There are thirteen different recognized guinea pig breeds in the United States. Guinea pig breeds and standards in the U.S. are regulated by the American Cavy Association which is under the umbrella of the American Rabbit Breeders Association. A guinea pig is known in England as a cavy.
What are the Common Guinea Pig Breeds?
Abyssinian—This breed is also known by the names Abby or Aby. They have what is referred to as rosette patterns on their bodies—these are similar to spots where the hair grows symmetrically out of the center of each one. In order to be able to show your Abyssinian guinea pig, he or she must have at least eight of these rosettes and ten is even better. The Abyssinian also has erect ridges of hair on its body and head, and raised fur between the nose and lips that looks like a mustache. This guinea pig comes in many color patterns. It’s one of the three oldest breeds of guinea pigs.
There is a second breed of Abyssinian, known as an Abyssinian Satin. It looks like the Abyssinian but instead of coarse fur, has fur with a shiny, satin quality.
American—This is another of the oldest breeds of guinea pigs and the most common of all. It has soft, smooth fur and comes in many different colors. The American Satin is considered a separate breed and has fine and very glossy fur.
The Coronet guinea pig is one of the newer long-hair breeds. It has a wide nose and rosettes on the head and rump. The Coronet comes in a variation of black, white and brown colors.
The Peruvian was the very first breed of long-haired guinea pigs. It has so much hair on its head that it is hard to see its face, and this long hair covers the Peruvian’s entire body. This is a show breed of guinea pig and not recommended as a pet. They need constant grooming to keep the hair from becoming tangled. It is possible to trim the hair if you don’t plan on showing your Peruvian. The Peruvian Satin is a similar breed, except the coat is glossier and feels like satin.
The Silkie guinea pig was first called an Angora and is known in England as a Sheltie. It has very long hair like the Peruvian but the hair does not cover its face. The extra-long hair forms more of a mane as it covers the back. The Silkie has soft hair that is fine and requires a lot of grooming. A second related breed, the Silkie Satin, looks the same but the hair looks and feels like satin.
Other guinea pig breeds include the Teddy and the Teddy Satin. The Teddy has a very wiry coat with kinked hair. Once again, the Satin was bred to have more of a glossy, silk-like coat. These breeds can be three-colored. The Texel is another long-hair. They have soft hair that is not only long but very curly. It makes them look like they have ringlets all over their bodies. This is probably the most difficult guinea pig to groom.
The final of the guinea pig breeds is the White Crested. They can come in many colors but the one characteristic that cannot vary is that a White Crested must have a white, round rosette on its forehead. This guinea pig cannot have any other white spots.
In summary, the following are some common guinea pig breeds:
- Abby or Aby Guinea Pig
- Abyssinian Satin Guinea Pig
- American Guinea Pig
- American Satin Guinea Pig
- Coronet Guinea Pig
- Peruvian Guinea Pig
- Peruvian Satin
- Silkie Guinea Pig
- Silkie Satin Guinea Pig
- Teddy Guinea Pig
- Teddy Satin Guinea Pig
- Texel Guinea Pig
- White Crested Guinea Pig