Texel Guinea Pig – There are several different guinea pig breeds, but one of the newest is the Texel guinea pig. This is a beautiful animal, and we want to give you some insight into how to breed them.
One of the main reasons why the Texel guinea pig has become one of the most sought after cross-breeds is because of their long curly coat. Their stock really rose in 1998 when the American Cavy Breeders Association recognized the Texel guinea pig as an official breed. They are now popping up in homes across the globe.
If you don’t know much about the Texel guinea pig, don’t feel bad, as it’s still a little-known breed, particularly since they are harder to get your hands on than the standard American guinea pig. We hope that this article will tell you all you need to know about this wonderful animal.
The Unique Characteristics of the Texel Guinea Pig
One look at the Texel guinea pig and you will understand why it is sometimes known as the “long-haired Sheltie.” The hair on the Texel is a little longer than that of the Sheltie breed, but it’s the curliness of those locks that really sets this breed apart. That distinctive coat has led to the Texel guinea pig being given all manner of creative names.
Texel Guinea Pig Facts
Here are a few quick facts that will help you get to know the Texel guinea pig a little better:
- It’s a non-self variety of guinea pig.
- They are an officially classified breed.
- The first Texel was born in England back in the 1980’s, the product of a cross-breeding between Silkie and Rex guinea pigs.
- The ACBA officially recognized the breed in 1998.
- The entire animal needs to be covered in curls of a corkscrew shape in order for the guinea pig to be recognized as a Texel.
- You won’t find a Texel guinea pig in your pet shop, as they are only ever found via breeders or rescues.
- The whole body of the Texel is covered in curly hair with a part in the back.
- The facial hair of the Texel is different depending on its genetics, but for the most part it is shorter in order to avoid suffocation.
- There may not always be hair under the ears and jawline.
- Compared to other breeds, the Texel has a shorter body.
- Its head is round and wide.
- You can also get Satin Texels, which are guinea pigs with a denser shinier coat, but this breed is yet to be recognized by the American Cavy Breeders Association.
The Origins of the Texel Guinea Pig
As mentioned earlier, it was the cross breeding of a Silkie guinea pig and a Rex guinea pig that led to the first Texel being born in England in the 80’s.
In the years that followed, more cross breeding took place to arrive upon the Texel that we know and love today. There were so many crosses during that time that the exact lineage is almost impossible to pinpoint.
By the time 1998 rolled around, we had the Texel guinea pig that is now starting to be popular in homes and shows across the world. The increasing popularity of this breed led the ACBA to finally recognize it and add it to their association.
See Also: Peruvian Guinea Pig
The Texel Guinea Pigs Personality Traits
Like most animals, it’s not really the breed that plays a major role in the personality, as each individual animal is different. That said, there are some common characteristics that can be seen across the entire Texel breed.
The majority of Texel guinea pigs have a similar personality to other long-haired breeds, which is to say that they are quite well behaved. That said, you will discover that the Texel is a little more active than Silkies and Peruvians, but on the whole, they are still more tranquil.
If you own a Texel and notice a marked change in their behavior, it could be a sign that they are sick. It’s always a good idea to visit the vet in these situations, just to be sure.
Caring for a Texel Guinea Pig
Before we get into caring for a Texel guinea pig, it needs to be said that these are not the ideal pets for kids or people who have never owned a guinea pig. These wonderful little animals will take up a lot of your time, especially when it comes to grooming, which needs to be done daily.
Here are all the ways in which they require your attention:
- The hair of the Texel will pick up excrement if allowed to drag on the floor.
- The bedding and hay in the cage can become stuck in the hair.
- You will need to keep their hair neat and trimmed around the anus, otherwise excrement can build up and mat the hair.
- Scurfy skin and ear wax build-ups are common in the Texel, so keep an eye out for both.
- Bathing regularity is about the same as other guinea pigs, which is about once per month.
- Nails need to be trimmed on a monthly basis.
- A healthy diet will consist of veggies, timothy hay, vitamin c pellets, and fresh water.
How to House a Texel Guinea Pig
The ideal shelter for a Texel is a cage that is at least 7 feet square in size. These guys need a little room to roam, so the more space the better. They will also benefit from time outside the cage interacting with other animals, although this should only be done in a safe environment.
Inside the cage, you should have comfortable bedding, toys, water and food containers, and a little house they can snuggle up in.
The Diet of the Texel Guinea Pig
A heathy and happy Texel is one that easts a balanced diet. A little bit of variety is good, as this will ensure that he gets all he needs to be healthy. Daily vegetable servings are good, although you should pay attention to see how he reacts to the veggies you serve. A wet stool is a sign that he is not reacting well to a particular type of food, so remove that from his diet when you see this.
Texel’s need a lot of vitamins, which is something they can get from foods such as carrots, broccoli, cucumber, parsley, and more. When you add new veggies to his diet, be sure to do so gradually, as adding them in too quickly can lead to an upset stomach for the Texel.
Hay is also important to the Texel guinea pig, so introduce it as soon as you bring a baby home. Alternatives to hay include pet grass and several different veggie leaves.
Vitamin C is a key element in the diet of the Texel guinea pig, which is something that you can get from the veggies that you feed him. Vitamin C supplements can be added to the diet of you are concerned that he is not getting enough. If you have a young Texel, or one that is pregnant, you will need to increase the daily intake of the vitamin.
Pellets should also be a regular part of the diet, as you can expect the Texel to eat roughly 1/8 cup of pellets per day, on top of his regular diet of hay, water, and veggies. Look for pellets with Vitamin C, and buy smaller amounts that can be easily refrigerated.
Fresh water is an essential part of the Texel’s diet, but do not add anything else to the water.
Grooming the Texel Guinea Pig
Given the length of their hair, it goes without saying that Texel’s need regular grooming. Maintaining the length of the hair will make your grooming efforts a good deal easier. Pay special attention to his backside, as excrement and urine can be an issue there.
Ear wax can quickly build up because of all the hair they have around the ears. Regularly check for wax and clean as needed. Regular trimming of all their hair will keep them happy and comfortable, whilst also reducing the risk of a variety of different infections. As well as trimming the hair, make sure to wash it monthly in order to avoid matting.
Safety or hairdresser scissors are good tools for the job, but they are not quite as effective or accurate as electric clippers. You can keep matting at bay by regularly running your fingers through the Texel’s hair, which they love, but when you brush, the best results come from a wired tooth comb. When you perform the monthly bathing of your Texel, take the time to trim their nails, too.
Bathing Your Texel Guinea Pig
While you can skip the baths with most guinea pig breeds, bathing is an essential part of caring for a Texel. This is because their hair can drag on the floor, picking up urine and excrement as they go. Stick to bathing your Texel around once per month.
Showing Your Texel Guinea Pig
The unusual look of the Texel guinea pig makes them an obvious choice for shows. Taking them to a show is an excellent way to exhibit the unique look and personality of the Texel.
Once there, they will be judged on their appearance, as well as on their personality and behavior. A well-maintained coat that is healthy, and which shows off the pattern and colors is usually a very big hit with the judges.
Common Diseases & Treatments
It is a lack of vitamin C that can cause common issues such as pneumonia and hair loss. Avoiding pneumonia is often as simple as keeping your guinea pig indoors in a dry, warm setting. Sores and hair loss may be a sign of the presence of lice or fleas, which can usually be treated with shampoos or powders that can be purchased at your local pet shop.
Diarrhea and intestinal issues may be a sign that your guinea pig has a diet containing to much fruit, sugar, carbs, and starch. Grass in their diet is a good way to combat this, although, you should refrain from feeding him too many dark, leafy greens. On the flipside, a diet that is lacking in roughage, or is too dry, may lead to constipation.
If you notice that your guinea pig is favoring one side, or is walking in circles, it may be that he has a middle ear infection that will require a visit to the vet.
Antibiotics can be used to treat respiratory and eye infections caused by Pasturellosis, and also streptococcal infections. Enlarged neck glands are a sign of pseudotuberculosis, which can be fatal if not treated by a vet. Disease carriers in colonies can deliver a condition known as Salmonellosis, which can be rapidly deteriorating.
Pairing two males in the same cage or having to many guinea pigs in a small space can lead to wounds developing. The animals should be separated to prevent fighting, and the wounds should be bathed in a mild antiseptic.
Old age cannot be prevented, but you can give your Texel guinea pig a long, healthy, happy life by following all the tips outlined above.
While the Texel guinea pig is one of the most beautiful looking breeds, they are also one that requires a lot of work, so be prepared to be dedicated if you buy one. This is an animal that you are going to want to show off, so be sure to look after him as best you can.