The teddy guinea pig is a member of the guinea pig family, and a popular household pet. This breed is a variation on traditional breeds, but has been considered an official breed since 1978. They have small bodies, with wide, curved noses, and lots of short, dense, fuzzy hair that sticks right up, giving it a teddy bear appearance. Teddy guinea pigs make great pets, but require loving, careful owners.
This breed of guinea pig is not a natural breed. It is the result of genetic mutation of a tortoise shell and the white American guinea pig in 1967, and was competitively bred for profit. In 1978, the teddy guinea pig was recognized as an official breed, and are now quite common and popular pets. They can be found in most pet stores, and many breeders also sell them.
These animals are on the large side, compared to other rodents. The average size of a teddy guinea pig is between 8-10 inches (20-25 cm), weighing in at about 1.5-2.5 pounds (700-1200 grams). The average lifespan of a teddy is about four to five years. The longest living guinea pig, according to the 2006 Guinness Book of Records, was 14 years, 10.5 months.
The coat is the most distinctive characteristic of the teddy guinea pig. It somewhat resembles the fur on a teddy bear, which is how it got its name. The hair is short, dense, fuzzy, and kinked so that it sticks straight up. Even the whiskers of this breed are kinked. The coat may be soft or very rough. Rumor has it that most breeder judges prefer the rough coat.
The teddy guinea pig has a smaller body than most other breeds of guinea pig. Their noses are similar to those of the american guinea pig, which are wide and curved. Teddies can be found in all of the standard guinea pig colors including agouti patterns, black, white, red, beige, cream, lilac, and chocolate.
Teddy guinea pigs make fantastic pets, and they require lots of love and care. They are social animals, so getting a pair is a good idea. Be sure to get a same sex pair, or they might breed and have baby teddy guineas. A teddy guinea pig should be allowed to roam around outside its cage, while supervised, at least an hour a day, to keep it happy and healthy. Feed teddies a healthy diet, and provide a roomy cage with space to run around.