A Texel guinea pig is a relatively new cavy breed – and a very cute one at that!
With its curly, lush long hair, the Texel is sometimes nicknamed the “Shirley Temple” of cavies.
Because of this unique coat, the Texel guinea pig has specific grooming needs. This can add a bit more time to your daily pet care routine.
So, it is important to know what you are committing to before you select this guinea pig breed!
It is great you are learning about this breed now, because once you see a cute baby Texel guinea pig in person, you probably won’t be able to resist saying “yes!”
Now, let’s dive in to take a thorough look at the care needs, health and personality of the Texel cavy!
What are Texel guinea pigs?
The Texel cavy, or Texel guinea pig, is sometimes also called the “long haired Silkie/Sheltie” because both breeds have long hair. The big difference is that the Sheltie’s long hair is straight while the Texel’s long hair is curly.
The Texel guinea pig is a new cavy breed! It was first developed in 1980 in the U.K. when a British Rex guinea pig was crossed with a Silkie guinea pig. The new breed was called the Texel.
In breeder and show cavy circles, the Texel is sometimes called a “Rexoid,” but this is just a fancy way of saying the Texel has some Rex guinea pig genes.
It is true that cavy genetics can be complicated. But, basically the differences between guinea pig breeds boil down to a series of specific genes that are either “turned on” or “turned off” in a Texel guinea pig baby.
If the gene is dominant, then only one parent has to pass it on for a baby cavy to exhibit it. If the gene is recessive, then both parents must pass it on for a baby cavy to exhibit it.
- Coat: long or short – designated by “L.” Short coat is dominant and long coat is recessive.
- Rosettes (fur whorls): yes or no – designated by “R.” Rosettes are dominant.
- Star rosette (forehead center): yes or no – designated by “St.” The star rosette is dominant.
- Teddy hair crimping (curly): yes or no – designated by “T.” Teddy hair crimping is recessive.
- Rex ringlets: yes or no – designated by “Rx.” The Rex ringlets are recessive.
- Satin coat sheen: yes or no – designated by “Sn.” A satin coat sheen is recessive.
So in a Texel matte coat guinea pig, the basic genotype (gene pool) would look like this: llrrststT-Sn-rxrx.
If the Texel guinea pig in question also possesses a Satin coat sheen, the genotype would instead look like this: llrrsrstT-snsnrxrx.
Of course, there are many more genes that can also influence how an individual Texel guinea pig looks. Those genes include coat color, eye color, coat pattern, head shape, body shape, weight and overall size, but this just gives you an idea of how the Texel guinea pig breed came to be!
Texel guinea pig size
Speaking of Texel guinea pig size, how big do these guinea pigs grow? Length-wise, most guinea pigs will measure anywhere from 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) at maturity, with males often being slightly longer than females.
By the time your Texel is fully grown, and depending on gender, birth order and parents, generally speaking your pig may weigh anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 pounds (700 g to 1200 g). Males do tend to outweigh females, although this is not always the case.
Because the Texel guinea pig has such wavy, curly hair, it is easy to overlook weight issues. Your pig has a compact, broad body and face to begin with, and so in the beginning the extra weight can just look like your pig is “big boned.”
But guinea pigs can be very susceptible to issues of overweight and obesity, which can lead to other health problems.
This helpful Size-O-Meter from the Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association (PFMA) can help you identify where your pig falls on the weight scale.
For a more in-depth at guinea pig weight and how to maintain a healthy weight, we highly recommend browsing on over to this informative article!
Texel guinea pig colors
The Texel guinea pig coat can be shown in any color, whether solid or mixed/patterned. Colors can range from white to gold to a black Texel guinea pig.
If you are interested in showing your Texel guinea pig, there are no colors or patterns that are currently inadmissible for this guinea pig breed in the show ring.
When you are searching for a Texel guinea pig, you may notice there are descriptions for “self” and “non-self” guinea pigs. This is just breeder lingo for solid coat color (self) or non-solid coat color (non-self) pigs.
Texel guinea pig grooming
If you are caring for a very young Texel guinea pig, you can expect to see some coat growth as your Texel reaches maturity. The British Cavy Council states that average coat growth is one inch (2.5 cm) per month of age.
Unfortunately, it is the Texel’s long and tangle-prone coat that makes this guinea pig breed less suited to be a child’s first pet or a first guinea pig for any owner who is short on time.
You will need to commit to brushing and grooming your Texel guinea pig at least once per day. Ideally, you will groom him each morning and each evening.
If you notice your pig playing and running a lot, you might want to do a third check as well. Otherwise, the tangles and mats can build up with remarkable speed, and this in turn can harm your pig’s sensitive skin and lead to all kinds of preventable health issues.
The good news about the Texel’s more-frequent grooming needs is that this may be one reason why this cavy is known to have such a mellow, sweet personality.
With extra daily handling, this is a guinea pig that will quickly become very comfortable being picked up and touched. This can be a real joy in your relationship!
When you are grooming your Texel, always work on the coat gently with your fingers only. There is no need to use a comb or brush, and these can turn your Texel’s natural ringlets into a frizzy disaster!
If you find any serious tangles or mats, you may want to spritz them with water or a gentle conditioning spray. This makes them easier to work out.
Breeders recommend not using wood shavings as bedding for the Texel guinea pig. That’s because these can get stuck in the long curly under-hair on the belly and legs and cause massive mats in no time flat!
It is better to use newspaper, corncob or horse hay pellets or towels (only for Texels with no white in their coats).
Because the Texel’s curly coat looks so much like human hair with a perm, it can be tempting to want to bathe and then blow dry your cavy. But show breeders are fairly unanimous that this is not a good idea! It can cause overheating and damage to the coat.
Finally, you should also be careful about choosing a shampoo and conditioner that could leave excess residue on the coat if you plan to show your guinea pig.
Texel guinea pig personality
You might wonder how a new breed of guinea pig becomes established. Many come about because a breeder is intrigued by cavy genetics and wants to develop a new guinea pig breed to look a certain way.
Once this is accomplished, the next step is typically to apply for the new breed to be recognized and registered with one of the many official guinea pig show and breeding organizations. Often the breeder will start with the association in the home country and then spread the word from there.
But then the breeder has to hope other breeders notice and the new breed catches on! For the Texel, this was easy to accomplish, and not just because this guinea pig has such an eye-catching curly “permed” look to its coat!
The Texel guinea pig has an adorable personality as well. The Texel is known to be calm, sweet natured, and amenable to being handled and held. It is also very patient while its long coat is being brushed and groomed.
Texel guinea pig health
One of the most important things you can do for your Texel’s health and well-being is to keep him (or her) with another same-gender guinea pig for companionship.
In a wild setting, your guinea pig would always be a member of a group. It can cause anxiety for a pig to be kept alone.
Two female Texels will pretty much always get along well. Two male Texels should be fixed if you plan to keep them together – otherwise they may fight.
If you keep a male and a female Texel pair, be sure both are fixed or plan for guinea pig babies straightaway!
The Texel guinea pig’s health overall is considered to be good so long as all basic habitat, diet, exercise, enrichment, grooming and care needs are consistently met. However, as with all pet animals, the Texel guinea pig have some known health issues that crop up from time to time.
Skin problems can be a particular concern. This occurs especially if tangles or mats are allowed to develop in this pig breed’s long, curly coat.
In particular, parasites such as mites and lice can quickly move in and make themselves at home. These will cause intense itching and irritation until they are treated.
While your Texel guinea pig will have big, round, expressive eyes, sight is not a guinea pig’s best sense.
Texel guinea pigs are particularly susceptible to an early life eye condition called Entropion. Entropion is treatable with antibiotic eye drops.
Guinea pigs can have sensitive digestive (gastrointestinal) systems. These issues can be made worse if your veterinarian is not familiar with which antibiotics can be safely used on guinea pigs.
Diarrhea, bladder stones (calculi) and cystitis (bladder infection) are all issues to watch for.
Guinea pigs’ teeth continue to grow throughout their life. Your Texel needs to chew and gnaw to keep the teeth at a healthy length.
A diet high in fiber and plenty of chewing toys can help safeguard your Texel’s dental health.
Texel guinea pig life span
The Texel guinea pig, like many guinea pig breeds today, can live anywhere from 5 to 7 years.
Your Texel cavy’s diet, exercise, enrichment, socialization (especially with another pig as well as with you), and access to preventative well-pig veterinary care can all help to extend life span!
Texel guinea pig breeders
By some accounts (although real statistics are hard to find), the Texel is perhaps the third most popular of all guinea pig breeds! In any case, the baby Texel guinea pig is one of the cutest you will ever see!
The best way to locate a reputable breeder is to contact the guinea pig/cavy association in your area. You can also reach out to local veterinarians to ask for referrals.
Another great place to find Texel cavies is rescue shelters. Sometimes these guinea pigs are relinquished because their coat is so care-intensive.
If so, you can give a rescued guinea pig a new wonderful home!
The cost of your Texel guinea pig can range from $10 to $40 and up.
Any reputable breeder should give you an initial health guarantee. A breeder should also show proof that the breeding line (your pig’s parents) are free from all known heritable diseases for which genetic testing exists.
Are Texel guinea pigs the right choice for me?
What do you think? Is the unique and lovely Texel guinea pig in your future?
Drop us a comment to let us know your favorite guinea pig breed!
Resources and Further Reading
- Leach, M. (2003). Texels: Basic Selection, Care and Show Preparation. American Cavy Breeders Association.
- Neesom, S., et al (2003). Breed Standards for Full and Guide Size Cavies: Texel. British Cavy Council.
- Vanderlip, S. (2006). The Guinea Pig Handbook. Barron’s Educational Series.
- Nichols, K. (2016). Cavy Coat and Skin Conditions. NSW Cavy Club.
- Heritage Pets. (2017). Meet the Curlies: Texel. Heritage Pets Breeders.
- Richardson, V. (2011). “The Head and Neck” in Diseases of Domestic Guinea Pigs. John Wiley & Sons.