Last Modified

March 18, 2023 by Umair Shahid

Are you looking for something very fluffy yet small? Then Peruvian guinea pig is your right choice.

These small creatures make great pets. Their long hair makes them beautiful and eye-catching guineas.

These are highly playful, curious, and social animals. Peruvian guinea pigs are known for their long hair.

This is the long-haired famous breed of Guinea pig. Guess what, upon seeing them you can’t tell on which side the head is.

Beware! Long hair means they require continuous grooming, bathing, and brushing.

So, the Peruvian piggies are more suitable for experienced pet owners.

Moreover, if they get bored and are ignored. They will start eating their companion’s fur. So, they need regular attention.

They were bred mostly because of their beauty. They are considered “show animals”.

Peruvian guinea pigs are famous for their long hair. Their hair can grow down to the floor. Mostly it reaches a length of 12 to 14 inches or more.

Besides its pros, caring for a Peruvian guinea pig is not an easy task. I would not suggest you buy a Peruvian guinea as your first pet.

They require high maintenance, grooming, and regular bathing. Moreover, their health and hygiene should be the main focus.

The Peruvian breed is one of the oldest breeds. It is one of the thirteen breeds which are recognized by the American Cavy breeders association.

It is believed that these piggies were brought to France by traders in 1800. Now they have spread quickly to the UK, and US pet markets.

History of Guinea pigs

These piggies originated in South America. Also called cavies and are large rodents that are a the part of Caviidae family.

Peruvian guinea pigs are short-tailed, round-bodied, short-limbed pets. Moreover, they have small ears yet large sparkling eyes.

They have hairless clawed feet. In the early 500, they were domesticated by pre-Colombian cultures.

Guinea pigs are one of the three mammals that were domesticated in South America.

These are recognized both by the America Cavy breeders association and the British Cavy Council.

These are the first breed of Guinea pigs that are selectively bred for their long hair. They are bred for showing too.

The appearance of Guinea pigs

If you are talking about the size of the Guinea pig, then it is almost the same as other breeds of Guinea pigs.

This means they are short, stout, and round-bodied.

Like all cavies, they weigh between 1 to 3 pounds. Males have more weight than females.

Considering, lengthwise Peruvian guinea pigs are 10 to 14 inches long. The head of the Peruvian guinea pig is smaller than any other breed.

Now you might be asking yourself what’s the difference between Peruvian and other breeds.

So the difference lies in the fact that Peruvian piggies have their luscious, silky, long-haired coat.

No other breed of guinea pig has a luxurious coat that grows down to the floor. These Rapunzel-type guineas may have even longer hair.

The longest hair record for a guinea pig was the hair of the Peruvian guinea having 20 inches long hair.

They are famous for their Fabio hairdo.

Color variation

Like other guinea pig breeds, this breed is also available in an assortment of various colors. The most common is ‘self’ and bi-colored.

The Tri-coloured variety is the rarest. This is because of the extra gene that makes their hair super shiny and soft than the single or bi-colored species.

These piggies come in a variety of colors that include white, cream, tan, chocolate brown, black, etc.

 Moreover, piggies in slate grey and russet red are also available.

Peruvian guinea pigs can easily be confused with other breeds with long hair. These breeds include Silkie or Cornet guinea pigs.

The difference lies in the presence of hair on a body part. The Silkie Guinea’s hair lies away from their face.

Whereas the hair of Peruvian guinea lies over their face. Moreover, a rosette of fur forms bands that lie over their face.

Peruvian guinea pig’s behavior

Guinea pigs of the Peruvian breed are very playful. These species are also famous for their cuddly nature towards their pet owner.

They love their humans and are very affectionate. In addition to this, they are very curious and sometimes nosey also.

For these reasons, Peruvian guinea pigs make an ideal pet. But only for those, who can keep them with proper care.

These piggies are alert and timid. They respond well to human touch and feeding.

They also love to spend time with other household pets.  

Peruvian guinea pig’s lifespan

Their lifespan ranges from three to eight years. The oldest guinea pig was fourteen years old.

The lifespan is much greater than other pet rodents like hamsters, and gerbils.

You have to take care of certain things to increase their lifespan. A healthy diet and a fresh diet are necessities.

Their cage should be large. A spacious cage prevents dominant fights between two guineas.

Diet

Diet affects greatly the health of your piggie and also its health. Omega 3 fatty acids are very beneficial for guinea pigs.

Peruvian guinea pigs in particular will get more benefits from omega-3 fatty acids.

This is because of their long coat. Moreover, guinea pigs cannot synthesize their vitamin C.

They are dependent on dietary vitamin C. So they need a vitamin C-rich diet. Vitamin C is present in high-quality pellets.

So pellets should be fresh. Occasionally, fruits are also beneficial for guineas. But frequent treats should be avoided.

Toxic plants

Just because guinea pigs eat plants. This doesn’t mean that all plants are safe for them. Avoid letting them eat any potato.

Moreover, sprouts and peelings should also be avoided. Tomato plants, rhubarb, and dill are also toxic.

Furthermore, you shouldn’t allow them to eat any household plants. Beware of unknown weeds.

Due to their curious nature, they can exploratory bite the foreign plant. If your guinea does so, immediately call the vet.

Hair Care and grooming

Peruvian piggies come in a variety of colors. These colors are lighter than the colors of other breeds.

The long hair of guinea pigs is caused by a gene. Because of the long length, they are unable to groom themselves.

Their hair parts down the floor and covers their face. They also need brushing preferably regularly.

If you stop brushing their hair. It will result in matting and knotting. This matting of hair will cause the underneath skin to become sore.

If the mating is left too long, it can also be led to the infection of the skin. It is also important to give your piggie a haircut occasionally.

In addition to this, you have to regularly check the hindquarters.

This is because you have to check if any hardening fur is there. It can cause excretory issues.

Your Peruvian guinea should be brushed daily. If you are planning to use your guinea for show use, a haircut is recommended.

In addition to this, you can clip or tie their hair to keep it neat and out of the way.

How to give a Peruvian a basic haircut

  • Pat, your pet, and give him something to eat.
  • Comb the hair neatly. Comb them in the direction of their growth.
  • Remove all the knots.
  • Trim the hair away from the body.

Barbering and hair loss

When Peruvian guineas are bored and hungry, they start chewing their companion’s fur.

See also  Guinea Pigs Albino (Vet's Guide)

Hair chewing can be because of several reasons like boredom, excitement, dietary deficiencies, and hereditary tendencies.

Causes and their remedies

Boredom

To sort out the issue of boredom, spend more time with your piggie. Moreover, improve the cage of your Peruvian guinea.

Furthermore, buy a companion and toys for them.

Excitement

Excitement and anxiety are also two noticeable things when they are handled by a stranger.

They become nervous. A quiet and calm environment will make them relax. Gentle handling can settle them down too.

Hereditary tendencies

Barbering could be a family trait too. It can be transferred from parent to child.

If a mother chews hair, the babies can too. This can even make the baby Peruvian hairless. Sounds strange? But it’s true.

So, to avoid them chewing their hair. Provide them with hay, food, and an interesting environment all the time.

Dietary deficiencies

Guinea pigs can also chew hair if they lack roughage and other nutrients in their diet. If you want to help with this issue, then provide them with a variety of foods.

Impact of diet on hair loss

Guinea pigs shed their hair almost all year. But they shed mostly in spring and autumn to renew their coats.

If there is unusual hair loss, it may indicate an internal health problem. Vitamin C deficiency can lead to scurvy.

Hygiene and bathing

A Peruvian guinea pig’s cage should be cleaned daily. Some pet owners clean their cages regularly.

Some clean their cage daily while others clean the whole hutch. Soil bedding should be replaced daily.

The mental state of a guinea pig as well as its appearance will suffer A lot. Feces, decayed food, urine, and soiled hay will make the cage unhygienic.

Frequent cleaning is required to avoid the problems. Moreover, removing the floor litter is also necessary.

Make sure that nothing sticks to their food containers. Also, make sure that the food containers are washed periodically.

If you notice that cage walls smell bad and are dirty. Then the cage needs to be hosed out.

 Moreover, it should be cleaned with disinfectant. The cage should be dry before use.

Many people will tell you that don’t bathe guinea pigs. But in the case of Peruvian guineas, bathing is necessary.

It is an essential part of life for their hair and skin. To bathe them, heat the water to a lukewarm temperature.

Fill the tub only to their chest. Place the guinea in the tub so that their feet touch the bottom of the tub.

Some guineas will try hard to escape but make them used to it.

Use fragrant-free shampoo or mild baby soap. After bathing, wrap them in the towel and wait for the fur to dry.

Hair dryers and heaters can be scary to guineas. If you have something that doesn’t give them much heat, then try that.

Otherwise, air drying is a good option. Afterward, hug your pet and offer them a treat.

Fly strike

If your Peruvian guinea pig is not groomed regularly. And if he is kept in a dirty and unhygienic environment, the risk of fly strike is here then.

The dirty and matted hair of your Peruvian guinea will become saturated with urine and feces.

It will attract flies. The flies will lay eggs and soon the maggots will develop. They will feed on the tissues of Guinea.

And as a result, your piggie can die within days. This is a serious condition.

Minor conditions

If left dirty, the guinea pig will develop sores on the skin. Furthermore, it will cause skin irritation and limited movement.

These minor conditions will eventually lead to a fly strike.

Vitamin C deficiency will lead to a disease called scurvy. For this reason, guinea will get an unhealthy coat, and hair loss will occur.

Cool facts

  • Unlike other breeds of Guinea pigs, regular bathing is essential for Peruvian guinea pigs.
  • Some Peruvian guineas love tugging their fur underneath the chin. They lift their head and stretch. Then enjoy tugging.
  • Peruvian guinea pig is the first breed that is selectively bred for long hair.
  • In shows, their fur is sometimes 12 to 14 inches long.

Is the Peruvian guinea pig the right pet for you?

Because of its beauty, people rush to buy one. But before buying you need to answer the questions like

Can you give proper time and care to this attention-seeking pet? This is because this breed needs special care and time.

Are you prepared to give them extra time for grooming and cage cleaning?

These pets require regular cage cleaning sometimes daily. The long hair should be washed, groomed, and brushed daily.

Are you a first-time owner of Guinea pigs? Peruvian is the breed for experienced cavy owners.

So, if you have any doubts regarding the above questions, then reconsider your decision.

People Also Ask

Do Peruvian guinea pigs bite?

No, they don’t tend to bite under normal circumstances. However, you can get a nip from them when they are fearful. They can also bite you when they feel threatened.

If you are trying to split fighting guinea pigs, they may bite you. However, these instances are rare. Take Proper caution and you won’t be affected.

Do Peruvian guinea pigs smell?

All guinea pigs are smelly to some extent. If your nose is very sensitive to smell, then you will find it smelly.

However, the smell from them is most of their urine. So, to avoid smell you can take certain steps.

Firstly, make sure that you regularly clean your Peruvian house. Secondly, you have to buy some pellets that absorb urine’s smell.

Any unusual smell may indicate a medical problem. Don’t hesitate to call the vet in that case.

How to care for a Peruvian baby guinea pig?

A Peruvian guinea pig may be skittish. Allow him to get comfortable in their new environment.

Baby Peruvians should eat more. This is because they require a lot of food for growth. Fruits and vegetables should be available to them.

But not in the first six weeks. Also, fruits contain high sugar content so avoid giving them frequent treats.

Conclusion

Peruvian guinea pig is a famous breed that is bred for show purposes. This famous breed has long hair because of a gene.

These originated from South America. They have short, rounded bodies with sparkling eyes.

Their size is the same as the other breeds. Males are more in weight than females. Length-wise, they are 12 to 14 inches long.  

Like other breeds, they also have an assortment of various colors. They are mostly self or bi-colored. Tri-colored are the rarest.

They have come in a variety of colors like white, cream, tan, chocolate brown, and black.

These piggies are very playful. They are cuddly towards their pet owner. Moreover, they are very conscious of their environment.

Their lifespan ranges from three to eight years. The oldest guinea pig was fourteen years old.

With proper diet and care, you can increase their lifespan.

Omega 3 fatty acids are very useful for Peruvian’s long hair. Moreover, Vitamin C should be present in their diet.

Vitamin C is available in high-quality pellets. But the pellets should be fresh.

All types of plants are not beneficial for guinea pigs. Certain weeds, potatoes, and tomatoes must be avoided.

Proper grooming and brushing are necessary for your pet.

I would suggest you buy the Peruvian breed only when you are an experienced cavy owner.

 Moreover, only buy these if you can give them proper time and care.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11250-020-02473-6

https://www.jstor.org/stable/213160

Author

I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and have a keen interest in animal health care. Working as a veterinary content writer, I intend to stay with professional approach in producing quality content. I like research-based reading and currently seeking my veterinary profession. My hobbies are travelling to exotic places and observing nature to the fullest.

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