March 9, 2023 by Umair Shahid
The Sheba guinea pig also known as Sheba Mini yak has a tousled, rosette coat and is a heavy-set, sturdy species of Guinea Pig. Often referred to as ‘bad hair day’ guinea pigs, they are said to appear a cross between a Peruvian and an Abyssinian.
Known for their shaggy coat, these long-haired guinea pigs are one of the few breeds that do not require constant grooming due to their slow hair growth.
During the 1960s, this breed was developed in Australia through the cross-breeding of Peruvian Guinea Pigs with Abyssinian Guinea Pigs. Peruvian Guinea Pigs are known for their long, beautiful coats, and are often bred for show purposes.
The short-haired Abyssinian Guinea Pigs are among the oldest recognized breeds of guinea pigs. ACBA has not yet recognized this cross as a formal standard among breed registries.
Although it does not have official recognition by the registry, this guinea pig is very popular because of its loving and playful nature.
Origin and History of Sheba Guinea Pig
While “guinea pigs” may suggest that they originate from Guinea, this is not true. Guinea pigs originally come from the Andes mountains of South America.
Humans have domesticated them for thousands of years and have lived in that region for thousands of years. The domestication of Guinea pigs dates back to 5000 BC.
In the early days, guinea pigs were primarily raised as food, but gradually they became companions rather than food. The transition resulted in many breeding programs, which is why we have so many different breeds of guinea pigs.
In 1969, an Abyssinian crossed with a Peruvian produced the Sheba guinea pig. As described in her book Pigs isn’t Pigs, published in 1974, Mrs. Wynne Eecen tell them as:
“a large, thick-set creature” described as being “squarish in appearance, with parakeet frontal markings and short, stubby whiskers”.
The American Cavy Breeders’ Association has not yet recognized this breed.
The Sheba guinea pig is named for its wild appearance. Each cavy’s coat sticks out at an unpredictable angle, which gives them a distinctive appearance.
The wild fur of these animals gives them the appearance of tiny yaks. Like their Peruvian parents, Mini Yaks have a few tufts of fur on their heads. Due to their mixed breed status, their appearance may vary from one individual to another.
There is a wide variation in the color of this breed. However, you can expect the color range to cover both the Abyssinian and Peruvian breeds.
A Mini Sheba Yak guinea pig is a cute animal, known for its gentleness and curiosity. You and your cavy companions are sure to have a great time together.
Moreover, they will be friendly and affectionate as long as they are handled regularly, and from a young age onwards.
Your Sheba guinea’s hair and skin health will greatly be affected by the food it is fed. Guinea pigs, like humans, are unable to produce their own vitamin C, so they must be provided with it daily.
All guineas should be fed good-quality pellets as they contain all the essential nutrients and fiber. The occasional addition of vegetables and greens is also beneficial to a guinea’s diet. Fresh fruit, however, is high in sugar, making it unsuitable for guineas.
As a rule, keep your pets away from commercial foods with seeds and nuts. Even though the majority of commercial pellets contain high-fiber hay, It is always advisable to have fresh Timothy hay on hand.
It is important to keep the Sheba cage large enough to accommodate their activity level since they are a relatively active breed.
When deciding between two cages, larger is always preferable. In general, a cage measuring 30 inches by 50 inches is adequate for two Sheba guinea pigs.
Ensure that you allow them to play and explore outside their cage as often as possible. Animals do not enjoy being confined to their cages all day, every day.
Furthermore, they need bedding, toys, water bottles, food bowls, and somewhere to sleep. Sheba guineas have slow hair growth, so they don’t need a ton of maintenance.
There are a lot of rosettes on their hair, giving it a scruffy look. There’s a unique fringe of hair between their eyes and nose, but their fur won’t get below their feet.
Mini Sheba Yaks do not appear to have any specific health issues at this time. However, this does not imply that they do not suffer from health problems.
Guinea pigs are susceptible to the same health problems as other guinea pigs. Additionally, Mini Yaks may chew on their fur and the fur of other cavies they live with, so make sure you keep them stimulated.
The best way to keep your guinea pig healthy is to feed them a balanced diet and exercise them frequently. Nevertheless, some common health problems should be kept in mind like dental disease, vitamin C deficiency, cataracts, dermatitis, ulcers, and alopecia
If your guinea pig exhibits any abnormal behavior, there are likely deeper underlying issues. You should consult your veterinarian in this case.
Price Of Sheba Guinea Pig
It is not always easy to purchase a Sheba guinea pig. In addition, they are not usually found in pet stores since they are not officially recognized by the ACBA. Although they are difficult to find, they are not impossible.
It is best to search for a breeder in your local area. Alternatively, you may be able to find one at a local animal shelter. There are also several breeders that have websites on which they list their guinea pigs for sale.
The average cost of a Sheba is approximately $75. However, there are many recurring expenses you will need to consider, such as food, vet visits, and bedding.
Sheba guinea pigs have the same lifespan as other breeds, approximately four to eight years. Your cavy’s lifespan is, of course, greatly influenced by their care and genetics.
When guinea pigs are genetically predisposed to disease and illness, their lifespan is usually shorter than when they are healthy. To ensure that you receive a healthy Sheba, you must purchase the animal from a reputable breeder.
The Sheba Guinea pig has a scruffy appearance and is highly social. Because they’re gentle, curious, and low maintenance, they’re great pets for kids. Unlike most other breeds, they’re more vocal and need a lot of room in their cage.
However, most people cannot devote sufficient time to socializing and playing with their guineas, which is why it is best to keep them in pairs or more at all times. Ultimately, this will lead to a healthier and happier guinea. For a first-time guinea owner, a Sheba guinea is a beautiful choice.
I am a proud veterinarian from Lahore, Pakistan. A passionate animal lover who pursued her passion for animal care as a career.
My eagerness to learn and my love for animals grew stronger even during my teenage days. Having a lovely pet, a German Shepherd, in my home allowed me to bond with animals in the best way.
This bonding with my pet provided me with a firm foundation to research and preach about the best animal care methods.