If you’re like me, you probably didn’t know that there was more than one breed of guinea pig in the world. However, there are currently more than a dozen different breeds of guinea pigs found around the world.
The Abyssinian guinea pig has a unique, coarse fur coat that features swirls of fur which are known as rosettes. To qualify as a show pig, the rosettes must form a symmetrical pattern and there must be at least 8 rosettes present; though 10 is the preferred amount of rosettes.
There is also a breed known as the Abyssinian Satin, which features the same general appearance except for the different in the sheen of the fur.
The Alpaca guinea pig has long, curly fur that grows upward over the body and over the head, giving it an unusual appearance.
The American is the most common breed of guinea pig, especially in pet stores in the United States. It features short, smooth fur and may also be referred to as the English Cavy.
The American guinea pig features a Roman nose, which is a wider, curved nose. It comes in nearly every color and is of medium size in terms of other guinea pigs.
There is also an American Satin, which features a noticeably shinier coat.
The Baldwin is a breed of hairless guinea pig. Strangely enough, this breed is born with fur, but as the guinea pig ages, all of the fur falls out.
The Coronet is a long-furred breed of guinea pig with a Roman nose. On the center of the forehead is a coronet, which is a swirled section of hair similar to a rosette. However, the coronet refers to a swirl of longer fur, whereas the rosette refers to a swirl of shorter fur.
The English Crested guinea pig features short fur with a swirl on the forehead. This swirl must be the same color as the rest of the coat. If the swirl is white, then it is a White Crested guinea pig and not an English Crested guinea pig.
The Merino is a lesser-known breed. It features long curly fur and a crest of fur on the head.
Peruvian guinea pigs have long fur coats with smooth, straight fur. If the fur is glossy, it is then deemed a Peruvian Satin guinea pig; which is another breed entirely. The fur of the Peruvians can grow quite long and can require extensive regular grooming from the owner. On this breed, the hair naturally parts down the center of the guinea pig’s back. The Peruvian was the first officially recognized breed of long-haired guinea pigs. When allowed to grow, their fur can reach lengths of more than a foot.
Silkie or Sheltie
In America, this breed is referred to as the Silkie but in the United Kingdom, it is the Sheltie. Originally, this breed was known as the Angora. This breed features a long, silkie-feeling coat. However, unlike the Peruvian, it does not part down the center but rather the hair grows backwards down the body, starting at the head.
There is also a glossy-coated version of the Silkie, known as the Silkie Satin.
Skinny pigs are guinea pigs that are referred to as one of the two hairless guinea pigs available. However, in reality they do have a small amount of fur on their bodies. For example, they can feature a patch of extremely short fur on the head, just above the nose.
The Teddy guinea pig gets its name from the fuzzy appearance of its fur. On this breed, the fur is very short and dense, but each individual strand of fur is kinked. This kinked fur gives it a fuzzy, teddy bear appearance.
As expected, there is also a Teddy Satin breed of guinea pigs. Both the Teddy and the Teddy Satin should have Roman noses.
The Texel guinea pig is one of the more rare species of guinea pigs. It features an unusual fur coat that has curls. These curls, or ringlets, are very high maintenance.
The White Crested, mentioned above, in similar in appearance to the English Crested. However, the rosette of fur on this guinea pig’s forehead must be white.
About.com: Hairless Guinea Pigs
About.com: Guinea Pig Breed Guide