A loving guinea pig that enjoys the company of its loving owners, the Peruvian guinea pig is popular for its dazzling long-haired coat. Because of their spectacular long-haired coats, Peruvians were among the first guinea pig breeds to be bred selectively for showing purposes. They are still quite popular in guinea pig shows.
Peruvian guinea pigs are becoming increasingly popular as pets due to their beautiful looks and incredibly social and friendly nature. Continue reading to learn if a Peruvian cavy would make an excellent pet for you or not.
Peruvian Guinea Pig
The fluffy and adorable Peruvian guinea pig is one of the most popular long-haired guinea pig breeds. Peruvian guinea pig’s long hair can grow up to 7 inches long on its undercoat and up to 20 inches long on its overcoat. Guinea pigs participating in shows can have even longer hair—up to 24 inches. While their long fur makes them the most adorable and fluffiest guinea pig breed, they also make them high-maintenance guinea pigs. They require daily grooming and are thus suitable only for experienced guinea owners.
|Peruvian Guinea Pig Breed Overview|
|Scientific Name||Cavia porcellus|
|Length||10 to 14inches|
|Weight||1 to 3 pounds|
|Lifespan||6 to 8 years|
|Coat Color||Monochrome, bicolor, tricolor, agouti, marked|
|Diet||Herbivores (timothy hay)|
|Cage||At least 30×60 inch enclosure|
|Ideal temperature range||65 to 75° F|
|Temperament||Docile, friendly, playful, alert|
|Suitable for||Experienced Cavy owners having time for daily grooming|
|Peruvian Guinea Pig Scoreboard|
|Like to be held||4/5|
|Good with other Guinea Pigs||5/5|
|Good with Children||4.5/5|
Peruvian Guinea Pig History
Where it is widely believed that Peruvian guinea pigs hail from Peru, they actually originated from a wider mountainous region of South America. Many of their wild rodent cousins are still roaming in the wilderness of Peru and other parts of South America like Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, etc. They are one of the oldest guinea pig breeds.
Today, these fluffy rodents are found worldwide as small pets. They are among the four most popular guinea pig breeds that are not only popular as pets but also rock on show stages.
The other three breeds are American, Abyssinian, and Sheltie/Silkie guinea pig.
|What a Shame! |
Guinea pigs are considered a delicacy in Peru, according to BBC. They are being farmed on large scales to meet the increasing demand in restaurants—not only in Peru but in many other countries, including the United States.
Peruvian Guinea Pig Personality and Temperament
Peruvian guinea pigs have not only got those adorable fluffball looks, but they also have the most social and amiable temperament. After early socialization, they love to be around their loving owners and be gently caressed and handled by them. They would have made an excellent pet for children, but their long-haired coats require a lot of grooming, making them a huge responsibility, bigger than even responsible kids can handle.
Unlike other guinea pig breeds who usually shy away from exploring new spaces, Peruvian guinea pigs are inquisitive and are always looking for new spaces to explore. They don’t just blindly explore new spaces but are very alert and aware of their surroundings, especially when put in an unfamiliar habitat.
Peruvian guinea pigs are pretty social creatures. They would really appreciate it if you provided them with a cage mate. While putting another cavy into your Peruvian guinea pig cage, you should make sure that the guinea pig cage is large enough. When there is too little space for guinea pigs, they develop behavioral issues.
Peruvian Guinea Pig Appearance
Peruvian guinea pigs have a short head on a short cobby body. However, it is hard to tell, given that they are covered all over with their long hair. They have big round eyes and large drooping ears, with good width between. Peruvian cavies have a broad muzzle that is rounded at the nostrils.
Peruvian guinea pigs are of the average guinea pig size. The size of full-grown Peruvian guinea pigs varies between 10 to 14 inches and 1 to 3 pounds. That said, given their long hair coat, they will look bigger than they actually are.
Peruvian guinea pigs have pretty long hair, making them one of the most popular long-haired guinea pig breeds. The coat length of Peruvian guinea pigs can easily grow around 12 to 14 inches, and some may have their coat growing as long as 20 inches long. The Guinea pig with the longest hair was a Peruvian guinea pig with 20inches long hair.
How to Care for a Peruvian Guinea Pig?
While caring for other guinea pig breeds might not be a big deal, caring for longhair guinea pigs like Peruvian cavy is a huge responsibility.
Peruvian guinea pigs don’t really have any special nutrient requirements but given their long-haired silky coat, you must provide them ample omega-3 fatty acids, which will keep their skin healthy and help them maintain their dapper look.
Moreover, like other guinea pig breeds, Peruvian guinea pigs can also not make their own vitamin C and thus require an external source. While good quality pellets are considered an excellent way to provide vitamin C to Peruvians with other essential nutrients, It should be noted that vitamin C in pellets breaks down pretty quickly. So, unless you are providing fresh pellets to your piglet, you should also offer them vitamin C supplements.
Besides that, you should ensure that your Peruvian guinea pig has a constant supply of timothy hay. Munching on hay would keep your guinea’s teeth growth in check. To make meals interesting for your Peruvian guinea pig, you can offer them fresh fruits and vegetables like spinach, basil, corn, apples, strawberries, squash, collard greens, etc.
|More is not always better! |
While feeding fresh fruits and vegetables to guinea pigs, you should remember that more is not always better. The high sugar content of fruits can be detrimental to your guinea’s health.
Given their long-haired coats, Peruvian guinea pigs need a lot of grooming like other long-haired guinea pig breeds. Slacking on grooming, your guinea pig hair would start knotting and matting, which would lead to a skin infection if left unattended. Therefore, it is crucial that you groom your Peruvian guinea pig daily and never let their coat knot or matt.
For your long-haired Peruvian guinea pig to maintain a dapper coat, it must be brushed daily. If you are not planning on having your guinea pig appear in shows, you should consider trimming his hair to reduce the risk of matting. You can also clip or tie your Peruvian guinea pig’s long hair to keep them out of the way and thus clean—free of knots and mats.
Besides regular brushing, you should also check your Peruvian guinea pig for soiling, especially their hindquarters. When soiled, you will have to bathe them. Unlike most guinea pigs, Peruvian guinea pigs require regular baths to avoid matting and knotting. The risk of matting and knotting increases during dog days of summer, so you should get extra caution during warm weather.
Unlike other guinea pig breeds, Peruvian guinea pigs are not able to groom themselves because of the overwhelming length of their hair. So, it all falls on your shoulder.
If you think you will not be able to provide this level of care to your Peruvian guinea pig, you should reconsider getting one. Because once you have brought them home, there is no calling it quits.
Like other guinea pig breeds, Peruvian guinea pigs need a spacious cage to run around freely. A Peruvian guinea pig cage should be at least around 30×60 inches. If you plan to keep more than one Peruvian guinea pig (great!), you will have to add more space to the enclosure.
To keep them busy, you should throw in some interesting toys in your Peruvian guinea cage. However, avoid putting an exercise wheel in your Peruvian guinea pigs’ cage as it is considered bad for their backs.
You should also take your furry friend out of their cage and play and interact with them. Peruvians need a lot of exercises because they easily get bored. And when they get bored, they develop behavioral issues like chewing on their furry coats or that of their cage mates.
Peruvian Guinea Pig Health
Peruvian Guinea Pig is an overall healthy guinea pig breed, they are prone to several health issues like most other breeds.
|Peruvian Guinea Pig Health Issues|
|Health Issues||Description||How To Avoid|
|Fly Strike||Guineas’ coat is not groomed regularly or they are living in unsanitary conditions, where their coat becomes saturated with urine and feces, and attract fleas, which lay eggs and lead to maggots spread across guinea bodies, causing infections.||Keeping their coat free of matting and knotting|
|Scurvy||Deficiency of vitamin C leads to bad coat health and hair loss||Vitamin C supplements|
|Bumblefoot or pododermatitis||Guinea’s feet become swollen and pink||Keep guinea pig cage clean|
Peruvian Guinea Pig and Other Pets
Peruvian guinea pigs are highly social, and they love the company of other pets. But their small size makes them vulnerable to other large pets–cats and dogs. Guinea pigs should not be kept with cats and dogs as they still have their hunting instincts, which make them chase around guinea pigs.
|Should You Get a Peruvian Guinea Pig?|
|Dapper looks||A long coat requires a lot of grooming|
|Social and friendly||Prone to fly strike|
|Available in a variety of colors: Monochrome, bicolor, tricolor, agouti, marked||Shed more than a usual guinea pig|
Peruvian Guinea Pig Names
If you have brought home a Peruvian guinea pig and are having a hard time finding a perfect name for it. Below is a list of popular Peruvian guinea pig names. If you are unable to find a perfect fit for your Peruvian from the below list, you can check out our comprehensive list of guinea pig names.