Long Haired Guinea Pig – Guinea pigs, which are part of the rodent family, have become beloved pets in many western households. These cute animals ae often referred to as cavy’s, which comes from their Latin name Cavia Porcellus, but it should be noted that they are not from Guinea, and that they are certainly not pigs.
The long haired guinea pig breed is one that requires a lot of care, especially when it comes to their coat. If you live in an area where high temperatures are common, you will need to regularly trim the hair of your pet to prevent him from getting heat stroke or circulatory problems. The hair should be kept neat and tidy at all times, especially on the bottom, where bacteria may build up.
Interbreeding is big business in the guinea pig world, and that has helped create several different long haired breeds.
Long Haired Guinea Pig Breeds
Peruvian Guinea Pig
The Peruvian guinea pig has the longest hair of all breeds, and this one actually holds the word record for the longest hair. It is not uncommon for their hair to grow to as long as 20 inches (50 cm), the reason for which may be that their hair grows straight instead of curly like other breeds.
This breed of long haired guinea pig has a natural parting down the back, and also has hair that will grow forward to cover their face.
As you might expect, the Peruvian guinea pig takes some work to look after, as the long hair can become knotted if not regularly combed. This can make life uncomfortable for him, which is why some owners choose to trim the hair on a regular basis. While this makes caring for him a little easier, the lack of hair does take away some of his charm.
As far as behavior goes, the Peruvian tends to be a little more inquisitive than other guinea pig breeds. The will take time to explore every inch of their environment, and since they are very aware, you can also expect a bigger reaction when you decide to spend some time with them.
Abyssinian Guinea Pig
The Abyssinian guinea pig is one of the oldest species out there, and their appearance is one that people love. They have swirls in their long hair, and that makes them popular on the show circuit. If you want to show your Abyssinian guinea pig, look for it to have 8-10 rosettes (swirls), as that is sure to impress the judges.
The hair on the Abyssinian is not as long as that of the Peruvian, but it is still considered to be a long-haired guinea pig. Those swirls are a major draw for guinea pig lovers, and it is the people who show these animals who tend to be drawn to this breed.
The swirls, or rosettes, on the Abyssinian are similar to the crowns that humans have on their hair. The difference here is that while human hair has only one or two crowns, the number of swirls on this guinea pig can be as many as 8 to 10. These clashing rosettes cause little tufts, and as they usually come in pairs, you end up with a nice little pattern on the body.
Rosettes comes in several different colors, and it is not uncommon to see as many as 5 different shades on a single guinea pig. While these animals are cute to look at, they are not for the average pet owner. The hair requires a lot of attention in the form of regular combing, grooming, and washing.
As well as the hair, it is the character of the Abyssinian that makes it such a popular long haired guinea pig breed. They are playful, mischievous, and love to make a mess, but they are also very loving. As great as all that is, the need for regular upkeep makes them a poor choice as a pet for a child.
Silkie / Sheltie Guinea Pig
Another long haired guinea pig breed is he silkie, which is also referred to as a sheltie. This is another breed that has straight hair, bur one of the biggest differences with this cavy is that its hair grows back from the head, almost giving it the appearance of a slicked back rocker from the 1950’s.
They do not have the usual middle parting in their hair, as the longer growth at the back gives them something of a pear-shaped appearance.
The hair on the silkie is incredibly soft and smooth, making them fun to handle and play with, but that hair does require a lot of attention. I you fail to brush and groom it regularly, it will become matted and uncomfortable for your pet.
This is another pet that isn’t really a good choice for kids, unless of course you are a parent willing to take on the grooming responsibilities. If you can take care of that side of things, then we guarantee that your kids will love the soft feel of these little guys.
Texel Guinea Pig
This long haired guinea pig is quite new to the world, as it wasn’t until 1998 that the breed was recognized by the American Cavy Breeders Association. Despite being late to the party, the texel guinea pig has become one of the more popular breeds, thanks in large part to their unique look.
While the texel has an appearance similar to the silkie, it has tighter hair curls covering its entire body. There are no rosettes to be found on the texel, and its curly hair covers its head, as well as its body.
Guinea pig enthusiasts love the texel, and tend to be particularly fond of the soft curly hair that covers this little guy, even growing along his belly. The unique look of this guinea pig has made it one of the more common breeds entered into shows.
Like all other long haired guinea pig breeds, the texel requires a lot of grooming, as their hair will tangle without it. This makes it a breed best suited to those with a lot of extra time on their hands, or for people interested in entering into the world of guinea pig shows.
Alpaca Guinea Pigs
The alpaca guinea pig is quite rare, and you can sometimes only find them by going through specialist breeders.
This breed is sometimes referred to as the Merino Peruvian, and as that name suggests, it is akin to the Peruvian breed, albeit with curlier hair that grows forward of the face instead of back and away from it.
Ask the average guinea pig what they believe to be the most beautiful breed out there and you will hear many of them mention the alpaca. This breed needs almost constant attention, although it is not recommended that they be bathed too often, as this can lead to their skin becoming too dry.
As we mentioned earlier, this is a rare breed that you likely will not find in a store, but rather through a guinea pig breeder.
Lunkarya Guinea Pig
It was the interbreeding of a rex and a Peruvian guinea pig that created the lunkarya breed. This breeding began in Scandinavia during the 80’s, and it is still in that part of the world where much of the breeding is still performed.
This long haired guinea pig has wavy hair that has that familiar center parting down the back. While the hair looks smooth, it is actually a little rougher than other guinea pig breeds, and it can become rather dense as it grows.
For a while the popularity of this breed waned, but breeding has picked up again, causing the numbers of lunkarya to rise.
There are 3 distinct types of the lunkarya out there, and they are the Lunkarya-Silkie, Linkarya-Peruvian, as well as Lunkarya-Coronet. Each of these breeds has long, rough hair that needs to be cared for just as carefully as the smooth hair that you find on other breeds of long haired guinea pigs.
Coronet guinea Pig
The coronet guinea pig is a cross between the crested and the silkie guinea pigs. Their hair is long, and they have a distinctive swirl on their head.
While the hair of this breed is like the silkie in that it grows back from the head, it is different in that it also has a crest, which is like a symmetrical version of a rosette. This crest is unique in that it tends to be a different color than the hair on the body of the guinea pig. The overall appearance of this crest makes it appear as though the animal is wearing a cute little crown.
Sheba Mini Yak Guinea Pig
This breed was first created in Australia, and have genes that are derived from the long haired and short haired guinea pigs.
The general appearance of the Sheba mini yak guinea pig is a cross between a Peruvian and an Abyssinian, although their hair is a little shorter than both.
This mix of short and long hairs is sometimes found on smooth-coated guinea pigs, although there is no specific nickname for it.
Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the Sheba mini yak is it whiskers, which look like a mutton chop mustache. The tend to have several rosettes, the look of which makes them appear shaggy.
These animals always look as though they are having a bad day, but it is a look that makes them beloved, and it has to be said that their cheerful demeanor also helps.
English Merino Guinea Pig
This breed is like a coronet guinea pig, albeit a much curlier version. Other differences include wavier hair and a rosette located back between the ears as opposed to on top of the head. This long haired guinea pig has curly hair on it body and shorter hair, complete with a swirl, on its head.
The English merino is a rather rare breed of cavy that come in several different colors. These animals are very fun to have around, but they are another breed that requires a lot of work.
Like most rare breeds, the English Merino usually needs to be bought through a breeder. Their hair requires a lot of maintenance, especially since bedding, hay, and even excrement can become picked up by it. You will also need to make sue to bathe the English merino and trim its nails once per month.
Angora Guinea Pig
This is a breed of long haired guinea pig that is still found in Europe, but which may be tough to find in other parts of the world. The Angora comes complete with 8 cowlicks located as follows: 4 on the back, 2 at the front, and 2 on the haunch.
Mohair Guinea Pig
The name nor breed of the mohair guinea pig is officially accepted yet. It is a cross breed of the angora and texel, and it has long curly hair complete with cowlicks.
As you can see, long-haired guinea pigs come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. This variation means that there is a long-haired breed out there to suite every taste. While there are differences between each breed, the behaviors tend to be the same, with some subtle differences. The Peruvians are nosier than most, while the Abyssinians are all about having fun.
The one caveat with long haired guinea pigs is that while they are fun to own, they also require a lot of maintenance. This means that they may not be the ideal pet for little kids, but they are really excellent pets for those who have time to look after them, and who may be considering a show pet.