Guinea Pig Breed Menu



Breed Organizations

The American Cavy Breeders Association
American Rabbit Breeders' Association
The British Cavy Council

Scientific Name
Cavia porcellus
Life Expectancy
4-8 Years
Other Common Names
The English
Breed Appearance
This breed is the oldest and most popular of all the cavies. When it first arrived into the UK, it was named the "English.” After being brought to the United States, its name has since been changed to the "American,” (despite the fact that in the rest of the world it is still known as the English). It has a short, smooth coat, is well rounded and even from shoulders to hips. In essence, the perfect pig looks as solid as a brick with rounded corners. It has a slight bump on the back of it's neck known as the crown. It's nose is slightly rounded (Roman), not sharp and straight. Although it comes in many different varieties today, the original color of the wild cavy is brown, ticked with black. As they have been bred over the years a number of color mutations have occurred which is why we have so many different ones today.

Breed Standard - ACBA
-The American cavy is smooth coated, short haired, sleek and elegant.
-It has a medium body length, with a Roman nose, and high, full crown.
-It is the most popular of all the cavy breeds.
-The American was one of the original breeds accepted by the American Rabbit Breeders Association, Inc.
-At the time of it's original appearance in the Standard of Perfection, it was known as the "English" cavy.

Guinea pigs can learn complex paths to food, and can accurately remember a learned path for months. Their strongest problem solving strategy is motion. While guinea pigs can jump small obstacles, they are poor climbers, and are not particularly agile. They startle extremely easily, and will either freeze in place for long periods or run for cover with rapid, darting motions when they sense danger. Larger groups of startled guinea pigs will "stampede", running in haphazard directions as a means of confusing predators. When excited, guinea pigs may repeatedly perform little hops in the air (known as "popcorning"). They are also exceedingly good swimmers.

If handled correctly early in their life, guinea pigs become amenable to being picked up and carried, and seldom bite or scratch. They are timid explorers and often hesitate to attempt an escape from their cage even when an opportunity presents itself. Still, they show considerable curiosity when allowed to walk freely, especially in familiar and safe terrain. Guinea pigs that become familiar with their owner will whistle on the owner's approach; they will also learn to whistle in response to the rustling of plastic bags or the opening of refrigerator doors, where their food is most commonly stored.

Guinea pigs should be kept in pairs or, preferably groups, unless there is a specific medical condition that requires isolation. Lone guinea pigs are more likely to suffer from stress and depression. Domesticated guinea pigs come in many breeds, which have been developed since their introduction to Europe and North America. These varieties vary in hair and color composition. The most common varieties found in pet stores are the English shorthair (also known as the American), which have a short, smooth coat, and the Abyssinian, whose coat is ruffled with cowlicks, or rosettes. Also popular among breeders are the Peruvian and the Sheltie (or Silkie), both straight longhair breeds, and the Texel, a curly longhair.

Cavy Clubs and Associations dedicated to the showing and breeding of guinea pigs have been established worldwide. The American Cavy Breeders Association, an adjunct to the American Rabbit Breeders' Association, is the governing body in the United States and Canada. The British Cavy Council governs cavy clubs in the United Kingdom. Similar organizations exist in Australia (Australian National Cavy Council) and New Zealand (New Zealand Cavy Club). Each club publishes its own Standard of Perfection and determines which breeds are eligible for showing.

Horse Herd