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The American, sometimes referred to as the "English" cavy, is the most common breed of guinea pig, as well as one of the oldest. The hair is short, smooth, straight, and sleek. It is found in a wide variety of colors and color combinations and has a Roman nose (wide and somewhat hooked). Its body is medium length and about the same circumference from the shoulder back to the hip.

American guinea pigs are entertaining and they respond well to handling. They also tend to get along really well with other breeds of guinea pigs, which make them a fan favorite. These little guys love to clown around and be a part of your life, so be sure you plan on giving them lots of attention. The American Satin has the same appearance as the American, but the coat is fine, dense, and soft, with a glossy sheen, and feels like satin to the touch.

The Guinea pigs we have as pets today are descendents of the Tschudi Guinea Pig from South America and much of their ancestry can be traced back to a single guinea pig! The American is the oldest breed of guinea pig. They were first domesticated around 5000 BC in the Andes, but it wasn't until the 1500s that humans began to selectively breed Guinea pigs, creating several different varieties.

The body of the American guinea pig is quite similar to the Teddy Guinea Pig in length and size. They have a very happy disposition and enjoy being around people.

Grooming

The short, smooth coat of the American guinea pigs do not require as much grooming, and tend to be low maintenance pets. Keep their coats shiny by brushing with a soft brush once every few days.

Clipping Nails
Clip your guinea pig's nails once a month to stop them from growing too long.

Colors

The American Guinea Pig sports a wide variety of colors and patterns, and any of the nineteen Guinea pig colors are acceptable for showing. Usually, the Satins are found in Self (single color), although they may also sport various patterns.

How to Pick Up
When picking up a guinea pig, never grab it only by its shoulders. Always pick up your pet evenly by supporting it's entire body, and be careful not to drop it.

Diet

American guinea pigs eat a standard guinea pig diet of fresh hay, vitamin c pellets, fresh water, veggies and fruit. Guinea pigs need to be fed twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Research the needs of your guinea pigs as they all require different things. Fresh fruit and raw vegetables should be offered to your guinea pig each day, as they make great chews and your guinea pig needs plenty of things to chew on as their teeth grow continually.

Water For Your Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs need a bottle with fresh, clean water to drink. The water should be changed daily. Clean the bottle each week with hot, soapy water to prevent algae formation.

Improper diet is the leading cause of illness in guinea pigs. Be sure you're feeding them a high-quality pellet food that is specifically designed for the breed, such as Oxbow Cavy Cuisine Adult Guinea Pig food. Commercial guinea pig pellets should make up the bulk of your pet’s diet as they are nutritionally complete, easily found at pet supply stores, and made from plants, seeds and veggies.

Guinea pigs need fresh hay available at all times. Timothy hay makes a good edible choice and can be found in the form of cubes or loose bags of hay.

Fresh Vegetables & Fruit
Always make sure to remove any leftover fresh food before it spoils.

Housing

AGuinea pigs need at least eight square feet of floor space in their cages. They must have solid flooring as wire flooring can injure paws and break legs. Since guinea pigs are "prey" animals, they have two responses to a threat: Freeze in place or run away. This is why it's very important that your guinea pig be able to move quickly without fear of being caught up on a wire. Your guinea pig will chew, so avoid cardboard boxes and be sure to inspect cage periodically.

Paper or pine bedding should be provided to allow your guinea pig plenty of comfortable nesting. Clean the cage at least once a week (twice a week is better) to remove any soiled bedding, food, or droppings. Each week, you'll need to remove the old bedding, scrub the cage with warm water and rinsing thoroughly. This will help reduce odor and eliminate possible health problems.

Bedding
AVOID cedar shavings as they contain phenols which can be toxic to your guinea pig.

Training

American guinea pigs are quite receptive to training and if you take your time to be affectionate towards them and let them get to know you, they will work hard to please. They do enjoy time outdoors but must be watched very carefully at all times since they can easily fall prey to birds and other animals. Never leave them unattended or take them outside without watching them like a hawk (or it's likely a hawk will get them).

Be sure you keep them mentally stimulated with plenty of toy, raw blocks of wood they can chew on, and offer plenty of ways they can get exercise. They are very sensitive to heat and cold, so be sure you keep them in an area that is away from windows and near a consistent form of heat or air-conditioning, without having it blowing on them.

Learn more about Guinea Pigs

stacymantle
Author: stacymantle
About the Author

Stacy Mantle is a freelance writer who currently resides in the southwestern deserts of Arizona with a few dogs, several cats, and a very understanding husband. She is a regular contributor to Pet Age Magazine, Catster, Animal Behavior College, and of course, PetsWeekly. Many of her stories and articles have been translated into several languages, and now reach an international audience. She is also the author of a bestselling urban fantasy/thriller, Shepherd's Moon; a humor book entitled, Conquering the Food Chain: Living Amongst Animals (Without Becoming One), and a line of Educational Activity Books for children.


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