Guinea pigs are one of the most popular small animal pocket pets around. These furry cavids come in all shapes, sizes, and colors – depending on their breed. One breed, the Texel Guinea Pig, sets itself apart from all the others in some very unique ways. Learn more about the texel guinea pig below with Dr. Jess:
There is a pretty good chance that you are here because you have no idea what a Texel is – and you are not alone!
Many people are not familiar with this breed of guinea pig.
These piggies are growing in popularity and at times can be hard to find due to their increase in demand.
Below, you will find sections explaining the Texel basics that you need to know to get more familiar with the breed, their breed characteristics, as well as proper care tips, and breed-associated medical concerns.
If you are considering bringing a texel pig into your home, you will definitely want to read through this article and ask questions with your vet to see if this pet is right for you and your situation.
What is a Guinea Pig?
A guinea pig is a type of pocket pet that resides in the cavie family of animals.
They are small animals that grow to a maximum of approximately 10-11 inches long, and can weigh up to 2.5 pounds as a healthy adult.
In captivity and with proper care it is quite common to see these pets live upto 8-10 years of age.
One of their main anatomical (body) “quirks” is that they are constantly needing to chew in order to file their teeth down, as their teeth are constantly erupting (growing longer and longer).
They are quite playful animals and love to socialize with the ones that they know and love.
They make great pets for responsible pet owners, and those living in small dwellings wanting a loveable pet that comes in a small package.
Different Breeds of Guinea Pigs:
Guinea pigs come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors – depending on which breed, and sometimes these items vary greatly inside the breed or line as well.
When most people think of a guinea pig – most are going to picture the American guinea pig found in many pet stores across the country.
This type of guinea pig comes in colors of black, browns, white, and oranges, or with large spots or areas with a combination of these colors.
These guinea pigs have short hair covering their entire bodies.
Another breed of cavy has long, straight or slightly wavy hair – white those same white, black, orange, or brown colorings, patterns, or markings as the short-haired type.
But there are other breeds of guinea pig out there that look remarkably different than these more common types of pig, including the Texel breed.
History of the Breed:
The Texel breed is a newer guinea pig breed that originated in England in the earlier part of the 1980’s.
It was created after cross-breeding a British Rex Guinea Pig with a Silkie Guinea Pig.
Further breeding and tweaking of the breed continued for a few years until 1988, when the Texel continued to grow in popularity and was officially recognized as a breed by the American Cavy Breeders Association, or ACBA.
Texel Guinea Pig Basics:
The Texel Guinea Pig is one of the newer breeds of Guinea Pig, recognized by guinea pig breed associations.
They are quite stunning to look at, and have a calm, patient demeanor.
They can make great small pets and are quite friendly and loving.
They can live between 5-10 years in captivity but are best owned by experienced guinea pig owners due to a few special circumstances discussed in this article.
Texel Guinea Pigs Physical Appearance:
The physical appearance of the Texel breed makes these furry friends really stand out of the crowd!
The most noticeable difference that most people see right off the bat with Texel guinea pigs is their long, curly coat all over their bodies.
Typically, the hair covering the head and face is quite a bit shorter than the hair on the rest of their body.
They are sometimes referred to as the ‘Shirley Temple’ or the ‘Long-Haired Sheltie‘ of the Guinea Pig world, for good reason!
The curly Texel guinea pig coat can be in any color, from white, gold, brown, black, red, whether solid or a mix or patterned.
Most Texel guinea pigs, like other breeds of guinea pigs, will be 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) as a mature adult, sometimes with males being noted as slightly longer than females by some sources.
This breed of pig can weigh anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 pounds (700 g to 1200 g) as an adult. Males may outweigh females, although this is not always the case, as there are outliers to this generalized statement.
Just like other breeds of guinea pigs, this Texel breed also has a compact, broad body, neck, and broad and quite round face. Some Texel’s have a shorter body length than other guinea pigs commonly do, but not all.
They have four short, stubby legs.
They have two large, bright eyes, and two ears that are typically hidden underneath some of their beautiful curly hair coat of theirs.
Texel Behavioral Characteristics:
Well… all cavies have different personalities, just like people do! It’s fun to get to know your guinea pig and their personality becomes more and more apparent the longer you are with your pet!
Texel Guinea Pigs have a calm, soft, patient nature about them.
They love attention and interaction with their human friends when handled safely and properly from a young age, which is important when grooming their long coats.
They can be known to be more active than other breeds and with that – a little more mischievous, according to some Texel owners.
Texel Guinea Pig Diet:
There are no special dietary requirements for Texel Guinea Pigs.
They have the same dietary requirements, restrictions, and concerns as other guinea pig breeds do.
These little buddies need an array of things to keep them healthy and happy:
- High-quality guinea pig food and Timothy hay should be the main staples of their diet.
- Up to about 10% of their diet can be made up of an assortment of vegetables and fruits, with fruits and vegetables over 12-24 hours old being discarded as soon as possible.
- They require 30 – 50 mg of vitamin C daily from their diet, either in their guinea pig food, a vitamin supplement, or from fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C.
- Guinea pigs do best with diets low in fats and sugars.
- Clean, fresh, filtered, chlorine-free water. ‘Fresh water‘ means that is is changed daily. ‘Changed daily‘ means that new water is placed into a CLEAN water dispenser!
The same rules apply for Texel guinea pigs as for other Guinea Pig breeds when it comes to proper environment.
Living conditions should be clean and dry, and enclosure cleaning routines should be performed on a very regular basis, preferably daily or more.
Keeping their bedding clean and dry is incredibly important because of their long, thick coats.
This will lessen the chance of dirty, soiled materials becoming stuck in their curly fur, something that can lead to health problems if not addressed.
Many Texel owners recommend to not use wood shavings as this course bedding can get stuck in the long curly hair and cause unneccesary mats very quickly.
Proper Care Tips:
There are some specific care requirements that the Texel guinea pig needs in order to keep their coat , skin, and orifices healthy and clean.
- Run your fingers gently through their coat to help loosen any excess hair before brushing.
- Brush your Texel Guinea Pigs coat at least once a day to avoid clumping and matting.
- Serious tangles and mats, can be spritzed with water or a gentle conditioning spray that is approved to be used on small animals and pets. This makes the knots and tangles easier to work out.
- Use a soft brush made specifically for small pet grooming, for your Texel Guinea Pig. Make sure to brush in the same direction as the hair lays (from head of the pet, to their toes.) Do not use metal or hard bristle combs that have the potential to scratch the skin or pull chunks of their long hair out. Ouch!
- Trim your Texel’s coat regularly, especially around the genitals to avoid feces and urine getting into the coat and build up deposits in hair mats.
- Pay attention to long hair over the ears, This area can be quite sensitive if pulled on too hard by the brush. Grooming sessions should be conducted without pain so that your guinea pig is always comfortable and doesn’t become scared of this daily ritual. The ear area can also build-up with wax and get stuck in the brush and pull – so watch carefully when working around their delicate ears!
- Reward your guinea pig with treats and praise throughout the process to keep it calm, most Texels will grow to have lots of patience and enjoy their daily grooming ritual with their human companion..
Clipping / Trimming / Cutting Hair:
You will see coat growth as your Texel reaches adulthood, approximately up to one inch (2.5 cm) per month of age.
Because of this longer hair coat, trimming your pig’s coat is highly recommended as a healthy management practice.
- Clip your guinea pig’s fur once a month.
- Hair near the legs, groin, and backside should be clipped whenever it appears overgrown, or if you notice excrement matting in the fur of your guinea pig.
- Have someone gently hold your guinea pig still while you clip, making sure that you do not begin until the pig is secure and not wiggling – as this is a cutting hazard!
- Spritz any mats or tangles with lukewarm water first before snipping them off or brushing through them.
Bathing Your Guinea Pig:
- Give your Texel a bath once a month.
- Bathe your guinea pig in a small wash tub or sink with lukewarm water.
- Add enough water that it reaches your guinea pig’s stomach, but don’t add more water than that.
- Lather your guinea pig in a gentle shampoo specifically made for guinea pigs and then rinse it thoroughly, making sure that the products do not go into their eyes, nose, ears, or mouth.
- Choose a guinea pig shampoo and conditioner that do not leave excess residue on the coat, as this will help collect dirt and debris.
- After the bath, towel dry the cavy and then keep it in a guinea pig-safe area under supervision, until it dries off before returning the guinea pig back to its enclosure.
Hair covers the ears of these lovely little beasts, so they are much more likely to have ear wax buildup over other guinea pigs.
Make sure you check and properly clean their ears whenever needed.
Like with other guinea pigs, make sure to correctly trim their nails about once a month or as needed.
Because of their special type of hair coat, this breed of piggie is prone to a few different medical concerns.
These health issues are discussed below, but if you have individual concerns about your particular pet, contact your local veterinarian for more information on what you should do in your particular case!
Knotted Hair and Skin Problems:
The long curly coat of this breed can become tangled and knotted very quickly unless they are regularly cut and groomed.
If left unattended, these tangles and mats can cause skin problems including wounds, mites and other parasitic infestations, which can be very uncomfortable (itching, iriataion, or soreness) and affect their overall health.
Knotted and matted hair can also impact their mobility, which can lead to weight gain if your pig is not getting enough exercise and up and moving around.
Texel Guinea Pigs have large, round, beautiful eyes, that unfortunately are susceptible to eye infections, especially entropion.
The good news is this can typically be treated safely with veterinarian-prescribed antibiotic eye drops.
As Always, I recommend that you contact a vet for advice if you suspect your guinea pig is having eye problems.
Guinea pigs can have sensitive gastrointestinal (digestive) systems.
Diarrhea, decreased appetite or anorexia, bladder stones (calculi) and cystitis (bladder infections) are all issues that they can succumb to.
A guinea pigs’ teeth continue to grow throughout their life. Therefore, your Texel will need to chew on things to keep it’s teeth at a healthy length.
Things that can help with this include plenty of guinea pig chewing toys for them to choose from.
Guinea pigs in general are quite susceptible to being overweight, which can lead to other health problems.
Add the extra curly and long coat of the Texel, and not it is even harder to see weight problems as they arise.
This is a guinea pig breed that is very very susceptible to weight problems!
Texel Guinea Pigs For Sale:
The cost of your Texel guinea pig can be over $40 in some areas and some owners have found it hard to find Texels due to their increase in popularity.
The best way to locate a reputable breeder is to contact the guinea pig or cavy association in your local surrounding area.
Another resource to finding a good breeder is to reach out to local veterinarians to ask for a referral.
And don’t forget about rescue shelters! Sometimes Texels are relinquished because they are more laborsome to take care of due to their long curly coats.
Due to their beautiful coats and big sweet eyes, Texel guinea pigs are a popular choice among owners and enthusiasts.
However, this breed is best left in the hands of an experienced guinea pig handler due to the additional hair care and grooming requirements necessary to keep the Texel healthy and happy.
As always, if you have any specific questions regarding your pet guinea pig, it is best to reach out to your local veterinarian about your individual concern, as they know your pet.
- Leach, M. (2003). Texels: Basic Selection, Care and Show Preparation. American Cavy Breeders Association.
- Neesom, S., et al (2003). Breed Standards for Full and Guide Size Cavies: Texel. British Cavy Council.