Varieties of Guinea Pigs
Due to hundreds of generations of guinea pigs which have occurred since
man first started keeping them, it is not surprising that a great number
of varieties have been developed. Varieties may be based on color,
length and texture of the coat, or a mixture of both. All varieties were
developed by selective breeding of accidental mutations which arise in
litters from time to time.
With a knowledge of basic genetics, it is possible to assess the
probable results from certain mating; in this small volume, however, we
can do no more than inform the reader of this possibility and encourage
him/her to look elsewhere for further information.
Guinea pig varieties are divided into two main groups:
- The self varieties guinea pig
In show animals, the color of self's is extremely important, the
best animals being of a single uniform color which does not vary in
shade. In this group the general body shape is also important. The
head should be blunt, broad and bold whilst the body should be
square and cubby, with the shoulders broad and deep. The most
popular colors include self black, self white, self cream, self
beige, self lilac, self red and self chocolate.
- The non-self varieties guinea pig
There are probably more non-self varieties than there are
self's and the group consists of animals of more than one color
and or varying coat lengths. On of the most popular non-self's
is the Abyssinian, the fur of which grows in uneven rosettes.
This variety occurs in several colors, including black, white,
red, as well as in mixed forms.
The Peruvian is a long coated variety which is not
recommended for the beginner. The fur may grow to as long as
50 cm (20 in) and requires constant grooming to prevent it
The sheltie is a recent variety, similar to Peruvian but
lacking the long hair on the head.
The crested is another recent variety which is gaining
in popularity. It is short coated and has a crest, or
rosette, on the top of its head.
The agouti originates from the wild type coloration but
now comes in various shades including silver and gold.
The Dutch is a very popular bicolor variety in which the
saddle is white and with a white blaze running down between
The Himalayan is white with colored extremities as
may be seen in a Siamese cat; the extremities may be black
The Tortoiseshell and white is one of the most difficult
varieties to breed in which the colored patches of black,
red and white should be in opposing sequences along either
side of the body.
The Dalmatian, as one might expect, is white with black
or gray spotting; the cheek patches being the same color as
The roan is a short coated variety which has an even
mixture of black and white hairs.
There are many other guinea pig varieties, but some of which are