Just like there are hairless cats and relatively hairless dogs, guinea pigs also come in that option, and they’re called the Baldwin Guinea Pig!
This fascinating breed has some rough origins, but he’s quickly captured the heart of cavy lovers everywhere.
Let’s get to know these little critters a little better.
What is the Baldwin Guinea Pig?
The Baldwin is actually the result of a genetic mutation, so you won’t find him running around in the wild.
As with many of the more unique breeds in the animal kingdom, he arose completely by accident.
However, breeders quickly saw the value in a new hairless breed, so they found a way to isolate the genetic flaw and used that knowledge to create more.
Unethical? Absolutely. This is why in the beginning, these creatures were prone to many illnesses and immune system failures.
But don’t worry, it’s been 40 years since they were first conceived.
Despite the unethical beginnings, they have now become a happy and healthy breed of guinea pigs.
Thanks to their origins, they prefer more temperate climates.
This makes sense since they don’t possess a fur coat to keep them warm!
Baldwin guinea pigs need to eat a little bit more than other guinea pigs to maintain their body heat.
They also require more protection from the sun or their rubbery skin will burn easily.
Just make sure they stay protected, indoors and in a warm environment.
Their lack of a fur coat makes them a tad more high maintenance than their furry counterparts.
Their hairlessness makes them much better pets for those who have allergies.
Some of these guinea pigs do end up retaining just a little bit of their fur.
You can see whiskers on their cute and eager little faces and perhaps some fur on their feet.
They sort of resemble a cross between a hairless cat and a shar-pei dog with the rubbery skin and lots of wrinkles.
Their ears also tend to be larger and droopier. You may say they are the elephants of the guinea pig world.
They come in different colors and patterns as well. Despite being hairless, they can be a colorful breed.
Health and Lifespan
These hairless little cavies generally live 5-7 years, which is not bad considering their small size and compared to other rodents.
The caveat is that they have to be healthy.
These little creatures take much more time out of your day to ensure they have a comfortable, cozy and warm environment.
Some experts suggest applying sunblock onto their skin if long-term UV exposure is an issue.
However, others aren’t quite sure what effects sunblock will have on their skin over a long period.
Other than keeping them away from sunlight as much as possible, they can also develop dry skin quite easily.
Talk to your vet about the best course of action. Some may recommend using unscented baby lotion, but your vet will likely have a better alternative.
When giving them the once-over during a regular health check, make sure to look between their wrinkles for mites or any other pests.
Guinea pigs, in general, are very gentle creatures and curious by nature.
Of course, there are random cases where due to lack of proper care, the guinea pig develops aggression, but it’s rare.
Other than that, they are pretty docile and do not scratch or bite when they are being held.
They are friendly, and enjoy attention and socialization, so make sure you include your furry little friend as much as you can!
Again, this is a generalization and your Baldwin Guinea Pig could have more of an edgy personality.
Lucky for you, the hairless guinea pig doesn’t require a lot of grooming at all, but don’t assume that means they’re totally no-maintenance.
In fact, as I said before, they do require more care than their fuzzy counterparts, and this includes baths.
Furry piggies do not need to be bathed all that often. However, this hairless breed should be cleaned about once bi-monthly.
This is to prevent buildup on their sensitive and tender skin as it tends to get grimy.
Similar to the lotion you would use on them, their shampoo should be as natural as possible and fragrance-free.
Before you do anything for these cute animals, you need to always keep in mind they have sensitive skin.
Treat them as if they are highly allergic to many things. The bedding you use should be soft and non-irritating.
Avoid thick hay, and rough sawdust or shavings. They may not only cause skin irritation but respiratory issues as well.
These beloved little creatures are sought-after and loved throughout the world.
They do require more care and attention than regular guinea pigs, but it’s very rewarding in the end when your hairless piggy comes and cuddles up next to you.