Guinea pigs, often lovingly referred to as “Cavies”, are very popular among pet owners, and for good reasons. Many people love them because they’re affectionate, intelligent, kind, and of course because of their cute appearance. Much like dogs, there are many different guinea pig breeds. Because of this, it can sometimes be difficult to decide what breed of guinea pig you want to adopt into your home. In order to make this process a little easier, we’re going to take a closer look at one breed in particular: The Lunkarya guinea pig. We’ll explore their temperament, cost, what they look like, their history, origin, and much more. That way, you can get a good idea if the Lunkarya guinea pig is a good fit for your home. Let’s dig in.
History and Origin of the Lunkarya Guinea Pig
The Lunkarya guinea pig, also known as “Lunk”, originated from Sweden. The first known Lunkarya guinea pig was named “Prince Adam” who stood out among the rest of his litter because he had odd variations in his coat. These odd variations were the result of a genetic mutation, not because of cross-breeding. Because of these odd variations, they decided to breed him, and thus the Lunkarya guinea pig breed came into being. Since the Lunkarya originates from Sweden, the breed is most common there, but it’s also popular in some other European countries such as the UK and the Netherlands. However, they are quite rare in other parts of the world.
The name “Lunkarya” was formed by combining “Lundqvist” and “rya”. Lundqvist is the last name of the first people that found and developed the breed, while the other part, “rya” literally means sheep in Swedish, likely because of the curly hair of this breed. The Lunkarya is a variation of a popular breed known as the Peruvian guinea pig.
The Lunkarya breed is quite similar to the Texel Guinea Pig in terms of the coat. It has a curly coat, giving it a tough and dense structure. A Lunkarya Guinea pig’s hair can grow very long and usually sticks out in several directions. This gives the Lunkarya breed a permed and unkempt look. The Lunkarya guinea pig is short, has broad shoulders, and a stocky build. Apart from the hair on the face of a Lunkarya guinea pig, the hair in other parts of its body is usually of even length. Lunkarya guinea pigs come in three different variations, which are listed below:
Lunkarya Sheltie: A type of Lunkarya guinea pig that has its hairs flowing backward, much like a sheltie, which is where the name comes from.
Lunkarya Coronet: This type of Lunkarya guinea pig has a crest of hair around its forehead.
Lunkarya Peruvian: This type of Lunkarya guinea pig has an attractive forelock.
Temperament of the Lunkarya Guinea Pig
The Lunkarya guinea pig is gentle and mild-mannered. Though it is not a high-energy breed, it doesn’t mind interacting with other guinea pig breeds and humans. The Lunkarya is very easy to handle due to its calm temperament, and the fact that they usually enjoy the process of being handled. Because of this, they’re very suitable as pets.
However, no matter how well you take care of a Lunkarya guinea pig, it will never be completely happy until it has a companion. The reason why they cannot be happy without a companion is that guinea pigs are native to the Andes in South America, where they’ve roamed for thousands of years in herds. Because of this, they’ve evolved into social animals that need other guinea pigs around them to be truly happy. So, when keeping Lunkarya guinea pigs as pets, it would be best to get them in groups or pairs so they can have companionship. Lunkarya pigs with companions usually live healthier, happier, and more active lives than those without companionship.
If you want a Lunkarya to live well, you should provide it with a healthy, and enjoyable diet. The diet of the Lunkarya should consist primarily of Timothy Hay, which they need an unlimited supply of, with smaller amounts of fruits and vegetables. Avoid giving your pet Lunkarya processed foods. This is because such foods have high fat and sugar content. Food with high sugar or fat content is not good for guinea pigs due to their sensitive digestive systems. You can use treats to teach them new tricks but you have to make sure that you do not feed them these treats in excess.
Fruits and vegetables are good for Lunkarya guinea pigs but can make the sick when fed in large quantities. So, it is important that you keep an eye on the amount of fruits and vegetables you give to them. It is generally recommended to feed your cavy about a cup of fresh veggies and a very small piece of fruit once a day.
Lunkaryas, just like other guinea pigs (and humans!), are incapable of synthesizing their own vitamin C. Because of this, they need to get it from their diet. The amount of vitamin C they get from the fruits and veggies you give your cavy is not always enough, so many guinea pig owners opt to supplement their diet with additional vitamin C in order to prevent deficiency.
They also need access to fresh water from a water bottle 24/7. This water should be changed every day.
Lunkarya guinea pigs are pretty high maintenance. The fact that they have such long, curly hair means that they need to be groomed quite frequently. If you do not groom them often enough, debris might stick to their coat or their hair might get tangled. It’s therefore important to ensure that you have enough time to properly groom your cavy. If you’re unsure on how to groom your guinea pig’s coat, here’s a great guide from PetMD.
Also, as with other breeds, you have to trim their nails occasionally to make sure that they do not get too long. If you neglect to trim their nails and let them grow too long their nails will curl up and this can cause injuries to their feet.
For the rest, caring for a Lunkarya guinea pig is quite simple, and not all that different from caring for any other breed. Make sure that you give them a cage that’s large enough (at least 30″ x 50″ recommended for 2 guinea pigs), feed them a healthy diet, take them to the vet when necessary, and give them the love and attention they deserve.
Cost of a Lunkarya
The price of a Lunkarya guinea pig is similar to that of other breeds of guinea pigs. However, the price does depend a lot on where you live. If you live in Sweden or other European countries where the breed is more prevalent, it will be easier to find a Lunkarya for sale and thus the price will be lower. If you’re from the United States or another country that’s quite far from Europe it might be more difficult to find a Lunkarya guinea pig for sale. There are not many Lunkarya breeders in the States, so finding one might prove to be quite tough, and you’ll likely pay a premium if you manage to find one.
Furthermore, the largest costs associated with owning any cavy are not really buying the guinea pig itself, but rather the monthly costs of food, vet bills, bedding, toys, and more. Expect to pay around $40-$60 a month to take adequate care of your guinea pigs.
Lunkarya guinea pigs are generally healthy and strong to keep as a pet. However, they run a relatively high risk of heat stroke due to their dense coats. So, if you live in a place with mostly warm weather, it would be best to ensure that your pet Lunkarya is kept in a cool place.
Like other pets, the Lunkarya is susceptible to some health issues. Some these health issues include the following:
Diarrhea: The Lunkarya is susceptible to diarrhea. If this happens, you can limit the number of veggies and fruits in their diet. Fruits and veggies are high in water, which can lead to diarrhea.
Vitamin C Deficiency: To prevent this, you need to include vitamin C supplements in their diet.
Pneumonia: In cold weather conditions, a Lunkarya may develop pneumonia. To prevent this, you should keep them warm in cold weather.
In-grown Nails: To prevent this, ensure you trim the nails of your pet Lunkarya often to prevent infections and pain.
Fortunately, these health problems listed above are things that can be easily prevented. By taking the necessary precautions, none of these health problems would come up. With sufficient and adequate care, your Lunkarya guinea pig can have a lifespan of around 6 to 7 years. If you notice that your cavy is feeling unwell or that they show symptoms of disease it’s crucial that you take them to a vet as soon as possible.