Commonly known as Sheba Mini Yak, Sheba guinea pig is a wild-looking long-haired guinea pig breed, with their hair sticking out at various angles. Their shaggy, tousled, and rosette coats make them one of the easily recognizable guinea pig breeds. They are sometimes referred to as “bad hair day” guinea pigs. Most cavy associations do not recognize them, but in recent years, they have been experiencing a surge in popularity because of their loving and affectionate nature and unique coat.
Sheba Guinea Pig
Hailing from Australia, Sheba guinea pigs are a cross between shorthaired Abyssinian guinea pigs and longhaired Peruvian guinea pigs. They have stocky bodies covered in a shaggy-haired rosette coats. They are highly social, playful, affectionate, and good-natured.
|Sheba Guinea Pig Breed Overview|
|Scientific Name||Cavia porcellus|
|Other Names||Mini Yak, Sheba Mini Yak, bad hair day guinea pig|
|Length||7 to 12 inches|
|Weight||1.5 to 2.5 pounds|
|Lifespan||4 to 7 years|
|Coat Color||Variety of colors and color combinations|
|Maintenance||Low to moderate level maintenance|
|Diet||Herbivores (timothy hay)|
|Cage||7.5 square feet|
|Temperament||Curious, gentle, playful, affectionate, vocal|
|Suitable for||Responsible children, first-time guinea pig owners|
|Sheba Guinea Pig Scoreboard|
|Like to be held||4/5|
|Good with other Guinea Pigs||5/5|
|Good with Children||4/5|
Sheba Guinea Pig History
Sheba guinea pigs were developed in Australia in 1969 by the crossbreeding of Abyssinian guinea pigs with Peruvian guinea pigs by Wynne Eecen. Sheba guinea pigs inherit the long hairs from their Peruvian parents and the rosette from the Abyssinian guinea pigs.
Unfortunately, Sheba mini yak is neither recognized by the American Cavy Breeders’ Association (ACBA) nor by the British Cavy Council (BCC). However, they have been experiencing a surge in their popularity because of their inquisitive nature and cool temperament.
Sheba Guinea Pig Personality and Temperament
Sheba mini yaks have a curious, gentle, affectionate, and sociable personality. They love spending time interacting with their owners and their cavy companions. Given their high sociability, it is best that you keep them in pairs. When left alone for a long time, they would not be happy and may develop behavioral issues like chewing on their coats and that of their companions.
They are smart, vocal, and energetic creatures. They need a spacious cage wherein they can freely run around. You would also have to get them out of their cage and play with them for some time every day.
Sheba Guinea Pig Appearance
Scruffy-looking Sheba guinea pigs have sturdy bodies and squarish heads with mutton-chop whiskers around the side of their faces.
Sheba Guinea Pigs Size
Sheba guinea pigs are average-sized pigs weighing around 1.5 to 2.5 pounds and around 7 to 12 inches in length. However, the scruffy long hair coats make them look bigger than their actual size.
Like other guinea pig breeds, their males are slightly bigger than their female counterparts.
Sheba Guinea Pig Coat
Sheba guinea pigs have a scruffy-looking, long-haired dense, rosette coat. Their long thick hair are sticking out at various angles, giving them a wild look. Their hair looks like they just got out of bed. Many owners lovingly refer to their Sheba mini yak as “bad hair day” guinea pigs.
Although their hair does not grow as fast as other long-haired guinea pig breeds, they still need regular trims, especially on the backside.
How to Care for a Sheba Guinea Pig?
While it may look like Sheba guinea pigs are extremely high-maintenance, they actually are not. They make a perfect choice for first-time guinea pig owners. Continue reading to learn how to take care of a Sheba guinea pig.
Feeding Sheba Guinea Pigs
Sheba guinea pigs have no special dietary requirements. Like other guinea pig breeds, you should provide your little Shebas with an unlimited supply of fresh timothy hay. Munching on timothy hay would keep the always-growing guinea pig teeth in check and provide necessary fibers to your Sheba Mini Yak. Besides a constant supply of timothy hay, guinea pigs should have constant access to fresh water.
Like other guinea pig breeds, Mini Sheba Yaks are also unable to make their own vitamin C, which is essential for guinea pigs’ skin and coat health. In case of vitamin C deficiency, guinea pigs develop scurvy. So it is your responsibility to make sure that there is ample vitamin C in your piglet’s diet.
Good quality pellets fortified with vitamin C make a great source of vitamin C and other essential nutrients for guinea pigs. But the vitamin C in these pellets wears down as they age; therefore, it is crucial that you provide vitamin C supplements to your guinea pig as well.
You can also feed guinea pig-safe fruits and vegetables to your Sheba guinea pig. Fresh fruits and veggies not only make the guinea pig diet interesting but also provide many essential nutrients to guinea pigs.
|Feeding Fruits and Veggies to Guinea Pigs! |
Offer fresh fruits and vegetables to your guinea pig in moderation. Never offer more than one cup per guinea pig per day. Due to higher sugar in fruits, you should aim for fewer fruits than veggies.
Sheba Guinea Pig Grooming
Sheba guinea pigs are one of the long-haired guinea pig breeds that do not require constant maintenance. Like other long-haired guinea pigs, their hair keeps growing throughout their lifetime, but they grow at a comparatively slower rate, requiring comparatively little grooming.
But still, to keep the scurfy coat of your Sheba mini yak free of tangles and matted hair, you should brush it daily. Besides daily brushing, you would also have to bathe them once a month.
As Shebas’ hair keeps growing at a slower rate, you will have to trim their hair every once in a while when they seem to be stepping on their coats. You should also trim their nails regularly. Overgrown nails are hurtful and may lead to infectious diseases.
Moreover, you should regularly check your guinea pig’s eyes and ears for any sign of infection.
You should get your Sheba yak used to grooming at a young age so that they don’t make a fuss when they grow old. It is a good idea to offer delicious treats to your Sheba cavies during grooming sessions to keep the sessions interesting and fun.
Housing Sheba Guinea Pigs
Sheba guinea pigs are comparatively active and thus require a spacious cage in which they can freely roam around. Sheba guinea pigs are smart and intelligent and thus get bored really easily. Therefore, it is strongly advised that you provide them with interesting toys to keep them busy. You should also provide multiple guinea hides to your Sheba mini yaks.
|Sheba Guinea Pig Cage Size|
|Number of guinea pigs||Minimum||Preferred|
|One guinea pig||7 square feet||7.5 square feet|
|Two guinea pigs||7.5 square feet||10.5 square feet|
|Three guinea pigs||10.5 square feet||13 square feet|
|Four guinea pigs||13 square feet||15 square feet|
Sheba Guinea Pig Health
Sheba Guinea Pig is overall a healthy guinea pig breed but they are prone to several health issues like most other breeds.
|Sheba Guinea Pig Health Issues|
|Health Issues||How To Avoid|
|Knots and matts||Regular brushing|
|Ingrown nails||Regular nail trimming|
|Obesity and diabetes||Fewer fruits and sugary treats|
|Pneumonia||Maintain suitable temperature|
|Scurvy||Vitamin C supplements|
How Much Does a Sheba Guinea Pig Cost?
Given that ACBA or BCC does not recognize Sheba guinea pigs, finding a Sheba guinea pig breeder might be hard, but it is not impossible. As far as the cost is concerned, a Sheba guinea pig may cost you around $100. While making the purchase, you should also consider the recurring costs of feeding, grooming, and keeping a guinea pig pet.
|Should You Get a Sheba Guinea Pig?|
|Fluffy, scurfy coat||Susceptible to pneumonia|
|Low to moderate upkeep||Prone to knotting and matting|
|Curious and affectionate||Not recognized|