The Mini Yak guinea pig, or Mini Sheba Yak guinea pig is not recognized by most official breed clubs. But, the popularity of this little cavy is quickly on the rise.
The most notable feature of the Mini Yak is its wonderful but crazy fur! In fact, some people know this cavy breed better as the “bad hair day guinea pig”!
Like many other cavy breeds, the Sheba Mini Yak is social, friendly, and loving, especially if handled gently from a young age.
Read on to find out more about where the Mini Yak guinea pig comes from, and how to take care of one.
Where Does the Mini Yak Guinea Pig Come From?
The Mini Sheba Yak guinea pig is not yet recognized by either the British Cavy Council nor the American Cavy Breeders’ Association.
This is partly because the Mini Yak is quite a new breed. It first came about in Australia, when breeders chose to combine the Abyssinian and Peruvian guinea pig breeds.
Despite their start in Australia, the Mini Yak cavy is taking off, and is a much more common sight in other parts of the world, including America and Europe.
Mini Yak Guinea Pig Appearance
Mini Sheba Yak guinea pigs get their name from their wild appearance. Their coat tends to stick out at unpredictable angles, making each cavy look unique.
Their wild fur makes them look like tiny yaks! Many Mini Yak guinea pigs will also have a quiff of fur sticking up on their forehead, like their Peruvian parent often does. Although since they are a mixed breed, appearance can be unpredictable.
The color of this cavy breed varies. But, since it is a mix between the Abyssinian and Peruvian breeds, you can expect the color range to cover that of the two parent breeds.
Mini Sheba Yak guinea pigs have medium to long fur. So, they are slightly higher maintenance than short haired breeds.
They have the same loving dark eyes, little paws, and snuffling nose as other cavy breeds.
Mini Yak Guinea Pig Personality
So now we’ve confirmed that Mini Sheba Yak guinea pigs are adorable, what are they like to keep as a pet?
Well, you’re in luck! Mini Sheba Yak guinea pigs are known to be sweet, gentle, and curious.
They will love spending time with you and their cavy companions. And, as long as you handle them regularly, and from a young age, they’ll be friendly and affectionate.
Mini Yak Guinea Pig Grooming
Since the Sheba guinea pig has a lot of fur, it’s natural to expect that grooming will be a regular part of their care.
And you’d be correct. Without regular grooming, Mini Yaks can get lots of uncomfortable tangles.
But, if you’re hoping that your cavy will look neat and tidy after grooming sessions… think again!
This guinea pig has fur that grows in every direction. So, it won’t sit flat and neat, even after grooming.
Handling a Mini Yak Guinea Pig
The Sheba Mini Yak guinea pig is known for being friendly, inquisitive, and gentle. But, it’s important that you handle your cavy regularly to encourage the best personality.
When handling them, be very gentle and make sure to support your cavy’s body completely, so that they feel secure.
If your guinea pig is overly nervous at first, try making handling sessions more appealing by feeding them some tasty, guinea pig-safe treatsat the same time.
Feeding a Mini Yak Guinea Pig
Like all other types of cavy, the Mini Sheba Yak needs plenty of fresh hay and fresh grass. This is full of fiber, which is great for their digestive systems and their teeth.
Make sure they have a ball of fresh hay at least the same size as their body each day.
On top of this, offer your cavy plenty of leafy greens and fresh veggies.
Occasionally you can offer your Mini Yak guinea pigs some cavy-safe fruits. But, keep these as an infrequent treat, since they are so high in sugars.
For more information on feeding guinea pigs, take a look at this guide.
Are Mini Yak Guinea Pigs Healthy?
There are no health issues specifically linked to the Mini Sheba Yak breed, as of yet. But, this doesn’t mean that they never experience health issues.
They are prone to the same health problems as any other guinea pig. They may also be prone to chewing on their fur, and the fur of other cavies they live with, so make sure you’re keeping your Mini Yak well stimulated.
Keeping your guinea pig on a balanced diet and giving them plenty of exercise can help to keep them healthy. But, some common health problems to watch out for include:
- Dental disease
- Vitamin C deficiency
If you notice any abnormal behaviors in your guinea pig, it’s worth taking them for a check up with the veterinarian to ensure there are no deeper issues.
Do Mini Yak Guinea Pigs Make Good Family Pets?
For the right home, a Sheba Mini Yak Guinea Pig can make a great family pet. Like all other types of cavy, they should be kept in at least pairs to suit their high social needs.
If you don’t give your Mini Yaks enough entertainment and play, they may start to chew on their own, or each others’ fur.
And, since they have medium to long fur, these cavies have slightly higher grooming needs than other short haired guinea pigs. So, be prepared to brush them a few times a week.
If you are prepared to dedicate this time to your pet’s care, a Mini Yak guinea pig could be your ideal new cavy pet.
Mini Yak Guinea Pig – A Summary
Although the Sheba guinea pig isn’t yet accepted by some breed organisations, it is quickly growing in popularity.
Their funky hair gives them a crazy appearance, but it can suit their sweet and gentle personalities perfectly!
Do you have Sheba Mini Yak guinea pigs at home? We would love to hear how you’ve found their temperament and care needs in the comments.
References and Resources
- American Cavy Breeders Association
- British Cavy Council
- Witkowska, A. (et al), ‘The Effects of Diet on Anatomy, Physiology and Health in the Guinea Pig’, Journal of Animal Health and Behavioral Science (2017)
- Garner-Richardson, V. ‘Guinea Pig Nutrition’, The Veterinary Nurse (2013)
- Donnelly, T. & Brown, C. ‘Guinea Pig and Chinchilla Care and Husbandry’, Veterinary Clinics: Exotic Animal Practice (2004)
- Fawcett, A. ‘Management of Husbandry-Related Problems in Guinea Pigs’, In Practice (2011)
- Edis, A. & Pellett, S. ‘Veterinary Care of Guinea Pigs. Part 1: Husbandry, Stabilisation and Diagnostics’, Companion Animal (2018)