skinny guinea pigs

A Brief Guide to Skinny Guinea Pigs

Skinny Guinea Pigs are one of the most extraordinary breeds of cavy.

Their distinctive appearance is one of great fascination for animal lovers and the general public world wide.

They are a very new breed compared to other breeds and have some clear distinctives compared to their cavy cousins.

Lets dig a little deeper to find more about them.

Where Skinny guinea pigs come from?

skinny guinea pigsThe extraordinary-ness of Skinny guinea pigs begins with how they were created.

  • The skinny came from a cross breed of haired guinea pig and a hairless lab strain.
  • They came about as a result of laboratory testing at the Institut Armand Frappier in Montreal, Canada in 1978.
  • They most likely were the descendants of the pink-eyed white Hartley lab guinea pigs who were being tested at the laboratory.
  • A mutation called IAF Hairless spawned which was sent to Charles River Labratories in 1982 located in Boston, Massachusetts, USA to be tested on.
  • In 1986 the hairless guinea pig came into the hands of breeders who started to cross-breed it with rex and teddy pigs.

What skinny guinea pigs look like?

  • Their body has a very full appearance
  • They have soft rubbery skin
  • You cannot make out their ribs or spine in their appearance
  • They are available in many different colours and patterns.
  • Their skin is smooth with wrinkling around the neck and legs
  • They have hair on their feet, legs and muzzles
  • They closely resemble the baldwin guinea pig
  • They are born almost hairless then grow the hair on their legs, feet and muzzles as they grow older.

How do Skinny pigs behave?

  • Skinny pigs have much the behaviour of other guinea pig breeds.
  • They are generally very well behaved and affectionate animals.
  • Like other guinea pig breeds they thrive with company and prefer to be around other cavies. If not they require the attention of the owner for  a few hours a day.

How to look after Skinny Guinea Pigs

Firstly, check out this cool video here

  • Their average lifespan is 4.5 years but tend to live up to  5 – 6 years with proper care. There are Skinny guinea pigs that have lived to be 7 years old.
  • Skinny guinea pigs do not need to bathe often because they need the protection of the oils that their bodies produce.
  • When they are bathed they do need particular attention, here is a great guide  here
  • Watch for the hair growing around their eyes which could be painful for them, and move it in a different direction if needed
  • As with other guinea pig breeds, keep their nails short to save the scratching sensitive skin.
  • They drink and eat a lot more to keep themselves hydrated
  • They do enjoy their furry heads stroked
  • They prefer temperatures in the range of 75 to 79 degrees farenheit
  • They need to be housed indoors for the majority of the time as they need the warm  because of their lack of coat
  • Although their skin is exposed, they still have a good immune system. However, their skin still needs protection from sunlight and disease.
  • In fact, they cannot be exposed to sunlight at all
  • They tend to eat more than other breeds because of their need to generate heat from their body so will have a tendency to munch away all day.
  • Owners need to take regular care of their skin because of lack of protection from fur.
  • Use material such as fleece or towel to create a soft bed for the skinny guinea pig and avoid sawdust and anything with sharp edges or with a coarse texture for the cage surface or their bedding.
  • Change all bedding frequently at least every other day to control the spread of disease. Bedding that is soaked in urine can be especially painful for the skinny guinea pig.

Further reading is recommended at Guinea LynxMargaret’s hairless guinea pigs and rodents with attitude who have extensive guidance on the handling of skinny guinea pigs.

5 thoughts on “A Brief Guide to Skinny Guinea Pigs

  1. Hi, I just bought a skinny pig, she was 7 months old and a little under nurished. Now she won’t stop eating, she is actually getting quite fat, what should I do? I wish that I could send a picture of her.

    1. Hello (I have a male skinny pig and a male guinea pig (long haired ) ) okay when I first got my skinny pig HE ATE SOOOO SOOO SOOOO Sooo much i had to get this bin feeder for him and before I had to get him new food everyday then now once a week or every other week so i recommend a bin feeder you can find it at pet stores (: and my skinny was skinny not sick skinny .I think skinnies will get fatter with age so dont worry (: .

  2. Hi,

    I purchased a skinny pig 3 days ago and just have a few questions. I have found a lot of information on the internet but haven’t really found any answers to my questions

    Day 1 – the skinny was frozen stiff and basically didn’t move

    Day 2 – the skinny found its “cave” and mostly stayed inside but would venture out every once in a while to eat and use the washroom

    Day 3 – the skinny comes out and eats, makes noises and hops around

    My questions are these:

    1) at what point do I consider giving the skinny floor time?

    2) I have not seen the skinny drink but I have a bottle set up as well as a bowl. What can I do to ensure the skinny is drinking?

    3) How should I go about getting it used to me as it runs away and hides when I try to take it out of its cage? When I do take it out, and hold it to my chest gently stroking its back it stares at me and does not move.

    4) What does the cooing noise sound like? I have heard YouTube videos of skinnys as well as mine making squeaking noises.

    Thank you so much for your help! Any advice you can offer is much appreciated.


    1. Ummm before I answer any of your questions .. Skinny pigs have no hair so they get really cold really easy . So maybe get a heating pad and put it under on side of the cage or you can get him a blanket ( I use a medium sized wash cloth ( which my skinny has he loves it !!! Just make sure to clean it or get a new blanket every week or every half week ) (:
      answer to questions :
      #1 okay floor space (: I let mine out not soo often because I’m a really busy person but I try to let him out I let him run around some times he LOVES IT!!! And the answer is whenever i Held mine alot when he was a baby and i let him walk around too! Now he is really friendly (: !
      #2 TBH my skinny DRINKS ALOT once or even twice a week i refill his bottle !!! And i recommend you get a bottle thing for him so you can know if his drinking (:
      #3 okay my skinny He ran and still runs and my skinny is soo friendly he purrs at me every time i see him but he lets people pet him to! My advice is too hold him and just hold him on your chest let him get use to YOU! Thats what i did everyday i would hold him . And the running away part imagine a BIG hand comming to pick you up you would run to (:
      #4 they want attention like my normal guinea he squeaks when he is trying to tell us his out of food or water and when he wants us to notice him ! (:

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