The lovable guinea pig isn't a pig from Guinea. Often called Cavy by serious fanciers, this domesticated rodent was developed in the Andes mountains of South America, probably from the Montane Guinea Pig (Cavia tschudii). As a large rodent capable of many broods a year, the guinea pig was raised for food as early as 5,000 BC. But it was more than just a menu item.

With their diurnal habits, curious nature, and ability to communicate with a variety of sounds, Cavies naturally attracted humans worldwide in search of the perfect pet. At one time, they were also highly regarded as a lab animal, and many strains were developed in the pursuit of science, including a hairless strain which soon became an unusual pet variety nicknamed the Skinny Pig.

Because of its long history of domestication and its willingness to breed several times a year, the Guinea Pig has been developed into many beautiful and interesting breeds. If you have a competitive streak, you may want to investigate one of the varieties developed specifically for exhibition.