20 Guinea Pig Breeds You Can Keep As a Pet

Guinea pigs are adorable and charming rodents. Their endearing personalities and cuddly appearance make them irresistible additions to any family. 

However, the world of guinea pig ownership is not a one-size-fits-all experience. Each guinea pig breed comes with its unique set of pros and cons.

If you’re considering adding a guinea pig to your family, our quick guide is here to help. 

We’ve gathered information on 20 guinea pig breeds to ensure you’re well-informed before making this important decision. 

Remember: Guinea pigs can easily get lonely and require intensive care. Make sure you get them in pairs and have enough time to take extra care of them.

Guinea Pig Breeds List

Recognized Breeds
American
American Satin
Abyssinian
Abyssinian Satin
White Crested
Silkie
Silkie Satin
Coronet
Texel
Teddy
Teddy Satin
Peruvian
Peruvian Satin
Recognized Hairless Breeds
Skinny
Baldwin
Unrecognized Breeds
Alpaca
Rex
Lunkarya
Merino
Sheba

American Guinea Pig

American Guinea Pig

The American guinea pig holds the title of the most popular breed for pets – often the first image that pops into one’s mind when thinking of a guinea pig.

Their low-maintenance needs, delightful personalities, and affectionate nature make them an ideal choice for beginner piggy parents. The American guinea pigs are known for their short, smooth coat that comes in various colors and markings.

These fluffy companions often enjoy snuggles and petting.

Characteristics
Life span5~7 years
MaintenanceLow
FurShort
Common colorsBeige, black, cream, red, and gold.
Common patterns
Average length18~19 inches/45.7~48.3 cm
Average weight2~3 lbs/0.9~1.4 kg

American Satin Guinea Pig

American Satin Guinea Pig

The American Satin guinea pig stands out with a glossy, sleek coat. Their fur is much more shiny and becomes translucent when exposed to sunlight.

On the other hand, these shiny piggies are more prone to the following health issues: 

  • Respiratory infections
  • Scurvy – a severe lack of vitamin C
  • Bone deformities
  • Diarrhea

Since American Satins are more sensitive and delicate to maintain, they’re a more popular choice among experienced pet owners who are ready to offer specialized care.

Abyssinian Guinea Pig

Abyssinian Guinea Pig

These charming fluffballs are one of the oldest breeds of guinea pigs. The Abyssinian guinea pigs are known for their distinct appearance.

Their bodies are robust, and they have broad heads. These piggies are instantly recognizable by their unique coat, forming multiple rosettes – central points from which they stick out in different directions, creating multiple ridges.

These rosettes make Abyssinian guinea pigs especially sensitive to touch, which is why they require gentle handling and specific hair care. They’re best suited for piggy parents who already have some experience.

Cavy enthusiasts love and keep Abyssinian guinea pigs because of their cheerful and friendly personalities. These guinea pigs are popular for their vocal, friendly, and energetic nature, making them an excellent choice if you’re looking for an engaging and lively pet.

Characteristics
Life span5~7 years
MaintenanceLow
FurMedium
Common colorsBeige, black, chocolate brown, cream, lilac, red, white, and golden.
Common patterns
Average length8~12 inches/20.3~30.5 cm
Average weight1~3 lbs/0.45~1.4 kg

Abyssinian Satin Guinea Pig

Abyssinian Satin Guinea Pig

Much like the Abyssinian guinea pig, the Abyssinian Satin has a glossy fur sheen that underlines the appeal of its rosettes. However, selective breeding for this type has brought genetic vulnerabilities, leading to health issues and a shorter average lifespan.

Due to their shorter life span, this breed is another example of satin breeds that require extra care.

White Crested Guinea Pig

White Crested Guinea Pig

Similar to the American guinea pig, the white crested guinea pig boasts a short, low-maintenance coat. The key difference in the fur lies in their white crest, a furry rosette on top of their head, positioned between their ears – hence the name.

While their cute little crown at the top is always white, the rest of their coat is solid-colored and significantly more dense.

White-crested guinea pigs naturally have sweet personalities, although they may be a bit shy at the beginning. If you decide to get a white crested guinea pig, note that they’re quite hard to win over, so be ready to spend a lot of time building a strong bond with your piggy.

Characteristics
Life span5~7 years
MaintenanceMedium
FurShort
Common colorsGolden, orange, brown, and black.
Common patternsAgouti, roan, self,  and brindle.
Average lengthUp to 12 inches/30.5 cm
Average weight1~3 lbs/0.45~1.4 kg

Silkie Guinea Pig

Silkie Guinea Pig

Silkie guinea pigs, often called Shelties, are well-known for their long, luscious hair. What makes their fur even more fascinating is that it can grow up to 24 inches/60.1 cm in length, making it longer than their body!

Grooming their beautiful coat and preventing health issues requires daily brushing, regular hair trims, and the occasional bath for Silkies. Due to these additional grooming needs, they are best suited for experienced piggy parents.

Another trait that makes this breed unique compared to most others is its easy-going personality, allowing pet owners to bond with them quite easily.

Characteristics
Life span5~7 years
MaintenanceMedium
FurLong
Common colorsWhite, black, red, brown, gray, dutch, brindle.
Common patternsTortoiseshell and white, roan, agouti, Dalmatian, and Himalayan.
Average length8~16 inches/20.3~40.6 cm
Average weight1~3 lbs/0.45~1.4 kg

Silkie Satin Guinea Pig

Silkie Satin Guinea Pig

The coat of Silkie satins grows evenly from front to back without a central part, resulting in straight and smooth hair. Like other satin breeds, they are susceptible to health issues, common for satin breeds:

  • Scurvy
  • Urinary issues
  • Respiratory infections
  • Pododermatitis (aka ‘’Bumblefoot’’)

Coronet Guinea Pig

Coronet Guinea Pig

The Coronet guinea pig combines the luxurious locks of a Silkie with the Crested piggy’s rosette as a crest, creating a look that resembles a shorter wig on their head.

While it might be difficult to spot the difference, unlike Silkies and White Crested breed, this breed has a smaller forehead and their rosettes are shorter and pointing forward.

Coronet guinea pigs are quite playful and like to socialize, but they are a rare breed. However, they require the same level of hair maintenance to keep them safe and healthy.

Characteristics
Life span5~7 years
MaintenanceHigh
FurLong
Common colorsCoffee crown, cinnamon brown, and white.
Common patternsTortoiseshell and agouti.
Average length8~16 inches/20.3~40.6 cm
Average weight1.5~3 lbs/0.68~1.4 kg

Texel Guinea Pig

Texel Guinea Pig

Texel guinea pigs emerged in the 1980s as a result of a breeding between Silkie and Rex guinea pigs.

Texels are one of the smaller guinea pig breeds. These curious piggies have a striking appearance. They’re affectionate and love being cuddled, making them one of the most popular choices for a pet.

These cute fluffs have curly and coarse fur, creating beautiful waves on their hair, which is significantly shorter around their faces.

Due to their long and bristly coat with waves, Texel guinea pig requires constant grooming care. Without daily attention, their coat can become tangled and messy, so new guinea pig owners should start with a breed that’s easier to maintain.

Characteristics
Life span5~8 years
MaintenanceHigh
FurLong
Common colorsWhite, golden, black, and brown.
Common patternsMostly Tortoiseshell, brindle, and roan.
Average length8~10 inches/20.3~25.4 cm
Average weight1~3 lbs/0.45~1.4 kg

Teddy Guinea Pig

Teddy Guinea Pig

Teddy guinea pigs get their name from their cute and plushy look, resembling a teddy bear. These cute teddies also have a unique appearance due to their round, upturned noses, making them look super cute!

Because a Teddy piggy has noticeably shorter hair than most other breeds, they don’t require as much grooming. Since they have one of the cutest appearances and friendliest personalities, Teddy guinea pigs are beloved and make wonderful pets.

But they can be quite difficult to find because there aren’t many Teddy guinea pig breeders, so they’re one of the least populated breeds.

Characteristics
Life span5~7 years
MaintenanceMedium
FurShort
Common colorsBlack, cream, gold, lilac, and beige.
Common patternsMostly brindle or random patterns of multiple colors.
Average length10~12 inches/25.4~30.5 cm
Average weight1~3.5 lbs/0.45~1.58 kg

Teddy Satin Guinea Pig

Teddy Satin Guinea Pig

Teddy Satins have thick fur that stands out from their body with a glossy satin sheen, giving them a much shinier look compared to regular Teddies. However, like any other satin breed, this one also comes with different health concerns and requires a lot of patience and extra care.

Peruvian Guinea Pig

Peruvian Guinea Pig

Peruvian guinea pigs are one of the most popular among the long-haired breed. They’re easily recognizable by their sleek, lengthy hair that parts down the middle, spanning from head to tail.

These sleek-looking piggies have a laid-back and sweet personality. They love cuddles and often require regular contact and snuggles with their owners.

While they make wonderful pets, note that Peruvian guinea pigs come with added responsibilities, including daily grooming, routine trims, and regular baths.

Characteristics
Life span5~7 years
MaintenanceHigh
FurLong
Common colorsWhite, brown, black, russet, cream, and dark gray
Common patternsVariations of bi-color and tri-color patterns.
Average length10~14 inches/25.4~35.6 cm
Average weight1~3 lbs/0.45~1.4 kg

Peruvian Satin Guinea Pig

Peruvian Satin Guinea Pig

The Peruvian Satin guinea pig boasts an equally impressive coat compared to the standard Peruvian breed. Their long, beautiful fur is enhanced with a satin sheen that runs down the middle of their back.

Another physical characteristic that makes this breed different from its regular Peruvian cousins is body size. These cute furballs can grow up to 20 inches/50.8 cm, making them one of the biggest guinea pig breeds!

Unfortunately, like all satin breeds, they come with various health concerns. This is why Peruvian Satins are suitable only for experienced piggy parents with enough time and patience.

Skinny Guinea Pig

Skinny Guinea Pig

While Skinny Guinea Pigs fall under the hairless category, as they get older, they often grow some hair on their muzzles, legs, feet, and sometimes along their backs.

Since they don’t technically have fur, a Skinny guinea pig lacks insulation compared to other breeds so they have to eat more. Some piggy owners also use guinea pig sweaters, especially during the chilly winter.

Due to their hairless nature, they require extra care, including specialized skin care, and protection from direct sunlight, irritations, an extra-caloric diet, and clothes.

On top of that, Skinny piggies typically have a smaller size and shorter lifespan when compared to other hairless guinea pigs.

Characteristics
Life span5~7 years
MaintenanceHigh
FurHairless
Common colorsChocolate brown, Black, cinnamon brown, white, golden, grey, andpink.
Common patternsMostly Tortoiseshell, Dutch, Himalayan, and Dalmatian.
Average length10~14 inches/25.4~35.6 cm
Average weight1.8~2.4 lbs/0.81~1.1 kg

Baldwin Guinea Pig

Baldwin Guinea Pig

Baldwin piggies are born with a full coat, unlike other hairless breeds, and slowly lose their hair over time. Once they’re about two months old, they go completely bald – hence the name.

This guinea pig breed is hairless due to a genetic mutation in a white-crested golden agouti. Genetically, the Baldwin guinea pig is among the largest of hairless breeds and tends to have a slightly longer lifespan.

Considering their exposed skin, it’s important to provide exceptional care to keep them clean, prevent irritations, and protect them from sunlight and low temperatures. But the good news is, Baldwins have a loving personality, so they often tend to snuggle and hug to keep warm!

Characteristics
Life span5~7 years
MaintenanceHigh
FurHairless
Common colorsChocolate brown, black, cinnamon brown, white, golden, grey, andpink.
Common patternsMostly Tortoiseshell, Dutch, and Himalayan.
Average lengthUp to 12 inches/30.5 cm
Average weight1~3 lbs/0.45~1.4 kg

Alpaca Guinea Pig

Alpaca Guinea Pig

The Alpaca guinea pig boasts significantly longer and much more wavy hair than most other guinea pig breeds. Although Alpaca and Texel look quite similar, you can easily identify an Alpaca guinea pig by their forward-pointing bangs.

They are also one of the rarer guinea pig breeds, leading to their generally high cost and limited availability. Also, their fur demands meticulous care, making them best suited for guinea pig veterans.

Characteristics
Life span5~7 years
MaintenanceHigh
FurLong
Common colorsWhite, black, beige, and cream.
Common patternsMostly albino (fully white) and roan.
Average length8~12 inches/20.3~30.5 cm
Average weight1~2.5 lbs/0.45~ 1.1 kg

Rex Guinea Pig

Rex Guinea Pig

Rex guinea pigs are best described in a single word: fuzzy! These short-haired piggies come with wiry coats that come in variations of patterns in brown and white.

These furry piggies resemble hedgehogs with their looks, except their fur feels super soft to the touch. They have larger, dropped ears in comparison with other guinea pig breeds.

These piggies are social and gentle, so they typically enjoy petting and snuggling – one of the breeds most suitable as pets.

Characteristics
Life span5~7 years
MaintenanceMedium
FurShort
Common colorsBrown, white, chocolate, and cream.
Common patternsPrimarily solid-colored but sometimes Agouti.
Average length8~15 inches/20.3~38.1 cm
Average weight1~3 lbs/0.45~1.4 kg

Fun fact: Although the British Cavy Council recognizes the Rex guinea pig as an official breed, the American Cavy Breeders Association doesn’t yet.

Lunkarya Guinea Pig

Lunkarya Guinea Pig

The Lunkarya, another long-haired guinea pig breed, boasts a wild mane of fur. Their coat looks windswept, with their hair sticking up all around their body.

They come in three different coat types, and each name is based on their resemblance with other long-haired piggies:

  • Peruvian Lunkarya
  • Coronet Lunkarya
  • Silkie (Sheltie) Lunkarya

These guinea pigs originate from Sweden and earned their name due to their wool-like coat. These gentle Lunkaryas make wonderful and affectionate pets, though their hair can be quite demanding to maintain.

Lunkaryas are among the rarest of guinea pig breeds, making them a less common sight in the homes of piggy enthusiasts.

Characteristics
Life span5~7 years
MaintenanceHigh
FurLong
Common colorsWhite, black, cream, and different shades of brown.
Common patternsAgouti, Himalayan, Dalmatian, roan, Tortoiseshell, and sometimes solid-colored with small dots around their eyes.
Average lengthUp to 12 inches/30.5 cm
Average weight1~3 lbs/0.45~1.4 kg

Merino Guinea Pig

Merino Guinea Pig

The Merino guinea pig is a long-haired breed, boasting dense and curly hair topped with an adorable crest – a single rosette on the forehead, similar to the White Crested breed.

Many piggy parents affectionately liken the Merino guinea pig to miniature sheep due to their delightful wavy hair, but fear not; they still squeak instead of baa-ing.

Their furry coat makes them one of the more challenging guinea pig breeds to care for, as those coarse curls can easily trap hay, bedding, grass, etc. This is why daily grooming is a necessity for a Merino guinea pig.

Though they’re similar in appearance to and easily mistaken for Texels and Coronets, the Merino guinea pigs have quite more energetic and sociable characters.

Characteristics
Life span5~7 years
MaintenanceHigh
FurLong
Common colorsVariety of colors
Common patternsVariety of patterns
Average length10~12 inches/25.4~30.5 cm
Average weight1.5~2.5 lbs/0.68~1.1 kg

Sheba Guinea Pig

Sheba Guinea Pig

Sheba guinea pigs are known for their luxurious hair with many rosettes. They originated in Australia and are known as ‘’bad hair day’’ cavies due to their scruffy hair.

This unique breed is a delightful blend of Peruvian and Abyssinian guinea pigs, and their fluffy fur defies gravity in all directions. Although their hair is longer than on most other piggies, it’s still not as long as on Lunkaryas or Peruvian Satins.

Unlike Peruvian Satins, this breed doesn’t require intensive hair grooming maintenance, thanks to their slower hair growth genes.

Similar to their Abyssinian relatives, Shebas can be touch-sensitive and possess an independent character.

Most Sheba guinea pigs are cheerful and playful.

Characteristics
Life span5~7 years
MaintenanceAverage
FurMedium
Common colorsSame as their relative breeds: Abyssinian and Peruvian
Common patternsSame as their relative breeds: Abyssinian and Peruvian
Average length7~12 inches/17.8~30.5 cm
Average weight1~3 lbs/0.45~1.4 kg

How to Choose a Guinea Pig for a Pet?

Before getting a guinea pig, there a few thing to consider:

What Is Your Level of Commitment?

All guinea pigs are friendly and playful. They often have a better quality of life when they have constant company, which is why it’s better to get them in pairs.

Reminder: If you’re getting a pair of guinea pigs, try to opt for the same gender to avoid breeding. Breeding in guinea pigs is quite complex and can be dangerous for most sows (female guinea pigs), especially if not supervised by experts.

Even if you have few, it’s critical to spend as much time as possible with your piggies to form a strong bond. They can live about five to seven years on average, so consider the long-term commitment.

Before getting a guinea pig, ask yourself how much time and effort you’re willing to invest.

Do You Have Space for a Guinea Pig Cage?

Guinea pigs need a clean living area spacious enough for their consistent activities. Most experts suggest at least 7.5 square feet for a pair of piggies, but that’s just a bare minimum. 

So make sure you have enough space in your home for their habitat.

What Is the Healthiest Diet for a Guinea Pig?

Since guinea pigs are quite sensitive animals and can be prone to multiple health issues, it’s critical to provide them with the healthiest diet possible. But what do guinea pigs eat?

These cute piggies are herbivores and their diet should consist of:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Grass
  • Herbs
  • Crops
  • Pellets
  • Water

If you want to choose a guinea pig for your pet, be sure you can provide them with all of these supplies regularly to keep them healthy.

Do You Have Enough Budget?

Guinea pigs require ongoing expenses for food, bedding, toys, and potential veterinary care. So make sure you have enough budget for these costs to ensure you can provide the best care for your new pets.

Do You Have Ideas for Names?

Naming your guinea pigs shouldn’t be random. The ideal guinea pig names can help you establish a deep bond with your piggies and teach them different commands.

Pro tip: One of the easiest ways to find a name for your guinea pig is to consider their appearance or behavior.

For example, if your piggy is a long-haired breed, you can name them ‘’Fluffy’’. And if you have a guinea pig that’s quite vocal, you could name them ‘’Squeeky’’.

The earlier you name them, the faster you’ll connect.