You might be thinking silkie guinea pigs are pigs from guinea, which is wrong, silkies are large pet rodents commonly called cavies in the guinea pig community because they’re from the cavy family.
A silkie guinea pig is a special breed famous for its fine, long and silky coat that covers its body.
Silkies are also called shelties by the Europeans. For the sake of this article we’ll stick with it’s common name silkie guinea pig.
The silkies are well-known breed in the guinea pigs community for its similarity in looks to the peruvians, but the clear difference is the direction of which the coat grows.
The silkies coat flows in one direction, all their hair grows in same direction, from their heads down towards the forelimbs, which is similar to a lion’s mane, this coat has no part growing in reverse direction or rosette, and their coat is usually longer at the rear than the front of the silkies.
Silkie is a novel breed amongst the guinea pigs community they only came around in the 1970s, when they were first bred and recognized in Southern California as a new breed in the cavy family. See everything you need to know about the texel guinea pig.
Silkies are gotten from the cross-breeding of a self-black and a peruvian guinea pig, it took a while for the public to accept the first breeds of silkies, but after the public acceptance of the first breeds the demand increased tremendously.
Without further ado let’s discuss what a silkie is and what it takes to own and care for a silkie guinea pig.
For a guinea pig to be called a silkie, it must have a long silky coat and long hairs about 24 inches all growing in same direction, without any rosettes or hair growing toward its head.
A view at a silkie from above would give you a teardrop-like shape.
Silkies usually have different colours and patterns, but there are 3 most common of them namely; self, ticked, and patterned.
Self: they’re usually plain with just a colour without variation and patterns, some of the colours are, white, black, cream, golden, red and chocolate.
Ticked: each strand of the silkie hair will be marked with both colours, usually black and red or white and black.
Patterned: this type of silkie usually have specific colours and specific markings, most common are the dutch, brindle, magpie, tortoiseshell and dalmatian.
Some silkies have special colour variation like albinism.
Silkies are shy in nature, so they tend to take more time to get acquainted with fellow guinea pigs or humans, using treats as bribe would speed up this process. See homemade peanut butter dog-treats
Silkies looks big compared to other guinea pigs but in real sense they can only grow 7 to 10 inches and they have a lifespan of 5years but can live up to 7years if cared for correctly and timely.
Silkies are very attractive but are considered rare, in the sense that not everyone can care for one.
Conscious effort is required to maintain a silkie, due to its soft and silky hair, it requires a lot of grooming to keep it in its notch condition, you’ll need to spend alot of time brushing your silkie daily to keep the hair beautiful and healthy.
While grooming your silkie, you should always check for any skin condition that could be hiding under the long coat, grooming your silkie twice daily will quickly form a long-lasting bond between you and your silkie.
It’s important to create hiding spaces for your silkies while building a cage for it, silkies love to hide, so it’s necessary their pen has plenty of options for hiding.
The cage for your silkie should be big enough to accommodate its mess, silkies don’t like getting messy, because of its fine coat, but a small cage would force your silkie into its mess.
Always keep your silkie cage clean and allow it to move around the house often, it would help your silkie overall health.
To keep your silkie at its attractive state, you’ll need to feed your silkie with healthy and nutritional feeds daily.
Silkie guinea pigs are usually need a lot of timothy hay, food pellets, fruits, vegetables and water to remain healthy.
It’s a known fact among guinea pig lover that guinea pig can’t produce vitamin C in their bodies, therefore they must be fed with a lot of vegetables in other to boost their immune system. Lack of vitamin C, cause scurvy and weak bones in silkies.
Always watch what your silkie eat, don’t feed them with chocolates, caffeine or sugary content, this could lead to obesity and other health problem putting your silkie at risk.
Silkies has the tendency of contracting Osteodystrophy(OD) a bone disease common amongst guinea pigs, and it’s an incurable one, so always check for any sign of weakness, wobbly walking or eating difficulty and visit your local veterinary doctor immediately.
Silkies need things to gnaw on regularly, in order to keep their teeth in shape because their teeth never stop growing, failure to provide chewable items could lead to broken or crooked teeth, which is a heavy burden on your pet.
Silkie guinea pigs are wonderful companions, but are really shy pets, but once they get acquainted with you they become the most affectionate pet you’ll ever have.
If you’re in love with a beautiful silkie, know that you’re not alone, because they’re many people who’re are in love and are esteemed owners of silkies worldwide.
A balanced diet, exercise and unrivaled attention for your Silkie will enhance its lifespan and overall health.
You might be bothered about the much maintenance time and attention that is needed in caring for a Silkie, you might feel that, this type of guinea pig is not a perfect pet for you.
There are lots of other guinea pigs breeds with short or no hair, that require little or no maintenance, that could fit in your schedules.