Meet The 13 Guinea Pig Breeds: A Full Overview [With Pictures]

Guinea pigs are adorable animals that many people enjoy having as pets. However, deciding that you want a pet guinea pig is one thing. What comes next is deciding which breed you want. Many people think there’s only 1 guinea pig breed but that’s not true. There are a total of 13 totally different guinea pig breeds, all with their own unique appearance, temperament, and behavior.

guinea pig breeds

Because there are so many different guinea pig breeds it can be difficult to decide which one you want, especially when you don’t know the differences between them.

Today, we’re going to go over each of the 13 breeds in a little more detail and give you the most important information that you need to know. We’ll give some information about each breed’s appearance, temperament, size, and lifespan. That way, you can make an informed decision about which guinea pig breed is the best fit for your household!


Abyssinian Guinea Pig

NameAbyssinian Guinea Pig
Size8 to 12 inches
Weight1.8 to 3 pounds
CoatShort and wild with many rosettes
Lifespan5 to 7 years

The Abyssinian Guinea Pig is a short-haired breed. Their coat has several rosettes which cause their hair to grow in many different directions, giving them a very unique and interesting appearance.

The Abyssinian is very gentle, affectionate, and kind, making them a great choice for first-time guinea pig owners. They’re also quite intelligent and can easily be taught tricks.

These lovable cavies are around 8 to 12 inches in size and weigh between 1.8 and 3 pounds.

They have an average lifespan of 5 to 7 years.


American Guinea Pig

NameAmerican Guinea Pig
Size8 to 9 inches
Weight1.5 to 2 pounds
CoatShort and smooth
Lifespan5 to 8 years

The American Guinea pig is the most popular breed in the United States. They’re a short-haired breed with an active, kind, and loving temperament. Because of their short, smooth coat, they’re relatively easy to groom and not as high maintenance as some of the other breeds.

The American Guinea Pig was one of the first breeds to be officially recognized by the ACBA and is one of the oldest cavy breeds in existence. It’s speculated that this breed is what wild guinea pigs used to look like.

These piggies get along well with humans and generally enjoy being handled. They do not bite as long as they’re treated with the respect they deserve and do not feel threatened.

These cavies are relatively small at an average length of 8 to 9 inches and a weight of 1.5 to 2 pounds

The American Guinea Pig has an average lifespan of 5 to 8 years.


Peruvian Guinea Pig

NamePeruvian Guinea Pig
Size 10 to 14 inches
Weight2 to 3 pounds
CoatVery long and smooth
Lifespan 5 to 8 years

The Peruvian has the longest hair of all guinea pig breeds. Their hair can grow to a length of over 20 inches and grows incredibly fast. Their hair is parted along the back, which causes it to grow towards the floor.

Their hair is not the only thing that’s big about this cavy, they also have remarkably big bodies. On average, the Peruvian Guinea Pig grows to an impressive 10 to 14 inches, which is quite a bit larger than other breeds.

These cavies are often described as being curious, intelligent, and very loving. They’re known for their explorative and inquisitive temperament because they love exploring the environment around them. They also respond very well to humans and with lots of love and care you can form a strong bond with them.

On average, the Peruvian has a lifespan of around 5 to 8 years.


Silkie/Sheltie Guinea Pig

NameSilkie or Sheltie Guinea Pig
Size7 to 10 inches
Weight1.5 to 2.5 pounds
CoatLong and smooth
Lifespan5 to 8 years

The Silkie, also known as the Sheltie outside of the United States, is a long-haired guinea pig breed. They’re a very popular guinea pig breed because of their cute appearance and affectionate personality.

The Silkie’s long hair comes in many colors, such as white, black, brown, red, and gray. It can also have a combination of different colors.

Because they’re a long-haired breed, they do need quite a lot more grooming than short-haired breeds. They will need to be brushed and bathed regularly to keep them in tip-top condition.

The breed originated from the United Kingdom in the 1970s. Breeders crossbred the self black guinea pig with the Peruvian Guinea Pig and as a result, the Silkie Guinea was born!

On average, these cavies are 7 to 10 inches in size and they weigh between 700 to 1200 grams.

These piggies have an average lifespan of 5 to 8 years.

If you think this breed is the one for you, you can buy one from a breeder for an average price of around $40.


Alpaca Guinea Pig

NameAlpaca Guinea Pig
Size6 to 11 inches
Weight1.5 to 2.5 pounds
CoatLong and wavy
Lifespan5 to 8 years

The Alpaca Guinea Pig is a breed that gets its name from the Alpaca Camel. Just like its namesake, this adorable piggie has long, wavy hair.

The Alpaca Guinea Pig is a result of crossbreeding between a Texel and an English Peruvian. An interesting fact about this breed is that it’s not officially recognized as a distinct breed by all Cavy Associations. For instance, the American Cavy Breeders’ Association does not recognize the breed, while the British Cavy Council does.

The Alpaca Guinea Pig is well known for its loving, calm, and hospitable temperament. They get along well with other piggies and love cuddling with their owners. They’re often described as being one of the friendliest guinea pig breeds you can find.

These cavies have an average size of 6 to 11 inches and weigh between 1.5 to 2.5 pounds. Males are larger than females.

The Alpaca Guinea Pig fetches a higher price in the US because it’s not an officially recognized breed, making it harder to find a breeder that sells them. Expect to pay around $100 to $200 for one of these little animals.

On average, these critters live between 5 and 8 years.


Himalayan Guinea Pig

NameHimalayan Guinea Pig
Size8 to 12 inches
Weight1.5 to 2.6 pounds
CoatShort and smooth
Lifespan5 to 8 years

The Himalayan Guinea Pig is a short-haired guinea pig. By far this breed’s most distinct feature is its red eyes and white coat, giving it a very unique appearance.

These cavies have a short, smooth coat that’s quite easy to groom.

The name “Himalayan” suggests that this breed hails from the Himalayas mountain range, but that’s not actually the case. Just like other breeds, their ancestors are from the Andes mountains in South America.

The Himalayan Guinea Pig’s temperament is affectionate. They’re very receptive to touch and love being handled, petted, and trained. They also get along well with other piggies.

On average, these cavies are 8 to 12 inches in length and typically weigh in between 1.5 and 2.6 pounds.

They have a lifespan of 5 to 8 years.


Texel Guinea Pig

NameTexel Guinea Pig
Size8 to 10 inches
Weight1.5 to 2.5 pounds
CoatLong and curly
Lifespan5 to 10 years

The Texel Guinea Pig is another guinea pig breed that was created in the United Kingdom. It’s a result of crossbreeding between the Silkie and the British Rex. They’re known for their long, curly hair on their body, with shorter hair on their face. 

They’re very calm, patient, and agreeable creatures that do not get aggressive as long as they’re treated with respect and kindness. 

On average, these piggies are between 8 to 10 inches in length and weigh between 1.5 to 2.5 pounds. As with other guinea pig breeds, the males are usually larger than the females.

The Texel Guinea pig has a lifespan of 5 to 10 years.


Merino Guinea Pig

NameMerino Guinea Pig
Size4 to 11 inches
Weight1.5 to 2.5 pounds
CoatLong and curly
Lifespan4 to 7 years

The Merino guinea pig is a close relative to the Texel Guinea Pig. They both have a long, curly coat, but the Merino is characterized by a crest on its head, giving them a distinct appearance.

The name “Merino” most likely comes from a sheep breed in Northern Africa. It’s easy to see why, their curly coat does kind of make them resemble a sheep!

These piggies are often described as being calm and loving. They can form strong bonds with their owners and are easy-going.

Like other long-haired breeds, the Merino does require quite a bit of grooming.

Merinos are usually between 4 and 11 inches in length and typically weigh in between 1.5 and 2.5 pounds.

On average, the Merino lives between 4 and 7 years.


Lunkarya Guinea Pig

NameLunkarya Guinea Pig
Size9 to 11 inches
Weight1.5 to 2.5 pounds
CoatLong, curly, and wild
Lifespan5 to 7 years

The Lunkarya Guinea pig is also known as the “Lunk”. The breed originated from Sweden, where they originated as a result of a spontaneous genetic mutation. The Lunkarya is quite common in Sweden and some other Northern European countries but not so much in the rest of the world.

Appearance-wise, this guinea pig is similar to the Texel; they have a curly coat with hair that sticks out in several different directions. Because their coat is long and curly it’s often considered to be one of the most difficult coats to groom.

There are 3 types of Lunkarya guinea pigs: Lunkarya Sheltie, Lunkarya Coronet, and the Lunkarya Peruvian.

The Lunk is a kind, gentle, and mild-mannered animal. They’re not the most active of breeds but they do not mind interacting with their owners and even other animals

With proper care and lots of love, the Lunkarya can live for up to 7 years.


Crested Guinea Pig

NameCrested Guinea Pig
Size8 to 10 inches
Weight1.5 to 2.6 pounds
CoatShort, characterized by the crown on top of the head
Lifespan4 to 8 years

There are 3 types of Crested Guinea Pigs: The White Crested, American Crested, and English Crested. These 3 types have much in common, the only differences between them are in their crown and markings. They’re all characterized by the interesting-looking coronet on their head.

The Crested Guinea pig is a short-haired breed, making them ideal for people who do not want to spend too much time grooming.

These little critters are very friendly and are often described as docile and calm. However, they can also be a little bit shy, especially when you first get them. With enough time and love, they’ll come out of their shell and show their highly affectionate true nature.

These cute piggies have an average lifespan of 4 to 8 years in captivity.


Rex Guinea Pig

NameRex Guinea Pig
Size14 to 17 inches
Weight 2.5 to 3 pounds
CoatShort and dense, growing from front to back
LifespanUp to 5 years

The Rex Guinea Pig’s standout feature is its unique coat. They have a short and dense coat that grows from back to front, instead of from front to back, giving them a very unique appearance.

Besides their unusual coat, the Rex is also quite big. On average, they’re around 17 inches, making them around 50% bigger than other breeds.

But don’t let their large size intimidate you. These guinea pigs truly are gentle giants. They’re calm, docile, and very friendly. They are easy to handle and receive affection with grace.

With good care, the Rex has a lifespan of up to 8 years.


Teddy Guinea Pig

NameTeddy Guinea Pig
Size10 to 12 inches
Weight1.5 to 2.5 pounds
CoatShort and coarse
LifespanUp to 8 years

The Teddy guinea pig is a breed with short and coarse fur that does not require too much grooming. They’re characterized by their slightly upturned nose which is much wider than that of other guinea pig breeds.

Like the Abyssinian, Teddy Guinea Pigs are often recommended for first-time cavy owners because they’re quite straightforward to care for.

In addition, they have a loving, docile, and affectionate personality that many people fall in love with. They respond well to being handled and petted and can form long-lasting, loving bonds with their owners.

There are 2 types of Teddy Guinea Pigs, the regular type with hair that sticks out from the body, and the satin type, whose hair falls flat in a shiny, glossy, fashion, giving it a satin-like appearance.

They have an average length of 10 to 12 inches and weigh between 1.5 to 2.5 pounds.

The average lifespan of a Teddy that receives good care is up to 8 years.


Sheba Guinea Pig

NameSheba Guinea Pig
Size7 to 12 inches
Weight1.8 to 2.7 pounds
CoatLong and wild
Lifespan4 to 8 years

The Sheba is also known as the Sheba Mini Yak. Their most defining feature is their wild hair. These guinea pigs have many rosettes, causing their hair to grow in all directions. Because of their funny-looking hair, people often say that they have a permanent bad-hair day. 

Their wild hair can come in many different colors and can have many patterns such as tortoiseshell, tricolor, or solid.

Because of this breed’s long coat and wild hair, they need quite a bit of grooming and are relatively high maintenance.

The Sheba weighs an average of 1.8 to 2.7 pounds and males are typically larger than females. 

On average, the Sheba lives for around 4 to 8 years.


Skinny Pig

NameSkinny Pig
Size9 to 12 inches
Weight1.8 to 2.5 pounds
CoatBald, small tufts of hair on feet, nose, and muzzle
Lifespan5 to 7 years

The skinny pig is a guinea pig breed that’s very different from all the other breeds. By looking at a picture of one of these cavies you can immediately tell why – they’re hairless!

Skinny pigs are indeed hairless except for a few tufts of hair on their nose, feet, and muzzle. Because these piggies do not have a lot of hair, they do not require a whole lot of grooming.

An important thing to note is that Skinny pigs are not hypoallergenic. The fur is not actually what causes the allergic reaction in people, it’s a protein in their hair, urine, and skin cells that causes it.

On average, these piggies have a length of 9 to 12 inches and weigh between 1.8 and 2.5 pounds, males are usually larger than females.

The skinny pig has an average lifespan of 5 to 7 years.


Final words

I hope meeting the 13 different guinea pig breeds was informative and eye-opening. Deciding which guinea pig breed you want might be even more difficult than deciding you want a guinea pig as a pet in the first place. They’re all so adorable! Luckily, it’s recommended to get at least 2 guinea pigs anyway. These little critters are social animals and do best when they have another cavy to keep them company.

Jesse A.