The Complete List of Guinea Pig Breeds


Guinea pig breeds

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I don’t know about you, but to me, a pet is like the family which we get to choose. So, I sure as hell must be sure of choosing the right pet, right?

So, if you are certain that the pet animal you want is a guinea pig, choosing the best guinea pig for you depends on how well you know your choices. There are ample choices available, and not to worry, I am here to lend a helping hand!

This post is your one-stop place to know everything you need to know about the major breeds of guinea pigs that are available. Starting from hair size to weight to available areas, this post gives you a 360-degree review of all the breeds and combinations! So, go ahead and read the complete list of guinea pig breeds below!

When there are a million entries to study, how do we make it easier? Classification! So, there are innumerable variants of cute little guinea pigs available, what do we do? Let’s classify! One of the basic characteristics to base the classification is their hair size. So, let’s begin with that!

Hairless Guinea Pig Breeds

The response to hairless guinea pig breeds is the most polarized. Some people find it cute, while some others who love guinea pigs just for their hair do not love these breeds as much. But considering the facts, hairless breeds are the easiest to care for because of the lowest risk of infestation and the least or no need for grooming!

With a typical lifespan of 5 to 6 years, they are quite a long term commitment. Hairless breeds have the most number of color variations in terms of their hair coat. Because of their obvious lack of insulation by the hair, they should stay in warmer regions or should be provided with enough bedding and insulation from the cold.

These breeds are also the best choices for kids because their hair cannot cause allergic reactions because they got no hair! There are only two major hairless breeds when it comes to guinea pigs: One with a chubby bulky yet cute body, and the other with a skinny yet equally cute body!

Baldwin Guinea Pig

Baldwin guinea pig

Hailing from California, it is an irony that they cannot withstand hot temperatures. With a lifetime of just over four years, they do not make ideal pets for rookies because of their vulnerabilities to extreme weather.

Keeping them in the shades when taking outdoors is essential because they are more vulnerable to sun strokes.

Size and Appearance

They grow quite chubby, but in a cute kinda way. Although, their length is pretty much the same as most other guinea pigs- 8 to 10 inches in size.

Baldwin guinea pigs cannot be differentiated from other breeds when they are in their first few weeks of life. They have the same amount of hair in their coat that any other short haired guinea pig has at the time of their birth. Eventually, the hair sheds off after the first few months.

In terms of skin color, they have a very unique pattern of shades. They seldom have a monochromatic body. Most of them have a skin color of two contrasting shades in large patches- like brown and peach!

Skinny Guinea Pig

Skinny-pig

Just like we can understand from the name of the breed, they are skinny! Hailing from Canada, they must have burned a lot of calories because of the cold to be this skinny.

They definitely live longer than 4 years of lifespan under proper care. Although beyond the age of four there is no guarantee their body mechanisms can fight cold and heat. If you can keep them in a moderate temperature with proper bedding for insulation and sufficient water to fight the heat, they could live longer.

Because the skin individuals of this breed are the most exposed, and with the added problem of lack of insulation by fat, they are vulnerable to lung infections in cold weather.

Size and Appearance

They are skinny, but not so skinny enough for ribs and spine to be apparently visible.

The subtle wrinkles in their skin around the neck are the most noticeable and adorable character of the skinny guinea pigs.

The skinny guinea pig is a hybrid of both hairless and short-haired breeds. So, some individuals may have patches of hair on the back, or on their feet.

With a body size of about 8 to 11 inches in length, they are of the typical length of any guinea pig. But they seem to look longer because of their skinny width.

Short haired Guinea Pig Breeds

Short haired guinea pigs are the most preferred breeds of all. Not only are they quite easy to care for, but the chances of infestation are also quite minimal. Moreover, their hair is neither too long to get messed up, nor too short to make them cold! Grooming once in 3 days should suffice for these breeds. And one common trait for the short-haired breeds is their relatively short lifespan of 4 to 7 years.

American Guinea Pig

american-guinea-pig-breed

This is one of the most common breeds when it comes to guinea pigs. When my friend, years ago suggested that I get a guinea pig, I didn’t even know what a guinea pig was! He suggested that I get an American Guinea pig. My question in reaction to that suggestion was whether it is a cross between pigs from America and Guinea. Then when he showed me a pic of the American guinea pig, I knew that guinea pigs are neither pigs nor from Guinea! I am writing about this breed at first because it is my very first guinea pig years ago!

This is the breed commonly called as the short-haired guinea pig because of its overwhelmingly outweighing number as opposed to other short-haired breeds. With its origin often mistaken to be North America, in reality, this breed hails from the Peruvian Andes in South America.

If you are looking for the longest living breed, this might not be your best choice, because most American guinea pigs live only 4 to 6 years as compared to the other breeds with life spans of 7 to 10 years.

Size and Appearance

The breed’s other name “American crested guinea pig” is due to a crest on top of their head, in a different color than the body. With most individuals having their crests in white color, they look like they have a bow on their head all the time- all the more reason to adore their cuteness!

If you are looking for a compact pet that requires less space in comparison to other breeds, this breed is pretty good. An adult American guinea pig could be anywhere between 7-9 inches in size.

Their cute round nose is one trait that cannot be ignored. Of course, every guinea pig has a cute nose, but my personal favorite is that of the American breed!

Himalayan Guinea Pig

Himalayan-guinea-pig-breed

The name of the breed is indicative of its origin, the individuals of this breed had their origin near the Himalayas in South-East Asia. With a lifespan at par with most other short-haired breeds, the individuals of this breed live for a span of 5 to 7 years.

This breed is an exception to the easy to care rule of short-haired breeds. The breed’s characteristic response to direct sunlight is the reason for this exception. They have a white coat with a few dark patches near the ears and feet. The fading of these dark patches is the result of either sunlight exposure or depression. Given that fact, the individuals of this breed should be sheltered indoors.

Given their need for experienced care, they are not best for rookies of the guinea pig ownership.

Size and Appearance

Typically, guinea pigs of this breed do not grow beyond 12 inches in size and they have white hair with dark patches around their ears and feet. 

Ridges

ridgeback-guinea-pig

Ridges, also known as ridgeback guinea pigs, are native to America.

Their typical life span is very irregular among the population. But a vast majority have their lifespan in the range of 4 to 7 years.

Pro tip: This breed of guinea pigs is the best choice for teens and pre-teens because of their trendy and stylish aesthetics.

Size and Appearance

The ridges are as unique as their name is. They have a very noticeable ridge of hairline running down their back. And as if that isn’t stylish enough, they have hair growing in the reverse direction near their feet.

Some ridge adults are as small as 5 inches in size, although some others grow as long as 12 inches.

Identifying ridges among baby guinea pigs could be a challenge due to the fact that the ridges aren’t visible in the first few weeks of their lives.

Long haired Guinea Pig Breeds

The most number of breeds of guinea pigs fall under this category. Having a pet meets different needs for different people. For some people having a pet is for emotional company, why for others it could be just out of peer pressure. While some get pets for a long-term friendship irrespective of appearance, some others are into nothing but the appearance of their pet.

As for guinea pigs, they sure are social and emotionally receptive, and they sure are cute and adorable. With regards to long-haired guinea pigs, they make a great show-off companion while also being an amazing friend. You must have enough time on a daily basis if you plan on getting a long-haired breed of guinea pig. Since they are well-insulated, they are better off in areas where the weather is humid or cold.

Long-haired breeds have been observed to have the longest lifespan as compared to other short-haired and hairless breeds.

Of course, longer hair comes with more investment in grooming tools and anti-infestation measures.

Silkie Guinea Pig

silkie-guinea-pig

Hailing from the UK as a result of several crossbreeds, the Silkie breed individuals are very satisfying for anyone with an appetite for aesthetic perfection.

With an average lifespan of 5-7 years, their lifespan mainly depends upon how effectively you prevent and control an infestation. Because of the increased surface area for hiding offered by thick hair, an infestation could rapidly unfold if left unchecked.

It is no revelation that guinea pigs are shy at the beginning of their life with a new owner. But the silkies stay shy for a longer duration than the other breeds. With their gentle personality, they make great pets for kids to play with. But they need regular grooming and extensive care and love from an adult who understands their needs.

There is another common name for the silkie breed of guinea pigs: sheltie. I have no idea who named it, but it is quite appropriate I guess.

Size and Appearance

Even though the spelling differs from “silky”, that is what it is. With silky smooth hair, they look like the rulers of the guinea pig kingdom. Their long hair does look great, especially because of the shiny, lustrous and elegant colors.

With a teardrop shaped body, their hairline is spectacular in itself. It has a perfect wave of hair falling behind the face, with no hair growing in opposite directions anywhere in the body. Why does that matter? Well, for one, the uniform hairline having a fixed pattern makes it relatively easier to groom than the other long-haired breeds. A unidirectional combing with a comb that has closely placed teeth is easy to do as compared to the multidirectional one that is needed in other long-haired breeds.

Texel Guinea Pig

texel guinea pig breed

Being a purebred hailing from England, they are one of the prettiest breeds among guinea pigs. Their hair coloring is like, super irresistible! With a combination of multiple colors, often of complementary nature, they sure ace the appearance test!

Personality wise, they have been observed to be one of the most cuddly breeds among guinea pigs.

Their lifespan is the typical 5 to 7 years, just like the other long-haired guinea pig breeds in terms of lifespan.

Size and Appearance

It is more appropriate to call the texel breed guinea pigs with their alternative name: Curlies. Because, literally, they have gorgeous curly hair!  Their hair is straight towards their top, but gets gradually towards exclusive curliness towards the bottom! We have got to interrogate these guinea pigs, because I so badly want to know which hair conditioner their ancestors used! Soft, and thick, such a tough combination to achieve even with advanced human dermatology!

Of course, it goes without saying that it is harder to maintain the curly hair. But still, all that is so worth it, because they are just plain gorgeous!

Coronet Guinea Pig

coronet guinea pig

I might never understand why most long-haired breeds have their origin in England, but this one I can. You don’t have to be an expert to identify this breed when you see it, because the first sight of them screams out “English!”. That explains why their common name is “English guinea pig”.

The individuals of this breed have proved to be the longest living of all other breeds of guinea pigs. With a lifespan of 6 to 8 years, they are best if you are looking for a long term relationship. In terms of personality, cornets are my personal favorite. They have the most playful and affectionate nature of all the breeds of guinea pigs. Moreover, don’t be surprised if they eat something they are not supposed to eat, or they go somewhere they are not supposed to go. Because they are like the Curious George in their curiosity! So, that means, you gotta be more attentive and extra-caring!

Size and Appearance

The hair coat that grows entirely backward right from the face, is a common trait between silkies and cornets. The difference between the two breeds lies in the presence of a coronet or rosette in the middle of the heads in cornets.

They are usually multichromatic in their hair color. The most adored combination is where the rosette is white, the majority of the coat is brown with black strands of black in between! (P.S: Most adored by me!)

Peruvian Guinea Pig

peruvian-guinea-pig

We can understand why they are so sophisticated, given that their place of origin is Paris!

The breed’s resume is pretty impressive. As in, this breed has a high paygrade. In direct terms, you may have to take them for haircuts more frequently than you your own haircuts!

They are very cooperative with outdoor relaxing sessions! With never-ending stamina, they will truly make great playmates. Wait, furry playmates!

In terms of lifespan, you wouldn’t have to worry much, as long as you take good care of them. Their lifespan is, on an average, in the range of 4 to 7 years.

Size and Appearance

With probably the longest hair of all guinea pig breeds, it is safe to say that it is also the toughest to groom and maintain. Fun fact? Their hair could grow as long as 24 inches! Their body length cannot grow longer than 12 or 13 inches, but their hair can grow double that length! Funny right?

Alpaca Guinea Pig

alpaca-guinea-pig

Probably the breed with the most number of alternative names, this breed hails from England too, but indirectly. They originated from English Peruvian guinea pigs. The alternative breed names include Boucle, English Peruvian, and Curly Coronet.

This breed also has an excellent record for the longest lifespans in guinea pigs, with about 5 to 8 years at best.

The Alpaca guinea pigs are probably the ideal choices for guinea pig seekers. Whenever we refer to a guinea pig, we use adjectives like furry, fuzzy, playful, cute, hairy, even though not all these adjectives are fitting for all breeds. But in my opinion, an Alpaca guinea pig is a living testimony with all those traits. They are the most sought out breed when it comes to guinea pigs.

Okay, enough with the unpaid promotions for Alpaca guinea pigs. Let me tell you the downside of getting this breed. They aren’t happy with any outdoor setting! Well, it depends on the perspective of the owner to determine whether it is good news or bad news. If you have no option of taking your guinea pigs outdoors, an Alpaca guinea pig is your best bet.

Size and Appearance

As you may have guessed already by their name, Alpacka guinea pigs do remind about an actual Alpaca.

They have wonderful thick and wavy hair and come in many different colors.

Merino Guinea Pig

merino-guinea-pig

One of the most unpredictable breeds of guinea pigs, the Merino is also called as English Merino and Merino Peruvian. With a proven life span of a minimum of 5 years given proper care, the maximum depends on several factors.

The observed traits common to most merino individuals is their friendly temperament.

Size and Appearance

Their body length varies broadly individual to individual. They could be as short as 4 inches, or even as long as 12 inches.

With most of its appearance similar to a Texel guinea pig, their curly coats with shorter hair on the head are the differences.

Their head is as cute as a Koala bear because of its short height and broad width.

Another fact worth mentioning is that they are more photogenic than the rest of the breeds of guinea pigs. So you’re sure to become a social media sensation with their cute and adorable pictures!

Lunkarya Guinea Pig

lunkarya-guinea-pig

The word “Lunkarya” has so many syllables right? That’s why we followed the shortening trend of the millennium to make their common name as “Lunk”!

They are not native to America, rather their country of origin is Sweden. Say what you may, Sweden has one of the most pet-friendly societies in the world. Their breeding practices have led to this elegant and gorgeous breed of guinea pigs.

They are more immune than the rest of the breeds. That explains their enduring lifespan of 5 to 8 years.

Size and Appearance

The most common color combination of this breed is that of grey with white- a brilliant combination that complements the texture of their hair. With a long, rough, and curly nature, their corkscrew-like curls filled coat is a great treat to our eyes!

Although, it is my responsibility to also warn you that this type of coat is the toughest to be combed and maintained. But if you are up for the challenge of dedicated grooming, congratulations, you got yourself a gorgeous and loving breed of guinea pigs!!

Coarse Coat Guinea Pig Breeds

So, we saw the hairless and smooth-haired breeds in the above sections. Let’s move on to the coarse-haired breeds now. These are intermediate in terms of grooming, but still easier to maintain than most other breeds. With lifespans intermediate too, these make a good choice for people who believe in the benefits of moderation in everything.

Teddy Guinea Pig

teddy-guinea-pig

Have you ever heard about “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman”? Well, I heard that David Letterman has invited Teddy guinea pigs to his show for the next episode. Some of you may go “really!?” But I’m sure 99.9% of you know that I am kidding! But it’s a different way to say that teddy guinea pigs are very popular don’t you think?

Okay, cutting right to the chase now. You know, I always believe that not all mistakes end up with horrible results. You might wonder if I’ve gone crazy to talk about the philosophy of mistakes in between a discussion about guinea pigs. But they aren’t totally mutually exclusive topics. You know why? Because the beautiful and cute little teddy guinea pigs are a result of a mistake! Yes, a genetic mutation resulted in the origin of this breed.

You are familiar with how most people looking to get a guinea pig are doing it solely for their kids to get acquainted with animals. If you are one such person, go straight with teddies! They are fun, social, mellow, fuzzy, and curious in nature. What more could you possibly want in a pet!?

But still, do not abandon them of adult supervision and care altogether.

Size and Appearance

If you are looking for a guinea pig with a uniform hair length in their coat, teddies are your best bet. There is no reason to object naming teddy guinea pigs the way they are named because they look more like soft toys than like actual animals!

Rex Guinea Pigs

rex-guinea-pig

This Latin American breed sure makes it to the top 5 most friendly breeds of guinea pigs. But please don’t ask me to rank them because I am so not the right person for it, I love all the breeds equally!

If you are getting a rex guinea pig, make sure you hold them and pet them frequently. Else they may run away to someone else who does!

Size and Appearance

This is the breed of guinea pig that grows the longest of all breeds!

That’s right, they grow as long as 17 inches in length! Given their larger size, you may expect that they would live shorter. But surprisingly, they have an appreciable lifespan of 5 to 6 years.

With hair length growing not more than 1 cm in length, you can have an easy time in grooming them just like other breeds of the coarse-haired category. Woolly hair, dense coat, and curly whiskers on their underbelly are all contributing factors to making them more fuzzy in appearance and in texture!

Abyssinian Guinea Pigs

abyssian-guinea-pig

Ah, I have been waiting all through the previous breeds to write about this heart-winning breed of guinea pigs.

Also from Latin America, with a lifespan of 5 to 8 years, they are one of the most reliable breeds of guinea pigs.

If you ask for my suggestion, which I hope is what you are doing by reading such a long post, I would suggest these for kids and teens. These are some of the most beautiful, intelligent, emotionally connecting, and adorable individuals among guinea pigs.

Size and Appearance

These pals also grow long, but not as long as rexes. With average size between 8 to 12 inches, they still are long enough.

Guess how many rosettes are in the Abyssinians? One? Two? Maybe three? No, EIGHT! Eight rosettes arranged as pairs all over their body!

Their coat that grows up to 4 cm in length is neither too short nor too long.

One of the plus points for the Abyssinians is the versatility of their color variations! More choices mean a higher likelihood of getting the perfect pet, remember?

Sheba Guinea Pigs

sheba-mini-yak

Say hello to the pretty and smooth pals from the land down under. With lifespan in the range of 4 to 7 years, they are reliable additions to your wonderful family.

If you are confused between choosing Abyssinian and Peruvian breeds of guinea pigs, go with the Shebas which are a combination of both!

Size and Appearance

also going by the name of Sheba Mini Yak, they really do look like mini yaks. Growing 7 to 12 inches in length, these share a striking resemblance to wild yaks of the Himalayan range.

Are you looking for a manly looking breed of guinea pigs? Well, look no further! With a sturdy personality that is combined with an inquisitive brain and a badass hairstyle, you are sure to stand out in the guinea pig owners gathering!

Sure they look like a Met Gala hairstyle of some actress sometimes, but their level of emotional availability and friendly nature transcend that!

As usual, a cool hairstyle comes with a need for regular grooming. That goes without saying, right?

What’s Next?

If you’re interested in guinea pig breeds, read our article “What Breed Of Guinea Pig Is The Friendliest?

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Niklas

I love animals! I grew up with everything from dogs and cats to rabbits and guinea pigs. I enjoy learning about pets and to share what I learn with others.

3 thoughts on “The Complete List of Guinea Pig Breeds

  1. Thank you ever so much for the thorough explanation of each Guinea Pig breed. It helps me to make a decision on the type of piggy I’ll find to be a part of my family. The candid way you described each breed made reading a joy. Thank you! Carrie

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