Is it the first time you are hearing of Alpaca guinea pigs? Alpaca guinea pigs are quite rare, and they are not even recognized by the American Cavy Breeders’ Association (ACBA). However, the British Cavy Council (BCC) has officially recognized this unique long-haired guinea pig breed. They are experiencing a surge in their popularity.
One of the rarest and most beautiful, Alpaca guinea pigs is a wavy, long-haired guinea pig breed. They have a rosette on their forehead like Coronet guinea pigs are thus often called curly-coated Coronet guinea pigs. Because of their long-haired curly coats, they are often mistaken for Texel guinea pigs—one of their ancestors, the other one being Peruvian guinea pigs.
These curly-coated long-haired guinea pigs never fail to woo the hearts of viewers. We guess that Alpaca guinea pigs have charmed you as well, and now you are thinking of getting one for yourself. That would be lovely, but before you go and bid for an Alpaca guinea pig on sale, you should know that they are extremely high-maintenance.
So before you make the final decision, we advise that you continue reading and familiarize yourself with this unique guinea pig breed. In the end, if you think it would make a good pet guinea pig for you, you can go ahead and bring home an Alpaca guinea pig.
Alpaca Guinea Pig
Alpaca guinea pigs have long-haired coats with wavy ends. They are considered a rexoid equivalent of the Peruvian guinea pigs. Because of this wavy characteristic of their fur, they are often mistaken for a Texel guinea pig. But unlike Texel guinea pigs, Alpaca guinea pigs have a swirl of rosettes sitting on their forehead like a crown and can have two rosettes on their rump. Take a look at the Alpaca guinea pig breed overview below before diving into details.
|Alpaca Guinea Pig Breed Overview|
|Scientific Name||Cavia porcellus|
|Other Names||Boucle, English Peruvian, Curly coated Coronet|
|Length||8 to 12 inches|
|Weight||1.5 to 2.5 pounds|
|Lifespan||4 to 6 years|
|Coat Color||Many including white, black, beige, roan, cream, albino|
|Diet||Herbivores (timothy hay)|
|Cage||At least 30×60 inch enclosure|
|Temperament||Sweet, affectionate, and sociable|
|Suitable for||Experienced guinea pig owners|
|Alpaca Guinea Pig Scoreboard|
|Like to be held||4.5/5|
|Good with other Guinea Pigs||4.5/5|
|Good with Children||4/5|
Alpaca Guinea Pig History
Because of the undocumented history, we do not know for sure where do Alpaca guinea pigs come from, but it is widely believed that they were developed in England by crossing Peruvian guinea pigs with Texel guinea pigs. Alpaca guinea pigs seem to inherit the long-haired coat and rosettes from their Peruvian ancestors and rexoid characteristics from Texel cavies.
Alpaca guinea pigs are a less common guinea pig breed and are not yet recognized by the ACBA. However, BCC has recognized these unique cavies as a separate guinea pig breed.
While Alpaca guinea pigs have many names, they got Alpaca from the Alpaca Camelid of South America because of coats similarity—both have dense, coarse, and wavy coats.
Alpaca Guinea Pig Personality and Temperament
Alpaca guinea pigs are lovely creatures. They are loving, affectionate, and social creatures. They love interacting with their loving owners and like to be gently held and stroked. However, it is advised that you should never be too pushy—you should give your piggy some time to know you. With time, your guinea pig would warm up to you and get used to cuddling and handling.
Alpaca guinea pigs don’t usually bite, but they bite in self-defense if they feel threatened, anxious, or nervous.
Because of their sociability, they should be kept in pairs. An alone Alpaca guinea pig won’t be a fully happy guinea pig even if all of its nutritional and grooming needs are being met. Therefore, it is best that you get a pair instead of one guinea pig.
But given the high maintenance of Alpaca guinea pigs, keeping a pair could be overwhelming—double the task. Therefore, if you are not up for the hassle, you can find a low-maintenance guinea pig breed, like the American guinea pig, for your Alpaca. Alpaca guinea pigs get along well with all guinea pig breeds, so you don’t have to worry about setting them up with a different breed.
Alpaca Guinea Pig Appearance
Alpaca guinea pigs have a short cobby body with a dense and wavy long-haired coat. When looked at from the top, Alpaca guinea pigs appear oval in shape.
Alpaca Guinea Pig Size
Alpaca guinea pigs are average-sized piglets weighing between 1.5 to 2.5 pounds and around 8 to 12 inches in length. The long-haired wavy coat of Alpaca guinea pigs makes them appear bigger than their actual size.
And as with most other guinea pig breeds, male Alpaca guinea pigs are bigger than females.
Alpaca Guinea Pig Coat
Alpaca guinea pigs have a dense wavy, long-haired coat and rosettes—one on their forehead and two on their rump. These fluffballs come in various colors, including black, white, albino, roan, beige, cream, etc.
Though their coat is quite dense, it starts to appear wispy when their upper coat grows longer than the undercoat.
The wavy, long-haired coat that makes Alpaca guinea pigs adorable and fluffy also makes them a high-maintenance guinea pig breed. So if you are thinking of getting one, you should first make sure that you will be able to provide the care that Alpaca guinea pigs need.
How to Care for an Alpaca Guinea Pig?
Alpaca guinea pigs make great pets, but they are high-maintenance pets and don’t suit first-time guinea pig owners. Continue reading to find out if caring for the Alpaca guinea pig won’t be too overwhelming for you.
Feeding Alpaca Guinea Pig
Feeding Alpaca guinea pigs is no different than feeding any other guinea pig as they don’t have any special nutritional requirements. Like other guinea pigs, Alpaca needs a constant supply of fresh timothy hay, which provides fibers to guinea pigs and helps keep guinea pig teeth growth in check.
Besides hay, you can provide guinea pig-safe fruits and vegetables to your Alpaca guinea pigs. Fruits and veggies make the guinea pig diet exciting and have to provide many nutritional benefits to a guinea pig. You should never feed more than a cup of fruits and veggies to your guinea pig in a day.
All guinea pig breeds, including Alpaca, cannot make their own vitamin C and thus need it in their diet. In case of vitamin C deficiency, your guinea pig will suffer from scurvy. While guinea pig food pellets with fortified vitamin C can help provide a certain amount of vitamin C to your guinea pig, their vitamin C diminishes with time. Therefore, you will have to provide vitamin C supplements to your guinea pig for him to stay healthy.
Alpaca Guinea Pig Grooming
The wavy long-haired coats that make Alpaca the most desirable also make them an extremely high maintenance guinea pig breed. Their coat needs to be thoroughly brushed daily to keep it from knotting and matting.
The long fur of Alpaca guinea pigs seems to attract all the debris and dirt from its surroundings. Therefore, you must bathe them at least once a month besides daily brushing. After bathing, you should immediately dry your guinea pig with a soft towel.
If you are not planning on taking your guinea pig to shows, it is advised that you trim their hair regularly. Trimming hair would not only reduce the upkeep required but would also reduce the risk of tangling and matting.
You should also trim your guinea pig’s nails daily. Overgrown nails not only increase the risk of diseases like bumble foot in guinea pigs but also make moving around hurtful.
Outside Life Doesn’t Suit Alpaca Guinea Pigs
Alpaca guinea pigs should always be kept indoors as their dense, curly coat make them prone to fleas and mites infestation. Their thick coats also make them susceptible to heatstroke on warm summer days. On top of all that, their fur traps all the dirt and debris in the surrounding.
Alpaca Guinea Pig Cage
Housing Alpaca guinea pigs is no different from housing guinea pigs in general. Like other guinea pig breeds, you should provide them with a big cage with interesting guinea pig toys and hides for them to keep busy. While a 7.5 square feet cage would be okay for two guinea pigs, bigger is better—the preferred two guinea pig cage size is 10.5 square feet.
You should also get your guinea pigs out of the cage and play with them for some time every day.
Alpaca Guinea Pig Health
Alpaca guinea pig is an overall healthy guinea pig breed. Still, they are prone to several health issues like most other breeds.
|Alpaca Guinea Pig Health Issues|
|Health Issues||How To Avoid|
|Scurvy||Vitamin C supplements|
|Knotting and matting||Daily brushing and monthly baths|
|Heatstroke||Keep them inside|
|Mites and parasites||Keep them inside and thoroughly brush their coat|
How Much Does an Alpaca Guinea Pig Cost?
Alpaca guinea pigs are a bit rare and described as one of the most beautiful guinea pig breeds. Therefore, an Alpaca guinea pig might have a comparatively heftier price tag. An Alpaca guinea pig will cost you around $100.
Besides the purchasing cost, you should also consider the upkeep cost of Alpaca guinea pigs while making the purchase.
|Should You Get an Alpaca Guinea Pig or not?|
|Friendly and affectionate||May bite when anxious|
|Fluffy, curly-haired coats||Extremely high-maintenance|
|Rosettes—one on the forehead and two on the rump||Outside lifestyle doesn’t suit them|
|Interesting Facts About Alpaca Guinea Pigs |
· They have many names—Boucle, English Peruvian, Curly coated Coronet, Alpaca cavy.
· They are named after Alpaca Camelid as they have similar coats.
· They have a rosette on their forehead and two on their rump.
· Alpaca Guinea pigs are extremely high-maintenance, requiring daily brushing.
· Rexoid equivalent of Peruvian guinea pigs, they are often mistaken for Texel guinea pigs.
· They are rare and costlier than other guinea pig breeds.
· They are described as one of the most beautiful guinea pig breeds.
Alpaca Guinea Pig Names
Finding a name for your new Alpaca guinea pig could be challenging. To boost you research, we have listed guinea pig names below:
|Frizzle||Grizzly Bear||Fuzzbutt||Peter Porker|
Unable to find a fitting name for your Alpaccan?