Silkie / Sheltie Breed Profile
|Fur||Long, dense, straight|
|Suitable for||Experienced owners|
Silkies (also known as Shelties) are very popular guinea pigs and, along with the Texel and the American, are among the smallest breeds. Silkies are like Peruvian guinea pigs without whorls. They have long, straight, soft, silky fur. The short fur on their heads looks like someone has used hair gel to style their bangs (please don’t get any ideas - that would be very dangerous for the guinea pig!). They don’t have a parting and - unlike Peruvians - their hair doesn’t fall into their faces, but onto their necks. Silkies also have cute little “sideburns”. By the way: if you look at a Silkie from above, it will look like a teardrop.
Silkies are very even-tempered and calm animals. They tend to keep their distance from each other and are also more reserved around humans than other breeds.
Like all guinea pigs, Silkies need space. Lots of space actually. People often think that a big cage is enough for these little animals. Firstly, a cage can never be big enough. And secondly, these animals need exercise outside the cage every day.
That doesn’t mean opening the cage for 10 minutes a day so your pets can potter about in your living room or hallway. Their outside space should be secured so that these adorable little creatures can’t fall and hurt themselves or nibble wires or cables.
Their long fur should regularly be carefully cleaned using a small brush. Ideally, you should have a range of brushes and first use the bigger one for larger pieces of dirt and then move down to a finer brush to remove finer muck. If their coats drag along the ground, it’s time for a trim. It’s best to cut more than less - so they have more of a break until their next “salon appointment”.
Keeping Them Outdoors
As a long-haired guinea pig, this breed is not suitable for keeping outdoors. Their fur will get wet and dirty.
Did You Know?
In Europe, these guinea pigs are called Shelties rather than Silkies.