The short coated cavy – often called the American or English- has consistently short, glossy hair without a part. This breed of cavy most resembles the Guinea pig’s relatives and ancestors in the Cavia genus.
In shows, short-haired Guinea pigs are shown by their color variety – self, dalmatian, Himalayan, etc. This designation does not have “American” or “English” appended to it, but applies only to short-haired animals.
The Abyssinian breed of Guinea pig is known for its short and long, rough coat that has rosettes of hair. The derivation of the breed’s name is unknown, but does not connote an origin in the geographical region of Abyssinia (present day Ethiopia). The ideal Abyssinian has 8 rosettes, one on each shoulder, four across the back, one on each of the animal’s hips, and two on the rump. Some judging bodies, such as the ANCC, consider shoulder rosettes optional but desired in show cavies. A harsh-textured coat that stands on end to form ridges is desired.
The Peruvian is the progenitor of all modern long haired breeds, being a Guinea pig with hair that grows long continuously all over its body, sometimes to an excess of 20 inches (approx. 50 centimeters). Accordingly, this ornate feature can make caring for this breed more difficult for both owners and breeders; most show Peruvians have their hair folded up in wraps to protect it and keep it clean. Long haired Guinea pigs have both a top and an undercoat, the latter of which will generally only grow to 6-7 inches (15–17 cm.)Though most Peruvians kept as pets are regularly trimmed for ease of keeping, those in show coat should have hair that fans out to make the animal’s front and rear completely indistinguishable. The coat should be of an even length all over, and have a central part on the spine. Peruvians of show standard are required to have two rosettes on either side of the rump, which creates the desired height and density. The Peruvian coat is smooth and straight, and grows to several inches in length. The hair naturally parts down the center of the back, and also grows forward over the head.
The dense, soft coat of the Peruvian requires a great deal of grooming, and many owners of Peruvian guinea pigs end up trimming the hair to keep it manageable (if the guinea pig is to be shown, wraps can be used to keep the hair from getting tangled or soiled).
The Himalayan Guinea pig is similar to the Siamese cat in coat. It is solid white for the first few weeks after birth. The ears, face, paws, and feet grow darker with age. Similar to Siamese cats, Himalayans’ coat darkens depending on the temperature. If a Guinea pig lives in a house where the temperature is kept colder it will have darker points. If it is kept in a house where the temperature is warmer the points will be lighter and maybe even a medium brown. If kept outside the points’ darkness would depend on the climate of the area. The darkest areas should be the face, paws, and the feet. Himalayans should have dark red eyes. These Guinea pigs originate in southeast Asia, similar to the Birman, Burmese, Himalayan, and Siamese cat breeds.
Silkie or Sheltie
A Silkie has long hair that flows back over its body and never forward over the face (as in the Peruvian). When viewed from above it forms a teardrop shape and should never have a central part. In contrast to the Peruvian, where the coat is desired to fall in an even curtain all around the body, the Sheltie is generally accepted to have a somewhat longer sweep of hair in the rear.
A Rex Guinea pig has short, fuzzy hair that stands on end all over the body. The hair should be uniform all over, without rosettes and no more than 1⁄2 inch (1 1⁄4 cm) in length, preferably shorter. The Rex breed sometimes looks similar to the Teddy. the Rex could come in many colors and the most common colors are red,black and brown
A Teddy Guinea pig has a very dense and springy coat, with hairs that stand up. The hair typically grows to a moderate length and generally makes this breed resemble a soft toy more than any other. Another unique feature of the Teddies in the USA is the relatively long hair coating their bellies. In the UK, teddies must have short coats, growing slightly forward to a “cap” on the forehead. Young Teddies sometimes look similar to the Rex, but the Rex’s coat is usually much harsher and bristled. There is sometimes confusion between the US teddy and the so-called Swiss teddy, but in the UK, the Swiss teddy has been renamed simply the Swiss. The Swiss is a longer coated animal with a coat reaching between 6 and 9 cm in an adult animal.
A Texel Guinea pig is like a Silkie, but with curls. Originating from England, it was officially recognized as a breed by the ACBA in 1998. The curls should ideally be tightly wound corkscrew curls and should cover the entire body, including the stomach. Unlike a Sheltie, a central part is allowed.
A curly coated Peruvian. Hair grows over face like a Peruvian. Most are first generation hybrids of Peruvians and other breeds.
Initially it was described as a dominant rex Peruvian, but later was named Lunkarya through a combination of “Lundqvist” and “rya” meaning “wooly/sheep” in Swedish. It has been said that after a few years interest dropped and the lunkarya breed was almost abandoned. Then luckily an enormous interest restarted the breed and the lunkarya is now one of Sweden’s major breeds.
The Crested is similar to the American, but has one rosette on the top of the head. According to ACBA standards, the Crest must be white, with no other white hair present on the animal.
A Coronet cavy has longer hair, like the Silkie, along with a crest like a Crested. Hair on this specific Guinea pig usually grows backwards, towards its rear end.
A curly-coated Coronet with a crest in between the ears on the centre of the head. To keep its fur in tip top shape, one needs to comb an English Merino’s fur (preferably) once a day. Sawdust bedding is not a good option for this Guinea pig, along with the Texel, Alpacca, or other curly haired breeds, it gets caught in their fur causing it to tangle. A better option would be to have straw bedding.
Very few varieties of hairless Guinea pig exist, the most prevalent breed being the Skinny pig. Skinnies were developed from a hairless lab strain crossed with Teddies and other haired breeds. They have curly Teddy hair on their noses, feet and legs. Skinnies are born nearly hairless. Another well-known hairless Guinea pig is the Baldwin. The Baldwin was a spontaneous mutation from White Crested cavies belonging to a cavy fancier who was breeding them for show. Baldwins are born with a full coat which falls out until they are bald. The Baldwin is characterized by numerous skin wrinkles and a very small amount of hair just on the feet only. The Skinny and the Baldwin are two separate breeds and the two different hairless genes are not compatible. Hairless breeds require special accommodation, as they need to be kept warm and may require extra food. Currently a few Scandinavian bodies admits hairless breeds on to the show table, and consequently a judging standard exists.
The Ridgeback is a recognised breed in the UK and is show under the guidance of the Rare Varieties cavy club and is also recognised as a Rare Variety in Sweden. It is characteristically smooth-coated, other than a ridge of hair growing along its back.
The Sheba or Sheba Mini Yak
The Sheba is a longhaired, rosetted cavy, characterised by mutton chop whiskers, with frontal, presented to one side of the face, and in a naturally tousled appearance. They have been recognised as a cavy breed in Australia. Their breed standard was developed by Wynne Eecen (considered to be the breed’s founder by Australians) in the 1970s, and was published in her book Pigs Isn’t Pigs.
Genetically, these animals are similar to Abyssinians, Peruvians, Shelties & Ridgebacks. They are also known as the “Bad Hair Day” Cavy.
All information from Wikipedia