With their colorful fluffy coats, floppy ear flaps, and cute upturned noses, Teddy Guinea Pigs have the amazing power to make anyone instantly fall in love with their adorable presence. Teddies are a relatively new variety of guinea pigs, but their popularity is quite high due to their unique looks and sweet temperament. They are smart and inquisitive with the ability to quickly learn simple tricks and commands.
Teddies tick pretty much every box for being one of the best pets. They are friendly, affectionate, consume a cheap plant-based diet, live in easy-to-make habitats, keep themselves occupied and peacefully entertain themselves when owners are not around and they do not cost a whole lot to buy. They are also bright and lively, and would not say no to a nice snuggle!
Teddy Guinea Pig Fact Sheet
|Name||Teddy Guinea Pig|
|Weight||1.5 to 3 pounds|
|Size||10 to 12 inches in length|
|Diet||Herbivore. 80% of diet should consist of hay, the rest should be pellets & fruits/veggies.|
|Lifespan||6 to 8 years|
|Coat||Smooth and dense coat|
|Colors||Many possible colors including white, black, gray, chestnut, golden, and others.|
|Temperament||Laid-back, affectionate, calm, quiet,|
|Experience required||Excellent for beginners|
|Price||Typically between $10 to $30 from a breeder|
History: Where They Came From
Just like many guinea pig varieties, Teddy guinea pigs are a result of a genetic quirk that occurred in a laboratory where they were being bred for various scientific uses. It is believed that this soft toy-like variety was a result of a cross between an American guinea pig and an Abyssinian guinea pig.
Teddies have inherited the shape, size, and color variety of classic American guinea pigs as well as a variety of the luscious and adored coat of Abyssinians.
Digging deeper into the science behind it, the American parent of a Teddy guinea pig has a recessive gene for long hair, while it is dominant in its Abyssinian parent. That, along with another recessive gene that causes the roots of the hair to gather at the base, creates the uniquely dense and fluffy coat of a Teddy.
Personality and Temperament
Teddy guinea pigs generally have a calm, quiet, and laid-back personality. They recognize those who interact with them the most and do not say no to a gentle cuddle. Also, the soft-toy looks of a Teddy make them popular as pets for children. It is, however, important that children are taught the gentle handling of guinea pigs in general.
Even though they have a rather shy and calm temperament, Teddy guinea pigs are quite active and love to explore. Their habitat should be spacious enough for them to freely roam around.
When they are up to it, especially during the day, they can turn into a happy little dynamo of energy. When you see them being relaxed, happy, and active, it is a great time to train them with tricks or commands. You would be surprised at how quickly they learn with the use of a few treats that they love.
Small and confined spaces and not having company can make the Teddies frail and skittish. A lonely Teddy guinea pig would start destructive habits such as excessive biting or squeaking constantly for attention. They are lively herd animals and love to be around their own kind.
Teddies get along well with other guinea pigs, but it is important to keep them away from your other pets. Get them in same-sex pairs or small groups since they love companionship.
Teddies have soft, round and fluffy heads with cute slightly floppy ear flaps and wide button noses. Their eyes are sharp, mischievous, affectionate, and always alert.
A Teddy guinea pig’s coat is short and dense, creating the ball of fluff look that we all love. It is this moderate length and springy coat that makes them look like a soft toy, which has earned them their adorable name. They come in several colors, with their fluffy bellies often white.
Another special feature in their appearance is that their coat is longer at the belly, which further adds to the soft toy/“teddy bear” looks. There are two known varieties of Teddy guinea pigs based on the texture of their coat.
Their wider and slightly upturned nose is called a “Roman nose”. Teddy guinea pigs come in a wide variety of colors from white, black, brown, gold, chestnut, gray, and all kinds of combinations and shades.
A grown-up Teddy is about 12 inches long and depends on its age, gender, and feeding habits. Female Teddies are slightly smaller in size than their male counterparts.
They can weigh anywhere from 1.5 to 3 pounds. Your veterinarian should be able to determine whether your Teddy has a healthy weight. As long as they have a good appetite and do not have any health issues, they will easily stay at a healthy weight looking like a tiny Teddy Bear toy!
What Do Teddy Guinea Pigs Eat? 🥕
The diet of a Teddy is quite simple. You need to give them a generous supply of Timothy hay, which provides them with a lot of fiber and minerals to keep their digestive system healthy. Moreover, munching on hay also helps limit the growth of their teeth, since a guinea pig’s teeth continue to grow throughout their life.
If you do not give them enough hay, there is a risk of their teeth overgrowing, which can be painful and uncomfortable for the pet.
Apart from hay, the diet should be balanced out with vitamin-enriched pellets of good quality as well as fresh greens to fulfill all the nutrient needs to keep your Teddy healthy. Pellets should ideally contain about 20% of plant-based protein and about the same level of other micronutrients and fiber. About 1/8th of a cup of pellets a day is enough to keep the dietary needs met.
When it comes to fresh produce, Teddy guinea pigs require a generous amount of Vitamin C to keep themselves healthy and active. It is important that at least 1/5th of their daily diet consist of fresh vegetables or leafy greens.
Some of the fresh vegetables and fruits that you need to avoid include onions, tomatoes, avocado, and citrus fruits. Pay attention to the fresh produce that your Teddy loves, and prepare their diet accordingly.
Make sure all the food you give your guinea pig is hygienically made and the bowls that you serve them are regularly cleaned. Teddies, just like many guinea pig varieties, are prone to get diarrhea easily.
They should have access to clean water at all times. Replenish the water throughout the day, especially during the summer when the temperature is high.
A healthy and properly cared-for Teddy guinea pig would live 6-8 years, which is within the usual range for guinea pig breeds. This, however, requires proper grooming, nutrition, a safe habitat, companionship, and also regular vet care.
As mentioned above, bouts of diarrhea are a common illness among guinea pigs. There are many causes for it including lack of fiber in the diet, or eating food that they cannot digest easily.
Make sure the treats and pellets that you give your Teddy are properly measured and given in moderation. The moment you notice that your guinea pig has developed diarrhea, you need to seek vet assistance since it can lead to severe dehydration.
Other health issues a Teddy guinea pig may face include Vitamin C deficiency and various infections. If you notice symptoms such as poor appetite and swollen joints in your Teddy, it could be Scurvy or Vitamin C deficiency which should be treated quickly. A wholesome daily diet that includes fresh food and pellets rich in Vitamin C will help prevent this disease.
Ear infections are common among Teddy guinea pigs due to the uniqueness of their ears that adds to their soft, toy-like appearance. The slightly droopy ears tend to trap dirt and ear wax which can cause painful ear infections.
Grooming and Care ✂️
The fluffy coat of a Teddy guinea pig has short hair that does not tangle. This is good news for a pet owner since it means much less grooming time. However, to keep the coat healthy and looking fluffy, you need to brush your Teddy regularly—which means at least once a week.
Brushing the coat of a guinea pig helps remove any dirt and debris, and also aids proper blood circulation on the skin. Use a thin brush and gentle strokes to brush the coat so you do not irritate or scratch their skin. Rabbit brushes work great for Teddy guinea pigs.
Remember to take a few minutes to carefully clean the inside of the ears of your Teddy during grooming time. A warm and damp washcloth works best to clean the ears.
Creating a Safe and Cozy Teddy Guinea Pig Home 🏠
There are several important things to consider when creating the perfect habitat for a Teddy guinea pig. First, it should be an enclosure where there is a barricaded safe space. It is highly dangerous for your Teddy to roam freely around, even within your own home. They can harm themselves and also chew everything up and make quite a mess!
Moreover, the habitat should also be resistant to any kind of predators, including your other pets such as cats and dogs since they can thoroughly stress out the guinea pig even if they are not violent.
If you are buying a guinea pig enclosure or making one, give at least eight square feet of space per one Teddy guinea pig.
When you take them out of the enclosure, make sure you are always there to keep an eye on them. This is particularly important if you have children since they can unintentionally harm the fragile pet by handling them roughly.
The floor of the cage or the habitat should be steady and soft. Put lots of hay for nesting and for them to play around. The bedding for the Teddy guinea pigs should be absorbent enough to soak up any liquid spills or urine, but easy to clean out regularly.
They love toys and similar things they can play with as well. Since they are bright little creatures, it is likely that they will make anything from their food bowl to food leftovers into a toy that they can play with. It is a joy to behold!
Just like all guinea pigs, Teddies like to hide in nooks and crannies to feel safe and comforted. Make sure the habitat that you create has plenty of safe places where they can retreat to when they feel like it. You can use blankets to make low-level forts for them to have fun hiding in.
They also like to chew on anything they can find, so the materials you use should be difficult to chew on, and also not harmful to ingest if they do manage to chew through them. Never leave any type of electrical cords where your Teddy can access them.
Guinea pigs thrive in a clean environment. Therefore, clean the habitat regularly and remove any droppings and uneaten food daily.
Buying a Teddy Guinea Pig
The American Cavy Breeders Association (ACBA) is a great place to find details about cavy clubs in your region. Once you find a club that is close to you, check with them about the Teddy guinea pig breeders they have in their directory. This is a good way to find a reputable breeder to get your Teddy.
You can also search online to find Teddy guinea pig breeders in your area. If you are going on that route, make sure the breeder has good recommendations and that they are ethical in their breeding practices. Visiting local cavy shows is also a good way to meet other Teddy guinea pig enthusiasts and breeders.
Teddies are highly affordable pets, with their price being around $10-$30. Since they are social creatures, always buy Teddies in same-sex pairs or as a small group if you have enough space to create a large enough habitat for them.
Final words: Is a Teddy the right breed for you?
Teddies are affectionate, adorable, and laid-back guinea pigs. They’re easy to tame and are a great beginner pet. Their teddy bear-like appearance makes them a favorite of children and adults alike.
Just like all guinea pigs, Teddies need a lot of attention, affection, and care. Before you get yourself one of these adorable pets, make sure you are ready to fully commit yourself both emotionally and financially for 6-8 years to give a Teddy guinea pig the cozy and loving home that they deserve.
If you’re having second thoughts about whether the Teddy is the perfect breed for you, check out these breeds as well:
- Holding Rats: Do They Like It & How to Do it Properly? - January 24, 2023
- 5 Reasons Why Rats Chew on Cages (& How to Stop it!) - January 24, 2023
- 5 Things That Rats HATE That Pet Owners Should Avoid - January 19, 2023