If you or your kids are not ready for cats or dogs due to their size and level of maintenance, smaller pets like guinea pigs may be your best option. According to some veterinarians, new pet owners should also start with smaller pets. Guinea pigs are small, adorable, easier to maintain, and less fragile.
They are also safe for kids since they don’t bite often compared to hamsters. Like there are several breeds in cats and dogs, there are several Guinea pig breeds – 13 of them, according to the American Cavy Breeders Association.
These breeds have different temperament characteristics and maintenance needs. And certainly, some of them are friendlier than others.
Please keep reading to find out some of the friendliest guinea pig breeds you can own.
Abyssinian guinea pigs are characterized by a mid-length coat and a worley multicolored hair growth pattern, also known as rosettes. These rosettes are always even-numbered, and a guinea pig can have 8 to 10 of them distributed around its body. Even though they are known as Abyssinians, they aren’t from Abyssinia (Ethiopia). They are actually from South America.
Abyssinian guinea pigs are known for being very friendly towards their owners and sometimes a little mischievous. If you’re looking for a guinea pig that you can teach tricks or one that can entertain you, you can’t go wrong with the Abyssinian.
American Guinea Pig
This is one of the most popular guinea pig breeds in the world. When talking about guinea pigs in the United States, most people are usually referring to this breed. Unlike the Abyssinian, they have short hair, a smooth coat, and no rosettes.
They also come in different colors. The American guinea pig is one breed that responds quite well to affection. The more you are friendly to them, the more they will be friendly to you. They are also easy to maintain, don’t contract diseases easily, and sometimes have a clownish character.
Teddy Guinea Pig
Do you love Teddy bears? If you do, then you’ll love the Teddy guinea pigs since they look like live Teddy bears. They are almost the same size as the American Guinea Pig, but they are characterized by plush fur that sticks out of their bodies instead of lying flat like in other guinea pigs. Another distinctive feature is the “Roman nose” that faces upward.
Teddy guinea pigs come in red, orange, gray and several other colors. They are known for being friendly to people, other guinea pig breeds, and other types of pets. Their brush-like hair also makes them easier to groom, even for first-time pet owners.
Peruvian Guinea Pig
Peruvian guinea pigs have a unique long silky hair that grows up to 14 inches in length, but some may have longer hair. When the hair is fully grown, it spreads, and you may mistake the guinea pig for a wig. It even gets difficult to differentiate between the head and the rear.
They were first bred for shows in the 15th century and are quite popular in Peru and other parts of the world. Peruvian guinea pigs are known for being very calm and friendly. However, their hair needs special grooming and maintenance. If you’re not up for it, you would be better off with the short-haired breeds.
Silkie Guinea Pig
This is another long-haired guinea pig breed. Their hair grows up to 24 inches long and tends to drop in a tear-drop manner. They are quite popular in Australia and are known as shelties in the UK. They may look like the Peruvian guinea pigs, but their hair is softer, and it doesn’t cover their heads.
Silkies are considered the gentlest guinea pigs. They are also shy and may take some time before getting used to being around you. If you have active children, it would be best if you taught them how to be calm around your pet.
Just like in humans, the hair size and condition can affect the guinea pig’s mood and friendliness. Whichever breed you choose, you need to follow up with the appropriate care routines. And always go for a breed that matches your lifestyle.