea pig.
Later on, a few more breeds were added to the gene pool, however, we’re not sure which, or how many crosses were used to create this little darling of England.
Needless to say, it didn’t take long before this Silkie look-a-like with its glam 80s perm won the hearts of cavy lovers around the world. And in 1998 it was officially recognized by the American Cavy Breeders Association.
The Texel Guinea Pig Appearance
Let’s put it this way, if guinea pigs were celebrities, the Texel would be an A-lister! As far as their size and weight go, this particular piggy is similar to other breeds, although they could be described as somewhat stout.
But that’s where any similarities end. What sets the Texel guinea pig apart from most other breeds is its long and curly coat. Even the fur on its head and around its face is curly, hence the nickname Shirley Temple.
The Texel Guinea Pig’s Colour Variations
As far as colour variations go, the Texel comes in a wide variety of colours, depending very much on genetics. The most common colours include solid white, gold, black and brown, but it’s not unusual to come across a patterned Texel that’s a mix of one or more of these colours.
The Texel Guinea Pigs’ Personality
Not only is the Texel guinea pig an absolute beauty to behold, but it also has the personality and temperament to match. Docile, calm, sweet-natured and lovable are just a few adjectives used to describe this breed, which is another reason why they’re so popular.
For the most part, Texel guinea pigs, like other long-haired breeds, love being handled, and actually enjoy having their locks combed. However, mishandle them or treat them a little too roughly, and they’ll let you know they’re unhappy with a nip or a bite.
Personality-wise, Texel cavies can be a little mischievous, so it’s best to keep a close eye on them, and never leave them unsupervised when they’re in their run or enjoying time outside their hutch.
Tip – Nature and nurture play an equal part when it comes to your piggy’s personality. You must handle your Texel piggy from as young as possible, to build and maintain that special bond.
Caring For A Texel Guinea Pig
The Texel guinea pig, like all guinea pig breeds, needs to be cared for correctly for it to live a long and happy life.
Cage size, diet, dental care, grooming, as well as mental and physical stimulation are just a few things you need to keep in mind when it comes to caring for a Texel, or any other guinea pig breed, as a pet.
To help you get it right, we’re looking at how best to care for your Texel cavy in this section.
The general rule of thumb when it comes to a guinea pig’s hutch is the bigger, the better!
Although smaller and slightly more stocky than its short haired counterparts, your Texel guinea pig needs a large cage. There should be enough space for them to play and socialise together.
Bbut it’s also important that they have compartments or nest boxes where they can relax away from their piggy pals. Separate eating and sleeping areas are also a must.
Why not take a look at our wide range of quality guinea pig hutches for two or more piggies?
Hutch Set Up
And don’t forget the bedding. Even though guinea pigs don’t sleep a lot, they still need somewhere comfy to nap. Hay and wood shavings are a popular choice, but there are different types of bedding to suit your needs and budget.
Find out which bedding is best for your Texel cavy here!
Because a guinea pig’s teeth continue to grow, hay is an essential part of a cavy’s diet. Not only does it provide them with the fibre they need, but it also helps keep their teeth short.
Texel guinea pigs, like other guinea pigs, also need fibre-rich, fortified pellets or nuggets, as well as fresh vegetables and fruit.
Beware though! Texel guinea pigs LOVE their food, so it’s important to only feed them twice a day. These piggies, if given the opportunity, will happily munch away if there’s food around. This can lead to weight issues and other long term health problems.
For more information on what to feed your Texel guinea pig, we think you’ll find this article helpful.
Like all guinea pig breeds, a Texel Guinea pig requires plenty of exercise to keep them healthy. Physical exercise is as important as mental stimulation for this curious breed. Without it, these cavies may experience boredom, stress, anxiety and even depression.
In addition to a spacious cage, Texel guinea pigs must have access to a good size run where they can forage, play and enjoy time outside their hutch.
Social interaction with their humans is also important for this lovable breed. Spend as much time with them as possible, and make sure they have plenty of boredom busters to keep them busy.
Keen to play a few guinea-pig friendly games with your Texel? These fun games will have your cavy popcorning and wheeking for joy!
Unlike the American guinea pig and other short-haired cavies, the Texel breed with its long curly coat needs regular brushing to prevent knots and matting.
Our top tips to keep your piggy’s coat in pristine condition are as follows:
- You should brush your long haired guinea pig once a day, at the very least. This will prevent matting and knots.
- Use a soft brush or plastic comb to detangle knots and remove excess hair.
- Texel cavies’ long coats need to be trimmed regularly. Unfortunately, this breed’s curly coat tends to collect all sorts of muck, including poop and wee.
- Regular checks around the ears for wax build ups, dirt, mites or lice is also an important part of your Texel guinea pig care. Dirt and wax should be removed with a damp cotton bud and guinea-pig ear cleaner. Gently wipe the area around the ears to clean them.
- If you think there is a blockage inside the ear, take your guinea pig to the vet immediately. Never try and remove anything from inside the ear with a cotton bud as this can cause serious internal damage.
- Keep your guinea pig’s nails trimmed. If they get too long, your cavy will not be able to walk or move around. Overgrown nails can also cause bumblefoot, a painful and sometimes fatal infection.
You’re also going to need to bathe your Texel guinea pig every three to four weeks. If you’re new to the Texel guinea pig world, the idea may be somewhat intimidating. Our step-by-step guide on how to wash your cavy will help you through the process.
Nervous about grooming your Texel? This video takes you through the grooming process.
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Tip – Grooming your Texel guinea pig from a young age is recommended. It’s a great way to get them used to being handled so that they enjoy their pamper sessions!
Guinea pigs are susceptible to a few health issues, which aren’t always easy to spot. As a prey animal, a cavy will hide an injury or illness for as long as possible. Unfortunately, this means that you may only know something’s wrong when it’s too late.
The most common health issues for Texel cavies, as well as other guinea pig breeds, include:
- Teeth or dental issues
- Bladder infections
- Bladder stones
- Tumours and abscesses
- Vitamin C deficiency
Tip – Regardless of the breed of your guinea pig, it’s essential that you do regular health checks and keep an eye out for any changes in its behaviour.
Texel Guinea Pig Health
In addition to these general health issues, this long haired breed has more specific needs compared to short haired cavy breeds. These include:
- Skin problems
- Eye infections (Entropion)
- Weight problems
Let’s take a look at each of these in a bit more detail.
Keeping this breed’s long coat knot and matt free is essential to prevent various skin problems. Not only can Texel guinea pigs smell if they’re not bathed regularly, but their hair can get knotted and matted if they’re not brushed at least once a day.
Daily brushing and frequent trimming are crucial when looking after a Texel. Not only does it keep their coats shiny and healthy, but it also prevents skin problems such as parasites and mites.
Another common ailment for Texel guinea pigs, as well as Rexes and Teddies, is an eye infection known as Entropion. This condition is painful, but it can be treated with antibiotic eye drops. In more severe cases, your vet may suggest surgery.
We mentioned earlier that Texel guinea pigs love to eat, and if given the opportunity will devour pretty much anything and everything.
Always make sure that your piggy is being fed a well-balanced diet with lots of fibre and vitamin C. Avoid too many sugary treats, as this breed battles to break down sugar.
Don’t overfeed them and keep fruit and snacks for special occasions.
All guinea pigs are sensitive to extreme temperatures. Keeping Texel guinea pigs cool during the hot summer months is essential to prevent dehydration and heatstroke.
We recommend placing ice pods in their hutch and run area when temperatures soar.
Frequently Asked Questions About Texel Guinea Pigs
Being a relatively new breed, we regularly receive questions from our readers about Texels.
Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions.
How long do Texel guinea pigs live?
Like most other breeds, the Texel guinea pig has a lifespan of between 5 and 10 years. Remember, though, genetics, diet and overall health all play a role when it comes to your piggy’s lifespan.
How big do Texel guinea pigs get?
Looks can be deceiving when it comes to a Texel guinea pig’s size and weight because of its curly long hair. Typically, though, a full-grown Texel should weigh between 700 g and 1200 g, or 1.5 to 2.5 pounds.
Like other breeds, a male or boar is usually bigger and weighs more than a female, or sow.
What’s the difference between a Texel guinea pig and a Silkie?
Both the Texel and Silkie are long haired breeds, so it’s easy to get confused between the two. The main difference however is in the texture of their coats. Texels have unique long curly coats, while a Silkie’s coat is long and straight.
Are Texel guinea pigs good ‘starter’ pets?
Because they require more care than other guinea pig breeds, the Texel guinea pig is better suited to experienced guinea pig owners.
Keeping Texel guinea pigs require a lot of time and commitment, especially when it comes to their grooming. Like other long hair cavies, this particular breed is considered fairly high maintenance.
Are Texel guinea pigs affectionate?
Texels are extremely affectionate and enjoy being cuddled. They also love being groomed, which is a good thing. Of course, the more you interact with your piggy, the more comfortable it will be.
Keep in mind, however, that every guinea pig has its own personality, and one may be more affectionate than another.
What can I feed my Texel guinea pig?
A Texel guinea pig’s dietary requirements are the same as all other cavy breeds. Timothy hay is a must, as well as guinea pig pellets or nuggets and fresh vegetables that are rich in vitamin C.
Something to be aware of is that Texels battle to digest sugar, so it’s important to limit sugary fruits and treats.
Does a Texel guinea pig bite?
If handled gently, Texel guinea pigs shouldn’t bite. However, if they’re mistreated or feel threatened, they will give you a nip.
Make sure you always pick up and hold your guinea pig correctly to avoid unnecessary injuries (to you and your cavy).
How much do Texel guinea pigs cost?
Due to their popularity, Texel guinea pigs cost a little more than some of the more common breeds. You can expect to pay anywhere between £20 and £65 for this long haired breed.
Where can I get a Texel guinea pig?
Texel guinea pigs are a little harder to come by than some other guinea pig breeds. We recommend finding reputable breeders rather than buying from pet stores. The best option however is to adopt rather than shop.
Does my Texel guinea pig need a companion?
All guinea pigs are social animals and need companionship. We recommend keeping two or more cavies together. Without friends, cavies can experience loneliness, boredom, depression and anxiety.
Worried that your piggy is stressed out? This article will help you identify the signs and give you tips on how to keep your guinea pig calm.
Are you as besotted as we are now that you know more about Texel guinea pigs?
Perhaps you’re already the proud owner of this unique breed? If you are, why not tell us what you love most about your unique little pet? We’d love to hear about its little quirks and mischievous ways. Just leave a message in the comment’s section below.