What are the most popular guinea pig breeds?
Do guinea pigs even come in different breeds?
If you’re wondering the same things, I’ve got you covered today!
We’ll talk about the 13 types of cavies, along with the major features of each one!
13 Most Popular Guinea Pig Breeds
I’ll be honest before I adopted my own pigs, I had no idea there were even two different breeds, let alone more than 10!
The American Cavy Breeders Association recognizes 13 distinct breeds. Cavy-enthusiasts recognize even more than that.
We’ll check out the most popular ACBA-recognized piggies as well as some of the other breeds that aren’t on their list quite yet.
When you hear the words “guinea pig,” a mental image of the American is probably what pops into your head.
Unsurprisingly, the most common guinea pig breed in the world. Originating in the Andes Mountains, evidence suggests that they were domesticated as far back as 7,000 years ago!
The American piggy is among the most social and people-loving breeds. They even get along with children!
They’re also very easy to care for, thanks to their short hair and overall hardy composition, making them a great first pet for kids or adults.
2. American Satin
For the most part, the American Satin is pretty much exactly like the “regular” American.
The only notable difference is the sheen of his coat. He also has a slighter softer feel overall.
Since his coat is the only thing that separates him from the American, he’s just as sociable and good with people.
While he requires a bit more grooming to keep that coat shiny, overall he’s an easy guy to care for.
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If you want a piggy that’s almost guaranteed to win competitions, the Abyssinian is the way to go. Those swirling rosettes (the tufts that stand up) are total show-stoppers!
Interestingly, no one knows where they came from. The only thing we DO know is that they have nothing to do with the Abyssinian region.
Why are they called that, then? Your guess is as good as mine!
As Guinea Pig Hub points out, they’re among the more mischievous cavy breeds, so they’ll keep you on your toes.
They also require more grooming than the American, but nowhere near as much as the next piggy on our list.
READ MORE: All About the Rex Cavy
If you dream of a cavy with long luscious locks, you’ll want to check out the Peruvian. These cuties have the longest hair of all the guinea pig breeds!
Of course, all that hair means you’ll have to really commit to a good grooming routine.
Fortunately, his locks are straight rather than curly (like some of the other cavies farther down on our list).
Peruvian pigs are among the most curious, which means they’re more likely to find you interesting (and come to you) than, say, some of the more reserved breeds.
Like a deeply loved plush bear that’s been around the block a few times, the Teddy has a rougher coat than breeds like the American.
Some even liken it to the texture of a bottle brush! That coat is actually a relatively recent genetic mutation, making the Teddy among the newest guinea pig breeds.
However, just because he’s not as silky smooth as other breeds don’t mean he’s not a great pet.
Teddy piggies tend to get used to people a little faster than other cavies, making them fantastic first pets for kids.
Like the Peruvian pig, the Silkie (also called the Sheltie) has long hair that requires a good amount of maintenance.
However, Silkies are a really neat breed because their hair does a sort of tear-drop sweeping thing.
While he does require a good amount of grooming to keep that hair looking ready for his close-up, Silkies are considered among the gentlest and sweeties cavies.
Curly hair, don’t care is the name of the game with this darling cavy! His entire body- including his belly- is covered in those gorgeous soft curls.
The Texel guinea pig is also different from other piggies in his body shape. He’s shorter and more compact.
As cute and sweet as he is, though, he’s not a good first guinea pig. He needs daily maintenance to keep dirt and waste from collecting in those curls.
Crested guinea pigs get their name from the crest of hair that pops up on top of their heads
Related: Guinea Pig Names starting with P
Related: Guinea Pig Names starting with P.
The most common is the white crested (aka American Crested). Obviously, this guy has a white rosette on top of his head.
However, there are also English Crested piggies where the tuft is the same color as the rest of their fur.
Aside from the coat style, these guys are pretty much identical to the American.
The Coronet cavy is very similar to a Silkie, except he has a beautiful rosette on top of his head. He also doesn’t have the Silkie’s whorl.
These sweet peas are very affectionate and playful. They absolutely love when you focus all of your attention on them!
They make great first piggies for families as long as you’re willing to keep up with their grooming.
Merinos are fairly new breeds that get their name from the fact that they look like they’re covered in Merino wool.
He’s actually a type of Coronet, so his overall personality is very similar.
However, that wool-like fur requires quite a bit of upkeep. It attracts dirt like crazy!
If you’re willing to take the time to groom him right, he makes a great pet. His intelligence makes him among one of the easiest cavies to train.
11. Hairless (Skinny pig)
The hairless cavy is actually called a Skinny pig. Think about it for a moment and you’ll understand why. It has nothing to do with his girth!
If you’re allergic to guinea pig fur, this guy is definitely the right choice for you.
Aside from the lack of fur, these guys are very much like other cavies. They’re sociable, playful, and curious.
Obviously, there is one notable exception to caring for them- they need a carefully monitored environment. You don’t want your cavy to catch a chill!
This Australian beauty is also called the Sheba Mini Yak because it looks kind of like, well, a tiny yak!
Some say they look like they’re always having a bad hair day. Personally, I think they look like they’ve been driving around on a windy day with the top down!
Oddly, even though they have longer hair, they require the least grooming off all the luscious-locked cavies.
This beautiful poofball is actually a type of Peruvian piggy. He’s the result of a genetic mutation rather than intentional cross-breeding.
Known for his thick hair, the Lunkary requires regular grooming, making him a good choice only for experienced cavy owners.
If you’re looking for the #1 most popular guinea pig breed, look no farther than, well, #1 on our list! The American is an all-around fantastic choice for a first pet.
He’s also the most common, so you’re likely to find one ready to rescue from a shelter.