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
Breed Appearance
Many people unwittingly refer to the Teddy cavy as the Teddybear because of the Teddy Bear hamster. Actually, its name is simply Teddy. It has a coat that is dense, wiry and resilient to touch much like that of the Rex in England. It started as a mutation in an American tortoiseshell/white back in 1967 and did not take breeders long to start raising them. They are genetically different from the Rex and breeding a Teddy to a Rex will result in short, smooth coated babies. Since the Teddy is a mutation that breeds true, it cannot be made from crossing other breeds. It became the fifth recognized breed in 1974 and is currently the most popular in the United States today.

Breed Standard - ACBA
-It's short, dense, even coat is unique in having a "kinked" or bent hair shaft, which causes the coat to stand erect over the entire body of the cavy.
-The coat is to demonstrate "resiliency" - that is, it should return to an even, upright appearance immediately after it is disturbed.
-The Teddy should have a medium length body and a Roman nose.

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.

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