Teddy Guinea Pig

Cavia porcellus

Last updated: November 11, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Rosa Jay/Shutterstock.com

Teddy guinea pigs resemble teddy bears, hence their name.

Teddy Guinea Pig Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Rodentia
Family
Caviidae
Genus
Cavia
Scientific Name
Cavia porcellus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Teddy Guinea Pig Conservation Status

Teddy Guinea Pig Locations

Teddy Guinea Pig Locations

Teddy Guinea Pig Facts

Name Of Young
pup
Group Behavior
  • Herd
  • Social
  • Sociable
Fun Fact
Teddy guinea pigs resemble teddy bears, hence their name.
Biggest Threat
Birds of prey, weasels, cats, dogs, health problems
Most Distinctive Feature
Thick, dense fur
Other Name(s)
teddy bear cavy, teddy bear guinea pig, teddy cavy
Gestation Period
58 to 72 days
Temperament
friendly
Litter Size
one to six pups
Predators
Birds of prey, weasels, cats, dogs
Diet
Herbivore
Lifestyle
  • Crepuscular
  • Herd
  • Social
Favorite Food
grass, hay
Common Name
teddy guinea pig
Origin
south america

Teddy Guinea Pig Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Brown
  • Grey
  • Red
  • Black
  • White
  • Gold
  • Orange
  • Chestnut
  • Multi-colored
  • Golden
Skin Type
Fur
Lifespan
four to eight years
Weight
1.5 to 3 pounds
Length
10 to 12 inches
Age of Sexual Maturity
three to five weeks
Venomous
No
Aggression
Low

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Teddy guinea pigs resemble teddy bears, hence their name.

Facts

  • Teddy guinea pigs have denser fur than any other guinea pig breed.
  • Their features make them closely resemble teddy bears, hence their common name.
  • Teddy guinea pigs are very vocal animals. They spend time chattering with themselves in their cages, squeaking when they see their owner or food, and when they are excited.
  • They chew on each other’s hair for various reasons. Male Teddy guinea pigs will chew the fur of other males to label themselves the superior. This is barbering.
  • Teddy guinea pigs commonly eat their own feces in order to obtain all the nutrients from their diet.
  • Not everyone sees them as cute pets. Some still eat them in different parts of the world, such as their native land of South America.
  • Teddy guinea pigs are social animals and prefer to live with other pigs. They do not, however, house well with other species of animals.

Summary

If the name “Teddy” guinea pigs make you think of teddy bears, then you are absolutely right. Teddy guinea pigs make amazing first-time pets for children and adults. They are absolutely adorable and easy to take care of.

Scientific Name

The scientific name of the Teddy guinea pig is Cavia porcellus. The genus name Cavia is from the word “cabiai” which means guinea pig in Galibi, an indigenous language spoken in French Guiana.  The specific name porcellus is Latin for “little pig.” Although they are called guinea pigs, these adorable animals are not native to Guinea and are not genetically or biologically related to pigs. They belong to the family Caviidae, a group of animals that are native to South America. Teddy guinea pigs resemble the popular children’s toy, teddy bears, thus the name.

There are two breeds of Teddy guinea pigs: the Swiss Teddy, and the American Teddy. They might look identical, but the American Teddy has a fluffier, heavier coat than the Swiss Teddy. The Swiss Teddy is also rarer than the American Teddy. Their dense coat is a result of a genetic mutation, and is the basis for their name “Teddy.” They look and feel like miniature teddy bears.

Other names are teddy bear guinea pig, teddy cavy, and teddy bear cavy.

Appearance

Teddy Guinea Pig
Your Teddy guinea pig should have at least one or more other pigs as housemates.

©PHOTO FUN/Shutterstock.com

Teddy guinea pig fur is tightly packed and short. They come in a variety of colors such as black, brown, red, orange, chestnut, gold, white, and gray. In true fashion, they can be tricolored and multicolored. However, their coat is denser than any other breed of guinea pig. Another difference between Teddy guinea pigs and other breeds is the shape of their noses. They have wider noses with an upward curve.

The Teddy guinea pig is a medium-sized breed of guinea pig. It weighs between one-and-a-half to three pounds at adulthood and grows to around 10 to 12 inches in length.

Teddy guinea pigs have a cylindrical body, four feet, two ears, and a short tail. They possess four long, curved incisors at the center of their mouths. These incisors are open-rooted which means they never stop growing. In order to curtail their length, they gnaw constantly on pretty much any object they can find. The gnawing makes the teeth sharp as well, so be careful when handling the pigs. Teddy guinea pigs also have four toes on their front legs and three on their hind legs and these toes have sharp claws.

Behavior

Teddy guinea pigs are social animals. They are friendly, playful, and exciting companions to keep. Children love having these furry cavies as pets because of how easy they are to manage. However, these guinea pigs run the risk of being under stress if not handled appropriately.

Teddy guinea pigs like their owners to hold and play with them but too much physical interaction will stress them out. Owners should make sure children are under supervision while handling the pigs. Improper or excessive handling could potentially injure the Teddy guinea pig.

They emit all sorts of noises when excited, or when communicating with each other. They recognize their owner’s presence and know when they are about to be fed, both of which is enough cause for their squeals of delight.

These animals are social animals and as such thrive in the presence of other guinea pigs. Because their owners can’t be around them around the clock, they need their companions. Your Teddy guinea pig should have at least one or more other pigs as housemates. This social trait of guinea pigs is so prevalent, it is illegal to own a single guinea pig in countries like Sweden and Switzerland.

When it comes to defense, they scare easily and tend to freeze in place when threatened rather than run to safety. When they do run, their tactic usually involves darting about in order to confuse the predator.

Teddy guinea pigs relate well with other household pets such as cats and dogs, but you should train these larger to not see the guinea pig as prey. Even if larger pets are accustomed to them, it is best that the pig be kept away in the owner’s absence just to be on the safe side.

Teddy guinea pigs are crepuscular animals, which means that they are usually awake during the day but can also be active at night. They sleep intermittently rather than for extended periods of time like humans.

A charming and comical characteristic of Teddy guinea pigs is “popcorning,” which amounts to hopping while in the air, usually repeatedly, when they are happy about something.

How to Care for Your Teddy Guinea Pig

When getting a Teddy guinea pig, there are a lot of things to consider including setting up its habitat, exercise, and grooming.

They need hay and a lot of it. Not only do they love to knaw on it, but it is also their bedding. Teddy guinea pigs are burrowing animals and they need enough hay to do this. Guinea pigs can be messy pets so it is important to clean out their living space periodically and remove soiled hay.

These guinea pigs also need enough exercise to keep fit and escape boredom. They enjoy amusement and can turn any object around them into a toy. Entertaining these pets to prevent boredom is important. We recommend getting the DOZZOPET Enrichment Foraging Toy for your beloved pet. This toy simulates foraging and is made from real beech wood.

However, please note they should not use exercise wheels because they are far too big for them. It can have negative consequences on their backs.

Teddy guinea pigs do not require frequent bathing like some other long-haired breeds of pigs like the Peruvian guinea pig. They groom themselves and each other well enough without human interference. Teddy guinea pigs would only need baths if they are encumbered with parasites such as mites, or if they smell. We highly recommend using the Marshall’s Foaming Waterless Shampoo which detangles hair and leaves a delicious smell behind.

Brush and comb them weekly. Since they are a short-haired breed, they will rarely experience matting. Trim their nails regularly as they do not wear like they do in the wild. If you neglect their nails, they could develop a bacterial infection on their feet known as bumblefoot. You can find out more on how to trim your guinea pig’s nails here.

In addition, their teeth should be given attention to ensure they don’t overgrow as this could lead to a condition called malocclusion.

Diet

Teddy guinea pigs are herbivores and their diet consists mainly of grasses like hay. Baby guinea pigs can eat alfalfa hay, but adults eat timothy hay. In addition to this, they also eat food pellets, which is also made from grasses.

A distinctive characteristic of them, and all guinea pigs, is that they practice coprophagy, which is just a fancy way of saying that they eat their own poop. They do this in order to supplement their diet. They don’t ingest all their feces, just the special ones. These guinea pigs produce soft pellets of fecal matter called “cecotropes” which they eat directly from their anus. These pellets contain vitamins, bacteria, and fiber which is better for digestion.

Teddy guinea pigs cannot synthesize their own vitamin C. Therefore, they must obtain it through their diet. They need about 10 milligrams of vitamin C daily and twice that amount if the sow is pregnant. Accomplish this by feeding them fresh green, leafy vegetables, and raw fruits. Try not to give your cute cavy too much fruit though. Fruits contain a lot of sugar and you do not want your guinea pig to suffer from obesity.

It is also important for your Teddy guinea pig to have an adequate intake of Omega-3 fatty acids to maintain a healthy, shiny coat and great skin.

Our choice for the best food for them is White Mill PURE. It contains all of the essential nutrients your pig needs including underground fiber. One of the best things about this food is its formula caters to guinea pigs at all stages of life.

Habitat and Population

All guinea pigs are native to the Andes Mountains in South America where their wild ancestors were domesticated thousands of years ago and used as food. They were reared as livestock in countries including Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina. During colonization, guinea pigs were introduced in Europe by Spanish, English, French, and Dutch traders and made their way to the United Kingdom where they gained notoriety as household pets due to their outgoing personality and adorable appearance. Their popularity increased and they quickly spread around the world.

Reproduction and Lifespan

Teddy guinea pigs typically move around in herds in the wild. In captivity, they are usually kept in small groups of two or more pigs. It can be hard to tell the males (boars) and females (sows) apart for an untrained eye. To know how to tell your guinea pigs apart, here is an easy-to-read article.

Male and female Teddy guinea pigs reach sexual maturity at three to five weeks of age and four weeks respectively. There is no specific mating season for Teddy guinea pigs. Sows can give birth to litters throughout the year, as many as five times. Their gestation period lasts from 59 to 72 days and they typically give birth to about three pups per litter, but that number can range from one to six. Female Teddy guinea pigs can become pregnant again 6 to 48 hours after giving birth.

Their babies are called pups and they are well-developed and semi-independent at birth. They start eating solid food right away, but also continue to suckle. Since sows only have two teats, it is an advantage that the pups do not actually need to suckle since they can eat other things.

Because of the guinea pigs’ prolific nature, some owners might choose to spay or neuter their pigs to keep them from breeding and creating an army of offspring.

Teddy guinea pigs have a lifespan of about four to ten years, depending on how well they are looked after.

Predators and Threats

Teddy guinea pigs are small rodents and are naturally prey to larger animals, including weasels, cats, dogs, and birds of prey. It is important to shield your Teddy guinea pig by keeping it indoors most of the time. Also, if you are an owner of larger household pets, especially one that would naturally view the guinea pig as prey, it is crucial to train them to cohabit with it, or keep them away from the guinea pig entirely.

Teddy guinea pigs are prone to a variety of health-related problems.

  • Respiratory and Bacterial Infection: Symptoms manifest in wheezing, coughing, and eye or nose discharge. This usually comes as a result of a dirty environment. Maintenance and upkeep of your guinea pig’s cage should be on your list of priorities when caring for your pet.
  • Ear Infection: Teddy Guinea pigs are prone to ear infections due to bacterial infection. Owners should make sure to clean the ears of their pigs regularly.
  • Poisonous plants: Teddy guinea pigs can face severe health issues and even death if fed plants that are poisonous to it. Such plants include deadly nightshade, hellebore, hemlock, lily of the valley, ragwort, rhubarb, buttercup, ivy, as well as plants that grow from a bulb, such as onions and tulips.
  • Scurvy: This is a vitamin C deficiency. It leads to reduced collagen production which affects the joints, blood vessels and skin. It results in joint damage, bleeding, weakness, and walking problems. Make sure your guinea pig’s diet includes enough vitamin C to prevent this disease.
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About the Author

Hi! I am a writer, actor, and filmmaker. Reading is my favorite hobby. Watching old movies and taking short naps are a close second and third. I have been writing since childhood, with a vast collection of handwritten books sealed away in a duffel bag somewhere in my room. I love fiction, especially fantasy and adventure. I recently won the James Currey Prize 2022, so now, naturally, I feel like I own words. When I was 11, I wanted to be a marine biologist because I love animals, particularly dogs, cats, and owls. I also enjoy potatoes and chocolate in all their glorious forms.

Teddy Guinea Pig FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are Teddy guinea pigs good for children?

Teddy guinea pigs are excellent starter pets for owners and children. They are low maintenance, friendly, and have outgoing personalities.

How much do Teddy guinea pigs cost to own?

If you are buying from a breeder, a Teddy guinea pig could set you back $10 to $30 on average. If you get one from a rescue, it could be much cheaper or even free.

Why do Teddy guinea pigs eat their own poop?

They do this to digest all the available nutrients they missed the first time around. They only eat special feces called “cecotropes.”

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. A-Z Animals, Available here: https://a-z-animals.com/animals/guinea-pig/
  2. Veterinarian Digital, Available here: https://www.veterinariadigital.com/en/articulos/guinea-pigs/
  3. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guinea_pig
  4. Merck Vet Manual, Available here: https://www.merckvetmanual.com/all-other-pets/guinea-pigs/disorders-and-diseases-of-guinea-pigs#v3227331
  5. British Cavy Council, Available here: https://www.britishcavycouncil.org.uk/Breeds/RVCC/Teddy-Std.shtml

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