Guide to Guinea Pig Breeds | Part 2

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.


Recommended for: New owners
The Abyssinian (“ab-sin-ee-an”), also commonly known as the “Aby”, “rosetta” or “rosetted” guinea pig, has very distinctive hair growth in the shape of many rosettes covering the body. This gives the fur a spikey appearance, however the fur feels very soft to the touch.
A purebred Abyssinian should ideally have a total of 8 to 10 rosettes; 4 across the torso, 2 on the rump, 2 on the hips, and maybe even 2 on the shoulders, and these should have a tiny bald patch in the centre with an even spread of fur growing outwards. Abyssinian cross breeds often have fewer rosettes or rosettes that are in slightly odd places, giving them character!
They have unique characteristics of the feet, with curly hair on very long and delicate toes. The Abyssinian is a fairly large breed of guinea pig with a tendency toward being cheeky and forthright and they are always on the go.
Many people believe Abyssinians to be prone to cataracts, determined by the blue hue appearing universally over the lense. Your pet can live quite happily and undisturbed with cataracts and this does not cause any discomfort.


Recommended for: New owners
The Agouti (“a-goo-tee”) is one of the largest breeds of guinea pig, characterised by large petal shaped ears, large eyes and paws, short stubby legs, and a portly round body. Agoutis are active guinea pigs, adventurous and very friendly, only rivalled by the Rex for their soft and slovenly nature.
Somewhat confusingly to new owners, Agouti is also a colour pattern as well as a breed. The hair shaft is two-tone, the main part of the shaft being one solid colour while the tip is another solid colour, known as “ticking”, to give the coat a peppered effect. The Agouti breed can present with six colour variations. These are:
Chocolate Agouti
The hairs are a deep chocolate with orange ticking, ruby eyes, chocolate ears and foot pads.
Cinnamon Agouti
The hairs are a deep cinnamon with silver ticking, ruby eyes, cinnamon ears and foot pads.
Cream Agouti
The hairs are a deep chocolate with cream ticking, ruby eyes, chocolate ears and foot pads.
Golden Agouti
The hairs are a deep black with dark golden ticking, dark eyes, and the ears and foot pads are black.
Lemon Agouti
The hairs are a deep black with lemon ticking, dark eyes, and the ears and foot pads are black.
Silver Agouti
The hairs are a deep black with silver ticking, dark eyes, and the ears and foot pads are black.


Recommended for: New owners
The Crested guinea pig is short haired all over the body with a single crest (a radial parting of the hair with a tiny bald spot in the middle) on the head between the ears.
Like the Agouti and the Smooth breeds, the Crested makes a good choice for new owners because the coat is short and hair care is minimal.


Recommended for: New owners
The Rex is one of the largest breeds of guinea pig and is noted for its cuddly and affable nature. They are generally very laid back and a good choice if you want a “lap pig” or one that is particularly cuddly, docile and friendly.
The fur is coarse and wire-like and the whiskers are crinkly. The Rex is often confused with the Teddy as they look very similar with their plush fur type. There are methods of telling them apart however; the Rex will have crinkly whiskers while the Teddy has whiskers that are longer and straighter, and the fur on a Rex is far more coarse to the touch than that of the Teddy.
The nails on the Rex, especially on the rear feet, are usually thicker than those on other breeds and they tend to grow slightly quicker too. This only makes nail clipping slightly more awkward if you are using human nail clippers as the thicker nails won’t always fit between the blades. Using puppy and kitten nail clippers, with a larger notch in the blades and available from your vet or pet store, is my recommended method for keeping their nails trimmed.


Recommended for: New owners
The Smooth breed of guinea pig is by far the most common type of guinea pig you will see in pet shops, and is the classic image of what a guinea pig should look like in most people’s minds. They have short hair and no crest or any other distinctive feature, other than the uniform short hair all over the body.
This particular breed is the easiest to care for in the bathing and hair department, making them an ideal choice for first time owners. Most Smooth guinea pigs have “normal” sized nails, so nail clipping is straightforward.


Recommended for: New owners
The Teddy is bred to have the fluffy and cuddly characteristics of a teddy bear. Teddies look similar to the Rex breed, both in size and general appearance, but Teddy fur is soft and fluffy while the Rex has coarse and fuzzy fur – the belly fur on a Teddy is straight while the belly fur on the Rex is wavy. The whiskers of the Teddy are long and straight, compared to the crinkly and frazzled looking whiskers of the Rex.
In the USA the Teddy is sometimes referred to as the Rex, and there is some debate over whether the Teddy and the Rex are from the same origins.
Always use a plastic comb on Teddy coats when grooming, because although the coat is not considered long, the coat is very thick and a metal comb will tug through it and cause discomfort. Teddies can be bathed and have their nails clipped as normal.

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