There are many breeds of guinea pigs, also named cavy. We can classify them in two big groups, the long haired and the shorter haired varieties. There are some with rough-coated hair too.
Short haired breeds or Smooth-coated breeds
Shorthaired guinea pigs have hair no longer than 1 cm long and it is straight and smooth (that is why they are also named smooth-coated). They can be shown in all colours and patterns. A few of them are related below.
. Agouti: This variety has a smooth coat with a base colour of black or chocolate. The coat then has a “ticked” colour throughout the fur. That “ticked” colour can vary with the most common being seen as gold, silver and cinnamon. The stomach usually has the base colour.
. American Crested or White Crested Guinea Pig: This guinea pig has a single rosette on top of the head which is a different colour to the rest of its body. Usually it is a white crest and that is when they are called “White Crested Guinea Pig”. Their short, smooth hair makes them easy to groom. They are also brilliant for the kids to take care of.
. Dalmatian: As it happens with dogs, for example, Dalmatian guinea pigs have specks of black on a coat of white hair.
. Dutch: This cavy has a specific white pattern: a blaze on the face with a distinct upside down “V” shape. They also have a wide white band around the neck, chest, and the belly. They are also white on the front paws.
. Himalayan: These guinea pigs are thought to originate in Southeast Asia, like Himalayan and Siamese cats. They are born solid white, but the “points” (colour, usually black, that appears on their noises, feet and ears) start being visible after a few weeks.
Long haired breeds or Long-coated breeds
Long haired breeds need diligent grooming, and if you are willing to take on this responsibility, you should go for it. They look great!
. Peruvian: It was once called the Angora, and it has a coat several cm long, that drags on the ground. It has the longest hair and so they need diligent grooming and brushing every day. They tend to be very alert and curious.
. Silkie/ Sheltie: The Sheltie guinea pig is also nicknamed “Silkie”. It is quite similar to the Peruvian because it has long and smooth hair. However, the difference is that the Silkie has shorter hair in the area of the head. The name of Silkie is because its hair looks very silk-like.
These are breeds with wavy or even curly hair. We name one very funny breed, which is very suitable for children due to its appearance and texture.
. Rex: Rex’s hair is crimped and slightly wavy in appearance what makes it very wool-like. Rex’s hair has a unique texture that children seem to love.
And if you’d like to know more about Guinea Pig crests, please watch this!