The Silkie guinea pig is one of the newest guinea pigs on the market. It has only been around since the 1970s and is the result of cross-breeding between the Self Black guinea pig (which is a solid-colored short-haired guinea pig) and a Peruvian guinea pig. The Silkie inherited the long coat from the Peruvian, so if you are a fan of long-haired guinea pigs, then this is definitely one to check out.
They are often shy when they are first around new people
They are a popular breed among those who want to show their guinea pigs, but due to their amazing and beautiful coats, they also make popular pets. While they are a popular pet, their long, silky coats make them a little trickier to care for as they require a lot of grooming. They are also often shy when they are first around new people, so they may not be the best option for small kids. Let’s take a closer look.
Silkie Guinea Pig Coat & Looks
Silkie guinea pigs are easily identifiable by their long coats. They are often mistaken for Peruvian guinea pigs as their coats are so similar, but the main difference is that Silkies do not have a coat which parts along the back, Peruvians do. A Silkie’s hair also gets longer the further back the body it goes. Other than that, the two breeds of guinea pig look a lot alike.
Silkie guinea pigs are easily identifiable by their long coats.
The hair of the Silkie is long, soft, and glossy, growing back from the neck to create a look which is not dissimilar to a lion’s mane with an exposed face. These furry, little lions look beautiful. With the hair at the back being longer than the hair at the front, the Silkie guinea pig has a teardrop shape when looked at from above.
Silkies come in a wide range of colors and color combinations. A Self is the most basic and only consists of one color. There are also color combinations which are common to many other guinea pig breeds, including Dutch, Tortoiseshell, Agouti, Roan, Brindle, Himalayan, and Dalmatian.
How Do I Care For A Silkie Guinea Pig?
The soft, silky hair of a Silkie guide pig is very appealing but does need a lot of grooming to keep it in tip-top condition, and this is where you will spend a lot of your time with this breed. To keep the hair healthy and beautiful, you need to brush your Silkie every day, with many owners brushing their Silkie twice a day. This is a great way to naturally bond with your guinea pig.
When you are grooming your guinea pig, you should also check them for any skin conditions, the long coat needs more attention, and check their nails too, trimming them as needed.
To keep the hair healthy and beautiful, you need to brush your Silkie every day,
We recommend a cage which is at least 30” x 30” for this breed of guinea pig. The advantage of a large cage with a Silkie, other than them having unlimited space to run around in, is that they are less likely to soil their coats. A small cage forces the guinea pig into more areas of mess, and that can only be detrimental to their coats.
Silkies love to hide, so give them lots of options in their cages, along with space. Look for places they can go inside of and have some alone time, along with platforms and ramps they can run up and down (just make sure that there is not too much incline on the ramps).
How active are Silkie Guinea Pigs?
Silkies are very active guinea pigs (as most breeds are), and you should let them out of their cage as much as possible. With the amount of grooming which you need to do, they will be out of their cages often, but you should also give them time to run around too. A large pen will work, but we would recommend adding lots if interactive areas to the pen (places they can hide, etc.) to entertain them.
A better option is to let them run around the entire room or even your home. If you are there with them, they will slowly form a bond with you and will come to you regularly for attention. Once they form a bond with you, they never lose that. If you are letting them loose in your home, then be sure to remove anything which could be a health hazard for your guinea pig and remove anything from the floor which you do not want to be chewed.
If you are there with them, they will slowly form a bond with you and will come to you regularly for attention.
Silkies also like to be outside, and there are some precautions which you can take to ensure their safety if you do take them out. They do not do well in extreme cold or heat, so check the temperature first and keep them in the shade. A run will keep them protected from any predators, but you should still stay with your Silkie at all times, just in case.
What Should I Feed my Silkie Guinea Pig?
Silkie guinea pigs eat the exact same diet as all other breeds. The only thing to think about is how much vitamin C you are feeding them. Their long hair needs extra vitamin C to keep it looking shiny. Look for pellets which have vitamin C added or feed your Silkie fruit and vegetables which are rich in vitamin C.
Guinea pigs need a diet rich in hay to wear down their teeth. If the teeth get too long, then it can become uncomfortable and sore. Hay will not only help their teeth but will aid their digestive system too. 70% of your Silkie’s diet should be hay, but they can also eat an unlimited amount too. If your guinea pig eats through all of their hay, then top it up freely.
Their long hair needs extra vitamin C to keep it looking shiny.
Pellets rich in vitamin C will be beneficial to your Silkie, and you should aim to feed them 1/8 cup of pellets each day. Along with this, a cup of fresh vegetables, mainly leafy ones will give your Silkie a balanced diet. You can never give your guinea pig too much water, so always keep their water dish topped up, and replace the water if it ever gets contaminated.
Healthcare For Silkie Guinea Pigs
Silkie guinea pigs are afflicted by the same health problems as all other guinea pig breeds but also have some issues relating to the length of their coat. Thankfully, most of these problems are completely avoidable. Due to the length of the coat and how often it touches everything around it, you should be grooming and checking the coat often. The most common problems are mites and parasites.
With regular grooming, you will be able to keep your pet free of pests, but you should also make sure that the cage is regularly cleaned too. The pests need somewhere to breed, and a dirty cage is the best breeding ground. Keeping the cage clean is one of the best ways to keep your guinea pig in optimum health.
A health problem which is common to all guinea pigs is weight problems.
If a guinea pig is fed too much (mainly pellets), they can put on too much weight and have associated problems. When this weight is put on, it can be hard to get it off again. As long as you are monitoring their diet and feeding them what they are supposed to eat, then there will be no problems.
If ever you are in doubt about anything, then a trip to the vet should put your mind at ease.
Silkie Guinea Pigs As Pets
Silkie guinea pigs do make wonderful pets, but they are not or everyone. We have talked in length about the amount of care and attention you need to give to their coats, and for this reason, they are not great pets for children, especially young children. Older children will be fine if they are willing to put in the time and attention, and adults should be willing too. If you work a lot or are out of the house a lot, then you may not have the time to properly groom them, and this is unfair to the guinea pig.
Before you buy a Silkie, make sure that you have the time for them.
If you do have the time for a Silkie, then they make wonderful and beautiful pets. Silkies are a very gentle breed of guinea pig and one which creates a bond for life. If you want a relationship with your pet, then a Silkie could be the way to go. They start off being shy but the more you get to know them (and the more they get to know you) the friendlier they will become.