The Alpaca guinea pig has coarse, long, wavy hair that resembles the alpaca species.
This fur requires daily grooming, and will need to be trimmed if it gets too long.
A baby Alpaca guinea pig can be hard to come across. As pets, they are best kept indoors to protect their long fur from any parasites or mites.
An Alpaca cavy requires more care than other guinea pig breeds because of its popular fur type.
Will it suit your home? Let’s find out.
Alpaca Guinea Pig Quick Links
- What is an Alpaca guinea pig?
- What does an Alpaca guinea pig look like?
- Alpaca cavy temperament
- Alpaca health and general care
- Is an Alpaca guinea pig a good pet?
- Finding a baby Alpaca guinea pig
Unless you know about all kinds of guinea pigs, you might not have heard about the Alpaca cavy!
What is an Alpaca Guinea Pig?
An Alpaca cavy is one of the less common breeds of guinea pig, so you aren’t alone if you haven’t heard much about them before!
This breed isn’t actually yet recognized by the American Cavy Breeders’ Association. But, it’s one that is on the rise in the cavy world.
It is recognized by other breed clubs, including the British Cavy Council.
Like the Texel, Merino, and Lunkarya guinea pig breeds, the Alpaca has long, curly fur. However, Alpaca guinea pig fur is also very coarse.
Their name comes from this wonderful coat type, that is similar to that of the South American camelid – the alpaca.
What Does an Alpaca Guinea Pig Look Like?
The Alpaca cavy is mainly distinguished from other guinea pig breeds by its fur type.
It has coarse, long, wavy fur that is quite high maintenance. But, its fur will be springy to the touch when well groomed.
These are well-proportioned cavies that appear as an oval shape from above.
Generally Alpaca cavies are thick-set, and can come in a huge spectrum of different fur colors.
Alpaca Guinea Pig Temperament
Now, moving on to one of the most important points – what are Alpaca cavies like? Are Alpaca guinea pigs friendly?
Like all guinea pigs, Alpacas are social and need to live with other cavies in order to be happy.
Temperament and personality will vary between individual cavies. So, some may be friendlier than others.
This breed of cavy requires grooming every day, so over time, they will get used to being handled and cuddled by owners.
However, they should be treated gently, like any other breed, as they may be nervous. Particularly when they first come to their new home.
Alpaca Guinea Pig Health
There have been very few studies on specific health conditions that might affect the Alpaca guinea pig breed specifically.
However, there are a few problems that are common amongst cavies in general.
One of the main health problems guinea pigs can face is overgrown teeth. They need adequate amounts of fibrous foods in their diet, such as hay and fresh grass, to keep their teeth worn down.
This is because their teeth never stop growing!
Guinea pigs can also suffer from scurvy if they aren’t given enough vitamin C in their daily diet.
Skin tumors, cysts, and ulcers are also known to affect piggies.
If you notice signs of stress or illness in your Alpaca cavy, take them to the vet for diagnosis. Signs can include alopecia, self-barbering, sudden weight loss, and appetite loss.
The level of care needed for an Alpaca guinea pig is higher than many other guinea pig breeds.
Feeding and housing needs are the same as any other breed. But, Alpaca cavies should be kept indoors, as they can easily overheat with all that fur!
Being outside also puts them at an increased risk of mites or parasites burying into their coarse, dense coats.
You will need to groom your Alpaca every single day with a small brush, to ensure there are no tangles.
Tangles and mats that cannot be combed out will have to be cut out. But, do so very carefully to avoid hurting your cavy. It may be best to ask your vet for help if you have never done it before.
Is the Alpaca Guinea Pig a Good Pet?
If you have plenty of experience at looking after guinea pigs, especially those with longer fur, you will enjoy looking after the Alpaca cavy.
However, this breed isn’t the best choice for first time owners.
They require lots of additional care that other piggy breeds don’t need.
If you’re prepared to groom your cavy every single day on top of the other general care needs that guinea pigs have, the Alpaca could be a great choice for you.
Alpaca Guinea Pig Breeders
Finding a baby Alpaca guinea pig might be tricky, as this breed is not hugely common. It isn’t even considered an official breed by some breed councils and organisations.
If you can find any local guinea pig groups, you should speak to them. They may be able to help you find an Alpaca guinea pig breeder near you.
Your vet is another great source.
You can search online, or in pet stores. But, remember to choose the most reputable breeder possible to make sure you’re getting the healthiest cavy you can.
Remember, you cannot house any guinea pig alone, including the Alpaca breed. So, do not get a single cavy.
You must get at least two Alpacas! Housing an Alpaca cavy alone can cause stress and depression.
Alpaca Guinea Pig Summary
Do you have an Alpaca cavy at home? If you do, we would love to hear what they’re like!
Make sure to tell us about your Alpaca experiences in the comments. What’s your favorite thing about them?
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References and Resources
- ‘Recognised Cavy Breeds’, American Cavy Breeders’ Association
- ‘Alpaca Breed Standard’, British Cavy Council (Accessed 2020)
- Donnelly, T. & Brown, C. ‘Guinea Pig and Chinchilla Care and Husbandry’, Veterinary Clinics Exotic Animal Practice (2004)
- Witkowsa, A. (et al), ‘The Effects of Diet on Anatomy, Physiology, and Health in the Guinea Pig’, Journal of Animal Health and Behavioral Science (2017)