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

Short Haired Guinea Pigs

In the amazingly cute world of guinea pigs, there is an endless variety of short to hairless and from long to curly haired guinea pig breeds. There are many short-haired breeds of guinea pigs and they come in a different variety of colors. All different short haired breeds have their natural history that develops each time in a new way when a new guinea pig is born.

Which short haired guinea pig breed is the best for you? There are many options of short haired guinea pigs to choose from. The most popular ones are American, White Crested, Abyssinian, Teddy, Rex, Himalayan and Ridgeback. Essential characteristics of short-haired guinea pigs include solid color and smooth hair and the differences are in colors, prints, and patterns. Short haired guinea pigs are more popular among owners because they don’t require much time for maintenance as compared to the long-haired breeds. Also, chances of fur infestation (mites, fleas) and hair shedding in short haired guinea pigs are minimal compared to long haired ones. It is hard to say which breed is the best but the most popular short haired guinea pig breed is American Satin.

Guinea pigs as pets aren’t so hard to take care of and whatever guinea pig breed you choose, you will need to spend some time caring for them.

The short-haired guinea pig breed is the same in their genotype as the long-haired ones, but at the same time, they are entirely different in other aspects as well. Short haired guinea pigs are easier to groom than long haired ones, but generally, every guinea pig needs care and daily grooming routine in order to be happy and a healthy pet.

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

Types of Short Haired Guinea Pigs

It’s very hard to mention all guinea pigs breeds because they can have different names in different countries. There are many short haired guinea pig breeds that can also be differentiated by coloration and patterns.

We’ll present to you some of the most popular short-haired guinea pig breeds that are very popular with owners.


American Short Haired Guinea Pig | American Satin Guinea Pig

American Short Haired Guinea Pig

American Satin is a short-haired guinea pig breed that is the most commonly found and known guinea pig by owners. This breed is also sometimes known as English short hair. They have soft and smooth fur that is easy to care for. Their fur is characteristically satin or matte.

They shed less than any other breed which is considered to be very good. This is the reason why they are mostly preferred as pets. They have a calm and courteous personality which makes them an ideal choice to get for the guinea pig owners.

These days’ American Satin guinea pigs are popular for adoption. These sociable pocket pets are more likely to flourish with better vet care, plenty of fresh water, hay, a healthy diet, and an inspiring environment along with the owner’s care.

Bringing home a new pet of any species always asks for a strong commitment. Choosing a short haired guinea pig breed like an American Satin is the best choice because of its small size, minor health problems and above all their short hair that doesn’t require much maintenance or any regular brushing.


Choosing an American Satin Guinea Pig

When getting any guinea pig breed, it is of foremost importance to look for any potential health issues. Veterinarians suggest to look at the following points while choosing a guinea pig breed:

  • Appearance – Choose an American Satin guinea pig with clear bright eyes and nose, healthy gums and teeth, soft, clean fur, healthy skin, and feet. Also, check for guinea pigs who have a clean area under and around the tail.

White Crested Guinea Pig

White Crested Guinea Pig

They are commonly known as white crested guinea pigs because of the white forehead crest. Their crest can be a single distinct color from the rest of the coat, or it can be completely white. These guinea pigs look striking yet elegant.


Abyssinian Guinea Pig

Abyssinian Guinea Pig

This breed has similarities with the wild cavies. It is an ancient breed, and they are called by their nickname “Aby”. They can be differentiated by the rosettes (curls) of their fur. This is a short haired breed, and they can have up to ten equally-spaced rosettes set against the bi-color or tri-color fur pattern.

Abyssinian Satin guinea pigs have a satin or short matte fur. A guinea pig that has rosettes is typically fussier, and they require grooming more frequently to keep their hair smooth and tangle-free. They are energetic and need daily exercise and playtime to keep themselves healthy and happy.


Teddy Satin Guinea Pig

This breed is also known as “teddy bear” because of its short and fuzzy fur. They require a lot of brushing for maintaining good fur and skin. Their nose is mostly upturned known as “Roman nose”.

Teddy Satin’s ears are drooped downwards, and they are prone to build up of wax, so their ears need to be cleaned carefully. With the cross of Abyssinian and American Satin guinea pigs, a Teddy guinea pig comes with a rogue falling gene that forms a knotted coat.


Rex Guinea Pig

Rex Guinea Pig

The rough and short coat of Rex guinea pig is very fuzzy. Their coat can grow about one and a half inches with even length which makes them look cuddly. Their hair is very thick that’s why it requires regular brushing. Frequent trimming is also recommended for their nails because they grow quite fast when compared with other breeds.

Rex and Teddy breeds look quite alike but the coat of a Rex guinea pig is harsh in texture, and the whiskers are curly. Whereas, the whiskers of Teddy satin breed are straight.


Himalayan Guinea Pig

Himalayan Guinea Pig

They are often called by their nickname “Siamese Cat” because of their mostly white, short and smooth coat. The color of their coat changes over time. They have distinguished dark red eyes, but still, not all of them are albinos.

An exciting feature of this guinea pig breed is that their colors can vary by the ambient temperature of the surroundings in which they grow.


Ridgeback Guinea Pig

Ridgeback Guinea Pig

This rare short-haired guinea pig breed has distinctive features. They have almost one-inch long “ridge” fur at the back, from where they originally got their name. They aren’t currently renowned in the USA, but they are popularly known in the UK and Sweden for show purposes.


Related: Which Guinea Pig Gender Is Better? | Gender Differences


Short Haired Guinea Pig Genetics

Short Haired Guinea Pig Genetics

Just like human beings, guinea pigs have their type of genes that they get from their parents. All guinea pig breeds have their genotype, this is why some might have short and smooth hair, and other breeds might have long silky hair or no hair at all.

Guinea pig genotype is found in two types: recessive and dominant.

  • Dominant guinea pigs are more common because just one parent pig has to pass it along in order for it to be found in the baby guinea pig. Dominant guinea pigs are characterized by short hair, curls, fur, straight hair, and dark eyes.
  • The recessive guinea pig is not commonly found because both parents have to pass it on to be found in baby guinea pigs to possess that gene. These guinea pigs have long hair, red eyes, and smooth and curly fur, not rosettes.

Related: What Guinea Pig Breed Is the Largest?


Health Care For Short Haired Guinea Pig Breeds

Health Care of Short Haired Guinea Pig Breeds

Being a herd animal, guinea pigs appreciate becoming a part of a group. If you have a pair or a group of guinea pigs, having the same gender of guinea pigs is an effective way to prevent accidental pregnancies.

Male guinea pigs are more likely to struggle with diseases. The preventive health care of short-haired guinea pigs is needed at least once a year. Grooming is also an essential part of maintaining good health.

Any unusual discharge from ears, mouth, lumps, eyes, nose or anus or any strange smell or abnormality requires a veterinarian checkup. Maintaining a good diet is the best way to eliminate any health issues. Hay is necessary due to fiber intake. Eating of hay also wears down their ever-growing teeth.


Short Hair Guinea Pig Grooming

Grooming of short-haired guinea pigs is usually done all by themselves or their cage friends. The owners need to clean their grease gland, give them a regular bath and a thorough brushing in a direction in which their hair grows.

Short haired guinea pigs don’t need as much grooming as their long haired friends do. If the guinea pig’s fur is getting untidy, make sure to check them thoroughly for any health issues. This problem can generally be resolved by increasing the frequency of brushing their fur.

Related: Best Guinea Pig Grooming Kit: A Helpful Guide


Long Haired vs Short Haired Guinea Pigs: Which One Is Better for You?

As we have already talked about long-haired guinea pig breeds, now it is time to decide which breed to adopt. If you are unable to determine which breed of guinea pigs you would like to take as a pet, we have prepared certain deciding factors that can help you reach a decision:

  • If you cannot spend a lot of time on maintaining your guinea pig, go for a short haired breed.
  • If you do not have the time to take your guinea pig for frequent vet trips, then also get a short haired guinea pig or don’t opt for them at all.
  • If you want to show off the cute curls of your guinea pig to someone, then you might want to opt for long-haired ones.
  • If you have never adopted a similar animal before, it is better to start with any short haired guinea pig breed because of fewer difficulties with maintaining health and looks.

Summary

Short haired guinea pigs are easier to take care of, they don’t require a lot of grooming, brushing and bathing. Also, the pros of short haired guinea pigs are that there are minimal chances of fur infestations.

You can spend a lot of time playing, learning different tricks and petting the short haired guinea pigs, but if you enjoy spending more time with your guinea pig by brushing their hair, bathing and grooming, then long haired guinea pig is a better choice for you.

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Short Haired Guinea Pig Breeds -Which Breed Is The Best For You_1

Related: 10 Things You Need to Know Before Getting a Guinea Pig


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.