Everything to Know About Sheltie Guinea Pig

Different guinea pig breeds exist, but which is the best for you? Sheltie may be the favorable option, but what is it?

Before deciding on the guinea pig breed to buy, know everything about Sheltie guinea pigs. They are cute, friendly, and adorable, but you have more factors to consider.

We will talk about everything you need to know about Sheltie guinea pigs. Keep reading for information on the origin, appearance, temperament, care, health, and more!

Everything To Know About Sheltie Guinea Pig

Are you looking for a new pet addition to your family? A sheltie or silkie guinea pig may be your appropriate breed choice, but what is it all about?

Shelties are even-tempered, long-haired guinea pigs with attractive appearances. They are relatively small compared to other breeds, but they are equally lovely pets.

NameSheltie or Silkie Guinea Pig
OriginUnited Kingdom
Size700-1200 grams, 7 to 10 inches, 
CoatLong, dense, straight
Lifespan4 – 7 years
Colorscombined brown and white
TemperamentSweet, affectionate, shy
Diet80% hay, 20% nuggets/veggies
Suitable forexperience owners
Sheltie or Silkie Guinea Pig Information

Origin and Breed Characteristics

Sheltie guinea pigs were first developed in the United Kingdom in the 1970s. The breed resulted from a cross between Self Black and Peruvian Guinea Pigs. The gene combination led to long, brown, and white hair.

The naming of this guinea pig breed depends on your region. They are commonly referred to as Silkie in the US, while the rest call them Shelties.

Sheltie guinea pigs are arguably affectionate, making them the best choice among competing breeds. You can find this guinea pig breed for sale in the United States.

It is widely available and one of the most popular among pet lovers. However, it needs more care than most guinea pigs.


Sheltie guinea pigs are long-haired and covered by soft, shiny, and smooth coats. Their hairs are long, reaching up to 24 inches lengthwise. The fur of this breed can take all color shades, ranging from black to white. They mostly come with multicolored coats.

You can distinguish Shelties from Peruvians by the direction in which their hairs face. The two are closely related but coats on Shelties facing backward.

Peruvian guinea pig hairs face their head. Additionally, an aerial or top view of Shelties reveals a tear-drop shape.

Size and Lifespan

Theoretically, Shelties can live for 14 years. However, that’s far from reality. Even if you give the best care and medication, Sheltie guinea pigs can only live for about 5-8 years on average. That is a long enough time to enjoy the companionship of your pet.

Lengthwise, Sheltie guinea pigs can grow to about 7-10 inches. That also depends on the gender, health, and availability of food.

If you want your pet to reach its potential, provide the best care and prioritize its comfort. Medication, housing, and food should be the best you can provide.  

Sheltie Guinea Pig Personality

If you have kids, Sheltie guinea pigs should be your preferred choice of pet. They are friendly, affectionate, gentle, and kind animals that get along with people quite well.

However, you and your family may need time to adapt to the newcomer. Shelties are shy and will not bounce back to the action easily with the new owner.

Shelties do not bite unless provoked and use their teeth as the last weapon. You don’t have to worry about it biting you if you become the best friend that provides love, care, and company it needs.

Conservation Status

Generally, domesticated guinea pigs and their wild cousins are in no danger of extinction. Shelties, for example, are readily available throughout the United States.

In fact, they are marked as least concern in the red list of threatened species by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

How to Care Sheltie Guinea Pig as a Pet

Sheltie guinea pigs need more care and maintenance than many other breeds. That is so because their long hairs attract bugs and require frequent grooming.

As a result, we only recommend shelties if you are an experienced pet enthusiast. And if you have to get them, please buy them in pairs. They are social animals that love the company of each other.

As part of caring for your Sheltie guinea pigs, consider doing the following:

  • Grooming: Sheltie hairs are long and can grow at the rate of one inch every month. If left untrimmed, they can get to 24 inches. So, frequent grooming and trimming are not optional to keep your pet presentable and good-looking. You can also spot-clean dirty areas, but never bathe your Shelties.
  • Habitat: Your Sheltie guinea pigs should be healthy, happy, and secure. That is only possible if you have the best cage design, bedding, water bottles, and many other accessories. A simple plastic cage may not do since they can easily chew through. Consider hardened plastic or simply metallic guinea pig cage. The cage size should not be less than 7.5 sq. feet for a single Silkie or 10.5 sq. feet for a pair.
  • Bedding: Make the bedding comfortable for your guinea pigs to eat, play, and sleep. Consider paper bedding, such as tissue papers. They are soft and have excellent adsorbent properties. Also, remember to replace the bedding frequently to avoid the buildup of parasites and foul odor.
  • Temperature and Lighting: Controlling temperature in outdoor cages is a big challenge. If possible, host your Shelties indoors, especially in winter. Despite the thick coat, they still need warmth. The ideal temperature should be between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit, but they can tolerate cooler temperatures
  • Accessories: If you have a spacious cage, provide playing toys and other accessories that will keep your Shelties busy.
  • Breeding: If you are not planning to raise little pups, consider a neutered Sheltie pair. Alternatively, you can choose all males or all females. They are highly productive pets that can fill your space in no time!
  • Health problems: Due to their long hair, Shelties are prone to flystrike. This disease can kill your guinea pigs in less than a week. Fortunately, you can control flystrike by maintaining proper hygiene in the cage and grooming your pet.
  • Cost Maintenance: Usually, you can maintain one Sheltie guinea pig for one month with under 50 dollars. You will spend on food, toys, medication, and one-time expenses on the cage. The figure grows when you consider more pets.
  • Exercise: Create a proper exercising schedule for your Sheltie guinea pigs to keep them healthy and fit. They are equally intelligent pets that can be trained to perform different tricks. Usually, you need a space for training and exercising your pets.
  • Taming: Guinea pigs are generally gentle and social animals. However, you need to tame them to get used to you and anyone else in the family. That includes offering proper care, providing good food, and having fun with your pet. Just interact with it so that it can get to know you.

Guinea Habitat Guinea Pig Cage by Midwest

How Much Do Sheltie Guinea Pigs Cost?

You can buy Shelties in most pet stores in the United States. Breeders also have them for sale. Expect to pay about 10-40 dollars to buy one Sheltie guinea pig.

Other additional costs can amount to 40 dollars, which you may have to spend every month as a maintenance fee. That goes in buying toys, food, cage, bedding, and medication.

Also read: How Much Are Guinea Pigs?

Do Sheltie Guinea Pigs Get Along With Other Pets?

Sheltie guinea pigs are social animals. But like all other breeds, they only get along with other guinea pigs.

They will not be happy in the company of other pets such as dogs, cats, ferrets, and rabbits. There have been reported cases of bullying and disease transfer. Also, their diet is unique, unlike other pets.

The best advice is to keep Sheltie guinea pigs away from other pets. Let them have their own cage.

Also read: Do Guinea Pigs Need Cage Mates? 4 Steps to Introduce New Guinea Pigs

Wrapping Up

Sheltie guinea pigs are available, gentle, social, and friendly. They make the best family pets if you have kids.

However, be ready for the care and high maintenance it needs because of the long hair. You should frequently groom it to keep high hygiene in the cage to keep parasites and diseases at bay.

Thank you for your time at Pestive. We hope this information will help you make the right decision when buying a guinea pig as a pet. You can also explore the website for previous posts on related topics.

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