Guinea pig breeders are people who specialize in breeding guinea pigs, a small diurnal rodent. These animals are then sold to new owners, pet stores, or research labs. In many cases, breeders follow specifications set by a guinea pig association. Sometimes guinea pig breeders breed the animals for wholesale distribution, resulting in animals with sub-optimal genetics, poor socialization, and occasionally sickness. Finding a reputable guinea pig breeder is usually easy, however, because they are selective when it comes to buyers and willing to show the area where the guinea pigs are kept.
A breeder usually attempts to follow the official guidelines on breeding the best animal. These guidelines typically cover rosette number and location, look and feel of the hair, and more. Depending on the guinea pig breeder, these guidelines may be loosely followed. For example, the color and number of an animal’s rosettes does not matter if a person is selling the guinea pigs to a research lab. In these cases, the breeder might only attempt to prevent obviously poor genetics, like deformities and thinning hair, from generations of inbreeding or breeding with poor quality guinea pigs.
Sometimes a guinea pig breeder is simply someone who lets guinea pigs mate without separating males and females, leading to mother-son, sister-brother, and other undesirable pairings. In addition, disreputable breeders generally have too many guinea pigs to properly socialize and keep healthy. For example, it is unlikely that one person can take adequate care of 50 to 75 guinea pigs. This kind of breeding is harmful to future generations of guinea pigs, but can be profitable. To acquire a healthy animal that is likely to stay healthy, it is important to buy a guinea pig from a knowledgeable breeder that has few guinea pigs.
Finding a good guinea pig breeder can be relatively easy; for example, breeders that care about their animals generally do not adopt them out to just anyone. A person can expect to fill out an adoption application and schedule a home inspection to ensure the environment is safe and suitable for a small rodent. The fee for finally buying the guinea pig might also be more expensive than buying a pet store guinea pig, because the guinea pig breeder selectively bred the best breeds, spent one-on-one time with the animal, and maintained its health until it was old enough to adopt out. Unlike some pet stores and breeders, a reputable breeder might even operate at a loss.