Peruvian Guinea Pig

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Is this guinea pig right for you?

Other name(s): Peruvian Cavy

The basics:
The Peruvian Guinea Pig is no doubt one of the most beautiful and elegant breeds, and they have the longest hair of any breed. Their Fabio-like tresses cascade around them on all sides and pool at their feet. They come with an exceptionally amicable personality, inquisitive and social, and you’re likely to be greeted by squeaks of welcome when you walk in the room.

For all that, the Peruvian Guinea Pig is fairly uncommon. That beautiful, silky fur comes with a long list of grooming requirements, including daily brushing. You should carefully consider the amount of time you want to spend grooming your guinea pig, because the Peruvian’s silky soft hair is genuinely prone to tangles and mats. While some choose to trim their Peruvian Guinea Pig’s hair short, it somewhat defeats the point of having such hirsute cavy!

Appearance / health:
The Peruvian Guinea Pig has long, flowing hair that grows well beyond floor length, and can reach lengths of up to 20 inches! On the head, it grows forward over the face and from a central part on the back the hair cascades in a curtain around the entire body. When they’re born, the Peruvian Guinea Pig has short hair, and two rosettes are plainly visible symmetrically on the rump. As the hair grows, the rosettes are more obscured but cause the hair to sweep around the hind end in a full semi-circle. The Peruvian Guinea Pig also has a long undercoat that gives the hair lift and fullness over the entire body. The texture is silky and soft. They come in a broad variety of coat colors and patterns.

The Peruvian Guinea pig has a short, thick-set body with white shoulders. The head is short and broad with a wide nose. The eyes are large and the ears are large and drooping (though they’ll likely be obscured by the Peruvian’s long hair).

The beautiful coat of the Peruvian Guinea pig comes with a full set of added responsibilities. It tangles and mats easily, and daily brushing is a necessity. Many people choose to keep their Peruvian’s hair trimmed, especially around the face and to keep it from dragging on the ground. With so much hair, the Peruvian will need help staying clean, especially if the locks are kept long. Bathing will also need to be done on a regular basis. In addition, their long, thick coats will make them more susceptible to higher temperatures.

 All guinea pigs are susceptible to certain health problem, including in-grown nails (which become painful and infected), diarrhea (often from too much fruit or vegetables), pneumonia (from changes in temperature), mites (causing hair loss and itching), and vitamin C deficiency (from diets lacking in vitamin C). Guinea pigs live an average of 5 – 7 years.

Behavior / temperament:
The Peruvian Guinea Pig is cuddly and sweet. Because of their added grooming needs, it has been essential to breed Peruvian’s to be mild-mannered and easily handled. They’re also curious and playful and will likely come out to greet you when you enter the room. If not for the difficulty of keeping them well-groomed, their temperament would make them a good option for households with children. Because of the extensive handling and maintenance required, the Peruvian Guinea Pig is generally only recommended for experienced owners.

In general, guinea pigs are popular as pets because of their social nature. They are gentle and curious and active in the daytime. They make all sorts of purrs, squeals, chirps, whistles, whines, and rumbles. Because of their active nature, they require plenty of room to run and play. They may be allowed to run around the house as long as they are supervised and restricted from areas that could potentially be harmful to them, like the garage.

Guinea pigs are herd animals, very social by nature, and should almost always be kept in pairs. People rarely have enough time to satisfy a guinea pig’s need for social interaction, and they will never be able to substitute for the companionship guinea pigs give one another. Guinea pigs kept in pairs or trios tend to be happier, healthier, more confident, and more active.

The best housing for the Peruvian Guinea Pig is a well-ventilated, secure cage that allows plenty of room to exercise, nest, and a separate place for food and water away from a bathroom area. Many commercial cages are too small to meet these requirements and The Humane Society of the United States recommends 7.5 square feet minimum for 1 – 2 guinea pigs. In most circumstances a cage with a solid bottom is preferred, and wire floors should never be used.

Bedding can be made from a variety of materials, though the Peruvian’s long, curly locks will probably do best with commercial paper bedding or even towels and fleece. Aspen shavings can be used but may become stuck in their fur. Cedar and raw pine shavings should not be used because of health problems associated with the volatile aromatic plant oils. Corn cob bedding and straw both have a tendency to mold and should also be avoided.

In addition, your guinea pig should be provided with at least one shelter. Many different types of houses are commercially available, but you can also use something as simple as a cardboard box. Your guinea pig will also enjoy having tunnels, log caves, low ramps, and even some toys that are safe to chew on. Rodent wheels are unsuitable for the Peruvian Guinea Pig. Plastic exercise balls are often frightening to guinea pigs and can cause spinal injury if sized wrong.

Your Peruvian Guinea Pig’s cage should be located somewhere draft-free, out of direct sunlight, and close to household activities. Room temperature should range from 65 and 75 degrees F (18 to 24 degrees C), and air conditioning may be needed in hotter months to keep the Peruvian from overheating. The cage should be cleaned at least once a week, but may need more frequent cleaning depending on the size of the cage, the number of guinea p

Your Peruvian Guinea Pig will thrive on a varied diet of pellets, timothy hay, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid commercial foods with seeds, nuts, and dried fruit – these can be used as treats, but should not be a daily staple. Timothy hay helps with digestion and dental health and should be provided at all times.

Dark, leafy greens like romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, and even grass can be provided daily and should make up the majority of the vegetable serving. Vegetables like carrots, green pepper, and tomato can also be offered frequently. Fruit makes a tasty treat but because it’s high in sugar, smaller portions should be offered: an orange slice or thin apple wedge, a few blueberries, or a thin slice of banana, or a strawberry will be much appreciated! If your guinea pig develops diarrhea, reduce the amount of fresh produce being offered. Uneaten produce should be removed after a couple of hours.

Unlike most animals, guinea pigs don’t make their own vitamin C and must get it from their diets. Most high-quality pellets are fortified with vitamin C, and many fruits and veggies are also high in vitamin C. A guinea pig with a well-balanced, varied diet is unlikely to experience vitamin C deficiency, but supplements are available.

Water should always be available, preferably in gravity-flow water bottles. Stable earthenware food dishes are recommended.


great guinea pig, exhibition coat, sociable animals, Luxurious Peruvians, great personalities, trainable


daily brushing, upper respiratory infections, cage cleaning, fairly skittish attitude, squeaking


little squeek noises, daily gentle brushing, GREAT 4H projects, straight long hair

Health Tip

Peruvian Guinea Pig

From Oct 23 2016 2:53PM


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