Skip to main content - The Animal Encyclopedia for Kids



American Guinea Pig Breed Profile

Fur Short, up to 1.1 in (3 cm), straight, close, thick
Rosettes None
Characteristics None
Lifespan 4-6 years
Suitable for Beginners

American Guinea Pig Photo: BunionBear/Shutterstock

Breed Characteristics

American guinea pigs are by far the most popular kind of guinea pig. They have short, straight, dense fur that sits close to their bodies. They don’t have whorls or bangs, curls or long fur on their cheeks. This makes grooming particularly easy and fast. That’s why American guinea pigs are often called “beginner guinea pigs”. And quite rightly. The American guinea pig comes in different colors: from tortoiseshell to black, white, cream, beige, chocolate and lilac to brindle, roan, agouti and Himalayan.

Fur Care

Their straight hair hardly needs any additional grooming as these guinea pigs can generally manage to keep their fur clean well themselves. So you just need to comb or brush their fur as needed. Another benefit of a short-haired guinea pig is that their fur doesn’t knot nearly as much as long-haired coats.



Even a beginner can easily see when an American guinea pig isn’t doing so well. As their coats are short, you can easily spot inflammation as this isn’t hidden by long fur. But even with American guinea pigs, you should regularly check them over and, if in doubt, take them to the vet. After all, a sick guinea pig will be suffering and could even infect others.

American Guinea Pig Photo: Miroslav Hlavko/Shutterstock

How to Keep Them

Guinea pigs are alert, curious, sociable, happy and active animals that should never be kept alone as they would suffer terribly from loneliness. Human company is not a replacement! Sometimes, a guinea pig will also be kept with a rabbit. This might be meant well but these animals are not the same. Their communication and behavior are completely different. You wouldn’t want to live in a cage with a money.

Rescue Pigs

Want to get guinea pigs? Then have a look at animal shelters. As well as cats and dogs, there are also usually small pets waiting for new owners. They’re not usually given up because they’re sick or anything like that. Actually, they’re regularly checked by vets and cared for by trained animal carers. So they’re fighting fit and generally only end up at the shelter because their owners haven’t got the time for them or have an allergy. The shelter will also give you plenty of helpful tips on keeping them.

Fun Facts

The American guinea pig is similar to wild guinea pigs in Peru. There, wild guinea pigs have been kept as pets for 5,000 years.


American Guinea Pig Photo: xstockerx/Shutterstock


See all topics on