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Guinea Pig - Long Haired Breed Profile

Guinea Pig - Long Haired

General
Other Names
Peruvian and Sheltie are two types of longhaired guinea pigs. 
Lifespan
On average this guinea pig can live to 5 or 6 years, there are exceptions to this with some living longer and others shorter lives. 
Breeding
The ideal age for the female guinea pig to start breeding is at least 20 weeks of age and before 1 year old. 
Average Litter Size
The guinea pig can produce, on average, 3 young. Litters can be between 1or 6, sometimes more. 
Gestation Period
The gestation period is between 65-72 days. 
General Physical Description
The longhaired guinea pig has a broad head and a short face. The eyes are bright and quite large. The ears are petal shaped and droop and their bodies are relatively long. These guinea pigs have a distinctive coat; the Peruvian variety has hair that falls down over the face and back end, making it difficult to tell which end is which. The Sheltie variety has long hair that flows back from the head leaving it clear. 
Size
Guinea pigs can measure 20-40.5cms in length. Some wild guinea pigs can be as long as a metre. 
A well-balanced dry guinea mix will contain all the necessary nutritional requirements that a guinea pig needs. They do enjoy the occasional treat in the form of fruit and vegetables. Do make sure these are limited as too much can cause diarrhoea. Avoid giving too much lettuce as this can lead to liver problems. Cavies cannot make their own vitamin C, so they must be fed fresh vegetables in order to get a supply. It may be necessary to supplement vitamin C into the diet, especially during the winter months when the fruit and vegetables are in limited supply. An earthenware bowl is the best type of feeding dish to use, as they are harder to knock over than the plastic ones, also they not chewable. A water bottle fixed to the outside of the cage, with the water tube going into the cage, ensures a fresh water supply is available. 
A basic standard cage, with a plastic base and a wire or plastic cover that attaches to the base, can be used as long as they are kept indoors, also the guinea pig must be allowed out for supervised exercise daily. Wooden hutches are more commonly used and can be for outdoor or indoor use. Make sure that the guinea pig has adequate space for exercise and a separate sleeping compartment. Wood shavings should be used for the floor of the cage with some hay on top. Fine sawdust can cause eye irritations and do not use straw as it can cause eye injuries. The cage or hutch should be cleaned out weekly, the indoor cages may need to be cleaned out ore often, and any old food removed. If it is necessary to wash the housing then only use a cleaner specifically designed for cleaning these little animals houses. An earthenware food bowl and a drinking bottle will also be required to feed and water the guinea pig. 
Characteristics
Suitability For Children
The long coated guinea pig does like to be handled and stroked. They do require a lot of time spent on their coats so they are not for the novice owner. They can make good pets for children if they are prepared to spend time handling and grooming them.< 
Character & Temperament
The guinea pig is quite a sociable individual by nature, living in pairs or groups. They should be socialised at a young age, before they have been on their own for a time. 
Sleeping Habits
In the wild cavies are more active at night. 
Toys & Exercise
The cage or hutch itself could be furnished with items, such as boxes and tubes, for the guinea pig to hide in. A box with several holes big enough for guinea pigs to go through will keep them amused for a good long while. 
Grooming
Types of Coat
The coat of the Peruvian is long and silky, while the coat of the Sheltie is soft and dense. Both coats should be kept short, for hygiene reasons, unless the guinea pigs are used for showing. 
Colour
The long coated guinea pig comes in many different colours. 
Other
Intelligence
Guinea pigs can become accustomed to the sound of your voice, and will show various degrees of response. It may even be possible, using treats as rewards, to train the guinea pig to carry out some of its natural activities. 
Show Characteristics
The Peruvian has hair that falls down over the face and back end, making it difficult to tell which end is which. The Sheltie has long hair that flows back from the head leaving it clear. Peruvians have a tendency to chew their hair, which can ruin their coats. Both the Peruvian and Sheltie are shown on a special show platform, and have to be trained to sit still on this so that they can be judged correctly. They are shown in this way in order to display their coats to the best advantage. Some of the coats can be 50cms or more in length. Colours are not as important as the coat condition for showing purposes. 
Country of Origin
South America 

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