Guinea pigs are certainly one of the more popular pets in the world. Some breeds are more popular than others but every breed is special in its own way. A completely hairless guinea pig breed called “Baldwin” is slowly rising in popularity because of their unusual looks.
Baldwin is a guinea pig breed that is completely hairless. This breed accidentally came to life when a spontaneous genetic mutation happened during the breeding of the White Crested guinea pigs. They are born fully furred and they slowly lose it over the following two months period.
Baldwin Guinea Pig History | Information and Facts
Baldwin guinea pigs were created accidentally as no one was really trying to make a new breed of guinea pigs. It all started in California with Carol Miller’s breed of White Crested guinea pigs. During the breeding, a genetic mutation happened and a new breed of guinea pigs was just created.
The recessive gene that caused the loss of fur is not a dominant one. Because of that, it is pretty hard to consistently breed Baldwin guinea pigs. If you crossbreed them with any other guinea pig, you will not get a Baldwin.
They pull most of their characteristics from the White Crested guinea pigs that they have originated. Their size is up to 12 inches and males tend to be a little bit larger. They share the common color patterns of most guinea pigs, including Dutch, tortoiseshell, Himalayan, and others.
They require special attention because they lack a hair coat. If they are treated properly, their life span is usually between 5 to 7 years. As for their character, Baldwins are easy to handle and are really playful pets. They are curious by nature and love to search around and poke their noses wherever they can.
Baldwin Guinea Pigs | Everything You Need to Know
Why Are Baldwin Guinea Pigs Hairless?
The main reason for their hairlessness is their gene pool. They have a recessive gene that is causing their fur coat to fall off shortly after they are born.
Are Baldwin Guinea Pigs Born With Hair?
Baldwins are born with hair (fully furred). But after a couple of weeks, they lose most of it. In some cases, there is some hair left on their feet but they are commonly completely bold. The whole process of losing their hair lasts for about 2 months.
Baldwin Guinea Pig With Hair, Is This Possible?
Baldwin guinea pigs can’t have hair. Their main feature is their hairlessness. If the guinea pig has hair, then it is not a Baldwin. The only other hairless breed out there is the Skinny pig. They have some hair left on their body even though they are also classified as a hairless breed.
Baldwin Guinea Pig Care Guide | Instructions and Tips
Diet and Food
Baldwin guinea pigs require more care than regular guinea pigs with a coat. The lack of fur causes a faster metabolism in order to keep the body’s temperature at an optimal level. This means that they require more food than a regular guinea pig with fur.
Regarding their diet, it is enough to keep them on quality guinea pig food. This includes fresh hay, vegetables, fruits, and vitamin C pellets. Keep in mind that amounts of veggies and fruits should not exceed 10% of their daily food intake. Also, they need to eat food that is fresh. All foods that they don’t eat during the 24 hours period should be thrown away.
Another problem these Baldwin guinea pigs have with their skin is their sensitivity to direct sunlight. Their cage shouldn’t be placed on a spot with a lot of light because it causes them severe skin burns. Also, avoid placing them in a spot where they could be exposed to a draft or any intense source of heat, like a radiator or a heater.
They can and should have a source of natural light and heat, but try keeping the temperatures around 70-75°F (21 to 24 °C). If a Baldwin guinea pig is exposed to direct sunlight for too long, it can also get a stroke, so be extra careful with the cage placement.
Size of the Cage
Their cage should be at least 7 square feet in size. If you want to have two guinea pigs, the size should be around 12-15 square feet.
Their lack of hair makes their skin extra sensitive so you should pay special attention to their bedding. It is not recommended to use sawdust, thick hay, and similar products because they can irritate their skin. The best bedding for them is the one made out of fleece.
Provide Them Affection
Just like other guinea pigs, Baldwins also love to explore and exercise. So try getting them some playtime with you almost every day. You can also take them outside to play, but try keeping them in shade as much as you can.
Bathing and Skin Care
The skin of the Baldwin guinea pigs is really sensitive. Bathing is something that can be really bad for them. If you give them a bath, you will wash the natural oils that are covering their body and this is the only layer of protection that they have on their skin. When you really have to give them a bath, it is best if you use a damp towel instead of direct water.
However, you should look out for fungal infections like ringworm, dry skin, and dermatitis, which can all come up if you don’t pay additional attention to their hygiene. The best way to keep them healthy is to clean the cage almost daily after them. This rule applies to every guinea pig breed.
Besides problems with the skin, they share the same health issues as other guinea pigs.
Baby Baldwin Guinea Pig Care
When it comes to baby Baldwin guinea pig care, you can pay a little bit more attention to their nails because they tend to grow faster at a young age. You can use a clipper designed for cats or you can take your little hairless pet to the veterinarian.
Take special care of them while they are young because that way, you will give them a chance at a longer and healthier life. Take additional care of their hygiene and feed them with the best food you can afford. That will mean a lot to them when they are fully grown.
Baldwin Guinea Pig vs. Skinny Pig | Main Differences
The only real difference between a Baldwin and a Skinny pig is that Skinny pigs have some hair on their body. Skinny pigs are born with some hair that they keep throughout their whole life. This hair is usually located on their nose, feet, and legs.
On the other hand, Baldwin pigs are born with hair on their entire body but they quickly lose it during the following two months. So if you are into buying a Baldwin guinea pig, pay attention to those details because any guinea pig that has some hair on its body is not a Baldwin.
Baldwin Guinea Pig Price and Breeding
How Much Is a Guinea Pig Baldwin?
These guinea pigs are very rare and you will have trouble finding them in your local pet store or shelter. In most cases, you will find Skinny pigs instead of Baldwins. This is due to the fact that they are not yet recognized as a distinct species.
As for the price, this also depends on the breeder. The price usually starts around 70$ and can go a lot higher, as they are really hard to find.
Breeding Baldwin Guinea Pigs
Because of their recessive genes, it is pretty hard to breed Baldwin guinea pigs. If you try to breed a Baldwin guinea pig with some other guinea pig breed, in most cases, you will get the other breed with hair. The best way to get a hairless Baldwin guinea pig is to breed two of them.
Having a Baldwin guinea pig as a member of the family is always a joy because these little creatures always put a smile on everyone’s face. If you are allergic to animal hair, having a Baldwin could be a solution for you. If you want to have a unique, fun, cute, and grateful pet, then the Baldwin guinea pig is probably the best choice.