There are 13 recognized breeds of guinea pigs , although the vast majority of pets are crosses between two races of guinea pigs or descendants of mestizos. Not for that reason they stop being beautiful and some adorable companions.
The races are distinguished mainly by the type and color of hair , although there are also some genetic differences between them. The main categorization is between:
- “Self” All its fur is short and soft and of a single color. There are many colors to choose from: gold (with red or dark eyes), red, lilac, beige, pale yellow (saffron), dark cream (buff), black, white, cream, chocolate.
- Not “self” They are guinea pigs that have more than one color or whose hair is long or rough. They can be found in any of the self-mentioned tones or their combinations.
Races of guinea pigs best known
- Crested : present a whirlpool, also called rosette or crest in the middle of the forehead. In the English type the crest is the same color as the rest of the hair, but in the American, it is white and can not have any other white spot on its body. In both the hair of the body can be of different colors and is short and silky.
- Abyssinian : its hair is rough and semi-long, with large swirls (rosettes) distributed in different parts of the body. They look disheveled, because the swirls cause their hair to settle in different directions or remain erect. The number of rosettes varies, but at least eight are required to participate in exhibitions.
- Abyssinian satin : this race of guinea pig is the same as the previous one, but his hair has a satiny shine. When they walk their mantle shines as if it had sparks.
- Rex : they have short, curly hair. It is very similar to the American teddy variety, although they are genetically different.
- American or English : it is the most widespread race of guinea pigs and also the first one recognized. His hair is short, soft and shiny and can be of different colors. There is a satiny variety, with a fine, dense and soft coat, with satin gloss and very silky to the touch.
- Coronet : is a race of long-haired guinea pig with a single rosette on his head.
- Peruvian : this was the first longhair race to be recognized. It has very long, dense hair that grows up to 30 cm long and crawls on the ground. The hair of the head grows forward completely covering the face. Looking at them from above gives the impression of being a woman’s head with long hair. These guinea pigs are not recommended as pets, because they require a lot of time and grooming work if you want to keep them with long, silky hair. There is also a satiny variety.
- Silkie or Sheltie : originally it was known as angora. His hair is long, but he does not have the hair that covers his face. The hair grows backwards from the forehead, like a mane and has no middle line on its back like the Peruvian. His hair is also softer, thinner and tends to be brighter. Like the previous one, it requires a lot of grooming and your hair must be tied to keep it clean and untangled.
- Texel: is a race of guinea pig with long, thick and shiny hair, like the sheltie, but with curls all over his body, even in the abdomen. The body is short and compact and the head is short and rounded. Their whiskers are also wavy. It is one of the most difficult coats to keep in good condition.
- Teddy: has short, dense and curly hair, which makes it stand and make it look like a stuffed animal. If you crush the hair, you must return immediately to its original position. There is a satiny variety similar to the previous one but with a satiny sheen on the fur.
Varieties of colors in guinea pig breeds:
- self , one color.
- Dutch (Dutch): they are of a color, with a strip on the front half of the body and the front of the face white.
- Brindle : has hairs of two colors distributed evenly throughout the body.
- Tortoiseshell (turtle shell): rectangular patches of black and red (also white in the variety with this color) well defined, of similar size and evenly distributed in the body.
- Roan : presents hairs of one or two dark colors interspersed uniformly with other whites.
- Agouti : each hair has alternating light and dark bands. This gives the fur a look more similar to that of the wild guinea pigs of South America.
- Albino : totally white fur with pink eyes.
- Dalmatian : white fur with black spots.
- Himalayo : light fur with darker nose, ears and legs. The eyes are red.
There are two varieties of guinea pig breeds with almost no hair ; the Baldwin, which can be born with some hair on the body but loses it completely when growing up, and the Skinny, which may have some hair on the face and legs and a thin layer of hair on other parts of the body. These races of guinea pigs are very sensitive to changes in temperature and the sun, so you have to take care of them especially in those situations. They also tend to eat more to maintain their body temperature.