Rex Guinea Pig 101: Breed Info and Complete Care Guide!

Two Rex Guinea Pigs in their cage

Resembling hedgehog in appearance, Rex Guinea Pig, also known as Rex Cavy, is one of the most common and the largest Guinea Pig breed. They have a short and coarse coat making them one of the low-maintenance guinea pig breeds. Rex Guinea Pigs are docile, calm, gentle, and friendly in nature. They are extremely social and like to be held by their loving owners. Their low-maintenance and easy-going nature makes them excellent for first-time pet owners.

Have you never had a pet before? Or have you been charmed by the calm and friendly demeanor of Rex Guinea Pigs? Have you been thinking of getting a Rex Guinea Pig?

Bringing home your first pet could be exciting and, at the same time, overwhelming—you have never cared for a pet before, and you don’t know what owning a Rex Guinea Pig would be like. That’s why you are here at this blog, familiarizing yourself with the Rex Guinea Pig breed to prepare yourself for the journey of owning a Rex Guinea Pig.

Well, you should stop worrying: one, Rex Guinea Pig is a pretty low-maintenance pet, and secondly, you are in the right place. In this blog, we will discuss all you need to know about Rex Guinea Pigs. After taking a brief look at the Rex Guinea Pig’s history, appearance, and temperament, we will be discussing how to care for Rex Guinea Pig.

Rex Guinea Pig

Without further ado, let’s get started with a breed overview of Rex Guinea Pig.

Rex Guinea Pig Breed Overview
Scientific NameCavia porcellus
Common NamesRex cavy,
OriginSouth America
Length8 to 17 inches
Weight1.5 to 2.5 pounds
Lifespan5 to 8 years
Coat Colorwhite, black, gold, chestnut
DietHerbivores (timothy hay)
CageAt least 30×60 inch enclosure
Ideal temperature range65 to 75° F
TemperamentDocile, calm, and friendly
Suitable forFirst-time pet owners, families with children
Rex Guinea Pig Scoreboard
Like to be held4.5/5
Grooming Requirements3/5
Good with other pets2/5
Good with other Guinea Pigs5/5
Good with Children4.5/5

Rex Guinea Pig History

silver rex guinea pig

Due to the lack of documented history, no one really knows for sure where do Rex Guinea Pigs come from. That said, it is widely believed that they originated in South America, and from there, Spanish explorers brought some with them to Europe in the 1530s. Rex Guinea Pig breed is quite popular among cavy lovers, but the American Cavy Breeders Association does not recognize it. However, the British Cavy Council has awarded recognition to this unique curly-haired Guinea Pig breed.

Rex means “curly,” and it was initially used to describe a genetic mutation that resulted in a curly-haired coat in Rex Rabbit. In this genetic mutation, animals lack a layer of hair—guard hair—and thus, they have curly-haired coats. In addition to affecting Guinea Pigs, it also affects many other mammals, i.e., Rex cats—Devon Rex, German Rex—and Rex Rabbit, etc.

Rex Guinea Pig Personality and Temperament

Rex Guinea Pig is the most easygoing Guinea Pig breed. They are very friendly and affectionate. They are highly sociable creatures and love to be held and gently petted by their loving owners.

However, you should make sure that you socialize your Rex Guinea Pig in the early stage so that when he grows up, he is comfortable with you handling them. If not properly socialized, Rex Guinea Pigs may perceive hands touching them as a predator and thus bite in defense.

Given their low-maintenance and easygoing nature, Rex Guinea Pigs make a great pet not only for first-time pet owners but also for children—responsible children.

Rex Guinea Pig Appearance

In appearance, your Rex Guinea Pigs look like hedgehogs as they have shot and wavy coats. They have a short cobby body, a short but broad head, large bright eyes, and droopy ears that make them look just adorable.

Silver Rex Guinea pig


Rex Guinea Pig is one of the largest guinea pig breeds. They can grow from 8 to 17 inches in length and 1.5 to 2.5 pounds in weight. That is quite large than the usual size of guinea pigs, which is eight t0 12 inches.


They have a curly coat because they have a unique recessive gene in their gene pool, making their coat short and coarse. Teddy Guinea Pigs also have this recessive gene and thus a similar coarse body, making them almost indistinguishable from Rex Cavies.

Difference Between Rex And Teddy Guinea Pig
As both Teddy and Rex Guinea Pigs have the recessive gene, it is near impossible to tell them apart. That said, there are some clues:
· Where Rex Guinea Pig coat has a coarse and springy feel, Teddy Guinea Pig coat has a bouncy, plush, and slightly harsh feel.
· Rex Guinea Pigs have curlier whiskers at the eyes and nose compared to Teddy Guinea Pigs. 

Rex Guinea Pigs have dense but shorthaired wavy coats all over their body. Their hair is a bit spring and resilient to touch; according to the British Cavy Council, if you brush your Rex Cavy’s coat in the forward direction, his hairs should return to their original erect state.

Their curly coat comes in a wide range of colors and combinations, with brown, white, and black being the most common.

How to Care for a Rex Guinea Pig?

Rex Guinea Pigs are hardy and easygoing and don’t need any special care. That said, in captivity, Rex Guinea Pigs are entirely dependent on you—their owners—so it is your duty to provide them with the best possible care to keep your guinea pig happy and healthy.


Feeding Rex Guinea Pig

Rex Guinea Pigs are not much picky when it comes to eating. They will eat almost everything that you have to offer them. Therefore, before offering anything to your guinea pig, you should first ensure that it is safe for your Rex Guinea Pig to consume.

You should make sure that your Rex Guinea Pig has an unlimited supply of grass or timothy hay. Guinea Pigs have constantly growing teeth, which are kept in check with the chewing of hay. In addition, you can also feed your guinea pig fresh fruits and vegetables. But while feeding fruits and vegetables, you should keep in mind that moderation is the key and should only be offered sparingly as treats. Similarly, you should also know that guinea pigs cannot digest sugar well.

Guinea Pigs Cannot Make their Own Vitamin C!
Yes, your Rex Guinea Pig is not able to make its own vitamin C and thus requires an external source. You should make sure that there is ample vitamin C in their routine diet.

Besides a constant supply of timothy hay, your Rex Guinea Pig should also have constant access to clean and fresh water. The water should be changed daily, and the cage should always be cleaned daily—it should be kept dry.


Rex Guinea Pigs are low-maintenance pets and easier to care for than most guinea pig breeds, especially long-haired guinea pigs like Texel Guinea Pigs.

Brushing your Rex Guinea Pig’s coat once or twice a week would be more than enough. But as they love to be brushed, you should do it more often—no need to get a brush every time, just run your fingers through your Rex Cavy’s coarse and springy coat.

Rex Guinea Pigs are pretty good at keeping themselves tidy and all cleaned up and thus do not require bathing more often. Bathing them a few times a year would be just enough. Bathing could be stressful for Rex Guinea Pigs, especially if they are averse to water. Therefore, you should only wash your Rex Guinea Pig if they have made a mess and bathing has become absolutely necessary.

Rex Guinea Pigs’ toenails grow pretty quickly, and if not trimmed regularly, the ingrown nails become susceptible to infections and there is the risk of guinea pig nail getting torn off. Therefore, you should make sure that you clip your Rex Guinea Pig’s nails regularly.

If you have never clipped guinea pigs nails before, take a look at this helpful guide to cutting guinea pig nails.

Enclosure Set-up

Rex Guinea Pig Enclosure Setup

As we have learned that Rex Guinea Pig is one of the largest guinea pig breeds, we should make sure their enclosure is more spacious than usual guinea pig breeds. And if you are planning on keeping more than one Rex Guinea Pig, you should make sure that you provide some extra space for the added guinea pig.

The Rex Guinea Pig Cage must have all the necessary accessories like a food dish, water bottle, hay rack, chew toys, hides, tunnels, etc. These toys will entice your Rex Guinea pig to be more active and provide them with ample mental stimulation.

Rex Guinea Pig Health

Rex Guinea Pig is an overall healthy guinea pig breed, they are prone to several health issues like most other breeds.

Texel Guinea Pig Health Issues
Health IssuesHow To Avoid
Toenail infectionsRegularly trim their nails as they are fast-growing
Obesity and diabetesKeep a check on their caloric and sugar intake
DiarrheaSugar does not sit well with guinea pig stomach so try to avoid it
Dull coat and hair loss due to vitamin C deficiencyMake vitamin C supplements an integral part of your guinea pig diet
Digestion and teeth issuesProvide a constant supply of hay
HeatstrokePlace the guinea pig cage away from direct sources of heat like direct sunlight, fireplaces, and heat vents and provide access to water

Rex Guinea Pig and Other Pets

No doubt, Rex Guinea Pig is exceptionally social in nature; like other guinea pig breeds, they should never be kept with any other pet. Another guinea pig(s) is the best companion for your Rex Guinea Pig.

It is because other pets—both cats and dogs—no matter how docile and calm they are, have some level of prey drive. As our guinea pigs are often skittish and try to run away when they feel uncomfortable, it triggers the prey drive of cats and dogs, which may end up hurting your Guinea pig sooner or later. If you have a cat or dog living under your roof, you should reconsider getting a Rex Guinea pig.

And if you already have a guinea pig in addition to a cat or dog, even after proper socialization in the early stage, you should never leave the guinea pig unsupervised with a cat or dog.

How Much Does a Rex Guinea Pig Cost?

Rex Guinea Pig is one of the most common guinea pig breeds, so you can expect to find them in shelters or for just $20 or $30. If you ask for a show-quality Rex Guinea Pig, Breeders might ask for a higher price. Similarly, Rex Guinea Pigs with unusual color coats and combinations may also have a hefty price tag.

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