Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Silkie Guinea Pig: Facts, Care and Personality On This Sleek Guinea Pig Breed!

Silkie Guinea Pig: Facts, Care and Personality On This Sleek Guinea Pig Breed!

In the world of furry, domestic small animals, Guinea Pigs sit in between Rabbits, Chinchillas and Hamsters. Over the years since Guinea Pigs were first discovered, exotic-looking breeds were bred and developed to cater to the rise in popularity around the world. The Silkie Guinea Pig is one such exquisite long-hair breed.
Silkie Guinea Pig Facts
Fun Fact #1      The Silkie Guinea Pig is also referred to as the Sheltie Guinea Pig! The term Sheltie is more commonly used in Europe.

Silkie Guinea Pig

The ancestral roots of all Guinea Pigs can be traced back to the Tschudi Guinea Pig from South America as early as 5000 BC— First descendant breed being American Shorthairs. Before different  breeds of Guinea Pigs were developed, Guinea Pigs were known to be a food source for tribes in the Andean Region of South America. Other early civilisations had purposes for Guinea Pigs which included religious ceremonies, and even gift exchange. Folk Doctors of tribes were also known to utilize Guinea Pigs to tell ailments and study medicine when Western medicine was lacking. 
Silkie Guinea Pig Baby
The origin of Silkie Guinea Pig has two sources, some have reported that the discovery began in the United Kingdom during the 1970s, in the midst of experimenting for exotic Guinea Pigs (rumoured to be around the same time as the Skinny Guinea Pig). While others state that the first sighting and breeding developments were done so in Southern California, where the first Silkies were from a batch of Peruvian Cavy babies without rosettes. Regardless of either source, the Silkie Guinea Pig was indeed a result of crossbreeding between an all-Black Guinea Pig and a Peruvian.

Silkie Guinea Pig Appearance

Size — All breeds of Guinea Pigs are relatively within the same size. An adult Cavy has an average length of 20 to 30cm, weighing 900g to 1 kg for males, and 700 to 900g for females.

Features — The most renowned feature of a Silkie is its long, smooth and silky coat. Its no wonder how the breed name came about! Amongst long-hair Guinea Pig breeds, Silkies have the sleekest 'dos with a natural combed-back flow. 

Fun Fact #2      Its tough not to confuse the Silkie with a Peruvian. One easy way is to look out for the hair on top of their heads— the one with a rosette and more hair on top is most likely a Peruvian. Silkies always have their hairdos sleek
Silkie guinea pig vs Peruvian
Left: Peruvian, Right: Silkie
Peruvians also have even length of hair throughout their bodies, while Silkies have hair that increases in length from their heads to their rears. When viewed from above, Silkies may sometimes look like a "teardrop".

Colour — A variety of colours and patterns are available for Guinea Pigs these days, colourations can range from Black, Beige, Cream, Lilac, Blue, Red, White, and Chocolate, with patterns such as Brindle, Ticked, Agouti, Harlequin, Magpie, Roan and Tortoise-shell.

Grooming A Silkie Guinea Pig

The exquisite, movie star-esque hairdo of a Silkie comes with regular maintenance. Brushing and combing at least once or twice a week, to rid dirt, tangles and matting. Keep their coats shiny and smooth by giving them a bath at least once every month. However, due to the sensitivity of a Cavy's skin, full baths are strongly not recommended— using a soft cloth dampened with water, wipe down your Silkie's coat in a gentle manner. Trim their nails every month or whenever necessary.
Sheltie Guinea Pig breed
Fun Fact #3      Such a pretty Guinea Pig is best flaunted at shows, therefore the upkeep of its luscious long coat calls for a little more effort in care, more suited for an experienced Cavy owner.

Non-show Silkies — Keep their coats short for easier maintenance, making sure it does not go beyond their legs at least.

If you are unsure how to perform any of these tasks, consult a trusted and experienced Guinea Pig or small animal Groomer for professional handling.

Silkie Guinea Pig Personality

Known as one of the gentlest amongst all Guinea Pig breeds, a Silkie may take a little longer to accustom to its surroundings and you— small animals are naturally shy and wary at the beginning, requiring a lot of patience and love to build trust between owner and pet Cavy.
Exploration of their surroundings, home-grooming and frequent handling can improve this relationship, gradually leading up to feeding them out of your own hand. With proper care and attention, the average lifespan of a Silkie Guinea Pig is 12 to 14 years. 

Guinea Pig Care: Housing And Feed

Housing — Every Guinea Pig’s home should be filled with a good bedding of hay, toys and ample room for exercise and active movements— Wooden toys satisfies a Cavy's chewing needs and prevents overgrown teeth. Pine and Cedar wood bedding should be avoided as they may cause respiratory problems. Straw is also not advisable due to its level of absorbency. Keep your Silkie Guinea Pig's long hair healthy and dirt-free by checking on the cleanliness of their home.
Sheltie Guinea pig information
Feeding — Good quality Hay is an absolute staple in any Guinea Pig's diet. Introduce a plate of good-quality hay with food pellets mixed in. Guinea Pigs require a ton of Fiber and Vitamin C, hence the inclusion of fresh vegetables and occasional fruits treats are a healthy option. Recommendations for good quality Hay types are Timothy Hay, to encourage healthy teeth and a good digestive system.

Hot Tip      To avoid consumption of soiled hay, clean their living space regularly and provide fresh food and water!

You might also be interested in these: 

Useful Tips On How To Life Hack For Guinea Pigs

What Can My Guinea Pig Eat?: Guinea Pig Safe Greens and Fruits

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