American Guinea Pig - Origin, Characteristics, Feeding and Care

American guinea pig: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. The American guinea pig is the oldest in existence. We...

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

The American guinea pig is the oldest that exists. We know that these small mammals had contact with humans in the year 5000 BC. C, but it was not until the 16th century that the creation of breeds began to spread and become popular. It is a smooth, short-haired guinea pig that can be solid, two-tone, or tri-color. Due to its sociable, affectionate and docile character, it is an excellent life companion, even in homes with children. He is active and loves human attention because he is very playful.

Thinking of adopting an adorable American guinea pig? Keep reading this article from PlanèteAnimal to learn more about all the characteristics of the American guinea pig, its origin, character, care and he alth.


  • America
  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Peru
  • Venezuela

Origin of the American Guinea Pig

The American guinea pig is the first guinea pig that appeared. Its domestication is thought to have begun in the Andes around 5000 BC as it was used for its fur and the consumption of its flesh. The guinea pig boom in Europe only began when European traders introduced them from South America in the mid-16th century. It is believed that these rodents arose naturally in Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru.

They used to be known as the English guinea pig, and in fact today in some countries it is still called that, so the English and American guinea pigs are the same. This name is due to the fact that it began to be crossed as soon as it arrived in Europe in order to give birth to other breeds of guinea pigs such as the Texel guinea pig or the Silky guinea pig.

In 1554, a naturalist named Conrad von Gesner detailed its characteristics.

Characteristics of the American Guinea Pig

The American guinea pig is medium-sized, with a length between 25 and 35 cm, with males being longer than females. It weighs between 800 grams and 1.5 kg. It reaches sexual maturity at the age of three months.

It has, like all guinea pigs, an elongated body, a head that hardly differs from the trunk and short legs. A notable feature of this breed of guinea pig is that the muzzle is somewhat elongated, the ears are low set and small, and the eyes are round and lively.

American guinea pig hair is soft, smooth and short. As for the colors of the American guinea pig, it can only present a single color (brown, brown, white, black, etc.), two-color patterns (white and cream, black and tan, etc.) or tricolor (white with black and cream, etc.).

American Guinea Pig Character

The American guinea pig is affectionate, sociable and playful, so taking it out of its cage so it can play is always a good idea. He tends to stay close to his human companions and is always ready to play with them or their toys. He is also very docile with children, but whenever they are together, you have to be vigilant so that everything goes well. Of course, it is also essential to educate children to teach them that guinea pigs are not toys, they are living beings that must be cared for, respected and treated with great care.

We can say that it is a very affectionate breed of guinea pig that develops a strong bond with its guardians. When he needs attention, he starts making noises, which allows him to communicate with his humans. He is also very social and rejoices immensely when his human companions come home, especially those he considers playmates.

Although the American guinea pig is distinguished by its playful nature, it also loves petting, so you can pet it to strengthen your bond.

American Guinea Pig Care

Unlike long-haired guinea pigs like the Shelty Guinea Pig or the Peruvian Guinea Pig, the American Guinea Pig has a short, smooth coat that requires less care and is plenty easier to maintain. You will need to brush it about once or twice a week. Bathing is not necessary unless it is very dirty or you need to treat it by applying shampoo.If it is just a little dirty, you can use a damp cloth and run it over its bristles to clean it quickly.

The cage must be wide, but not very high, with litter and it must not have grids. A cage that is too small can be very stressful because the American Guinea Pig, like all guinea pigs, needs to move and have room when awake and restless. The minimum dimensions for a guinea pig cage are 80cm long x 40cm wide. In any case, as we pointed out in the previous section, it is essential to let the guinea pig play, run and interact with its companions outside the cage. As a very active and playful guinea pig, he tends to get enough exercise to avoid overweight as long as he has toys available.

The claws of American guinea pigs should be trimmed every month or every month and a half, depending on how fast they grow. Ears and teeth require periodic examinations to check for any abnormalities.

American Guinea Pig Diet

Another key point in caring for the American guinea pig is feeding. Hay is the basis of their diet, representing 70% of the daily food in their ration. To obtain the necessary vitamins and minerals, his diet must also include fruits and vegetables which must represent between 20 and 25% of his daily diet. Kibbles, especially to achieve vitamin C requirements, should be included and should be between 5-10% of the guinea pig's total diet.

He must always have fresh water available. We recommend that you opt for a bottle rather than a bowl because the latter risks being the source of microorganisms. The water must be changed every day in order to be fresh and clean.

Discover in this other article the List of fruits and vegetables for guinea pigs.

American Guinea Pig He alth

The life expectancy of the American guinea pig is between 5 and 8 years, provided it is well cared for, fed and has all the medical attention. The most common he alth problems in American guinea pigs are:

  • External parasites like lice, mites, fleas and ticks. Deworming is essential in the treatment and prevention of these infestations.
  • Cecal dysbiosis or change in the normal flora of the colon for a different or pathogenic flora. It is usually caused when there are predisposing factors such as in the case of clostridiosis due to Clostridium piriformis, excessive fermentable carbohydrates and low fiber that reduce colon motility.
  • Scurvy or vitamin C deficiency. It is common in these animals because they cannot synthesize it on their own, just like humans.It appears when they do not have a balanced diet or this diet does not contain vitamin C supplements. This disease can cause internal bleeding, hypersalivation, diseases of the respiratory system, anorexia, pododermatitis, immunosuppression , weakness, lameness, and hair and skin problems.
  • Dental malocclusion due to abnormal and inadequate growth of teeth that causes misalignment, preventing them from being able to feed properly.
  • Respiratory problems, common if the guinea pig is exposed to drafts or lives in a low temperature environment. Respiratory symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, runny nose appear and can even lead to pneumonia with fever, dyspnea and breath sounds.

Many of the common illnesses in American Guinea Pigs are the result of improper handling or care, so they can be easily prevented.

As always, it is best to go to a veterinary center specializing in exotic animals to find out how to prevent and how to ensure the best he alth for our American or English guinea pig in order to offer him the best possible quality of life.

Pictures of American Guinea Pig

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!