If you are considering buying a guinea pig for a companion, there are several types of guinea pigs from which to choose. First of all, there are thirteen different breeds of guinea pigs, and each of these looks different and has variations in build and hair or fur type. There are also many different colors of guinea pigs to choose from and many of the breeds come in several different color variations.
Before you actually purchase a guinea pig, be sure to really think about what you want. Do you want a guinea pig for a pet for you or someone in your family? Or maybe, you already have a guinea pig and you want to add another. Or, you have decided you really think showing guinea pigs would be fun.
Also Read: A Complete Guide to Guinea Pig Breeds
If you want a guinea pig for a pet for you or someone else, you can buy one at a pet store, from a breeder, or you can adopt one from an animal shelter or guinea pig rescue organization. You will want to look at the types of guinea pigs, and choose one that you think is cute, has a normal fur coat, and is very friendly from the beginning. Many times when you buy a guinea pig from a pet store, they are quite shy and afraid because commercial guinea pig operations do not have people who handle the animals very often.
Also, make sure you examine him to make certain he is healthy–no unusual discharges from eyes, nose, mouth, ears or anal area. Plus, the guinea pig should have bright eyes, and nice looking fur with no flaking, fleas or mites. Most of the guinea pigs that are brought to shelters or rescue organizations are American guinea pigs, which doesn’t mean necessarily they are U.S. citizens, only that the most common breed of guinea pig is named American. In England, the most basic of the types of guinea pigs is called the English cavy.
Other breeds of guinea pigs include: American Satin, Abyssinian, Abyssinian Satin, Coronet, Peruvian, Peruvian Satin, Silkie, Silkie Satin, Teddy, Teddy Satin, Texel, and White Crested. Many of these, such as the Peruvian, Silkie, Coronet, Teddy and Texel are types of guinea pigs with extremely long hair. Most of these are only raised by private breeders and used as show animals. Their coats are very hard to care for so they are not the best choice for the average pet owner looking for companionship.
Almost all of the breeds of guinea pigs come in different colors. And, with guinea pigs, the colors or color patterns also have names. Here are some to take a look at before selecting your guinea pig: Self means the guinea pig has a coat of a solid color; A Himalayan has a black nose, ears and feet and a white body; Dutch has tan and/or brown markings on a white body; Tortoise Shell is a guinea pig with patches of light and dark brown colors; Agouti means he can be cinnamon, silver or gold, but each hair has the bottom and tip of one color and the middle of a different color.
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A Tortoise Shell and White guinea pig is the same as the Tortoise Shell—light and dark brown patches, but with the addition of white; Dalmatian, like the dog, is white with black spots; Albino is white with pink eyes; Roan means there are dark hairs but they are equally mixed with white; Brindle is light and dark combinations of tan; and Mixed can be any combination of all of these colors.