A Coronet guinea pig is a longhaired guinea pig breed. It is distinguished by a combination of long body hair and a crest, or coronet, of hair at the center of its head. Coronet guinea pigs were developed by crossing American Crested guinea pigs with Silkie guinea pigs, creating a separate breed with both long hair and single crests. The American Rabbit Breeder Association recognized the Coronet breed in 1998.
The hair of the Coronet guinea pig is long and smooth. It grows away from the guinea pig’s face and towards its rear end. Unlike the Peruvian guinea pig’s hair, the Coronet’s hair does not part along the back. Coronet guinea pigs are born with short hair. The hair grows very fast, reaching ground level in about four months.
This breed of guinea pig has a short, blunt Roman nose. The whorl of the coronet is visible in young guinea pigs, becoming more apparent as the guinea pig ages. The coronet runs from the tip of the nose to the slightly drooping ears. The crest grows longer with age and can eventually fall over the eyes. While Crested guinea pigs must have white crests to be recognized as true to breed, the crests of Coronet guinea pigs can be of any color.
To prevent its hair from becoming tangled or matted, a Coronet guinea pig needs a regular hair care regimen. The hair should be brushed or combed daily, using a soft baby’s brush or a wide-toothed comb. Some Coronet owners keep their pet’s hair trimmed or cut short to make grooming easier. The hair is not cut if the guinea pig is a show pet.
Most Coronet guinea pigs, with the exception of show pets, will only need bathing if they develop an odor or become very dirty. They can be washed with a tearless baby shampoo, followed with a tearless hair conditioner, to prevent tangles in their long hair. After removing excess water with a towel, a Coronet guinea pig can be dried with a hair dryer. The hair should be combed as it dries to maintain its soft and silky properties.
Show Coronet guinea pigs require specialized care for their hair. It is often kept in rag curlers between shows. Rag curlers keep the hair separated into sections and bound with paper towels and rubber bands. This keeps the hair untangled, glossy, and at full length. The rag curlers are removed immediately prior to showing.