A to Z of Guinea Pigs

The Guinea Pig is thought to have originated in South America where it’s descendent, Cavia aperea, can be found. It has been estimated that the first Guinea Pigs were domesticated some 3,000 years ago.
Guinea Pigs will eat approximately 40g per day depending on size. Always ensure fresh water a good forage is available for your Guinea Pig. Twootz provides Guinea Pig food and Small Animal fruity mix which are both ideal for your Guinea pigs well being.

Guinea Pig

Over the years many different coat types have been developed.

These can be classed into four major types:

1. Smooth
2. Abyssinian
3. Long-haired
4. Rex

For showing purposes, Guinea Pigs are divided into ‘Self’ or ‘Non-Self’. ‘Self’ refers to smooth-coated guinea pigs of a single colour. ‘Non Self’ incorporates all other varieties in all coat varieties including one coloured longhaired.


Self Beige

This is a ‘diluted’ version of the Self Chocolate in biscuit beige, but with red eyes.

Self Black

Smooth, glossy black coat with matching black undercoat and black eyes.

Self Chocolate

Coat should be of a rich, dark ‘chocolaty’ colour with matching undercoat.

Self Cream

A golden cream coat, but can vary from ‘off white’ to apricot, with dark ruby eyes.

Self Golden

Varies from yellow to ginger/red. Ideally the colour should be a rich ginger colour with matching undercoat. The guinea pig can be red or black eyed.

Self Lilac

On first appearance, the Self Lilac could be mistaken for the Self Beige. The Self Lilac features a dove grey coat with pink eyes.

Self Red

The coat is of rich mahogany red with ruby coloured eyes.

Self White

The coat should pure white. With age, the coat can become discoloured. The pure albino variety features red eyes, however, black-eyed varieties are also available.



The coat of an Abyssinian is rosetted giving a ‘roughed up’ appearance! The coat is harsh with no smooth hair even on the head. Coat colours vary, but include single colours, tortoiseshell, red/white, black/white, brindle and roan.


Probably the best description of an agouti coat is the traditional coat colour of the wild rabbit. The ‘flecked’ appearance is a result of two different colours existing on each hair. The most common agouti variety is the Golden Agouti, but silver, lemon, cinnamon and orange are also possible.


Essentially a cross of the Crested and Sheltie varieties in various coat colours. Coronet cross Rex varieties are now also starting to be bred.


Essentially a smooth haired guinea poig with a rosette shaped crest situated centrally on the head. The English Crested is a ‘Self’ coloured animal with identical coloured crest, whilst The American Crested is features a different coloured crest.


Like the famous dog’s, these guinea pigs have a smooth, spotted coat. The base coat colour is white with spots of any Self or Agouti colour. The head markings are very distinctive as they featured a coloured head with white blaze.


Like the Dutch rabbit breed, the Dutch Guinea Pig has a white, smooth haired coat with striking bands of colour. The coloured areas may be black, red, agouti, chocolate, tri-colour, golden and cream.


The Himalayan is a white, smooth coated guinea pig characterised by darker points. The points include nose, ears and legs and are coloured in chocolate or black.


Genetically related to the Abyssinian, this features the longest hair of the longhaired varieties. The coat may grow up to 50 cm in length! Peruvians are available in many different colours. For showing purposes, the coat quality, rather than colour is most important.


The Rex features a very unusual coat that arises from the shortened guard hairs. This has a curling and standing effect on the coat. The coat is dense and available in almost every colour.


This smooth coated Guinea Pig gains its unusual coat through the mixing of white hairs with the body’s base hair colour. Originally the black roan was developed, however, other colours such as the Strawberry Roan are now available.


Like the Peruvian, the Sheltie is also longhaired. The distinguishing factor between the two varieties is that the hair flows backwards from the head, leaving it clear. They too are also available in many coat colours.

Tortoiseshell and White

The tortoiseshell guinea pig features a ‘patchwork’ smooth coat of red, white and black. In show animals, the opposite patches on each side of the body should be of a differing colour.

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