Guinea Pig Breeds | The 9 Most Common Cavy Breeds

Hi guinea pig lovers! In this article I’m listing the top 9 most common guinea pig breeds and information about them. These are the breeds that you are most likely to bring home and care for!

1. Peruvian

The Peruvian guinea pig is a long haired breed, with the longest hair of all guinea pig breeds! This breed is one of the oldest guinea pig breeds, and needs to be groomed almost daily due to its long hair!

If you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, or dislike brushing hair, then this breed may not be the breed for you as they need to be brushed frequently, as their luscious locks can become very easily matted and dirty, so if you have this breed of guinea pig make them feel fabulous and give them a brush!

Peruvian guinea pig breed

Something else to note is that Peruvian guinea pigs have a “rosette” of fur on the top of their head, which grows at the same length as the hair on its body giving it bangs which need to be trimmed to allow the little pig to see.

One of the biggest differences to note between the Peruvian guinea pig and the Sheltie (Which is coming up later on the list) is that Peruvian guinea pigs hair parts down the middle, and Shelties hair goes down on the back vertically, hanging off their butts.

Another fact about Peruvian guinea pigs is that they can not partake in “social grooming” like the other guinea pig breeds due to the length of their fur! Social grooming is where guinea pigs lick and clean each other. Can you imagine if humans did that? One thing that Peruvian guinea pigs are more likely to do is “Barbering”, where they chew on the ends of each others’ hair, mostly pulling out the hair itself. Most male guinea pigs do it for dominance, but it could also be due to the fact that they have little else to chew and they need to shorten their teeth! If the barbering is affecting your guinea pigs for the worse, consider getting them something to chew or separate them from each other.

Peruvian guinea pigs also need to stay cool, you would too if you had long hair like that! So making sure they’re out of direct sunlight and in a cool environment at all times is crucial!

Make sure you groom them carefully and regularly as otherwise they could get stressed, which is never good for a guinea pig, as stress is one of the main causes of illness in cavies! They love gentle pets and brushes, unlike a lot of other guinea pigs breeds, which makes them a very affectionate breed!

2. Skinny Pig

You heard that right, A guinea pig without fur! Skinny pigs are a breed of guinea pigs that do not have hair, hence the name “skinny pigs”. Some may say they’re ugly, but I think they’re still adorable! They are the exact same as other breeds, just without fur and just as happy and cute! They also have a small tuft of fur on their nose, so not completely hairless after all!

Skinny pigs guinea pig breed

By Tetrabert at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.Wikipedia to Commons by User:Quadell using CommonsHelper., Public Domain, link


This breed of guinea pigs are one of the newer breeds, being made in 1978 by scientists who were conducting dermatology studies. Now, skinny pigs are becoming more and more popular in Europe and north America.

Hate grooming? This is the perfect breed for you! All you need to do is cut their nails, which isn’t nearly as much as what you’d have to do for a long haired breed like a Peruvian guinea pig!

The two biggest care factors for Skinny pigs is to keep them out of direct sunlight, lest they get dry skin, and to give them slightly more to eat, as they need more food to maintain their body temperature.

3. Abyssinian

The Abyssinian guinea pig is well-known for its “rosettes” which are swirly tufts of fur over its body, making it notoriously hard to groom as you need to brush in the direction of the fur! They do tend to groom themselves pretty well though so I’d recommend only brushing about once a week.

Abyssinian guinea pig breeds

The Abyssinian made its way to Europe in the 16th century, then making its way to America as an exotic pet. They often have outgoing personalities and enjoy being around humans, making it great for petting! Abyssinian guinea pigs should be brushed with a soft bristle brush, making sure to follow the directions of the rosettes.

4. Texel

This unique breed has long, curly locks unlike other breeds of guinea pig which have straight hair for the most part. Their bodies are often shorter than other breeds and have a wide and round head. This guinea pig breed is also very new, being made in England in the 1980s after cross-breeding a Sheltie guinea pig with a Rex guinea pig. This is perhaps the hardest guinea pig to groom, due to the curls, so I wouldn’t recommend it for first time guinea pig owners as they are prone to tangling. As well as daily brushing, you also need to give them trims to keep their coat from getting dirty, and don’t forget to trim the nails like all guinea pigs need.

Texel guinea pig breed

Texel Guinea Pig – Photo: Joannawnuk/Shutterstock

The Texel guinea pig is one of the hardest to look after, but they are an adorable breed and give lots of love to those willing to care properly for them!

5. American

The most common breed, the American guinea pig is a short hair and is the oldest known domestic guinea pig breed, supposedly being domesticated at around 5000 BC! And with its low maintenance and cute face, what’s not to love? The American guinea pig is an especially playful breed and tend to get along well with other breeds of guinea pigs.6

American guinea pig breed


6. Sheltie

The sheltie guinea pig is another long haired breed, and, unlike most long haired guinea pigs, its hair goes all the way down the back trailing off of the butt. This is why it’s crucial to trim the butt hair so it doesn’t drag along the ground as they can get urine and dirt in the fur! You also need to brush them regularly. They are known to be kind and gentle, and can be shy at first but are very loving when they get used to you.

sheltie guinea pig breed

By Jasmin Brown

7. Teddy

The teddy guinea pig has a medium long coat with hair that stands on end. They often have an energetic and happy personality, making them great pets for playing! It is recommended to brush their hair at least once a week to remove debris from their fur. You also want to keep an eye on their ears as they can be prone to wax build-up, you can clean them using a damp cloth while being very gentle.

Teddy guinea pig breed

8. Himalayan

The Himalayan guinea pig is a partly albino breed with color only on its nose, ears, and feet! It also has red eyes, and like most other guinea pigs, was brought to Europe before spreading to North America. They have a friendly personality and enjoy being around humans.

Himalayan guinea pig breed

Photo by Joerim [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

9. Rex

The Rex guinea pig has a hedgehog-like appearance and has a friendly, gentle and calm temperament. Its toenails grow very quickly so you will need to cut its nails more regularly than with other breeds, but the hair doesn’t need as much grooming. It also loves pats, making it a good pet for cuddles!

Rex guinea pig breed


In conclusion, some guinea pigs are higher maintenance than others’, but in my opinion, the breed of guinea pig shouldn’t matter too much as it’s mostly looks and grooming. I hope you learnt something from my article, comment on which breed is your favourite!  For the love of guinea pigs, see you next time!

2 thoughts on “Guinea Pig Breeds | The 9 Most Common Cavy Breeds

  • This is a pretty cool article on guinea pigs. I’ve been wanting a pet for some time now, but I always worry about them making my apartment messy. Looks like guinea pigs could be a good choice. They stay in cages for the most part and won’t make a mess of my home. Thanks for the good information about the different breeds. I just may look into getting one!

    • Thank you so much for your feedback! Yes, they shouldn’t make a mess, we have our guinea pigs in our home and any bedding or hay that gets spilled can always easily be vacuumed! You won’t regret getting guinea pigs! If you wanted some information about caring for them, feel free to see my other articles! Just remember that guinea pigs are herd animals and are happiest in each other’s company! There isn’t much of a difference in the difficulty of looking after 2 guinea pigs instead of 1, they just need a bit more space 🙂 All the best, Remy

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *