If you’re new to pet ownership and are considering a furry friend, you might be interested in the Ridgeback Guinea Pig, notable for the pronounced ridge of fur that runs along their spine.
In general, the Ridgeback Guinea Pig breed requires gentle handling from a young age, plenty of social interaction, and ample space to play.
What is a Ridgeback Guinea Pig?
Known simply as the Ridgeback, this breed of guinea pig is officially recognized in the UK but not yet by the American Cavy Breeders’ Association. Despite this, they have similar care requirements to other guinea pig breeds.
Are Ridgeback Guinea Pigs Rare?
While not the most common breed, Ridgebacks are not exceedingly rare either, with the Rare Varieties Cavy Club listing them under their ‘New and Emerging’ category. While they are officially recognized in the UK, they are still growing in popularity in America.
What Do Ridgeback Guinea Pigs Look Like?
Ridgeback Guinea Pigs have soft, short coats akin to other cavies, save for the fur along their spines which is usually about an inch tall. With brindling being a genetic possibility, this ridge of fur along their spine is their most identifiable characteristic. They have large drooping ears and a slightly curved head, with a playful and curious disposition.
Ridgeback Guinea Pig Personality
Though known for being quite laid-back, Ridgebacks also possess an inquisitive nature, and it is important to handle them gently from a young age to establish trust. These guinea pigs are social creatures who enjoy the company of at least one more of their kind and benefit from daily mental stimulation.
Health and Care
As with any pet, it is important to maintain a clean living environment. Wire mesh or abrasive flooring should be avoided, as it can lead to chronic dermatitis on their paws. Fresh water must also be readily available, and their diet should consist primarily of hay and fresh grass with access to leafy greens and guinea pig-safe fruits and vegetables.
Common Guinea Pig Health Issues
Like many breeds of guinea pigs, Ridgebacks are susceptible to dental issues if their teeth are not ground down, which can lead to ulcers or abscesses. Without enough vitamin C in their diet, they are also prone to scurvy. Respiratory infections, tumors, and parasites such as fleas and lice are other issues to be aware of. Any changes in behavior or indications of illness should be brought to the attention of a veterinarian.
Where Can I Find a Ridgeback Guinea Pig?
Reputable breeders are the best source of Ridgeback Guinea Pigs, but as they are not yet an officially recognized breed in America, they may be harder to find than in the UK. Still, with a rise in popularity, it may be more feasible to locate one than you think. Alternatively, other intriguing guinea pig breeds might appeal to you as well.
Other Guinea Pig Breeds
There are many guinea pig breeds worth exploring. If Ridgebacks are not to be found, some other noteworthy breeds include the Abyssinian, American, and Peruvian guinea pigs.
Ridgeback Guinea Pig – A Summary
The Ridgeback Guinea Pig is an enchanting breed that is easy-going for owners and curious in temperament. While sometimes tricky to locate in America, reputable breeders can help you welcome this fascinating cavy to your family.
References and Resources
- Donnelly, T. & Brown, C. ‘Guinea Pig and Chinchilla Care and Husbandry’, Veterinary Clinics Exotic Animal Practice (2004)
- Witkowska, A. (et al), ‘The Effects of Diet on Anatomy, Physiology and Health in the Guinea Pig’, Journal of Animal Health and Behavioral Science (2017)
- The British Cavy Council
- ‘Breed Standards for Full and Guide Standard Cavies’, British Cavy Council Constitution and Rules
- American Cavy Breeders’ Association
- Rare Varieties Cavy Club
- Hess, L. & Axelson, R. ‘Health Problems in Guinea Pigs’, VCA Hospitals