Long Haired Guinea Pigs: What Guinea Pig Breed Should You Get?

Long Haired Guinea Pigs - What Guinea Pig Breed Should I Get

Various guinea pig breeds have considerably longer hair than other breeds. Long haired guinea pigs look beautiful because of their amazing fur, but guinea pigs with such long hair require a lot of grooming.

Also, even long hair guinea pigs themselves don’t like their long hair because it compromises their movement and vision. Owning a long haired guinea pig can be a challenge for you, so take some time thinking about what breed you are going to get.

So, what long haired guinea pig breed should you get? If you want to get a long-haired guinea pig breed, you can choose from Peruvian, Texel, Silkie, Lunkyara, and Coronet breed. Among all of these breeds, the Peruvian breed, with hair all over its head and body is the most common long haired guinea pig pet. All these long haired guinea pig breeds have a distinct special look, but they aren’t so different in their personality. Long haired guinea pigs, in general, require the same grooming care that is more complicated when compared with short haired guinea pigs. Choose any of these long haired guinea pigs, if you’re ready for daily brushing and grooming of your little pet. Also, you need to have in mind that long hair on guinea pigs can cause some problems and difficulties in their daily life but we are going to talk about these difficulties later in this article. 

Guinea pigs can be classified and chosen by their color, hair types, hair length, by even being hairless or by many other characteristics. It is all a matter of personal preference. While adopting a guinea pig as a pet, many things must be kept in mind. The most important thing is to keep long haired guinea pigs clean by establishing daily grooming and care routines.

In the following sections, we’ll present to you all of the long haired guinea pig breeds and give some tips on how to care for them. Let’s begin!

Long Haired Guinea Pig Breeds: Information and Facts


Peruvian Guinea Pigs

Peruvian Long Haired Guinea Pig

This breed is the most popular among all other long hair breeds and most probably because of the length and softness of its hair. If you let their hair grow, it could reach up to 12 inches (equivalent to 30 cm). They have three cowlicks or swirls that determine the direction of their hair growth. This gives them a unique and rather funny appearance.

Peruvian guinea pigs are the most spectacular and best known among the long haired guinea pig breeds. Peruvian guinea pig breed is capable of growing their silky, long hair to the floor-length or even longer. They were one of the first long-haired breeds that were selectively raised to show off in the fifteenth century.

Due to the length of their hair, sometimes they even look like they are wearing wigs and that attracts the attention of other pet owners.


• Who Should Opt for Peruvian Guinea Pigs?

This breed is perfect for people who can spend their time taking care of their guinea pig’s hair while styling and cutting them. Anyone who enjoys spending time on their pet can opt for this breed. Whereas, Peruvian guinea pigs shouldn’t be adopted if you don’t have enough time to maintain it.

Taking care of a guinea pig is a big responsibility, so if you are adopting a pet for the first time, a Peruvian guinea pig is not the best option. Peruvian guinea pigs are known for breeding and showing.

They are high maintenance pets and need much more care as compared to any other guinea pig breed while keeping a strict eye on their bathing routines, attentive grooming, and with an emphasis on health and hygiene.

Related: How to Give Guinea Pigs a Bath?


• Hair Growth of Peruvian Guinea Pigs

A Peruvian pigs’ hair grows from the front as well as on the back making it hard to tell which is the end. The reason behind these guinea pigs’ abnormally long hair is the autosomal recessive gene.

They are not capable of grooming themselves properly because of the length of the fur growing on their body. Their long hair is capable of becoming tangled and twisted.

The dirt or filth inside could result in skin infections for them. Their fur is also prone to sometimes becoming soiled and matted. Peruvian guinea pigs are prone to the risk of fleas. Such conditions can unfavorably disturb the animal’s welfare with effects that range from intense pain to discomfort.


Sheltie Guinea Pigs

Sheltie - Silkie Long Haired Guinea Pig

Sheltie is another popular long-haired breed. A sheltie guinea pig’s hair is thick and soft and grows out of their neck like a mane. They are also commonly known as “Silky”.

Their hair growth differentiates them from other breeds, as it grows from head to chest. It is necessary to comb their hair on a daily basis and trim them if it grows too long.

Unlike the Peruvians, they don’t have rosettes, that’s why their hair does not naturally part down from the middle. Another distinctive difference from Peruvian breed is that they are relatively new-comers and they started being recognized in 1973. Their fur comes in different variety of colors.


Coronet Guinea Pigs

Coronet Long Haired Guinea Pig

Coronet guinea pig breed is similar to Sheltie, as it also has an entirely smooth and silky fur. A single rosette on their head causes downward hair growth. They come in a wide range of colors.

This breed has a long coat that grows excessively on their heads. They have long body hair as well, but not in excessive amounts. Their fur needs to be taken care of every day to prevent dirt and tangles.


Lunkarya Guinea Pigs

Lunkarya Long Haired Guinea Pig

Some of the long-haired guinea pigs have permed appearance. Lunkarya breed, in particular, has exquisitely curled hair. This breed has two coats that make the thick and rough fur stand out visibly from their tiny body. Not a breed for owners that are getting a guinea pig for the first time.


Texel Guinea Pigs

Texel Long Haired Guinea Pig

Long-haired Texel guinea pig breed from England is rather unusual, as it has a curly twisted coat without parting hair naturally. If you look forward to adopting a white long-haired guinea pig, then a Texel is not a good choice because their fur is either red or red-white.

Related: Guinea Pig Breeds: Types, Traits, and Breed Information


Long Haired Guinea Pig Grooming Care: Tips and Guide

Simple grooming on a daily basis is sufficient to maintain long haired guinea pigs. They do not require extravagant grooming once a week. They need regular daily brushing, such as routine clips and wiping that is needed specifically in the bottom area.

If you want to grow your guinea pig’s hair long, try to use small, non-pull rubber bands to settle down the hair at one side. You can do this by using a paper towel or tissue paper under the band to make the rubber band removal easy.

Many caretakers are attracted toward long-haired cavies because of their beautiful locks. Many owners find taking care of their guinea pig’s hair a thoughtful gesture which is a relaxing and fun experience, that results in a great time utilized for bonding.

Related: Best Guinea Pig Grooming Kit: A Helpful Guide


Are Long Hair Guinea Pigs the Right Choice for You?

Guinea pig breeds with long hair are mostly calm when compared to other breeds, and they enjoy their grooming process. People who want their children to share some of the responsibilities of taking care of their pets can choose guinea pigs with long hair due to their softness and small size. This can be both a bonding experience between a parent and a child.

They are a high-maintenance animal and are considered best for people who understand their grooming necessities well.

Before making the final decision to get a long-haired guinea pig as a pet, the first thing that needs to be done is to gain knowledge about their needs. The owner should be committed, comfortable and ready to take all responsibilities regarding the at-home weekly and daily maintenance.

Related: What Guinea Pig is Right for Me?


Hair Problems Associated With Long Haired Guinea Pigs

Hair Problems Associated With Long Haired Guinea Pigs

The long hair of guinea pig varies from breed to breed, but all types shed hair on a year-round basis. They need to be groomed on a routine basis to maintain their ideal condition. Otherwise, more hair loss will occur in spring and fall whenever their coat is renewed.

If a guinea pig’s long hair isn’t taken care of properly, their hair will tangle and twist around. Additionally, in extreme cases matting could interfere with their feeding and movement. The problems with mats and tangles extend from the fur to the skin because tangled fur results in painful irritation that might lead to infection.

Letting your guinea pig stay soiled or mat can cause them a severe condition called flystrike. It occurs because flies lay their eggs on the unkempt pets and afterward feed on the tissue and skin. A guinea pig could even die because of flystrike within some days.

Mites are another problem that guinea pigs get. This condition leads to skin irritation and hair loss. In case of any irregularities, a vet needs to be consulted immediately because this problem can be easily treated.

Related: Can Guinea Pig Mites Transfer to Humans?

Also, the long hair of your guinea pig can cause other difficulties, such as difficulties in moving, vision and mating. Baby guinea pigs can have a problem in finding the nipples to feed.

Related: 7 Common Skin Problems in Guinea Pigs (Treatment Included)

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Summary

The advantage of having a long haired guinea pig is a lush, luxurious and lavish coat that other breeds are unable to match. They can’t take care of their long hair on their own, and the trade-off for this tremendously furred animal is the time consumed to take care of their beautiful fur.

If the styling, brushing and caring of the guinea pig coat sounds fun to you – long haired guinea pig breeds are the right choice for you. If you liked this article, please keep following our site for more informative content about guinea pigs!

Related: Short Haired Guinea Pig Breeds: Which Breed Is the Best for Me?


List of Sources

Wright, S., On the genetics of hair direction in the guinea pig; evidence for a new dominant gene, star, and tests for linkage with 11 other loci, The Journal of experimental zoology, 1949.

Steinert, P. M., Rogers, G. E., Characterization of the proteins of guinea-pig hair and hair-follicle tissue, The Biochemical journal, 1973.

Bino Sundar, S. T., Harikrishna, T. J., Bhaskaran Ravi Latha, Gomathinayagam, S., Srinivasan, M. R., Ramesh, S., Incidence of fur mite infestation in laboratory rodents, Journal of parasitic diseases: official organ of the Indian Society for Parasitology, 2017.

Dawson, H., A study of hair growth in guinea pig (Cavia cobaya), American Journal of Anatomy, 2005.

Colin, E. C., Hair direction in mammals; embryogenesis of hair follicles in the guinea pig, Journal of Morphology, 1943.

Russell, E. S., A Quantitative Study of Genic Effects on Guinea-Pig Coat Colors, Genetics, 1939.

Donnelly, T. M., Mild alopecia and fur loss in a guinea pig, Lab animal, 2000.

Richardson, V., Care of guinea pigs, Veterinary Nursing Journal, 2011.

NC State Veterinary Hospital, Caring for Your Pet Guinea Pig, Exotic Animal Medicine Department.

RSPCA, Guinea pigs: Good practice for housing and care, Research Animals Department, RSPCA, 3rd edition, 2011.

Bruce, H. M., Parkes, A. S., Feeding and breeding of laboratory animals; breeding of guinea-pigs, The Journal of hygiene, 1948.

Clarissa Moolbrock

Clarissa Moolbrock is one of the founders and editor at Guinea Pig Tube. She is also an author of "Complete Guinea Pig Care Guide: The Essential, Practical Guide To All Aspects of Caring for Your Guinea Pigs" (available on Amazon). Being a veterinary technician helping animals and sharing her experience and knowledge with other guinea pig owners is her passion. Her life goal is to popularise guinea pigs as pets and that is why she has started Guinea Pig Tube website.