Teddy Guinea Pigs: Loved Around the World With Plush Fur

A teddy guinea pig is a short-haired guinea pig – but the animals still look extremely soft and fluffy. This impression is created by the short hair that protrudes from the body and makes the animals appear larger. Teddy guinea pigs are easy to care for rodents with a cheerful demeanor and an exceptionally cute appearance. At first glance, they are easy to confuse with the similar Rex guinea pig. On closer inspection, however, both races show clear differences.

The Origins of the Teddy Breed

Officially, the teddy guinea pig comes from the USA: In the late 1960s, guinea pigs appeared in California whose fur was denser and finer than that of other short-haired guinea pigs and also had a curly structure. These original teddies were the result of crosses between the rosette and smooth-haired guinea pigs. The unusual appearance found numerous fans – however, the new coat type was initially difficult to breed because the inheritance of the trait is complicated. To successfully breed teddy bears, carriers of a recessive gene had to be paired with one another. This finally succeeded, so that a stable breeding line could be established. In 1978 the “teddy bears” were officially recognized as a new breed by an American breeders’ association.

The US Teddy Guinea Pig – the American “Prototype”

The fur of the American teddy guinea pig is short and protrudes evenly from the body. The animals appear velvety and soft, but there are also teddies that have a slightly coarser fur texture. US teddies come in all sorts of colors, with various wild colors being the most common. In contrast to other breeds of guinea pigs, US teddies appear somewhat shorter, an impression created by the relatively wide, upward-pointing snout – a feature that only occurs in teddy guinea pigs. The relatively long hair on the animals’ bellies is also unusual. US teddy guinea pigs have a small, forward-facing hair comb on their heads.

A Guinea Pig From Switzerland – the CH Teddy Bear

Compared to its American cousins, the Swiss teddy guinea pig has fur that protrudes evenly from the body with a hair length between four and six centimeters. At this length, the ends of the hair bend a little, which gives the animals an even more fluffy appearance. The specialty of the CH guinea pigs is the change of coat, in which old hair is shed and replaced with a new one. Because of this, the animals appear a bit fluffy and unkempt at times – a condition that does not last long, however. The phenomenon essentially takes place in the first year of life of the animals, in females after pregnancy. According to the breed standard, CH teddy guinea pigs are not allowed to have any vertebrae in their fur. As with the US teddy guinea pig, the whisker hair is smooth. Both variants have noticeably large, slightly drooping ears.

Do Teddy Guinea Pigs Show Characteristic Behaviors?

Teddies are generally considered to be lively animals, who don’t get upset so quickly and who seem to have a special talent for securing the sympathy of their people. You are affectionate, playful, at the same time quite energetic, but always good-natured. Mother animals are particularly caring for their offspring. CH teddies are also sometimes a bit hungry, so you should keep an eye on emerging weight problems.

Are Teddy Guinea Pigs Good as Pets for Beginners?

Due to its short fur, the teddy guinea pig does not have any major care demands on its owner and is – of course, kept in a small group with fellow animals and in a species-appropriate enclosure – an unproblematic pet. Regularly, especially when changing fur, you should carefully groom the teddies once a week with a soft brush to remove the particles that are caught between the hair. The lop ears should also be checked regularly for residues of dirt and sebum.

Teddy guinea pigs can be kept both indoors and outdoors. Their standards of husbandry and nutrition do not differ from those of other guinea pigs. Like all guinea pigs, teddies are not suitable pets for little ones. For the defensive animals, physical contact while cuddling means enormous stress. For older, sensible children, the friendly breed is suitable because of its playfulness and affection.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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