Officially recognized by the American Cavy Breeders Association in 1978, the Teddy quickly became a favorite choice for anyone who wanted a fluffy, cute guinea pig that didn’t demand excessive grooming.
Sociable, fun-loving, and playful, the Teddy makes a great addition to families with children, making it one of the most popular choices for cavy enthusiasts.
Do you know the origins of the Teddy breed? And do you want to know if the Teddy is right for you?
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Teddy Guinea Pig Origins
The irresistible Teddy
Not much is known about the origin of the Teddy, but it’s speculated that by crossing an Abyssinian with an American, the Teddy was born.
Abyssinian + American = Teddy?
Laboratories use guinea pigs for animal testing, and depending on their needs, they’ll often create a specific breed of cavy. Was this the origin of the irresistible Teddy?
That’s our best guess!
Teddies get their name from their coat, which looks and feels like what you’d find on a Teddy bear.
Teddy Guinea Pig Breed Characteristics
The Teddy has been around for quite some time now, first gaining official recognition by the American Cavy Breeders Association in 1978.
A compact piggy, they typically won’t exceed 12 inches when fully grown and should weigh between 1½ to 3 pounds when mature.
Sharing the “Roman” nose of the American, you’ll find that they have a slightly elongated face.
But what makes the Teddy a breed unto itself is its short, fluffy, dense coat! As the ACBA describes the standard, it should sport a “short, dense, plush coat which is resilient to the touch and ‘stands up.’”
Two coat options are recognized: the standard Teddy and the satin variant, which has a silky, shiny sheen to its coat.
Can you tell which of these Teddies is the satin?
Teddies are also known for their outgoing, playful personality.
Very sociable, they love to be cuddled and stroked, and piggy parents who want an affectionate friend often choose the Teddy. This also makes them popular with children, as they’re generally less timid than other breeds, enjoying human company as well as the companionship of other cavies.
Teddy Guinea Pig Care
Teddies are fairly low-maintenance, making them a great choice for the average guinea pig enthusiast or for families with children.
In addition to the standard dietary and space requirements common to all guinea pigs, you’ll need just a modicum of additional grooming for your Teddy:
The Teddy has a short, fluffy coat that’s easy to keep clean, and unlike longer-haired breeds like the Silkie or Texel, its coat doesn’t require a lot of care.
That said, a weekly brush will help to distribute the Teddy’s natural oils, keeping its coat in prime shape.
Given the short hair of this breed, the usual fine-toothed comb is probably not necessary. Instead, we’d recommend a soft-bristled baby brush and gentle strokes. Many Teddies love this treatment, and it’s a great way to bond with your furry friend!
Bathing two or three times a year
Teddies have a coat that stays pretty clean, and it’s not likely to pick up debris or get soaked in urine or feces.
Nevertheless, two or three times a year, it’s a good idea to give them a thorough wash.
Any more than that, though, and you risk over-drying their delicate skin.
Most guinea pig breeds won’t enjoy bath-time, and as PetMD warns, “Guinea pigs do not typically like to be immersed in water, so just an inch or two of warm water in the sink, with a sink sprayer to rinse off the shampoo, works great.”
Vets recommend liquid Dawn or Ivory soap, and you need to be careful to rinse your furry buddy carefully to remove all those suds. Follow with a towel-dry, or a hairdryer on low heat, to get your friend warm and dry.
As you can see, this can be quite the adventure!
Regular ear check-ups
Just like people, guinea pigs produce ear wax. And as it builds up, it can provide a haven for bacteria, so it’s worth taking care of regularly.
If you suspect a serious build-up of wax, make an appointment with your veterinarian!
Every two weeks, you’ll want to work a good outer-ear cleaning into your Teddy’s care rituals, but never try to clean deep in your guinea pig’s ear! Instead, you’ll want to use high-quality cotton swabs and a drop of mineral oil to clean any loose debris and wax from your furry friend’s ears.
If you’re not sure how to go about this, just watch this video:
Monthly nail trimming
According to PetMD, “All guinea pigs need to have their nails trimmed periodically, typically every month to two months. The frequency of trimming depends on the guinea pig’s age, diet, cage substrate, and activity level. Younger guinea pigs’ nails typically grow faster than older ones’, and those that are fed nutritionally balanced diets generally grow faster as well.”
Teddy parents can use nail clippers designed for cats and work as a team to carefully trim their furry friend’s nails, being careful not to cut to the sensitive quick. If nail trimming stresses your guinea pig, you can work on one or two nails per session, resuming when it has had time to calm down.
Here’s a good how-to guide:
Final Thoughts: Is the Teddy Guinea Pig Right for You?
A Teddy can instantly work its way deep into your heart, but is it the right choice for you?
Teddies are affectionate, fun-loving, and playful, so if you’re looking for a guinea pig that loves cuddles and floor time, this breed might be the perfect choice for you. They’re also great with kids, making them a popular choice for families with young ones who’d love to take care of an energetic furball.
And their short, low-maintenance coat requires just a minimum of care, making them one of the least grooming-intensive options.
It’s clear that there’s a lot to love about Teddies, and just as clear why they’re one of the most popular breeds!