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All About Guinea Pigs | PetsWeekly

American Guinea Pig

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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.

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Texel Guinea Pig

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If you're searching for a beautiful, long-haired guinea pig that is friendly and curious, you can't go wrong with the Texel Guinea Pig. Their long locks have won the hearts of many a guinea pig fan! Most well-known for their long, soft curls that are all around their body, this is also one of the toughest breeds to keep well-groomed. Their hair can be difficult to brush since it's very curly and they will need a lot of help in maintaining it, so think twice before you adopt one for a child. 

If you're willing to commit to the maintenance, the Texel may be the guinea pig for you.

As one of the newest guinea pigs, there is still a lot to learn about them. They originated in England in the 80s and are a result of crossing the Silkie Guinea Pig with a Rex. It only just became recognized by the ACBA in 1998.

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Coronet Guinea Pig

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A Coronet is a long-haired breed with a single rosette on the top of the head. The hair from the rosette to the rump is long, without a part. It has a Roman nose. Coronets look similar to the Silkie, but have a crest like a Crested.

They hail from England and were first bred in the early 70s. The Coronet Guinea pig was first a cross between the American Crested Guinea Pig and the Silkie Guinea Pig. Eventually, Americans created the official breed of a Coronet, which was recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association in 1998.

These handsome cavies are quite intelligent and will require regular grooming, so it's not the breed for you if you don't have an hour or two each day to devote to them.

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Abyssinian Guinea Pig

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The Abyssinian (also known as an "Aby" or "Abby") is one of the oldest breeds of guinea pigs. The Aby is recognized by its  symmetrical rosette (hair radiating symmetrically from a center) and erect ridge patterns on its body and head. The number of rosettes can vary, but to be shown, an Abby must have at least eight (10 are preferred), and they must be clearly defined. The Abyssinian also has a mustache of raised fur around its nose. Their fur is coarse and Abyssinian guinea pigs can be found in a multitude of colors and color combinations.

South America is the land of origin for all domesticated guinea pigs. In fact, they were so valuable to South America that some of the ancient tribes worshiped this animal. (Of course, they also eat them, so beware when you go to South America) The first Abyssinian reached Europe during the late 16th century and the rest is, as they say, history.

Most Aby owners consider their pets to be rather "mischievous" which just makes them a lot more fun to have around. They tend to find trouble faster than other breeds, but they also seem to like humans more than other breeds.

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Peruvian Guinea Pig

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peruvian guinea pigsNoted for it's long, silky hair, the Peruvian is the first long-haired breed recognized by the American Cavy Breeders Association (ACBA).

The Peruvian first arrived in Paris around 1886 and was found in England shortly afterwards. Initially there were only three recognized breeds when these guinea pigs were first shown in America (the Angora, the American,and the Abyssinian). But in the 1930s, the Angora was renamed the Peruvian.

The Peruvian is noted for it's long, silky hair. Peruvians should have two rosettes on each side of the rump. Optimally (for showing this breed), the sides and rear sweeps should be of equal length that can be fanned out to create a large circle of hair. This is the look that judges seek when they evaluate Peruvian show guinea pigs. Ideally, you should not be able to determine the front from the back!

Since their long hair can be a grooming challenge, it's not a breed generally recommended for small children. Consider one of the shorter-coated cavy cousins for a pet.

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