There are over 30 color variants present in the world of guinea pigs. Many guinea pigs have a solid color while others will be mixed with two or three colors.
The color of your guinea pig comes down to genetics. It has no tie to life expectancy or overall health of your guinea pig.
How Different Color Varieties Of Guinea Pigs Formed?
The fur color of your guinea pig comes down to genetics. If the parents of the offspring were both a single color it’s highly likely that the baby guinea pigs will have a solid color similar to the parents.
Guinea pigs started to be domesticated over 7,000 years ago and since then owners have been selectively breeding them to produce different color combinations. There are a few very common colors and some rare ones that are highly sought after.
In some cases, a certain color is achieved due to genetic mutations in DNA. These types of color variants are usually sought after by collectors, breeders and for show guinea pigs in beauty pageants.
Most Common Colors of Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs will come in a wide range of colors. There are several colors that are more sought after by breeders and beauty competitions.
However, the most common guinea pig color variations you’ll find are:
- Tortoise (combo w/ White)
- Tortoise Shell
- Monocolored (Single Color)
Below you’ll find breakdowns of some of the characteristics for each color.
Guinea pigs with an agouti fur style have two colors mixed together in their fur. Agouti guinea pigs can have a wide range of colors but most often the ticking color is over the back, legs and head.
In recent years we’ve seen some guinea pigs show the agouti color style but have the ticking on its underbelly, face and limbs. A solid agouti color is a rare variety and very sought after by breeders.
A basic color schema, the bicolor, is when your guinea pig has a two-toned coat or a coat with color patches. These colors are very clear and aren’t mixed like the agouti. This is a very common color pattern for guinea pigs.
Even though this color pattern is common there are some more rare forms of it. For instance, if your guinea pig has square shapes or heart shapes in their fur it’s often sought after as a rare color formation. Another example is if you have two patches on each half symmetrical to each other.
As the name suggests these guinea pigs have similar markings to a dalmatian dog. Dalmatian guinea pigs have patches on their whole body including their face. Rare dalmatian guinea pigs will probably have a color streak running through the middle of their face and colored feet.
Tortoiseshell with White
A very common color and often one of the most loved by guinea pig owners because of the combination of red, white and black. These guinea pigs are often used in competitions and have clear distinctions in their color patterns.
The color scheme to look for is to have two of the three colors on the head of the guinea pig. The rest will look almost like a tortoise shell.
These guinea pigs are bicolored with red and black random patches on the body. The guinea pig will have patches spread out over the body similar to a tortoiseshell. The patches will be pretty well defined with no overlap.
Monocolored (Single Color)
A very common color variation for guinea pigs is to be a single color all over their body. These guinea pigs come in 12 different colors from cream, lilac, black, orange, red and even brown or tan.
A roan coat is generally considered a monocolored guinea pig as there are no patches or secondary colors. Instead, a roan coat will have white hairs mixed in with the dominant color of the fur coat.
A Himalayan guinea pig possesses the albino genes meaning they will have a white coat with shiny red eyes. These look similar to a siamese cat with dark-colored feet, ears and nose with the white coat.
The white coat may not stay forever as many of these guinea pigs will develop a black or chocolate covered coat as they grow older.
A guinea pig with a dutch color variation will come with a mix of other variations, specifically agouti and monocolored. These guinea pigs will have a white chest and front legs and a different color for their abdomen and rear legs.
Basically your guinea pig will be split 50/50 and half will be one color and the other half will be another color. This type of color variation is highly sought after for beauty competitions if your guinea pig has particular markings in their fur from the pattern.
These guinea pigs are close to monocolored and roans in that they are largely a single color with a few key areas being different. A fox color variation means your guinea pig will have a pale muzzle, pale around the eyes, abdomen and white streaking randomly around the body.
They will also have distinctive white markings around their ears called pea spots. These will come in four different shades: black, beige, chocolate and lilac.
A brindle color variation looks like a tortoise color pattern but will not have as clearly defined patches. All of the hair will be mixed in together with some defined patches placed around the body. This color variant typically is very shiny and comes in red and black.
The argent color variant is almost identical to agouti due to the speckled fur pattern. The main difference between an argente and agouti fur style is that a single strand of hair can be multiple colors with argente, whereas with agouti each strand is a single color.
Because of the pattern this style has it can look rough or even dirty. An argente color variant typically has a lighter fur color overall such as white, beige, lilac or golden.
Rarest Hair Pattern on Guinea Pigs
The most rare color a guinea pig can have is a white-crested pattern.
This color pattern will have a patch of white at the crown of their head, similar to a rosette or actual crown. These guinea pigs only have a single color on their body aside from the splash of white on their forehead.
This pattern is often sought after for beauty competitions. If you’re adopting or purchasing a guinea pig from a breeder you’ll want to be careful if they try to fake this pattern as it’s very easy to dye the guinea pig’s hair to scam people.
Article Sources & Research
- Omlet. (n.d.). Guinea Pig Colours | Choosing A Guinea Pig | Guinea Pigs | Guide | Omlet UK. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from https://www.omlet.co.uk/guide/guinea_pigs/choosing_a_guinea_pig/colours/
- Team, K. (2022, July 8). Fascinating Guinea Pig Colors You Might Not Have Known Before. Kidadl. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from https://kidadl.com/facts/fascinating-guinea-pig-colors-you-might-not-have-known-before