Guinea Pig BREEDS

Guinea Pig BREEDS

Guinea Pig BREEDS

Guinea pigs have been around for a long time, their wild ancestors Cavia tschudii are native to the Andean mountain region. Guinea pigs are believed to have been first domesticated around 5000 B.C. and were kept as both pets and bred for meat. Since then, guinea pigs have become beloved household pets all over the world, and through various selective breeding practices many new breeds, coat types and markings have been established.

Coat types

There are 5 main coat types:

  • Smooth
  • Long haired
  • Rough
  • Hairless
  • Satin



   The American guinea pig is one of the most common and popular breeds kept as pets around the world. They are the oldest domesticated breed of guinea pig, and are known for their low maintenance and great temperament – perfect for new piggy parents! They have a short, smooth coat and come in a variety of colours and markings.

White Crested

The white crested guinea pig is very similar to the American guinea pig, with a short smooth coat in a variety of colours. They are characterised by a single white crest (also known as a rosette) on the top of their head. 


Abyssinian guinea pigs are one of the most popular household breeds – they are known for their messy hair do that sticks up in every direction, with multiple rosettes of fur over their body. Abyssinian guinea pigs have a reasonably low maintenance coat and are usually quite vocal and inquisitive guinea pigs, making them great pets.


The Rex is the largest breed of guinea pig, weighing up to 1.4kg and growing up to a whopping 45cm in length! They get their name from their specific coat type, similar to other mammals such as the Rex rabbit or Devon Rex cat. Their coat is generally quite short and low maintenance, with a wiry, fuzzy appearance and wool like texture. Rex guinea pigs lack guard hairs, so instead their hair stands up on its end to protect them against water and moisture. Rex guinea pigs are also known for their large, droopy ears – making them even more adorable!


Texel guinea pigs are a reasonably new breed, and is a cross between a Rex and Silkie guinea pig. They are known for their medium to long length wavy hair coat. Due to their hair length texel guinea pigs are higher maintenance to care for and require regular grooming. The hair around their face is generally shorter than that of the rest of their body.

Silkie / Sheltie

Silkie guinea pigs, also known as Shelties, are a much loved long hair breed of guinea pig, however does require a high level of maintenance and commitment to keep their coat healthy and luscious. Silkie’s are characterised from other long hair breeds, as their coat is smooth and silkie (hence the name) and their hair only grows backwards.


Peruvian guinea pigs, similar to silkie’s are a much loved long hair breed. They have a very long coat, which when cared for correctly can grow up to 2 feet! They have smooth, straight fur which parts down the middle with 2 rosettes, one on top of their head and another over their rump. Peruvian guinea pigs differ from the silkie as their hair changes direction at their rosette and can grow forward over their face. Peruvian guinea pigs are one of the highest maintenance guinea pigs and require a lot of time dedicated to grooming.


Coronet guinea pigs are a cross between a silkie and crested guinea pig. They have smooth long hair that requires regular grooming and maintenance, with a characteristic single rosette on top of their head. They also come in many colours and markings.


The Sheba, or otherwise affectionately known as the ‘Sheba Mini-Yak’ is a cross between an Abyssinian and Peruvian guinea pig – first bred in Australia! Although it is not an official breed yet, it is fast becoming a much loved pet with their wild ‘bed hair’. They have the most un-tamed hair of all guinea pig breeds as it is known to stick out in every direction, often with the Peruvian ‘quiff’ at the front. Sheba guinea pigs are deemed to be high maintenance as they do require regular grooming and trimming to avoid matting of their coat, or contamination around their bottom and back legs.

Hairless guinea pigs

There are two main breeds of hairless guinea pigs, the Skinny and Baldwin. Unfortunately neither of these breeds are available in Australia. These breeds are characterised by being almost completely hairless, often bar a few hairs around their nose and feet. Their skin can be both pink, brown or black, in a variety of patterns.