One of the most common questions among pet owners is how long their pets will live and how they can help their pets live a long, healthy, and happy life. On average guinea pigs live 5 – 7 years, but depending on their breed, diet, and care they could live several years longer.
What breed of guinea pig lives the longest? Skinny guinea pigs tend to live the longest with a typical lifespan of 7 – 8 years. White, Silkie, Peruvian, and Himalayan guinea pigs live roughly 5 – 8 years, and Abyssinian guinea pigs usually live 5 – 7 years.
Keep reading to learn more about each breed of guinea pig and how you can help your guinea pig live a long happy life.
A Complete List of The Longest to Shortest Guinea Pig Breed Life Length
1. Skinny Guinea Pigs
Skinny guinea pigs have a lifespan of roughly 7 – 8 years, giving them, on average, the longest lifespan of guinea pigs. The first thing you should know about skinny pigs, is they have little to no hair; however, this makes them a great pet option for people with allergies.
Skinny guinea pigs are friendly and outgoing, but because they have to work harder to maintain their body temperature, they need to eat more and need constant access to bedding and blankets. You can also purchase sweaters for them to wear.
A skinny guinea pig has a smooth body with wrinkles around their legs and neck. If they are going to be outside in the sunlight, they need to wear sunblock, and if their skin becomes dry, you can moisturize them with gentle unscented baby lotion.
2. White Crested Guinea Pig
White-crested guinea pigs have a lifespan of about 5 – 8 years. These guinea pigs got their name because of the little white tuft of hair that grows at the top of their head, the rest of their body being golden.
The white-crested guinea pig is somewhat of a rare breed, and while they can be a bit shy at first, they are very affectionate once they warm up to you, as well as incredibly intelligent.
White-crested guinea pigs are great with kids and a great breed for first-time guinea pig owners.
3. Silkie Guinea Pig
Silkie guinea pigs typically live 5 – 8 years. These guinea pigs have long hair that can grow as long as 24 inches; not only are silkies great pets but they also make for a great show animal.
Silkie guinea pigs are soft and gentle, and while their long hair is a unique feature it also makes them high-maintenance as they do need to be groomed every day. It’s also important to know that silkies typically prefer a spot cleaning rather than being bathed. Silkie guinea pigs also require about 1 hour of supervised floor time daily.
4. Peruvian Guinea Pig
Peruvian guinea pigs typically have a lifespan of about 5 – 8 years and are one of the oldest breeds of guinea pigs. These pigs are born short-haired, but as they grow their hair grows with them and can get as long as 20 inches. They even have a long fringe that covers the eyes.
Peruvian guinea pigs do require regular grooming and bathing because of their long hair. If they aren’t groomed and bathed regularly, their hair can become matted. This breed comes in a variety of colors, the most common being tri-color.
5. Himalayan Guinea Pig
Himalayan guinea pigs typically live about 5 – 8 years and originated in South America. These guinea pigs make both excellent pets and show animals.
Himalayan guinea pigs have an albino appearance with a white coat and red eyes; in fact, it can take 3 months for Himalayan guinea pigs to reach their final coloring.
These guinea pigs prefer slightly cooler conditions and should be kept out of direct sunlight. Aside from requiring a cool, shady area, these pigs love affection and are low maintenance making them great for families with young kids.
6. Abyssinian Guinea Pig
Abyssinian guinea pigs typically live 5 – 7 years and are a close cousin of the Peruvian guinea pig; however, unlike their cousins that have long hair, Abyssinian pigs have a rough coat of fur curls. Because of their hair that tends to stand up all over their body, they do need to be brushed often.
Abyssinian guinea pigs don’t do well in the heat, but other than their need to stay cool and be groomed, they are a low-maintenance pet that is bold, quirky, lively, and playful.
How to Give Your Guinea Pig a Happy and Healthy Life
Here are a few ways you can make help your guinea pig live a long and happy life:
- Raise in Pairs. Guinea pigs are naturally social and thrive in groups of two or more. If you get one male and one female, be sure to spay or neuter one of them as pregnancy and birth can be very difficult for guinea pigs and often result in death.
- Living space. Two guinea pigs will need approximately 10 square feet to ensure they have their own space as well as enough space to exercise. Adequate exercise keeps guinea pigs from becoming obese and preventing gas and bloating. Be sure to line the cage with good bedding that keep guinea pigs warm and cozy. Check out this Kaytee Clean & Cozy Bedding that is 99.9% dust free and controls odors.
A guinea pig’s cage should be kept in a room with plenty of light, but they will need a dark corner or small house where they can go to hide or sleep.
- Good hygiene. Cleaning out your guinea pigs cage is super important as this prevents infection and bacteria. Guinea pigs need to be bathed roughly every three months, or more frequently depending on the breed.
Bathing a guinea pig is simple, just fill up a sink with warm water, and hold your guinea pig under gently running water. Once wet, lather with a guinea pig or rabbit shampoo, such as Kaytee Squeaky Clean Critter Shampoo, and rinse off. Next, wrap your guinea pig in a towel to dry, then blow-dry and brush. If your guinea pig absolutely hates taking a bath, you can use a warm washcloth and simply spot clean with warm water.
- Watch the temperature. Guinea pigs don’t do well in the heat, so be sure not to place their cage in direct sunlight; be cautious of drafts as well. Guinea pigs do best indoors in low-level humidity rooms.
- Good nutrition. Proper nutrition is key in making sure your guinea pig lives a long and healthy life; fresh water and quality food are the two key components. Guinea pigs need a diet rich in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, D, and E. Guinea pigs are herbivores that love leafy greens, carrots, celery, and apples. Make sure not to overdo it on the fruits to avoid giving your guinea pig too much sugar.
Guinea pigs typically live 5 – 7 years with Skinny guinea pigs typically having the longest life spans of about 7 – 8 years while White, Silkie, Peruvian, Himilayan, and Abyssinian live about 5 – 7 years.
Several factors contribute to the quality and longevity of a guinea pigs’ life such as raising them in pairs, providing adequate living space, practicing good hygiene, temperature control, and good nutrition.
Guinea pigs are super fun, generally low-maintenance, and affectionate critters that will make a wonderful addition to your home and family for years to come!