Varieties of Guinea Pigs


Varieties of Guinea Pigs

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

Dalmatian 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

Peruvian 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.

Sheltie Guinea Pig

  • 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 matting.

  • 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 ears.

  • The Himalayan is white with colored extremities as may be seen in a Siamese cat; the extremities may be black or chocolate.

  • 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 spots.

  • 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 quite rare.

  • Brindle
  • Bicolored
  • Sable
  • Harlequin
  • Argente
  • Tortoiseshell
  • Saffron
  • Rex


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