Teddy Guinea Pig – Ultimate guide plus care tips

It’s true that there’s tons of variety with guinea pig breeds but if one of your requirements is cuteness then consider the Teddy Guinea Pig. The saying, ‘what’s in a name’ could have had this sweet little guinea pig in mind because the Teddy ticks every box for adorable and playful plus super easy care. So read on to learn more about this interesting breed – why they’re so popular as pets and what you need to know to get started with your own Teddy adventure.

What are Teddy Guinea pigs?

The Teddy is so called because…it looks a bit like a teddy bear! The breed has several distinctive features that set it apart from other guinea pigs, resulting in a very cute appearance that’s not dissimilar to a soft toy.

The Teddy is, in guinea pig terms, a relatively new breed and it’s likely to have developed via a genetic anomaly from laboratory animals – specifically, American and Abyssinian guinea pigs cross-breeding. The soft toy type hair is derived from the Abyssinian plus a recessive gene – it’s this gene which causes the hair to kink, producing a raised, fluffy effect.

They’re long-lived for rodents, usually 4 to 8 years the expected lifespan.

Where do Teddy Guinea pigs come from?

You will likely come across the term cavy when you’re looking for a suitable guinea pig to fit your circumstances. Cavies are just another term for these little pigs, a name regularly used by breeders and shows. It’s derived from the Latin, Cavia porcellus but we’ll stick to guinea pig here.

Guinea pigs were domesticated in antiquity – approximately 5000 BC – across the Andean highlands and definitely weren’t pets. These little pigs featured on the menu as an essential food source in harsh climes – they’re still consumed today, across regions including Peru and Bolivia. They’re also used in traditional medicine. When European traders brought some of the species back home with them, the guinea pig came off the menu and was placed firmly in the home as a pet.

The genus isn’t found in the wild, so they’re likely descended from closely related wild cavy breeds. That said, they share many common characteristics, including sociability and crepuscular habits.

Teddy Guinea pig Appearance

There are a couple of aspects to the Teddy that makes them so endearing, and these are the shape of the nose and the texture of the hair.

Consider the nose first – often referred to as having a ‘Roman’ nose, the Teddy has a distinctly aquiline profile which turns upward slightly at the tip.

The hair has a coarse texture and is notably short when compared to other breeds. The Teddy’s hair is sometimes compared to the Abyssinian guinea pig for the particular rough texture – however, the Teddy’s hair is short and doesn’t have rosette patterns. Also, rough hair isn’t always the rule, as the Teddy can have softer hair – it depends on the individual.

What creates the Teddy Bear appearence in the kink in each strand of hair, caused by a recessive gene through cross-breeding. This gives the Teddy Guinea pig the coarse furry look.

Now for a science lesson. Teddy pigs genes are tt and non-Teddy pigs are Tt or TT. So if both parents are Tt, 1/4 of the time the offspring will be a teddy even though neither parent has the look of the teddy.

It’s a combo of the hair density and the broad, upturned nose that gives the appearance of a plush toy. It’s also worth knowing that for show purposes, rough hair is definitely the ideal.

The hair can also have a lovely satin effect, giving a sleek appearance that adds to the Teddy appeal.

Teddy Guinea pig colors

Teddy Guinea Pigs in a row

The Teddy has lots of colour variants. These can be solid colors where the animal will be the same colour all over, Roan, which is when there is a white fleck to the solid main color, and tricolor, which a mixture of 3 colors.

  • Solid color teddy’s include black, white, grey or brown varieties
  • Roan, as above, but with white hair mixed through the colored hair.
  • Tricolour. Typically White brown and black.

How big do Teddy Guinea Pigs get?

The body length of an average Teddy can be up to 20 cm. Females are slightly smaller, and they usually weigh anywhere between 1.5 and 2.5 pounds – males up to 3 pounds.

Teddy Guinea pig Personality

You won’t find a friendlier guinea pig. It’s one of the main reasons they make such good pets for kids, but adults love them too!

The Teddy character is defined by its laid back attitude – they seem to genuinely like contact with people, as long as they are carefully handled and given time to get used to you.

The Teddy is playful and is a little pocket dynamo of energy. They can also be trained – with patience and kindness – to follow basic commands.

Similarly to other breeds, the Teddy enjoys the company of its own kind. Therefore, same-sex pairings or small groups are recommended to keep your little fluff ball stimulated.

Teddy Guinea Pig Care

Provide a safe, spacious enclosure that’s predator resistant, with plenty of hay for nesting and hiding, plus guinea pig friendly toys for mental enrichment. The Teddy can have a habit of walking over food/water bowls so consider using a drip feeder to avoid mess. Replenish food and water daily, and keep the enclosure free from droppings and uneaten food.

Teddy Guinea pig grooming

Teddy beauty salon

The Teddy is the perfect pet if you’re seeking low maintenance care. Due to the short, compact hair, you don’t have to worry about tangling or matting. There is still some grooming required, however – use a soft brush weekly to remove any detritus and/or dirt.

Teddy guinea pigs can be prone to dry skin so if you’re going to bathe your little critter at all, limit it to 2-3 times yearly. It’s a good idea to check with a vet about the best shampoos to use, to avoid possible skin irritation.

Teddy Guinea pig Diet

Offer a healthy, balanced diet and avoid too many treats – the Teddy can be prone to diarrhoea so consult with a vet if this occurs. Choose quality proprietary guinea pig pellets, plus small pieces of veggies, greens and fruit to ensure essential Vitamin C intake. Avoid onions, tomatoes, avocado and citrus as these can be toxic/harmful. Observe your critter for any health issues and check with your vet for advice if you have concerns.

How long do Teddy Guinea pigs live?

Teddys are a hardly breed. If offered the right care, food and love, they can live to 8 years, with 4-7 being the average life span of the teddy guinea pig.

If you would like to know more about guinea pig life expectancy, check out our handy Guide Here.

Teddy Guinea pig health issues

The Teddy isnt very different to other guinea pig breeds in terms of potential health issues, aside from their ears and earwax.

A cute thing about these guinea pigs is their ear design – furry little ear flaps that complement that cuddly toy look. But, be aware that the shape of the ear makes them susceptible to ear wax build-up. It’s simple enough to remedy – use a damp, warm cloth/linen to clean around the delicate ear area. If the wax persists, it may need drops to get it moving but consult with a vet for advice.

Vitamin C consumption is a consideration for all Guinea Pigs. Like all animals, these pets can only source vitamin C through their diet, so a good quality hay, fresh vegetables and fruit, as well as vitamin c fortified pellet foods are a must.

Check out our guide to the best hays for guinea pigs

Vitamin C deficiency can lead to problems such as a poor condition coat and issues with teeth and joints.

Are Teddy Guinea pigs good pets?

In short, if you would like a Guinea Pig as a pet, and having read all of our guides we expect you do, then yes, the Teddy Guinea Pig is the perfect pet, both for Children or Adults.

Conclusion

Now you’re ready to make friends with one of the most enchanting guinea pig breeds. Considering the Teddy’s longevity, it’s a serious commitment but also a very rewarding one which you’ll not regret. Enjoy every moment with your little teddy guinea pig buddy, who will repay you with loving affection and devotion.

Swiss Teddy Guinea Pig

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