There are plenty of different breeds of Guinea Pig in the world today, with many more appearing as breeds are being mixed. Some of these Guinea Pig breeds are rare and highly sought after for various different reasons. But are Alpaca guinea pigs rare?
Alpaca guinea gigs are one of the rarest breeds . Very few people breed them, so they’re difficult to find. Among many owners they’re highly sought after. The reason is their attractive hair-longer than other breeds, usually curly, with occasional rosettes throughout.
Let’s dive into why alpacas are so rare and well as other important information about this hard-to-find breed. From care and feeding to grooming, this guide will help you get started with your Alpaca guinea pig.
Are Alpaca Guinea Pigs A Rare Breed?
The Alpaca Guinea Pig is a rare breed of Guinea Pig, and they are extremely sought after in many countries by Guinea Pig owners.
It’s extremely difficult to find a guinea pig breeder that sells pure Alpaca Guinea Pigs – especially in the United States of America. You’re actually more likely to find an Alpaca breeder in the United Kingdom.
The reason for this is because Alpacas are not officially recognized by the ACBA (American Cavy Breeder’s Association) yet. A lot of Guinea Pig owners are hoping that this will change soon so that they can easily add these lovable and intelligent creatures to their families.
There’s a high demand for this breed because many people consider these piggies to be one of the most beautiful breeds available. And it’s easy to see why.
They’re little charmers with their curly hair and without a single rosette out of place. Just take a look at the alpaca guinea pig featured in the picture above.
As these Guinea Pigs are in high demand but hard to find, they often go for a high-end price. If you’re lucky, you’ll find the alpaca guinea pig at a breeder. And you can expect to pay anywhere between $100 to $200 per Alpaca Guinea Pig.
If you are desperate to own an alpaca, and there’s no breeder near where you are, then you can check out a local shelter. There’s no guarantee that they’ll have alpacas available, but it’s worth checking out if you’re willing make the trip.
This may seem like a long shot, but a few Alpaca Guinea Pigs have been found in shelters before.
More About Alpaca Guinea Pigs
The Alpaca breed was named after the Camelid (which lives in South America, too). They share the same type of long and wavy hair.
This Guinea Pig came to life after a Texel Guinea Pig, and an English Peruvian Guinea Pig were bred together.
As I said before, they’re not recognized by the ACBA (American Cavy Breeder’s Association), but they are recognized by some other organizations like the BCC (British Cavy Council).
These Guinea Pigs come in various different colors that range from white, black, beige, brindle, cream, roan, and albino. They have a broad head and coarse, curly hair. Some Alpaca Guinea Pigs will have just a single coat color, while others can have a mixture of the colors mentioned above.
Alpaca Guinea Pigs will reach between 6 to 11 inches (15 to 27.9 cm) in length and between 600 to 1100 g (21 to 38.8 ounces) in weight when they reach adulthood, and they will typically live for about 5 to 8 years.
Temperament and Disposition
These lovely little Guinea Pigs are often described by their owners as being hospitable and calm creatures.
Alpaca Guinea Pig are considered to be one of the calmest and affectionate Guinea Pig breeds that you will ever come across. They absolutely love cuddling with their owners and their Guinea Pig friends as much as they can.
It is highly recommended that you keep Alpaca Guinea Pigs with at least one other cavy, otherwise they feel lonely and depressed. They are social animals and usually need friends to be happy.
The Alpaca Guinea Pigs are incredibly intelligent creatures that can easily be taught tricks like giving high-fives, jumping over obstacles, spinning in circles, and they can even sole somewhat complex mazes with relative ease.
Alpaca Guinea Pigs originated in South America and are a mix of two other breeds. They have a sweet and cuddly disposition. These cavies come in many different colors and can learn tricks easily.
How To Take Care Of An Alpaca Guinea Pig
Alpacas require a large amount of care. There’s no way around that fact. They’re beautiful guinea pigs.
If you’re looking to own an Alpaca Guinea Pig, then you need to ensure that you have enough time and patience to dedicate to the care of this animal.
For this reason, it is recommended that this Guinea Pig breed should only be owned by experienced guinea pig owners.
All guinea pigs need an appropriate enclosure. The alpaca guinea pig is not an exception. All piggies need a lot of space to move around, therefore you should buy an appropriately sized cage for your alpaca guinea.
|# of Guinea Pigs||Size Of Cage||Notes|
|1 piggie||10.5 square feet||If possible, bond your fur baby with a friend|
|2 piggies||10.5 square feet||Two is often the “magic number”|
|3 piggies||13 square feet||Bonding a trio of boards isn’t recommended|
|4 piggies||16 square feet||3 sows or 1 neutered boar with 2 sows|
If possible, it’s best that you keep this breed indoors. It’s really not a suitable pet for outdoor conditions. They have long hair so there is an increased risk of getting wet and dirty when outside which means they are more susceptible to parasites, mites and bacterial skin infections.
Fur Care & Grooming
Owners of the Alpaca guinea pig must be able to devote time and patience to this breed’s curly coat.
One of the most important daily tasks associated with caring for an Alpaca guinea pig is daily grooming. Their long locks of hair need a lot of attention.
This is one of the reasons Alpacas should be owned by people who are experienced with guinea pigs.
The tips and suggestions below will give you a better idea of what alpaca guinea pigs need in terms of grooming to keep their hair and skin healthy:
- Daily brushing: To avoid tangles and matts, brush your alpaca’s hair every day. You’ll have to be calm, patient and pleasant when doing this task – use gentle stroke when brushing.
- Bathing: Typically, the average guinea pig only need to be bathed once or twice a year – if ever. But, long-haired guinea pig usually need a little more help staying clean, because their long hair collects urine, dropping, and debris. Be prepared to bath this breed every 3 to 4 months. If you need some help on how to do this properly read: The Ultimate Guinea Pig Bathing Guide [With Wheeky Clean Tips]
- Trimming: From time to time you should trim the alpaca guinea pig’s dense coat of hair. Their coats get so long they can drag on the ground and collect dirt in them if not trimmed regularly-that’s why it is especially important to make sure your Alpaca has clean floors at all times.
If you don’t feel comfortable grooming a guinea pig on your own, you can always schedule a session with a professional groomer. They can give alpaca guinea pigs the special treatment they need to maintain their coats and keep them healthy.
Did You Know?
A butt bath doesn’t require you to get your alpaca guinea pig wet the same way as a full body bath. You can simply wipe put them in a dish of shallow, soapy water. Afterwards, wipe their belly, bums, and feet clean with a damp wash cloth.
|Every Day||Brush hair to remove tangles, matting, and debris (if necessary)|
|Weekly||Do health checks: check ears, nails, feet, teeth, and weight|
|Monthly||Trim fur; if your pet’s hair grows quickly trim more frequently|
|Every 3 to 4 months||Bath your alpaca with an antifungal shampoo to help prevent ringworm|
???? Tips & Tricks:
Trim your long-haired guinea pigs’ hair shorter in the summer to help keep them cool. Overheating is easy for long-haired piggies. It’s like walking around in a fur coat. Give your cavies a tasty treat while you’re grooming them. It helps with the bonding process and keeps them in a good mood, which makes it easier to get the brushing and trimming don
You can’t just use any, ole kind of bedding with your alpaca. Since, it has long, curly hair, some beddings aren’t going to work . This is because anything and everything tends to get stuck in an alpaca’s hair.
The Alpaca guinea pig’s best bedding is fleece liners or blankets. Fleece happens to be ideal for this animal: it prevents bedding from becoming tangled in their coat.
So, if you’re able to afford the initial expense of the fleece, then you can count on the bedding to remain intact for a longer period of time.
Other “loose beddings” can be used. But, keep in mind that you’ll have to stay on top of grooming your cavy’s fur if you use them. Because they can easily get stuck in your cavy’s hair. Here are a few options:
- wood shavings
- paper-based beddings
This isn’t so much of an issue with shorthaired guinea pigs. But, it’s something that you’ll want to give a lot of thought if you’re getting an alpaca or other breed that has longer hair.
Straw isn’t recommended as it contains hard and often sharp stalks which can cause hay poke injuries. It also has little nutritional value compared to hay. Pine is only safe to use if it’s kiln-dried. Otherwise, the aromatic oils that come from the untreated pine can cause respiratory problems for your guinea pig.
Food & Diet Requirements
Alpacas have an important dietary requirement in order to help maintain their health.
The following food items are required to keep your alpaca fit, happy, and healthy:
- Hay (a lot of it): Timothy hay is a popular choice, but there are other varieties available that’ll work just fine
- Veggies and fruits: One cup of produce daily is recommended. Make sure you pay attention to the appropriate amounts that need to be fed as well as the frequency. Any diet changes should take place gradually to get your cavy’s stomach used to new foods.
- Water: Always have a bowl (or bottle) of fresh water available for this breed, so they can stay hydrated all day.
- Timothy-hay pellets (with Vitamin C): Like all guinea pigs, alpacas should be offered 1/8 to 1/4 cup of pellets. The pellets should be free of seeds and dangerous additives.
|unlimited high quality hay||80%-90%|
|fresh veggies + a little fruit for a treat||10-15%|
|Vitamin C – enriched pellets||5%|
???? Tips & Tricks:
Make sure that you rotate the type of veggies that you give your pet. That way they’ll have nutrients from a variety of produce to keep them healthy.
All healthy guinea pigs are active animals and need lots of exercise. These alpaca guinea pigs are no different and alpacas will need plenty of exercise time to be happy, healthy alpaca guinea pigs.
Here are some suggestions:
- Get the biggest enclosure that you can afford. Piggies need a lot of space. But, this doesn’t just mean how much room they have in the cage (though this is still an important factor). It also means you’ll need plenty of space outside their cage, where they can run around freely. A predator-proof puppy (or play) pen can help with this. Outdoor runs are an option as well.
- Provide lots of toys and activities. There’s lots of ways to entertain a guinea pig – most of which are easy to try. Stuff hay into toilet paper rolls, offer your guinea pig non-toxic twigs to chew on, hide their a few treats inside paper bags (toilet paper rolls also work great for this) and willow balls… the list goes on and on.
- Make sure your alpaca has a friend. Since guinea pigs are awake so much, it’s a good idea make sure that your cavy has a friend instead of being the only cavy in the house. Most individual cavies prefer company. Guinea pigs are herd animals, and alpacas will benefit from the companionship of another piggie. It doesn’t have to be another alpaca. As long as their personalities are compatible.
???? Tips & Tricks:
Go for a cage that has lots of large, open space – preferably flat space. Piggies not an area where they can run around and do their zoomies.
Alpaca Guinea Pig Health Issues
It is really important that you monitor the health of your Alpaca Guinea Pig, and if anything develops out of the ordinary, then you need to seek the help of your local vet to ensure that your Guinea Pig is medically treated correctly.
There are three main health concerns for Alpaca Guinea Pigs that need to be watched for; these include overheating, pneumonia, and ringworm.
Let’s take a closer look at each one:
- Overheating: This is a big one as it can happen very easily for these little creatures. Keep them out of direct, bright sunlight and away from stoves, heaters, and other heat sources. Some signs that they are overheating are the breathing rate increases, drooling, they’ll be lethargic (not move much), their heart rate will go up, and their eyes will remain closed. If they show any of these signs, then you need to act quickly and get them to a vet as soon as possible.
- Pneumonia: Cavies that are at the highest risk of getting pneumonia, are those with a weaker immune system. To prevent this, make sure that you feed your piggie a balanced diet with Vitamin C and keep your little friend in a clean, calm environment. Signs that your guinea pig is developing pneumonia include a rattling or gurgling sound when breathing, labored breathing, lethargy and fever. Pneumonia can be fatal, so get your little friend to the vet immediately if you suspect it.
- Ringworm: This fungal infection is pretty common in all cavies. Many owners give baths with antifungal shampoo as a preventative measure.
The alpaca guinea pig needs to be monitored for three main health concerns: overheating, pneumonia, and ringworm. Keep your piggie away from direct sunlight or heat sources to avoid overheating. Pneumonia can be fatal so it is important to seek the help of a local vet if you suspect it. Ringworm is common in all cavies, but alpaca guinea pigs need to get a bath with an antifungal shampoo as a preventative measure.
Are Alpaca Guinea Pigs Good Pets?
These guinea Pigs make for amazing pets, even though they can be a bit difficult to care for with their grooming requirements.
If you’re prepared to spend lots of time grooming your cavy every single day on top of the other general care needs that guinea pigs have, then a Alpaca could be a great choice for you.
But make sure you are fully invested in this breed before investing in one because they do require extra work than breeds with shorter fur.
If you don’t have the additional time an alpaca requires or if it’s just not something that interests you, then there are plenty of other more “low-maintenance” guinea pig breeds to choose from.
A guinea pig with shorter hairs is usually a better “starter” pet than long-haired breeds – like American Guinea Pigs. Their fur comes in an assortment of colors, too.
Alpaca Guinea Pigs make for a great family pet as well; this is because they get along really well with children.
With their sweet nature and loving personality, it is so easy to see why so many people want to own one.
Alpaca Guinea Pigs are quite a rare breed of Guinea Pig that are extremely sought after. They are very sweet and highly intelligent animals that love to snuggle up to their humans or even to other pets in the house.
They do require a lot more care than some other Guinea pig breeds. Due to this, they are better suited for experienced cavy owners.
If you want an alpaca guinea pig of your own and are willing to do the research, and to commit the time and patience that they need, then they’re awesome pets to bring home.
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ThePetFaq. (2021, April 7). Alpaca Guinea pig breed profile: Origins, pictures, care, temperament & more! ThePetFAQ. https://thepetfaq.com/alpaca-guinea-pig/
These Guinea pigs will make you want to adopt one ASAP. (2019, February 6). Good Housekeeping. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/pets/g25751355/guinea-pig-breeds/
What do I need to know about my Guinea pigs’ health? (n.d.). RSPCA Knowledgebase – Let Australia’s most trusted animal welfare charity help you answer the big questions. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/what-do-i-need-to-know-about-my-guinea-pigs-health/