Merino

Merino Breed Profile

Fur Long, dense, curly
Rosettes None
Characteristics Crown
Lifespan 4 - 6 years
Suitable for Experienced owners

Breed Characteristics

The Merino guinea pig has really curly hair! It has especially cute, long, soft and curly hair that feels elastic and bouncy when you touch it. It’s even lovely and curly, dense and woolly on the belly. The fur is only short at the head, and the Merino has one single whorl (or rosette) on its forehead. In principle, you could say that it’s a curly-haired Coronet thanks to the long coat and the crest.

Speaking of curls. The Merino is often mistaken for the Texel as it also has gorgeous curls. What’s the difference? The Merino has a crest, while the Texel doesn’t. This isn’t always easy to see on photos (we’ll try and get better ones!) but you can tell a Texel and a Merino apart if you have them in front of you. Merinos are a rare guinea pig breed. There’s no limit when it comes to fur color.

Merino Guinea Pig Merino Guinea Pig - Photo: Baishev/Shutterstock

Fur Care

Fur should be groomed regularly with a plastic comb. This guinea pig will also clean its own fur but it can’t reach everywhere as it has so much long hair. Please never use a metal comb as they’re too rigid and will pull out your guinea pig’s beautiful fur. Use a pair of rounded scissors to trim the coat once to twice a month so there’s always a “safety buffer” of 0,4 inch (1 cm) from the ground.

Do Guinea Pigs Need Baths?

You’ll often hear that guinea pigs needs baths every now and then. This isn’t at all necessary for healthy guinea pigs, and will cause the animal unnecessary stress. They should only be bathed if recommended by a vet due to parasites or a fungal infection. Speaking of water:

Can Guinea Pigs Swim?

The short answer is yes. Like almost all mammals, guinea pigs can swim. But some mammals are better than others. Guinea pigs belong to the “others”. Water just isn’t their natural habitat. If they do go into the water, it’s probably to get away from something or if they’re in a blind panic.

Keeping Them Outdoors

As a long-haired guinea pig, the Merino is not suitable for keeping outdoors. Their fur will get wet and dirty.

Did You Know?

Merino is also the name of a kind of sheep originally from northern Africa and initially bred in Spain.

Merino Guinea Pig Merino Guinea Pig - Photo: Natalia Kuzmina/Shutterstock