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American Guinea Pig

By | Last Updated : 26th June 2020

The American guinea pig is perhaps the oldest and most popular breed of domestic guinea pigs. Distinguished by its smooth, short-haired coat, the American guinea pig is known for its lovable character and thus makes a perfect companion for animal lovers. The origin of American guinea pigs can be traced back to thousands of years in the past when the earliest ancestors of guinea pigs occurred around the Andes Mountain in South America. These guinea pigs were brought to the US during the early 1900s and were originally called English guinea pigs. The American Cavy Breeders Association (ACBA) recognized it as the American guinea pig in the 1960s.

American Guinea Pig

Basic Information

Kept As:Indoor/outdoor pet, competition/show cavy
Suited For:Families with children, beginners, singles, seniors
Origin:South America
Temperament:Sweet, docile, easygoing, laid-back, curious, clingy
Lifespan:About 4-8 years
Association/Clubs:American Cavy Breeders Association
Breed Standard:American Cavy Breeders Association

How Big do They Get

Size: 8-9 inches long

Weight: 2-3 lbs

Height: 9-10 inches

Width: About 9-10 inches

What do They Look Like

Fur Length: Short-haired

Fur Texture: Straight, smooth, silky; should not have side-whiskers, ridges, rosettes, or feathering

Color: Over 20 colors divided into five groups are recognized, including self group (black, beige, chocolate, lilac, cream, white, red, red-eyed orange), agouti group (silver agouti, golden agouti, dilute agouti), solid group (silver solid, dilute solid, roan, brindle, golden solid), tan pattern (chocolate tan, lilac tan, beige tan, blue tan, black tan), and marked group (Dutch, dalmatian, tortoiseshell, Himalayan, broken color)

Black American Guinea Pig
Red American Guinea Pig

Care Level

Make sure to keep your American cavies’ bedding clean. Remove soiled bedding and replace it with a new one. You may use recycled pelleted beddings, or aspen and kiln-dried pine shavings. Clean its cage on a weekly basis, keeping the area dry as well as free from drafts.

Cage Size

An enclosure measuring at least 30 X 50 X 20 inches, along with a floor space of 1512-1872 square inches is suitable for keeping two or more Americans.


Its regular diet should include unlimited timothy hay, a cup of fresh fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens, about a one-eighth cup of quality pellets, and a plentiful supply of fresh, clean water.

Golden Agouti American Guinea Pig
Silver Agouti American Guinea Pig


To groom your American cavies, brush their coat two to three times a week using a soft-bristled brush. You may rub their coat from the nose to rump, and then the underside of their neck and belly in the direction of hair growth. You may make your hand moist using water so that loose hair sticks to it. Trim your guinea’s nails when they grow too long.


Give them some safe pet toys to play with so that they can keep themselves engaged and entertained. Let them run outside in a predator-proof area or around the house for about an hour.


American guineas are easily available at animal rescues, shelters, or local pet stores where they are typically priced at around $20. The annual cost of maintaining an American guinea pig is average.

American Guinea Pig Size
Full Grown American Guinea Pig


Since they are short-haired breeds, American guineas shed a lesser amount of hair than long-haired breeds. The shedding, however, increases during the springtime and summer months when they need to be brushed more frequently to get rid of loose hair.

Did You Know

  • American guinea is one of the founding cavy breeds that was recognized and shown by the American Cavy Breeders Association.

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