Guide to Guinea Pig Breeds | Part 1

Cross Breeds

Many guinea pigs are not a pure breed, but are a mixture of two or more. Guinea pigs from pet shops and rescue centres are most commonly what we call “Heinz” guinea pigs, with a bit of this and a bit of that. There is nothing wrong with a cross bred guinea pig, indeed you can find some extraordinary personalities with some funky and curious shapes and sizes.
It is not generally recommended that cross bred guinea pigs, especially those from pet shops and rescue centres be bred from, especially if their family history is unknown. Most rescue centres do not allow their guinea pigs to be rehomed for breeding purposes anyway.

Pink-Eyed Guinea Pigs

Many people overlook guinea pigs with pink (or commonly referred to as “red”) eyes due to a perception that they may be evil, suffer from poor vision, or differ in other ways to guinea pigs with dark eyes.
In fact, guinea pigs with pink eyes are exactly the same. They suffer no loss of vision and they are certainly not evil. The pink hue is because of a lack of pigment in the eyeball, a perfectly natural occurrance and really not a reason to reject them.

Which breed is right for you?

There are a large variety of guinea pig breeds to choose from, from short haired and easy to care for, to long haired and needing daily hair care. When choosing a breed you should consider the following things:

  • Are these your first guinea pigs?
  • Can you dedicate the time each day/week to groom them?
  • Can you make space to keep them indoors (especially important for Skinny Pigs)?

Our Breed Classifications

Some breeds require more care than others, especially where the coat is concerned, and so I have made suggested recommendations for the New, Intermediate and Experienced Owner. This is a only guide, as some new owners may have support from other more experienced owners and feel confident enough to give the proper level of care required to some of the breeds recommended here for the Intermediate or Experienced Owner.

  • New Owners – Generally robust breeds with easy coat care and no obvious special requirements.
  • Intermediate Owners – Regular coat care is required.
  • Experienced Owners – The coat requires intense care and/or the breed has specific health considerations.
  • Specialist Owners – A classification reserved for Skinny Pigs as the breed has unique requirements.

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