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Guinea Pigs/Ginger haired piggy


Hi Pat,

I have a guinea haired guinea pig called Ed. When we first got him, he was a vibrant ginger colour, however after a year or so he started to change colour and it has never gone back to its original. He is now much darker in colour and are even brown. I just wondered if you knee what caused his colour change? His personality is still the same but wasn't sure if it was something to do with seasons although he has never gone back in the summer.


Keely x

Black Peruvian
Black Peruvian  

Australian Sheltie
Australian Sheltie  
If you sent me a picture I would get a better idea. Your description of a "guinea haired pig" isn't really enough.

If Ed is a long haired guinea pig this is absolutely normal. In a black short haired pig you see black because you're seeing the top coat. In most blacks, as with many colors other than white, if you separate the hairs you see that the undercoat is lighter in color.

With long haired pigs as they grow a full coat you are seeing pretty much only the undercoat, and it fades to a lighter color the closer to get to the skin.  If Ed is a long haired such as a Peruvian that's exactly what you're seeing.

It has nothing to do with seasons. And it won't go back to what you saw originally. The picture of the black and white pig is a Peruvian. You'll notice that the black coat appears very light, almost gray. This pig has not got a full 'show coat' as the owner chose to keep it trimmed shorter in order to keep it cleaner.  

A long coat is very difficult to manage and must be kept in wraps to keep it from breaking. The light colored pig was once nearly red as evidenced by the red face, but as the coat grows out it fades. Again, this is normal. This is a show animal and is called a Sheltie.

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Pat VanAllen


As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.


Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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