Guide to Guinea Pig Breeds | Part 3

Some breeds require more care than others, especially where the coat is concerned, and so I have made suggested recommendations for the Intermediate and Experienced Owner.

Coronet

Recommended for: Intermediate owners
The Coronet guinea pig is essentially a long haired Crested guinea pig. These pigs have a single rosette on their heads and long hair covering the body. The hair falls backwards from the head down over the body toward the rump with a centre parting.
Coronets have short hair after birth and it grows at a rate of around half an inch each month. By the age of four months the hair should be almost touching the ground.
When grooming, use a soft brush and a plastic comb, and avoid using a metal comb or you may pull the hairs out. Brush in the direction of the hair and take extra care around the bottom where the fur may have tangled. If the guinea pig is not to be shown in competitions, trim the hair once or twice a month to tidy it up and remove any knots and matted areas.

Peruvian

Recommended for: Experienced owners
The hair on a Peruvian guinea pig will grow until it reaches the floor. They require a lot of grooming and Peruvians may not be the ideal pet for a child or someone who wishes to keep maintenance levels low. Especially as the hair can grow up to a foot in length!
When they are born Peruvians have short hair and the hair should grow at a rate of around half an inch each month until the coat has reached adult length. From two weeks onwards you should be able to tell if the pup is going to have long hair. At around the age of four months the coat should be almost brushing the ground. The hair will also begin to fall into the classic forward-falling Peruvian growth pattern.
When grooming, use a soft brush and a plastic comb, and avoid using a metal comb or you may pull the hairs out. Brush in the direction of the hair and take extra care around the bottom where the fur may have tangled. If the guinea pig is not to be shown in competitions, trim the hair once or twice a month to tidy it up and remove any knots and matted areas.

Sheltie

Recommended for: Intermediate owners
The Sheltie is known as the “Silkie” in the USA. The hair falls backwards from the head down over the body toward the rump with a centre parting.
When grooming, use a soft brush and a plastic comb, and avoid using a metal comb or you may pull the hairs out. Brush in the direction of the hair and take extra care around the bottom where the fur may have tangled. If the guinea pig is not to be shown in competitions, trim the hair once or twice a month to tidy it up and remove any knots and matted areas.

Skinny

Recommended for: Specialist owners
A genetically engineered breed, Skinny Pigs (originally named the IAF Hairless) are so named because they are naked, save for a tuft of hair on the nose, hairy feet, and some smatterings of hair across the body.
I have classed Skinny Pigs as being suitable for Specialist Owners, however this doesn’t mean that the truly dedicated and honest new owner cannot begin with this particular breed. Their general requirements differ enough from a classic hairy guinea pig that an owner of any level of experience should give a lot of thought to their upkeep.
They are such a special breed they have an entire care guide of their own.

Swiss

Recommended for: Experienced owners
The Swiss breed comes from Switzerland and has only been introduced into the United Kingdom in recent years. The fur is coarse and sticks up from the body, giving the appearance of having been electrocuted, and growing to a length of around 6cm.
It is quite difficult to maintain an even coat all over the guinea pig because they can have “bad hair days” with the fur standing up in some places but not others. When grooming, use a soft brush and a plastic comb, and avoid using a metal comb or you may pull the hairs out.
The Swiss suffers from some skin ailments, especially after excessive bathing, so the skin needs a bit of extra care. The Swiss can be prone to dry skin so avoid over-bathing, however they can have their nails clipped as normal.

Texel

Recommended for: Experienced owners
The Texel has naturally long and thick wavy fur. In very simple terms, the Texel is genetically a Sheltie with an added Rex gene, giving the long haired Sheltie style, and coarse Rexed hairs. When they are born Texels have short wavy hair and you will be able to confirm the pup will become a longhaired variety by the age of two weeks. Once the guinea pig has matured the hair should have that scruffy permed look!
The fur is thick and wavy so gently and carefully groom every day to keep tangles at bay. Use a soft brush and a plastic comb, and avoid using a metal comb because the coat is both long and thick and a metal comb will tug through it. Keep an eye out for lice and mites as longhaired guinea pigs tend to be more prone to them. If the guinea pig is not to be shown in competitions, trim the hair once or twice a month to tidy it up and remove any knots and matted areas. Trim nails as normal.

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