The Silkie guinea pig is very unique as a breed and is most well-known for its’ wild hairstyle. Often compared to an actors’ or actresses’ wild, long, and flowing hair locks, the Silkie guinea pig is quite popular as a domestic pet but also in show rooms around the world. In addition to having vivacious, lively personality traits, the Silkie guinea pig often performs well against other breeds in show room competitions. Judges are often memorized by the Silkie guinea pigs’ looks and aesthetics, which helps them win the show competitions quite regularly.
Personal and Physical Characteristics
Unlike most breeds of guinea pigs, the Silkie has very unique hair. Its locks’ are very long, soft, and shiny, which makes it fun for children and pet owners to play with. Similar to the mane of a lion, the hair of the Silkie guinea pig is long and soft, which also flows down past its’ neck and shoulders. If you could compare the hair of the Silkie to a famous character, it would most closely resemble that of Tarzan’s flowing locks. In addition, their unique hairstyle most closely resembles that of a ‘teardrop’ because each hair gets longer and thicker towards the rear of the Silkie. A Silkie guinea pig with a satin coat will have shinier and softer hair than those regular Silkie guinea pigs.
When it comes to their personality, the Silkie has a great reputation. It is an extremely gentle animal and can be quite shy to new owners or playmates at the beginning. The Silkie is also very laid-back, easy-going, and is not hyper like other guinea pig breeds. When you own a Silkie, and you’re trying to get its’ attention or affection, it’s important to consider the merits of a little playful bribery. To get your Silkie guinea pig to enjoy your company, it may be advantageous to give them little treats and snacks during playtime. Taking them out of their cages and letting them roam around outside or on the floor for a little while under your supervision is also a good idea.
Origins of the Silkie
If you haven’t guessed correctly yet, the name of the breed; “Silkie guinea pig,” comes from their silky, smooth hair and fur. However, in Europe, most people call them Sheltie guinea pigs instead of Silkie guinea pigs. Why do the Europeans call them Shelties instead of Silkies? That question remains a mystery up until the present day. The Silkie guinea pig was originally discovered in the 1970s around the same period of time as the Skinny guinea pig.
The Silkie is also considered to be an exotic breed of guinea pigs due to the fact that it is part of a crossbreeding success between two other types of guinea pigs. Those two types of guinea pigs would be the “Self-Black” guinea pig and a Peruvian guinea pig. In the 1970’s, the crossbreeding to create the Silkie first took place in the United Kingdom. For experimental reasons, crossbreeding has become quite popular for guinea pigs and other household pets. For over forty years, the Silkie guinea pig has become very popular and a favorite of families around the world. It is among the most prominent of all the guinea pig types due to its personality and its appearance. Its origins are very similar to other guinea pigs with effective crossbreeding leading to its’ genetic makeup being cemented.
Health and Longevity
Taking care of the Silkie is quite time and effort intensive when compared to other breeds. While they would make an excellent pet for children due to their calm personality and smooth exterior, they require daily grooming and upkeep due to their extensive hair. To keep their locks healthy and growing, the Silkie requires constant maintenance and touch-ups. Children and young teenagers are unlikely to want to put in the required time and effort needed to groom and care for a Silkie guinea pig. If you are an adult who has the time and the money to do the grooming tasks by yourself, then the Silkie may be right for you. Keeping the silky, smooth, and long hair of the Silkie guinea pig clean and vibrant requires near-constant upkeep.
Most of all, it’s imperative to gently brush the hair of the Silkie guinea pig once per day, at least, in order to keep it’s long locks from becoming entangled with each other. It’s also necessary to make sure that your Silkie pet is accustomed to having its’ hair brushed each day, or otherwise it will show some resistance to you doing so. Untangling and brushing the hair of the Silkie will make the pet feel more comfortable. Once you establish a set schedule of maintenance and care, the Silkie guinea pig you own may eventually enjoy the brushing process over time.
While bathing the Silkie is not a daily necessity, it is recommended to bathe them a couple of times per week to keep their hair and overall coat shiny and smooth looking. The best way to clean the Silkie is known as the “spot-cleaning method”, which means wiping down each part of their coat with a wet cloth instead of soaking them in a bowl of water. At the minimum, the owner of a Silkie guinea pig should be doing “spot-cleaning” once a month but it is recommended to be doing this method at least once per week. Similar to the brushing process, washing the Silkie guinea pig must become apart of their weekly schedule. The more the Silkie becomes accustomed to a spot-cleaning method, the less resistance they’ll put up when it’s time for a washing session.
Diet and Foods
Like most guinea pigs, the Silkie should be eating Timothy hay, food pellets, water, fruits with Vitamin C, and vegetables. The cage that they live in should be big enough where they can walk or run around without any problems. Another good idea for exercise is to install a wheel they can run on or a little stuffed toy to play with.
A clean diet, some exercise, along with the necessary love and care for the Silkie guinea pig will allow them to live a long and healthy life. Keeping them happy, healthy, jovial is the duty of a good pet owner. In return, you’ll receive affection and adoration from your Silkie guinea pig.