Guinea pig breeds are split into four groups;
Smooth Coat Guinea Pigs include:
The Short Haired Guinea Pig can be recognised by it's short, smooth coat that is usually only one colour but can be a variety of colours.
The Crested Guinea Pig has a single rosette on the top of it's head. This rosette is a different colour to the rest of it's body and is most commonly white but this can differ.
The Ridgeback Guinea Pig is recognised by the raised strip of hair on it's back. It comes in all colours. This Guinea Pig is quite uncommon.
A Himalayan is a smooth coat Guinea Pig that is completely white except for it's nose, ears and feet, which are dark chocolate or black in colour. Himalayans have red eyes.
Selfs have a short coat that is all of one colour. These colours can be Black, Red, Chocolate or White. Selfs can have black or red eyes.
The Tortoiseshell has a short coat that has patches of Black, White and Red. These patches are solid in colour.
Short coat Guinea Pig with a base coat of either black or brown. The coat is then "ticked" with colour throughout the fur. Colours can vary with the most common being gold, silver and cinnamon. Their stomachs are usually the base colour.
The Dutch Guinea Pig can be any colour but with a white band around the middle, white blaze on the face and a white chest and front feet.
A Brindle Guinea Pig has red and brown in continuous even pattern throughout the coat.
The Roan is similar to the Agouti with a speckled coat. Roans have solid base coats with the tips of white. They are often referred to as "Dapple". Roans should not be bred with other Roans or Dalmatians as this may result in a baby known as a Lethal White.
Dalmatian Guinea Pigs have black spots on a white coat the same as Dalmatian dogs. Dalmatians should never be bred with other Dalmatians or Roans as this can result in a baby known as a Lethal White.
Black and White coat with distinct patches and they usually have black ears. Magpie Guinea Pigs are derived from Roans, Brindles and Dalmatian Guinea Pigs. Because of this, Magpies should not be bred with Roans or Dalmatians as this may result in a baby known as a Lethal White.
A Harlequin is the coloured version of the Magpie. They have black coats with patches of orange. Harlequins are derived from Roans, Brindles and Dalmatians and thus, should not be bred with them as this may result in a baby known as a Lethal White.
Lethal White (Microphthlamia):
These Guinea Pigs are the result of breeding Roans with Roans, Dalmatians with Dalmatians or with Roans and Dalmatians. Lethal Whites are born completely white with very small underdeveloped pink eyes. Most are born dead or live very short lives. Other signs of the Lethal White gene include:
Blindness in one or both eyes
Deafness in one or both ears
Missing teeth or teeth deformations
Low immune system
Long Haired Guinea Pigs include:
The Sheltie is also known as the Silkie because the hair has a silk like appearance. It's long coat flows away from the face and does not have any rosettes. Their hair does not part in the middle down the back and is longer at the rear than at the front.
This breed has a long sweeping coat which comes around the face like "bangs". The Peruvian Guinea Pig is usually born with 2 rosettes, one growing the hair towards the face and the other growing the hair towards the rear. Their hair has a part down their back.
The Texal has a similar coat to the Sheltie, except that their coat is curly instead of straight. Their coats can be any colour and they can have a part, but usually they don't.
This breed has a coat similar to the Peruvian, but with curly hair. They have two rosettes at their rear and their coat has a really heavy texture.
Similar to the Sheltie with a long flowing coat, the Coronet is distinguished by the singular rosette on the top of it's head where the hair grows downwards.
This Australian breed has numerous rosettes all over it's body. These rosettes give the Sheba the appearance of a long coat that goes in all directions.
The Merino is a curl long haired Guinea Pig with a rosette on the top of it's head. This rosette should be positioned evenly between the ears and eyes.
These Guinea Pigs have a thick, coarse coat that falls in "corkscrews" of curls and waves. Their coat can not be brushed out and laid flat. They can have rosettes, usually two on the rump.
Rough Coat Guinea Pigs Include:
The Abyssinian is a short coat with many rosettes all over the body. There are usually 8 - 10 rosettes. Their hair can be any colour.
Given their name because of their resemblance to a soft toy, the Teddy has a thick dense coat that stands on end, giving it a "puffy" appearance. They also have straight whiskers.
The Rex has short, crimped, erect fur. It can be slightly wavy in appearance. They have crimped whiskers and folded ears.
Swiss Guinea Pigs have a short, frizzy coat giving them a puff ball appearance. They can be any colour.
Hairless Guinea Pigs Include:
This Guinea Pig is born with hair but it falls out by the time it is 2 months of age. It is then completely hairless apart from the nose and feet. It's skin is the same colour and pattern as it's coat would be if it had hair. This breed is not available in Australia.
The Skinny Guinea Pig is born completely hairless and has no hair on any part of the body. It's skin is the same colour and pattern as it's hair would be. The breed is not available in Australia.