I know a lot of people trying to decide what kind of pet would be great for them. Everybody is worried about whether they would have to spend a lot of time on their pets or how much money the pet owner will be spending on their little friends. Also, every type of pet has a lot of breeds you can choose from.
Particularly, there are dozens of breeds of guinea pigs. In this article, I will help you figure out what kind of guinea pig would suit your lifestyle the best.
So, what guinea pig is right for me? The answer is different from person to person. It depends on the amount of time you are willing to invest into your relationship with the rodent, on the amount of money you can afford to pay for the things your guinea pig would need and some other things. Still, most people choose to get short-haired breeds because they are lower maintenance when compared to long haired guinea pigs.
There are multiple criteria you should consider when you want to get a guinea pig. If you see a guinea pig that you just fall in love with, you should probably get him. But it would be for the best to make a little research about breeds and decide which one would suit your schedule properly.
Firstly, you have to keep in mind that guinea pigs’ species has not evolved with too many differences from breed to breed. At least not yet. This is why guinea pigs usually have the same behavior and the same personality traits, so you are practically choosing just how your pet looks. Their physical appearance is the thing that makes all the difference. This is how you can tell how much time, money and energy you need in order to properly take care of a certain breed.
What Guinea Pigs Should I Get?
One of the most important things you have to think about is the amount of time you want to offer to your pet. If you are planning on giving a child a guinea pig, then you probably don’t have to worry too much about the time they require to be groomed (kids have a lot of spare time). However, if you are getting a guinea pig for you or for someone you know hasn’t got a lot of time, don’t worry, short-haired breeds are perfect for those people. Just think about it: a short-haired breed has a lot less hair you have to deal with, a lot less hair to get dirty, so cleaning your guinea pig and his cage would be so much easier.
Another thing you need to take into consideration is the gender of the pet. Guinea pigs live a better life in groups and if you intend to get a couple, you should neuter them (if you don’t want an endless number of little babies). However, it is not recommended to neuter guinea pigs because after all, it is still a procedure and it is very stressing on the little pet. If you want two guinea pigs, but you don’t want to neuter them, you can get more of the same gender and that will work the best.
Speaking of the same-gender groups, the most recommended one is an all-female group. It is scientifically proved that guinea pigs in all-female groups fight the least. Guinea pigs from all-male groups are supposed to fight more because they are fighting for dominance and for the first place in their hierarchy. An all-male group that really works is made out of brothers because having pigs that know each other since birth makes them fight way less.
Different Guinea Pig Breeds
The traits that differ from breed to breed are the length, the color and the texture of their hair and their eyes’ color. I will make short descriptions of the most known breeds of guinea pigs.
- Abyssinian – their special trait is their hair growing as spikes, making their silhouette ridged. They are not recommended for beginners.
- American – this is probably the breed everybody knows. If you see a guinea pig in a pet shop, it is probably American. This breed is very popular because the guinea pig has short, smooth hair. This is the reason they are low-maintenance, so it is relatively low on time-consuming to take care of an American guinea pig.
- Coronet and Silkie – these are two very similar breeds. Both of them grow very long, smooth hair. This is why they require more time to be groomed, as their hair gets dirty easier. They can grow hair to the ground if you let them so they are extremely beautiful pets, but they are high-maintenance. The difference between the two breeds is that Coronets have special forehead; their hair doesn’t grow down their face (like Silkie’s hair does – you have to pay attention to their hair that falls on the face), it grows outwards, giving the illusion of a crown.
- Hairless guinea pigs – there are a lot of things I need to inform you about these breeds. There are certain breeds of guinea pigs that don’t grow hair on their bodies. The only hair they have is a little on their face and a little on their feet. You may be thinking: “oh, that’s excellent, they don’t require much time for grooming”. It is not like this. Their lack of hair makes them need an external source of heat (guinea pigs are sensitive to low temperatures). Although they are not hypoallergenic (because hair is the cause of allergies and they don’t have), they are very prone to infections and furthermore to develop diseases. Experienced owners might be able to know how to look after them, but they certainly are not recommended for beginners because of their lack of hair causing medical problems.
- Peruvian – this is a beautiful breed with long hair growing in multiple directions. If you let their hair grow long, it would become harder and harder for your pet to move around. The hair on their forehead grows outwards in such a way that if you keep it short, it makes your guinea pig look like a little unicorn. Because of their long hair, they require a lot of time to be groomed, they might not the best alternative for a beginner, but over time, anyone can get used to the cleaning that needs to be done for this breed.
- Satin – they are named after their coat’s appearance. They look very shiny and they are pretty but are known to present a high tendency to develop a bone disease: osteodystrophy. This is the reason why you need to pay attention to their behavior and evolution if you own a Satin.
- Teddy – this is a very cute and popular breed. They have wiry hair that has the aspect of fuzz. They are a short-haired breed, they can be perfect for a beginner.
- Texel – this breed is unique. Texel guinea pigs have long curly hair and it is very hard to take care of their hair. Their hair might vary from wavy to curly to even ringlets.
These 8 breeds are presented you are just a part of the many existing. Moreover, scientists are right now creating new breeds, so there is or at least it will be at some point a breed that any guinea pigs’ lover can fall in love with.
Most of the guinea pig breeds come in a large range of colors, but lab-created species will develop their range of colors over time.
Taking all of this information into consideration, I really recommend anyone who wants to get a guinea pig to look into their lives and figure everything out. It’s better for them to reflect a little bit about how their lives flow and what kind of guinea pig is the best for them. The time they require for grooming can vary from a lot to almost nothing, but they do require a lot of love and a little time to strengthen your relationship every day.
If you are a very busy person and you cannot make time to spend with your pet every day, you should probably not get a pet until you figure out how to fix your schedule, especially not a guinea pig. Every pet, every animal needs affection and you can’t offer them your love if you can’t spend time with them. This is why I think you should get a pet if you are a busy person; you can’t help them, you can only make them suffer this way. So please, be sure you can show them a little love every day if you get any pet.