The MiniPli guinea pig is a new cavy breed being developed primarily in the United Kingdom.
Minipli guinea pigs have semi long length coats with tight curls that stand out from the body.
Since their numbers are currently low, it’s impossible to make broad generalizations about Minipli temperament or health yet.
Minipli Guinea Pig FAQs
Since the Minipli arrived on the guinea pig scene, their unique and unexpected looks have sparked a lot of curiosity!
People interested in this breed have questions like
- Where does the Minipli guinea pig come from?
- Is the Minipli breed healthy?
- Are they difficult to look after?
- And do they make good pets?
We’ll cover all of that and more in this complete breed guide!
What is a Minipli guinea pig?
A Minipli guinea pig is a new breed of cavy with a medium-long curly coat.
Their fur is rough rather than smooth, which means the curls stand out in corkscrews from the body instead of falling in soft waves.
Despite carrying the gene for long hair, a Minipli’s coat is also slow growing and somewhat brittle. This means it naturally “self-limits” at a shorter, easier to manage length than other longhaired guinea pig breeds.
Since the breed is still in development, rules about the acceptable colors for Minipli pigs haven’t been formalized yet.
But it seems likely that they will be the same colors accepted for the Miniplis parent breeds – which is all colors!
Where does the Minipli guinea pig come from?
The Minipli guinea pig was created by crossing the Alpaca and Lunkarya breeds.
Alpaca guinea pigs have a long, rex coat – which means the hairs are kinked and brittle.
Lunkarya guinea pigs have a long, curly coat.
The Minipli guinea pig was created to unite the both the rex gene and the curly gene in a new longhaired breed.
At the moment, these efforts have been confined to the UK.
The British Rare Varieties Cavy Club and Cavy Council both accepted the Minipli onto their new and emerging breeds programme in 2017.
Minipli guinea pig temperament
It’s too soon in the development of the Minipli breed to say whether there is a characteristic Minipli personality.
The temperament of baby Minipli guinea pigs when they grow up will be shaped by the characters of their parents, and the way they are raised.
So, ask to meet and handle a litter’s parents before committing to take one of their babies home. And socialise your young pig carefully and thoroughly so that they grow up confident and outgoing.
All guinea pigs are descended from prey species, which means their natural instinct is to be frightened of anything larger than they are.
But with gentle handling from a young age, they commonly grow up to be friendly, curious, and talkative little pets.
The British Cavy Council’s breed standards require that all show guinea pigs should have a good temperament and be easy to handle.
And responsible breeders will make this a priority too.
Do Minipli guinea pigs bite?
Guinea pigs aren’t usually aggressive.
Instinctively they understand that they’re unlikely to win in a fight, so their natural reaction to being threatened is to run and hide.
However, a poor socialized guinea pig being held against its will might deliver a nip so that their handler will put them down.
A guinea pig might also bite if you’re hurting them, they are in pain from illness or disease, or if you corner them in their hutch.
At the other end of the spectrum, I have one friendly guinea pig who usually gives me a friendly nibble just to say hi!
Usually, a well raised guinea pig is a safe pet for adults and older kids. Small children should be supervised handling any animal, no matter how docile.
Taming Minipli guinea pigs
To get the most out of your Minipli guinea pig you’ll be hoping he grows up tame and friendly.
Luckily, it’s not hard to teach them that their natural instincts to distrust predators don’t have to apply to you.
And that you are a fun friend!
This guide has more information about how to achieve that.
Minipli guinea pig health
Minipli guinea pig health should be comparable with any other breed of guinea pig.
Some common ailments to look out for are:
Overgrown claws or teeth
Cavies’ claws and teeth grow continuously throughout their lives. Letting either get overly long can lead to pain and sickness.
In fact dental problems account for over a third of all guinea pig trips to the vet.
To keep their teeth a healthy length, they’ll need a continuous supply of hay, which grinds their teeth down as they chew.
You can keep their claws short by clipping them regularly as part of their grooming routine.
Vitamin C deficiency
Guinea pigs need vitamin C to stay healthy, but they can’t synthesize it themselves.
So, they need a regular supply of vitamin rich fruit and vegetables, a vitamin C fortified pellet food, or vitamin C drops in their drinking water.
Damage to their eyes
Guinea pigs’ eyes are placed on the sides of their heads to give them a nearly 360 degree field of vision – perfect for spotting predators in the wild!
In almost all guinea pigs, their eyes protrude to some degree.
Which makes them vulnerable to scratches from clumsy hutch mates, or even the hay they eat. Small fragments of hay and seed heads can get trapped under the eyelid too.
These conditions need veterinary attention.
Some guinea pigs also develop pea eye – a hereditary condition where fat under the surface of the skin inside the eye socket starts to protrude out of the eye.
Pea eye is not usually harmful however.
Polycystic ovaries in females
A significant number of female guinea pigs over the age of 2 get polycystic ovaries, a condition where, unsurprisingly, cysts grow on the surface of their ovaries.
Minipli guinea pig care
Caring for guinea pigs is easy, economical and rewarding. We’ve written more about how to get it right in this article.
Being a semi-longhaired breed, Minipli guinea pigs will need more attention to grooming than short coated varieties.
Their coarse, curly coat is at risk of becoming matted, so brush it regularly to remove tangles and debris.
Their brittle hairs also break easily.
Whilst the provisional breed standard states that their coat should be dense, individuals with very brittle coats might struggle to maintain enough coverage to keep warm in cold conditions.
So even if they live outdoors in summer, they might need an indoor holiday home for winter!
And their whiskers are also brittle and breakable, which may make it harder for them to navigate small spaces – don’t create any nooks or crannies in their hutch that are small enough for them to get trapped in.
Do Minipli guinea pigs smell?
Guinea pigs are quite scrupulous about keeping themselves clean.
They are also coprophagic – which means the first time they poop out a meal they eat the feces and redigest them.
The second time they poop out the same material it is very hard, dry and relatively odorless.
However, their urine is really quite stinky.
So guinea pigs need the dirty areas of their cage cleaning out at least every couple of days to keep their habitat smelling sweet.
Keeping Minipli guinea pigs together
All guinea pigs are social animals, which means they need to be kept in groups of at least two.
Minipli guinea pigs are the same. You can keep them with other Minipli pigs, or with cavies of a different breed.
Unrelated females (sows) will usually live together happily in a herd, but unrelated male guinea pigs (boars) will fight.
If you want to keep boars and sows together, the boars will have to be neutered to prevent them mating.
Finally, with all pets from social species, it’s prudent to think about what you’ll do when you only have one left.
Will you keep adding to your herd indefinitely, or do you have someone who can take your last cavy into their herd, so they don’t have to be alone?
Showing your Minipli guinea pig
If you have a particularly beautiful Minipli guinea pig, you might be keen to show them off to the whole cavy community.
The Minipli breed isn’t accepted at breed shows yet, and there isn’t a timetable to indicate when they will be.
Is a Minipli guinea pig right for me?
Minipli guinea pigs have the potential to be an exciting new breed.
Their corkscrew curls are a cute collision of two existing coat types. It could be very desirable for someone who likes longhaired guinea pig breeds, but is put off by how much maintenance long coats need.
However, the Minipli’s semi long coat still demands more looking after than short haired breeds.
At the moment, the biggest challenge will be getting hold of one of these rare cavies.
Since baby Minipli guinea pigs for sale are still pretty unusual, it might be a while before you can bring one of these curly cavies home.
But don’t despair, because they’re not the only breed with an impressively funky coat.
Why not consider one of these better established breeds instead?
Do you have a Minipli guinea pig?
Do you already have a Minipli guinea pig living at home with you? We’d love to hear all about them in the comments below.
References And Resources
Minarikova et al. Diseases in pet guinea pigs: a retrospective study in 1000 animals. Veterinary Record. 2015.
Sibald. Cystic ovarian disease in female guinea pigs. The Veterinary Nurse. 2019.
Whiteway & Robinson. Two recessive rex coat mutants in the guinea pig. Journal of Heredity. 1989.
Witowska. The Effects of Diet on Anatomy, Physiology and Health in the Guinea Pig. Journal of Animal Health and Behavioural Science. 2017.