Which Breed To Put In The Guinea Pig Run?

All breeds needs a decent sized guinea pig run, but did you know the real story of how the guinea pig came to be one of the most popular small pets today? If you’ve ever wondered where they came from, why they can look so different and which might make a good pet for your home, read on. By the time you’ve read this, you’ll have a five minute guide to understanding the history and breeds of guinea pigs.

Tschudi Guinea Pig - a wild cousin of pet guinea pigs

Tschudi Guinea Pig - a wild cousin of pet guinea pigs

The domestic guinea pig cava porcellus comes originally from South America, but they’re obviously not a type of pig at all, and have no connection to New Guinea). From this confusing start, their origins are disputed, as it is speculated they are descended from the fourteen wild versions. They were domesticated probably by the Inca civilisation, who unfortunately chose to use them in sacrificial rituals. Not good news for the guinea pigs, but better times came from the 1500s, when the Europeans defeated the Incas and exported them to Europe as pets. The guinea pig has ever since become a firm favourite pet, contrasting sharply with its status in some parts of South America whereit has more of a livestock status and may be seen as a food animal rather than a pet. For pet lovers today, there are many breeds to choose from, each with a distinctive cute appearance.

Abyssinian Satin Guinea Pig breed

Abyssinian Satin Guinea Pig breed

Some breeds have a coat which moves in swirls and tufts, even cresting as a mini-mohican (like Hurley, one of the animated stars of the Disney G-Force movie). This type of coat is described as “rosettes”, and is found on the Abyssinian, Abyssinian Satin and Coronet breeds, plus only on the head as one white rosette on the White Crested Guinea Pig breed. The long-haired guinea pig breeds are the Peruvian, Peruvian Satin, and Sheltie/Silkie. Then there’s the Teddy breed, which look, well, like a teddy bear, and the Texel, which has a coat with curls all over its body. All are beautiful and all should make a good pet provided they have come from a reputable source and have been properly socialised.

Teddy Satin Guinea Pig breed

Teddy Satin Guinea Pig breed

Peruvian Satin Guinea Pig breed

Peruvian Satin Guinea Pig breed

Young children need to be taught to properly handle animals – their role model otherwise is their cuddle toys, and of course, animals are not toys! Loving cuddles can easily frighten, hurt or even injure small pets, so its vital teach children not to handle them in the same way they would give their teddy a loving squeeze! Small pets which are frightened may bite, simply because they are afraid or in pain, and sadly inadequate parental supervision can lead to guinea pigs ending up in shelters as they bit one of the children. Whilst the guinea pig may be labelled by unknowing parents as ‘bad-tempered’, this may not be the case at all…

So whilst all species of guinea pigs are great as pets, its vital to take some time to find out about their needs and educate the kids to create a long-lasting, rewarding experience with this most wonderful of pets. Your local vet can give you advice, or if you’re rehoming a ‘piggie’ from a shelter, the workers at any good centre should be delighted to assist you learning about your new pet. So now you know their history, the names of the different breeds, and ways to create a good relationship with them. Hopefully this will inspire you further create your guinea pig run as an enriching environment, where your contented, happy guinea pigs have the time of their lives doing that hilarious pop corning and making happy “wheeking” noises of joy.

Tags:, , , , ,

This entry was posted on at and is filed under History and Choosing A Breed. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.