Guinea Pig Colors

guinea pig colors

Welcome to the wonderful world of guinea pig colors! Wondering what color your guinea pig is, or looking to find a guinea pig in unusual color? Then check out the fabulous array of different guinea pig colors that you can find in this adorable pet.

Guinea Pig Colors

Cute, cuddly and colorful guinea pigs are the favorites of the small animal world. There are numerous breeds and each has its own distinct variations and traits. From the show cavies, to the wild piggies, to the animals in your local pet store. You are likely to see a rainbow of colors and patterns. And let’s not forget the adorable offerings at your local animal shelter.

If you have been considering adopting your own guinea pig, then you may wonder just why the animals seem to present such a variety of coloration and also what the different pattern names are. Well we investigate just this tonal conundrum in this article!

The Genetics Of Guinea Pig Colors

Before we delve into the many guinea pig color variations you may see when venturing into your local pet store, we need to understand a bit about genetics and how color variations are created. While you may gloss over the term genetics as boring or too scientific for your taste, understanding inheritance can help you to figure out your furry pal just a little bit better.

Under The Coat

Color variations in guinea pigs can be understood by looking at genetics. Basically, the genes of the mother and father determine the coloring of the offspring.

Genes are carried on chromosomes and each guinea pig has a total of 64 chromosomes. Thirty two chromosomes are supplied by the mother and thirty two by the father. This means that half the genes are supplied by each parent. The unique combination of the parent chromosomes results in a specific phenotype.

The Guinea Pig Colors We See

A phenotype is a very scientific name that refers to the appearance of the guinea pig. While genes are supplied by each parent, certain traits are more likely to be passed on from one guinea pig to the next. These traits are called ‘dominant’.

Dominant traits can influence everything from guinea pig eye color, to hair length, to pigmentation. This is one reason why certain hair colors are more common, simply because they are dominant in the species.

You should know that phenotypes are extremely varied when it comes to guinea pig breeds and colors, according to research studies. In fact, color fluctuations are quite common even when guinea pigs with the same genotypes (combination of genes) are examined. This likely has to do with the complex hereditary background of each guinea pig.

Interestingly enough, research has been conducted since before the 1940s on guinea pig hair, color variations, and genetics. We can, in part, thank guinea pigs for helping scientists understand phenotypes, genotypes, and the inheritance of specific traits.

The Most Common Colors Of Guinea Pigs

Now that we have the scientific stuff out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the most common guinea pig colors. Each guinea pig color has its own specific name to describe it.

Beige Guinea Pig

Beige is one of the lighter guinea pig colors and is described as a light brown with yellow tones. This variation is similar to the color of light khaki shorts or pants.

Beige Guinea Pig

Cream Guinea Pig

Cream is another common hair tone and is just a few shades lighter than beige.

Cream guinea pig

Black Guinea Pig

The black and chocolate are two very similar colors and are the darkest ones seen on guinea pigs.

Black Guinea Pig

It can be difficult to tell the difference between the two, but chocolate has a slight brown tone while black does not.

However, some black coloring may appear with a dark tinge of blue. This color is called blue or blue-black.

Red Guinea Pig

Red hair color is a deep brownish red and similar to the liver coloring you would see on a bloodhound. This color is just a bit darker than the yellow-toned gold that is commonly seen.

Red guinea pig

Gold Guinea Pig

In addition to gold, you may see a lemon color, which is similar to cream but with more of a yellow tint. A warm honey-brown may be seen as well.

Gold guinea pig

Lilac Guinea Pig

Lilac is one of the more unique colors you may notice. While the color may look gray at first, you can see streaks of violet or purple on closer inspection.

Lilac guinea pig

Of course, white is also a tone you will commonly see on your guinea pig.

Solid Guinea Pig Coat Colors

Some guinea pigs are solid in color. American guinea pigs, with their fine and short hair are often one single or solid tone. This type of coloring is called “self.” So, if your guinea pig is a all black, then he would be called a self black cavy.

Interestingly enough, guinea pigs that are all black will also inherit black eyes as this is a dominant trait that is established in guinea pigs with a self black covering.

Speaking of eyes, self chocolate pigs will have brown eyes and beige ones will have pink eyes. If you think you have a self colored guinea pig and notice that the eyes are not the correct shade (like a chocolate cavy with pink eyes), then the coloring likely is not a self one. Your furry friend may have a solid pattern instead.

What exactly is the difference between a self pattern and a solid pattern. Well, a guinea pig with a solid pattern is not actually one solid color.

Several hair colors will be present, but the difference is that variations will occur in each hair strand. This is called agouti and your piggy may look speckled. This is the case because the base of the hair is one color while the tip, or ticking, is another.

Agouti guinea pig

An all over solid agouti pattern is most often seen in wild guinea pigs.

However, you may see a slight variation of this in domestic animals with an argente pattern. An argente guinea pig is one with an agouti pattern across the majority of the body, but the belly is a solid color. The belly will match the ticking or the tips of the hair. For example, if the ticking is white, then the belly will be white as well.

Multi Colored Guinea Pigs

Now that you know a little bit about the solid colors, you might want to know a bit about multi colored guinea pigs. After all, the majority of domestic guinea pigs are seen with two, three, or more colors.

Brindle Guinea Pig

Like solid colored cavies, there are some common patterns you are likely to see, with brindle being the most distinct. Brindle piggies have a light, solid coloring with darker bands that run across the body.

Brindle guinea pig

Color combinations vary, but honey-brown with black banding is often noted.

Broken Coat Guinea Pig

While some two colored guinea pigs may appear brindle, they may actually have a broken pattern instead.

Broken refers to a patched coloring with large blocks of color that alternate with sections of white hair. While broken cavies typically appear with geometric or circular blocks of color, you may see banding too.

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Broken Coated Guinea Pig

However, your furry friend will only be a brindle if banding is consistent throughout the entire body. Otherwise, he will be a broken patterned one.

Tortoise Shell Guinea Pig

Tortoise shell and dutch patterns are similar to broken ones. However, a tortoise shell animal will have patches of red and black hair towards the front of the body. These patches sit in larger sections of white hair.

Tortoiseshell guinea pig

Dutch Guinea Pig

The Dutch animals have patches of white and brown or white and red covering the body.

Dutch guinea pig

Rare Guinea Pig Colors

With such an astounding variation in color and pattern, it may seem odd that certain color combinations would be unique. However, there are a few distinctive patterns that are considered “rare.” This is true of the white crested pattern.

White crested guinea pigs are self colored animals that are almost completely covered in a single hair tone, like honey-brown or black. The cavies feature a white tuft or crest of hair on the top of the head though.

The crested pattern is rare simply because the white crested guinea pig breed itself is a rare one.

White crested guinea pig

Dalmatian patterns are rare as well. Dalmatian guinea pigs have a very similar pattern to canines with the same name.

Basically, the animal is white with dark spots. Two guinea pigs with the dalmatian coloring need to breed to produce offspring with the same pattern.

Dalmatian guinea pig

Unfortunately, the breeding can result in the production of a lethal white guinea pig. This is the name for a deformed cavy that cannot survive. One in every four babies born from a breeding pair of dalmatians will be deformed. For this reason some people feel it is not moral to mate two Dalmatians together at all.

Perfect examples of patterning are often rare as well.

These cavies appear with “show quality” coloring. Pattern and color standards are outlined by various organizations like the British Cavy Council.

Guinea Pig Colors – A Conclusion

There are many different colors of guinea pigs, as you have learned. These variations make the animals unique and interesting to look at.

Whether you enjoy a cream colored guinea pig or a tri colored guinea pig, your cavy will love you just the same and squee in glee to see you enter the room.

Do you have a uniquely colored cavy or do you have one with a “show quality” coat? We want to know, so go ahead and leave us a note in the comments below.


British Cavy Council

Cavy Genetics


MONTEE R. BAKER AND A. C. ANDREWS, THE MELANINS. I. STUDIES OF THE HAIR PIGMENTS OF THE GUINEA PIG, Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station, Manhattan, Kansas July 21, 1943


  1. One of our cavies just had babies and one (female) baby is solid white with two symmetrical black spots around each eye that trails to the ears with black ears. What color would she be considered? The other babies were branded brindles tan and ticked gray.

  2. Very informative and I am studying genetics loosely to make my own line of RV tri colours in the UK. Your article is very well written and very easy to understand even for anyone who doesn’t have a strand of genetic knowledge . Congratulations to you

  3. I’m 11 and I had a created guinea pig when I was 3 and he passed away when I was 9. He didn’t have white on him. He was pure brown. Also, now I have 2 guinea pigs but one is really common. The other one is a crested guinea pig that has a Dalmatian pattern with more black and his tuft of fur on his head is half black half white. Lol my mom says he kinda looks like a skunk cause he has a white line going up his head ?

  4. I have a blue roan, a self black werewolf skinny, 4 broken colors, 2 Califorians, a self black and a black agouti. Other than the Skinny, the rest are Abbys. Your article was informative and well written!

  5. Can you get a light chocolate colour skinny pig, or will it be lilac not any information anywhere on skinny pig colours if any one knows of a website plz cauld you tell me

    • Hiya a light chocolate colored guinea pig could be a lilac or it could also be a fawn, i have a fawn girl with a beige crest on her head. Hope i was a help

  6. I have a long haired , black with couple of white spots guinea pig and she just had two albinos babies ! Pure white with red eyes! So unexpected. We don’t know how the father looks as we adopted her already pregnant from a pet store , but it’s so amazing!

  7. I have a brown agouti white crested guinea pig. I did NOT realize she was rare. We got her for only 50 dollars at a pet store with another pig who is completely normal. So I guess the pet store didn’t know either, nor did the breeder they got them from (this is a local pet store who gets ALL of their animals from breeders and I would say they are quite knowledgeable)

  8. One of my piggies is white with black patches on her eyes that lead to behind her ears. I think she may be a variation of Dutch, but I’m not sure. Anyone know? Her breed is American although she probably is not purebred.

  9. I have a guinea pig that is long haired with a dusky silvery black with light red coloring on the face, Does anyone know what she might be called?

  10. We have two 6 week old guinea pigs , home bread. One is a ginggerish cream colour with black patches, while the other is grey with white but not like the Dalmatian one at all what would they be?

  11. I would like help to find out what type of guinea oig we have. He’s like a magpie style piggy, but instead of black, he’s darker brown on head, lighter brown on other patches, yet when i push his hair the other way, its grey to brown, so closest to skin is greyer & not so much noticeable unless ur patting him or washing in bath or in light. He has ruby eye’s in light & darker ruby with no lights on. I tried to ask @ petstore but they were unsure, of breed or anything. He has some brown feet/nails & some white feet/nails. I would love to post a picture so i can find out more on breed etc. Our other piggy is white, with blue eyes & looks like an American style piggy. As more flexible etc then the magpie 1, the magpie style 1 is a lil slower, not so flexible & has more of a hump on neck. I havnt had many guinea pigs b4 & neither has a coronet & both have straight short silky hair. Few wks apart & roughly 5mths old now. Any suggestions would b helpful please.

  12. ohh i got a brindle white crested from a pet store a while back because my girl i rescued needed a friend. i didn’t know what she was back then, she’s just perfect

  13. When I was a 4y girl I was given a Guinea pig he was as big as a 35 pound cat and was orange white and reddish brown color I really loved him but I wasn’t taught that you don’t give them flea baths and so when I saw him itching one day I assumed like most children that he had fleas and we had just gave the dog a bath so I gave ginni one too and as I dried him off and opened the towel I noticed that all his fur had come off and he was dead I was heartbroken and I haven’t had another gini since. I learned a hard lesson at age 4 that is still with me even now at age 39.

  14. I have three at the moment but my momma is pregnant again so I might have more soon. She’s red-brown with honey brown and white she had baby’s with a chocolate brown pig but his hair was two toned.. they had three baby’s: one is like the mom but without the honey- brown. The one one looks like the dad (witch passed away) two days after it was born. And a grey with white, she has what looks like red eyes

  15. Hi. I’ve had 7 piggies so far & of course they’re all my favorites! My 1st boy Chip was a white crested with cinnamon speckled coat, my 2nd girl Chrissy was calico like pattern, my 3rd & 4th were brothers Tyler & Max both white crested Tyler was all cinnamon speckled & Max’s head was cinnamon speckled but his hind end was pure white, my last three are my two girls Luna & Penny & my boy Hunter. Luna is cream & white with dark eyes, Penny is black on her front half with white & tan markings on her center & black on her hind end with black eyes & Hunter is cinnamon speckled on his front half & white on his hind end but his nose area is white.

  16. Hi I have a few lilacs, they have the crazy fluffy fur. And let me say they are so pretty. I also have brindles, black and whites, brown and white, black brown and white, beige. Some of them also has the red eyes.


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