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Guinea pig

Long-haired guinea pigs: features, breeds and care recommendations

Long-haired guinea pigs were born thanks to the efforts of breeders – only individuals covered with short hair are found in nature. The length of the “hair” of these charming rodents reaches 20-45 cm, and the main purpose of the animals is to demonstrate themselves at various exhibitions and touch their breeders.

Description

The long-haired guinea pig has an oval body, which smoothly turns into a rounded muzzle, while the profile can be safely called “Greek”, since the nose and forehead here are one. The ears of a shaggy guinea pig are very funny – folded in an envelope, they can be flattened to the head or protruded, the eyes are dark, like beads.

Both the lower and upper incisors do not have roots, grow throughout life, and are sharpened by food. The paws are shortened, on the front there are four fingers, but on the back – only three, the tiny tail is hardly noticeable. The mass and dimensions of the animal depend solely on the variety, but on average such a rodent can grow up to about 25-30 cm, an adult male weighs about 1.5 kg, and the female’s weight is usually 0.8-1.3 kg.

Long hair covers not only the body, but also the head of the pig, the colors can be very diverse, including mono- and polychrome colors.


The most common range is reddish-brown with various types of shades and blotches, but less often than others you can find a tortoiseshell animal. By the way, rodents with such exclusive colors are usually born exclusively within one breed, and the most unusual tricolor pattern is obtained by crossing at least 100 rodents with each other.

Guinea pigs with elongated hair are completely different from each other – there are individuals with long strands, and curly rodents are no less common. Fur can differ in structure, direction of growth, as well as the presence or absence of shaggy sideburns, all kinds of bangs and rosettes.

The life expectancy of an animal does not exceed 6-8 years, the strongest specimens in comfortable conditions can live for ten years, but, as practice shows, on average, these animals live 4-5 years.


Varieties


Among the long-haired varieties of guinea pigs, there are several of the most popular, which are distinguished by their decorative appearance and rather extraordinary character.

Alpaca

This breed was the result of the experiments of American breeders, the animals got their name due to the rather thick cover – it can even be compared with the fur of valuable llamas.

Main characteristics:

  • weight of males – 0.9-1.2 kg;
  • weight of females – 0.6-0.8 kg;
  • body length of males – about 20 cm;
  • body length of females – 17-18 cm;
  • coat length – 10-15 cm;
  • colors – black and white, Himalayan, brown.

Life expectancy is about 5-7 years, quite rarely, but still there are 8-year-old individuals.

A characteristic feature of this breed is the peculiar growth of wool. Reaching a certain length, the hairs twist up, and the rodent takes on a rather funny look, somewhat reminiscent of a caricature of an aristocrat.

Coronet


The breed was selected by a breeder from Great Britain in the 70s of the last century, the peculiarity of these animals is a similarity of a crown on a small head, the hair of rodents grows in a special way, as if forming an elongated rounded crest.

The head is rather wide, but short, the eyes are bulging, widely spaced, the ears resemble rose petals, sticking up. The body is rather compact, dense, strongly knocked down. The coat is smooth, with a distinct texture, the density is uniform in all areas, the animal can be two- or three-colored. These shaggy pigs live for about 5 years.

Lunkaria

Lunkaria is the most original of all artificially created breeds. This is another long-haired guinea pig whose hair cannot be combed or straightened. Even after careful combing and treatment with conditioning agents, it still almost immediately strays into corkscrew curls that perfectly hold their shape. Thanks to this feature, no debris clings to the fur.

merino


Another English breed that won the hearts of breeders due to its rather long curly coat, which makes the animal look like a miniature sheep.

The animal is distinguished by long curly hair of the most variable color, the head is rather wide, round, the nose with a small hump. The mass of an adult animal is 1 kg. Such pets live for about 4-5 years. The breed is very popular in England, and this is not surprising, because, in addition to their exotic appearance, these animals also have a very calm character, unpretentiousness to the conditions of their maintenance, and are distinguished by their unpretentiousness in food.

Peruvian

This breed was bred in the countries of the Old World at the beginning of the 19th century, where it quickly gained incredible popularity due to its resemblance to Yorkshire terriers, but in a miniature version. The length of the animal’s hair is about 50 cm, a straight parting is made along the spine line, and an elongated bang closes the wide muzzle of the rodent.

In the region of the sacrum there are two pronounced rosettes of irregular shape, the body is oval, rather dense, the shoulder girdle is widened, the back is leveled, the head is small but well developed. There are small beady eyes, ears of the most standard form, slightly hanging down. The color can be very different, the body size is about 35-40 cm, weight – up to 1.5 kg. They live in captivity for about 5 years, they are completely undemanding to the conditions of detention, although caring for long hair requires some skill.

Texel


The breed was obtained in the late 80s of the last century, but received scientific recognition only in 1999. The length of the hairs of rodents varies from 12 to 18 cm, the color can be the most diverse, the body is compact, strong, with well-developed muscles: broad shoulders, powerful chest cage and straight back. The head is strong, rounded, of medium size, moreover, the nose is also of medium length, with a slight hump.

The ears are rather fleshy, the legs are shortened, straightened. The length of the body reaches 25-35 cm, the weight of an adult is about 1.7 kg. Usually representatives of this breed are used for display at exhibitions or for the purpose of crossing.

Guinea pigs are distinguished by a rather positive and calm character without a single manifestation of capriciousness and overly strict requirements for the conditions of their detention.

sheltie

The first representatives of the Sheltie breed were introduced almost a hundred years ago. These pigs are characterized by soft thick and silky hair of various shades, the body is compact and strong, the head is shortened, rounded, the eyes are black, bulging, the ears are slightly down. The form is standard, the animal is bred mainly for demonstration at exhibitions, since in everyday life it requires special care.

The fact is that the hair of this pet will have to be constantly looked after, otherwise, the appearance of the rodent will be very unpresentable.

How to choose a cell?


Long-haired guinea pigs are rather harmless animals, they are very sociable, love to play, do not bite, and, it would seem, are ideal for children’s fun. Nevertheless, it is better not to accept them in a family where young children live, since the kids may not measure their physical strength and break the rodent’s fragile spine. The pet does not tolerate closeness with domestic cats, dogs, decorative rats and feathered pets, but the domestic rabbit will become an ideal neighbor for them.

Most often, these pigs live in same-sex couples. – males are friends with each other, and females raise cubs together. For full growth and development, they need a properly selected cage. For one rodent, you need an aviary with a size of at least 60x40x40 cm, respectively, if there are several animals, then the dimensions must be increased.

The cage must certainly be roomy, usually it is placed at a distance from direct sunlight and drafts, it is also undesirable to place it near air conditioners, radiators and other climatic devices.

The cage must be equipped with everything necessary to maintain the normal life of the pet.

  • Drinker. It can be purchased at a pet store, size and shape do not matter, because for the most part the product is standardized.
  • nursery. In other words, feeder. It is advisable to purchase a plastic product, since in this case it will be much easier to wash and clean it from dirt. A ceramic fixture is also suitable, but a wood model is inappropriate here – the tree not only absorbs odors and moisture, but also gnaws on animals.
  • Sepia. For the necessary grinding of teeth, sepia is installed – this is a hard mineral stone, if it is not in the aviary, then the guinea pig will begin to sharpen its teeth on any object that comes across it.
  • Twigs. These are shoots of fruit trees, linden and many others, their main task is to distract the animal from the constant desire to gnaw on furniture in the house or wooden accessories. At the same time, the presence of sepia does not exclude the animal’s need for branches.
  • House. In it, rodents hide from the hot sun or use it as a shelter. It is best to purchase a cage with a ready-made house.
  • Tray with shavings or sawdust. Used by rodents instead of a toilet, the bedding can be changed every 2-3 days, while no smell appears in the room. Wood tends to absorb aromas and excess moisture, so with the use of sawdust, there is no need for additional disinfection of the tray.


Drinking bowls and feeders should be washed every day, the litter should be changed every 2-3 days.


Traditionally, guinea pigs are awake during the day and sleep soundly at night. To compensate for the lack of movement, you should let the animal out for a short walk around the house. In warm weather, the animal is taken with them to a country house or garden, where they equip it with a small aviary made of metal mesh – it is advisable to place it in the shade.


Food


Long-haired pigs are herbivores, so the food should be predominantly vegetable, The following combination is considered optimal:

  • grass or hay – 60-65%;
  • succulent food – 30%;
  • dry food – 5%.

It is best to purchase hay in a specialized store, in which case you can be sure that it will be of good quality. When buying from the market by hand, you may encounter irresponsible sellers who did not remove poisonous herbs when harvesting feed, or harvested near highways and large industrial facilities.

The feed requirement for a shaggy guinea pig is 150 g per day. You can give her dill, parsley, lettuce, pigs are very fond of strawberries, pears and cherries, they will not refuse vegetables, they especially love carrots, cabbage or zucchini.

Try to make your pet’s diet as diverse as possible, the body should receive a full range of vitamins, macro- and microelements. If a pet eats only cabbage or carrots, this will most adversely affect his general well-being.

The ideal situation would be when at least 3 types of vegetables and juicy greens are present in the daily diet of a rodent. As the latter, you can take the leaves of strawberries, raspberries, black and red currants, carrot and beet tops are very useful for animals.

There should always be hay in the aviary – it is involved in grinding teeth, and also helps to regulate the digestion process.


We pay special attention to the fact that the rodent needs table salt, so you will need to buy a salt stone. Unfortunately, with other products, the pet will not be able to get the required amount of salt, while it is very important for the normalization of the digestion process.

The animal should not be hungry – if it does not receive food for more than 18 hours, irreversible pathological changes are triggered in the body that can cause the death of the rodent.


It is strictly forbidden to feed animals with cheese, confectionery, meat and citrus fruits. Overripe and spoiled fruits should also be discarded.


As for supplementation, here you need to focus on the juiciness of the main feed. If a guinea pig is getting enough liquid in her diet, she may not drink water at all. On average, an adult pet needs 60-70 ml of water a day. Few people know, but the body of rodents is not able to absorb vitamins B and K during the very first passage of food, so many animals often eat their own feces, since when they pass through the digestive organs again, all substances are absorbed in full.


Subtleties of care


Guinea pigs are quite unpretentious, the main difficulty in caring for a rodent is to process the wool in order to avoid its strong tangling. The pig needs to be combed with a brush 3-4 times a week.

In order not to have to pull the hairs, it is better to lightly sprinkle them with water from a spray bottle. Keep in mind that you can start combing only after the tangles are completely removed. If the coat of the animal is too long and at the same time thick, then by the summer you can cut the pet a little. Also, the hair is sheared in lactating females, but not completely, but only areas near the nipples.

From time to time, the guinea pig needs to be bathed with a special shampoo for animals, after which it is blotted with a warm terry towel and dried with a hair dryer (keep it away so that too hot air does not burn the small animal).

Some breeders curl the hair of their rodents on hairpins, so the animal gets the opportunity to move briskly, and the hairs do not roll or get dirty. The ears of a hairy rodent are carefully cleaned with cotton flagella, eyes are treated as necessary and sharp claws are trimmed.

Every breeder should understand that the health of pets primarily depends on the correct diet. Its imbalance leads to rickets, scurvy, obesity, allergy manifestations and cardiovascular diseases.

Pathologies of non-infectious origin can also include:

  • a cold that quickly turns into bronchitis and pneumonia;
  • keratitis and acute conjunctivitis;
  • otitis;
  • epilepsy;
  • baldness;
  • cystitis;
  • malignant tumors.

The most common viral infections are:

  • plague;
  • paralysis;
  • pseudotuberculosis;
  • amoebiasis;
  • toxoplasmosis;
  • trichomoniasis;
  • salmonellosis;
  • enteritis;
  • herpes;
  • ringworm.


The rodent immediately testifies to any illness by its refusal to eat (again, we remind you of the inadmissibility of a hunger strike for more than 18 hours). Therefore, at the first sign of illness, you should immediately seek medical help.


Also keep in mind that due to the peculiarities of physiology, any injury or fall can lead to the death of a fluffy pet.


The rules for caring for a long-haired guinea pig are discussed in the following video.



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