Facts You Need to Know About Owning Guinea Pigs

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 23 February 2014

Are you looking for a small, sweet, vocal, and entertaining pet that’s easy to care for? Look no further than the Guinea Pig hutch- Guinea Pigs, or cavies, are just right for just about everyone. With quite a variety of breeds, both short haired and long haired - smooth breeds, silky breeds, breeds with crests atop their heads, wavy haired breeds, fuzzy breeds, and yes, even hairless breeds- there is surely a chit chatty cavy to catch your fancy! So, come along with me and take a peek inside the Guinea Pig hutch.

child kissing guinea pig  

Guinea Pigs Make a Fantastic First Pet

Guinea Pigs make an excellent first pet. They are active, social, little characters who will naturally draw children into their world - the lively Guinea Pig hutch. And, with little care and maintenance, owning a cavy certainly won’t discourage the new young pet owner. This is exactly the type of animal you want to introduce your child to the responsibilities of pet ownership. A nice way to ease into Guinea Pig ownership is to start with a couple of short haired cavies, which require little care, then as your child becomes more and more comfortable with caring for their charges and maintaining the Guinea Pig hutch, perhaps, then it’s time to peruse the variety of breeds available and think about expanding your cavy family and filling up that Guinea Pig hutch.

A Variety of Breeds for Your Guinea Pig Hutchlarge-variety-of-guinea-pigs

Talk about variety! Wow! There are LOTS of Guinea Pig breeds from which to choose for your Guinea Pig hutch. Here is a brief description of some of the more common and popular breeds:

  • The American breed: most common guinea pig found in a backyard Guinea Pig hutch, has a nice smooth body with short straight hair and a Roman nose (wide and curving)
  • The Abyssinian breed (Abby): characterised by 8-10 rosettes or tufts of hair sticking up from their shoulders, sides, back, and behind, also has a little moustache
  • The Coronet breed: a long haired breed with very flowing showy hair,  has a crest on top of its head, and a Roman nose
  • The Silkie breed: a long haired breed with soft fine hair, the hair on its back has a natural part while the hair on its head mimics a horse’s mane, has quite fast growing hair growing about 2.2cm per month
  • The Teddy breed: as the name implies, this breed looks like a cuddly teddy bear, it dons a short wiry fuzzy coat, has a Roman nose, and will be a delight in your Guinea Pig hutch
  • The Peruvian breed: will definitely stand out in your Guinea Pig hutch as it wins the award for the longest hair of all breeds, has long soft sweeps of hair and the hair on its head grows forward, has 2 rosettes on its behind
  • The White Crested breed: looks similar to the American breed, except for a white crest atop its head
  • The Texel breed: distinguished by its Shirley Temple ringlet hair which requires very gentle grooming and its short body

Colours Galore

Your Guinea Pig hutch just might be the talk of the town - guinea pigs come in a rainbow of solid colours and colour combinations. Oh what fun it will be to mix and match. You can choose from solid black, white, cream, red, golden, chocolate, beige, and lilac. Or to add a little spice to your Guinea Pig hutch, there are cavies available with Dalmatian colouring, with two different colours on each individual hair, with tri-colored bodies, and solid coloured piggies with white hairs popping up all over!

Easy Care and Maintenance

Needing little care and maintenance, the Guinea Pig will be a welcome addition to your family. As for grooming, the short haired breeds will only need a weekly brushing, while the longer haired breeds will need a daily brushing to keep their gorgeous coats looking well.  Maintaining your Guinea Pig hutch is also easily managed with daily poop pellet scooping, daily water bottle washing, and removing all the bedding from their hutch once a week and scrubbing the very accessible removable cleaning tray.

young boy combing guinea pig fur

Long Life Span

On average, Guinea Pigs live longer than most small pets. With lots of love and proper care your cavies will be leaping and scampering throughout their Guinea Pig hutch, and thriving for four to eight long and wonderful cavy years.

So, the wonderful world of pet ownership is waiting for you at Backyard Chicken Coops where you can choose from either the Piggy Pen, Piggy Paradise or the Piggy Parlour for your Guinea Pig hutch.  Here’s to a happenin’ hip Guinea Pig hutch filled with fun! Three cheers for cavies!

Sources and further reading