Friday, March 16, 2018

American Shorthair Guinea Pig: The Oldest Breed Of Guinea Pigs

American Shorthair Guinea Pig: The Oldest Breed Of Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pigs have been around for a much longer time than we'd imagine, and also found their way into the hearts of many Cavy-enthusiats as a beloved Pet. The American Shorthair is the most common and oldest breed amongst the cavy community. Also known as English Guinea Pig in some other parts of the world— Not a Rabbit, nor a Hamster, Guinea Pigs are unique to their own!
Guinea Pig Breeds
Fun fact      Guinea Pigs are called Cavy for short, derived from their species in the rodent family, Caviidae, and genus family Cavia. Another common nickname is also Piggies, but they aren't related to pigs nor from Guinea.

American Shorthair Guinea Pig

At the mention of Guinea Pig(s), it's no surprise if an image of an American Shorthair pops into one's mind. Being the first breed to be introduced as domestic Pets, the American Shorthair is widely stereotyped as a classic type for Guinea Pigs. Originating from South America as early as 5000 BC, the American Shothairs are descendants of the Tschudi Guinea Pig.
Tschudi cavy the ancestor of guinea pigs
Tschudi Guinea Pig
The human race began rearing them in the 1500’s, creating other breeds we see today. Often utilized as test subjects in laboratories, spontaneity in genetic mutations also played a part in creating a few breed variables. Guinea Pigs were introduced to America by European traders, and were named American Shorthair by the ACBA (American Cavy Breeders Association) in the 1960’s.

Appearance Of The American Shorthair

Coat — American Shorthair Guinea Pigs sport smooth short coats, with straight hairs that require little to minimal grooming.

Form — They have a round body with broad shoulders, and hind legs should be tucked nicely under their bodies. Front legs should be slightly visible from the front view. They should have an average weight of 1 kilogram when fully grown. Ears are smooth to the touch, and sit at both sides of their head like tiny flaps.
american short hair guinea pigs in different colours
Colour — American Shorthairs are available in a variety of colours. Varying from solid colours like Black, Cream, Red, White, Beige, Chocolate, Lilac, Golden Agouti, Silver, Dalmatian, Himalayan, Tortoise Shell, to patterns and patches as well. 

How To Groom An American Shorthair Guinea Pig

Unlike other small animals like Rabbits, Hamsters or Chinchillas, Guinea Pigs do not keep clean with sand baths or Rabbit-friendly disinfectant powder. It is permissible to bath your Guinea Pig in water. In fact, sand bath powder is known to cause serious respiratory problems for your Piggy.
An American Shorthair Piggy's sleek, straight and short coat does not require extensive maintenance. On top of that, they are great self-groomers too. A monthly bath along with a Guinea Pig-friendly shampoo keeps their coat clean and healthy. Towel-dry thoroughly after.
guinea pig taking a bath
 As akin to their cousins of the rodent species, avoid bathing them too often— their skin can be rather sensitive to too frequent bathing, leading to dry skin. Finish up with soft-bristled brushing from time to time, teeth and nail checks, your Guinea Pig would be brand spankin’ new. If you are unsure how to perform these tasks, approach a trusted Groomer and Veterinarian to have your Cavy handled professionally!

Guinea Pig Quick Care Tips

Housing — A good and comfy home for American Shorthair or any guinea pig would be soft and quality bedding. Some owners opt for fleece towels or even hay, just ensure cleanliness at all times. Avoid Pine and Cedar wood bedding as it may lead up to respiratory issues. Straw is also not advisable for absorbency purposes.

Ensure the living space/cage is of an appropriate size, large enough for your active Cavy to run and roam about. To prevent them from eating soiled hay, clean their living space regularly and provide fresh food and water!
American short hair guinea pig in grass
Feeding — Good quality Hay is an absolute staple in a Guinea Pig's diet. Introduce a plate of hay for food with food pellets mixed in. Guinea Pigs require a ton of Fiber and Vitamin C, inclusion of fresh vegetables and occasional fruits treats are healthy. Recommendations for good quality Hay types are Timothy Hay, to encourage healthy teeth and a good digestive system.

 Personality Of An American Shorthair Guinea Pig

Known to be the calmest of all Guinea Pig breeds, American Shorthairs love getting patted by their human companions. Having a sweet and docile nature, they are also reported to greet owners when you're back home from work— letting out a Wheeekk! of excitement. 

guinea pig standing next to owner
Being expressive and non-aggressive, American Shorthairs rarely bites, only on the off-set chance they mistake your finger for food. Their friendly personalities and easy maintenance makes them one of the best Cavy choice for a starter Pet! With proper care, love and attention, the average lifespan of a Guinea Pig is 5 to 7 years.

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