The Texel guinea pig was once rare, but is gaining popularity over time. Although Texels aren't generally recommended for children, more experienced pet owners often elect to bring this breed home. This breed is more time-consuming and requires more attention, but they can make the perfect pet for someone searching for a small, affectionate Guinea pig.
Origin and History
The Texel Guinea pig is a relatively new breed, originating in the 1980s when a Silkie guinea pig was bred with a British Rex. Since the 1980s, this breed has been combined with others. They still have their perm-like appearance and were recognized in 1998 as a breed of their own by the American Cavy Breeders Association.
Texel Versus Silkie Guinea Pig
It's easy for pet lovers to get the Texel and Silkie confused. They're both long-haired breeds and look similar. The main way to tell is by looking at their fur. Texel guinea pigs have long curly fur, whereas the Silkie has long, straight fur.
Appearance and Physical Traits
The Texel Guinea pig has a long, curly coat with shorter fur around their head and face. They are known to have a stockier body than other Guinea pig breeds.
Size and Weight
Although their fur may make them appear larger than they are, Texel Guinea pigs range between 1½ to 2½ pounds. They are shorter than other breeds, ranging from 8 to 10 inches in length.
Enclosure Size Requirements
As with all cavies, the larger the enclosure you can keep your Texel in, the better. This is especially true if you have more than one or two Guinea pigs. At minimum, each cavy should have at least 4 square feet of space to roam around. If you have more than one Guinea pig, you need additional space for them to wander.
The Texel Guinea pig comes in a variety of colors, including:
However, they could also be a combination of the above colors.
The following traits are unique to the Texel:
- This Guinea pig is more vocal than other breeds.
- They're shorter than most other breeds.
- Male Texels tend to be more laid back and friendly than females.
Similar to other Guinea pigs, the Texel has a lifespan of between 5 to 10 years, with most living between 5 to 7 years.
The Texel Guinea pig must be cared for properly to live a happy, healthy life. Like other piggies, their mental and physical health must be addressed on a regular basis. Texels are popular due to their love of people and social behavior. They do best when housed with other Guinea pigs, enjoy being handled and petted, and love to be cuddled.
Enrichment and Play
The Texel has a calm, affectionate personality which has made them incredibly popular. They enjoy being handled and petted on a regular basis, but can be nippy if they're handled too harshly. Unlike other Guinea pigs, this breed can be more mischievous than others, with curiosity getting the best of them when they're roaming around the house. Of course, it's important to keep an eye on any Guinea pig that's roaming, but keep a closer eye on this one.
The Texel's grooming requirements are more time-consuming than other cavies due to their fur's texture and length. Daily brushing is necessary to maintain the Texel's coat and prevent matting, knots, or tangles. You should use a soft-bristled brush in the direction of their fur.
Baths may also be necessary if you notice your pig getting dirty. Be careful not to get soap in their ears or eyes while bathing. You can use coconut oil to help keep their skin and coat moisturized if you're concerned about it getting too dry.
This breed's grease glands tend to be more active than other breeds. You may need to wash excess grease from their underside from time to time, especially in males.
Like other Guinea pigs, the Texel Guinea pig's diet must consist of high-quality pellets, a continuous supply of hay, fruits, and veggies. They don't have any special feeding requirements compared to other breeds. However, since they are prone to obesity, it's important to monitor their food intake. Like all other cavies, they should also have fresh, clean water available at all times.
The Texel Guinea pig is prone to the traditional ailments, but is more likely to develop the following health issues than other breeds:
- Eye infections: Eye problems are common with this breed due to an eye condition known as entropion.
- Obesity: This Guinea pig is a big eater and will consume anything in their path. Carefully monitor their intake to ensure they aren't consuming too many calories.
- Heatstroke: Although heatstroke is a concern for all piggies, this breed is more prone to heatstroke than many others.
- Skin issues: Daily grooming is necessary to prevent skin problems in this breed. Without regular grooming, infections can develop and parasites can overcome your Texel.
Caring for Babies
Newborn Guinea pigs should stay with their mother for at least three weeks. During these three weeks, they will not only be drinking their mother's milk, but taking nibbles of their mother's pellets, hay, and snacks. Avoid grooming or bathing baby Guinea pigs until they are at least a couple of months old.
Mother Guinea pigs only nurse a few times each day, so don't be surprised if you don't see them nursing all the time. They aren't like kittens that are basically attached to their Mom all day. They're more independent, but still need milk to remain healthy as babies. If you see them alone, they likely have not been abandoned, but are being given the space they need to thrive.
Availability and Cost
Texels are harder to find than most other Guinea pig breeds. The best way to find this breed is by searching for a breeder or attending Guinea pig exhibits. You can expect to pay between $20 to $50 or more if they are show-quality and are spayed or neutered.
You should have their cage ready before they're purchased or adopted. Ongoing maintenance and food costs should be factored in. If your cavy needs veterinary attention, you should also be prepared to add that to your pet-related expenses.
Are Texels Good for Children?
Because they are higher maintenance than other Guinea pig breeds, this particular breed isn't generally recommended for children. Their grooming requirements are high, making them more time-consuming for families. Experienced Guinea pig owners are more likely to choose this breed.
Is the Texel Right for You?
If you are looking for a Guinea pig for yourself, and you are an experienced owner, this could be the breed for you. However, if you're looking for a low-maintenance cavy for your child, you will want to take a look at other breeds. Short-haired Guinea pigs, for example, are more suitable for children and require less maintenance than long-haired breeds.