It is a unique breed of cavies characterized by a short curly fur coat. It has “Relaxed” hair, meaning shorter hair that’s collier and tighter.
How do you take care of your Rex guinea pig? What type and size of the cage are best for it? How should you groom one? And how much do these cavies cost? We will answer all these and more in our ultimate Rex guinea pig care guide.
Keep reading to learn more about Rex guinea pig care and some interesting facts.
Rex Guinea Breed History:
Due to a lack of documentation, there isn’t much to tell about the history of the Rex breed of guinea pigs. However, it’s safe to assume that it came about much like how other species of cavies have come into existence.
Cavies originated somewhere in South America about 5,000 years ago. They’re believed to have been the favorite pets of the Incas and have accompanied the residents of the Andes for a long time. They were used as both livestock and as household pets.
In the 1530s, Spanish explorers introduced many species of guinea pigs to Europe from South America. Hence, it’s likely that the Rex guinea pig breed also found its way to Europe.
The British Cavy Council recognizes this particular species. But it isn’t officially recognized by the American Cavy Breeders Association.
Rex Cavy Breed Characteristics:
The Rex guinea breed is identified by its short curly hair. The hair has been “relaxed,” meaning the guard hair has been removed. This leaves them with a much shorter and thicker fur coat than other breeds of guinea pigs.
These cavies can measure as much as 18 inches from the nose to the tail. Baby piggies are smaller. They’re some of the largest breeds of cavies in the world.
These pigs have broad heads with large droopy ears. The underbelly is dense with curly hair. These pigs come in many colors and combinations, with the most popular Agouti combo.
Rex Guinea Physical Characteristic:
The Rex piggie breed is easily recognizable by its short and wiry fur coat. This is because the fur coat has been “relaxed.” The term refers to removing the guard hairs genetically.
In case you don’t know, guard hair is long hair surrounded by shorter strands. These work to protect the skin of the piggie against abrasion and keep it waterproof. When this layer is removed through selective breeding, the resulting fur is short and curly. You may have seen a similar fur coat in other animals like cats.
That’s the main physical characteristic of this breed. However, the color variations are also something to consider. There are so many different colors that these breeds come in. These include chocolate, cream, white, red, and even gold. You may also find Rex guinea pigs with multiple coat patterns like Dutch or Agouti. The variations are plenty to give you enough options.
Rex Guinea Breed Personality And Temperament:
Much like most other guinea pigs, the Rex guinea pig breed is friendly and sociable. This breed, in particular, has a very pleasant temperament and will make a great pet for kids.
However, keep in mind that every guinea pig has its personality. So, you may want to check with the pet seller to talk about the personality traits of your piggie. Chances are, you may get a more aggressive piggie that will be harder to calm down. That’s not to say they don’t deserve homes. But a piggie with a more easy-going temperament is much preferred for kids.
Rex Guinea Care Guide:
The best part about this guinea pig breed is that it doesn’t require additional care besides the regular stuff. The only extra care it requires is trimming its toenails, which can get long.
The most basic care you can give your guinea pig is bathing and grooming. This is a lot easier with Rex guineas since they have shorter hair. This means that grooming and cleaning both are easier.
How do you bathe a Rex guinea pig? Place a towel at the bottom of a bathing vessel like a sink and fill it with warm water up to about 2 inches. Then, gently lower your guinea pig into the bath with their back feet touching the water first. Use a cup or bowl to gently dampen the cavy, taking care not to wet the head.
Next, lather up and work in a smaller amount of cavy-safe shampoo. Generally, any shampoo made for small pets is satisfactory. Once clean, rinse the piggie and towel-dry it. Keep it in a comfy environment away from cold air and drafts.
The Diet Of A Rex Guinea Pig:
Rex guineas can mostly be fed anything you would feed a regular guinea pig. To go over it, you should feed your guinea pig lots of fiber instead of carbohydrates. So, no bread or rice. Instead, opt for feeding hay. Over 80% of your piggie’s diet should be based solely on feeding hay. If you’re going for hay pellets, ensure only 10% of their diet consists of this.
Additionally, guinea pigs are very poor at producing their own Vitamin C, unlike other animals. Their diet should also consist of plenty of citrus fruits, but only those safe for guinea pigs. You can also look for Vitamin C-enriched foods meant explicitly for guinea pigs. Remember: you can’t just feed human food to guinea pigs.
The wrong fruits and vegetables in the wrong doses can severely affect your guinea pig. Fruits high in sugar are hazardous and can lead to health complications.
Lastly, when introducing new food to your piggie’s diet, do so sparingly and over time. Sudden diet changes can upset the stomach and lead to digestive problems.
Where Should They Live?
Rex guinea pigs need a space to live. You can use any guinea pig cage as they don’t have particular demands. For two piggies, you need at least 10.5 square feet or 27” x 56” of space.
Additionally, you need to make the cage comfy and safe for the guinea pigs. Keep the cage away from anything you wouldn’t want to live around. So, no windows or harsh weather. Keep them away from strong lights or where other house pets like cats can disturb them. Always provide adequate bedding that provides both comfort and warmth.
Do not opt for wire flooring. If you have it, provide sufficient bedding. Also, provide adequate exercise space, ideally with a run. Lastly, do not keep your guinea pig alone. They’re social creatures and would prefer to be with a partner.
Rex Guinea Temperament:
Much like other guinea pigs, Rex guinea pigs are of a laid-back temperament. They do not fight and are very social. Of course, every piggy has its personality. But in general, most are safe for kids and very sociable with other cavies.
Interesting Facts About Rex Guinea Pigs:
- These guinea pigs are the largest cavies in the world, growing up to about 18 inches in length.
- Rex guinea pigs are inquisitive creatures and prefer to explore their cage. Hence a larger cage will be better.
- These cavies, like other piggies, do not have pads under their feet and can develop bumblefoot.
- Rex guinea pigs love to be brushed, and you should brush them once or twice each week.
- Rex guinea pigs have a grease gland at the base of their spine that regenerates grease and should clean regularly.
- This breed of guinea pigs has especially long nails, which should be trimmed accordingly.
- The ideal temperature for a cavy is around 18 to 23 degrees Celsius.
- Their toenails grow very quickly and can curl inward and cause pain.
- Healthy Rex guinea pigs can weigh anywhere from 700 to 1200 grams.
- These piggies live for a maximum of 8 years.
- Rex guinea pigs are often confused with Teddy guinea pigs. But Teddy guineas have straighter whiskers, and Rex guineas have curlier whiskers near the nose and the eyes.
- The characteristic short hair on a Rex guinea pig results from a recessive gene.
What Is The Best Place To Buy Rex Guineas?
Rex guineas are available at almost every pet store that sells guinea pigs of a wide range of varieties. You can find them in many colors, making them the best choice of breed if you want more options.
What Is The Price Of Rex Guineas?
Rex guinea pigs often cost as much as regular guinea pigs. If you get them from a professional breeder, you may pay anywhere from $20 to $50. If you adopt from an animal shelter, you can get them for cheap at $20.
How To Groom Your Rex Guinea?
Grooming a Rex guinea pig is easier than grooming any long-hair cavy breed. The only thing you need for this is a soft grooming brush safe for small animals. Then, brush through the hair, taking care not to press too hard as the coat is already very short.
What Is The Temperament Of Rex Guineas?
Yes. Guinea pigs, in general, are very well-tempered and are not aggressive. They’re friendly to both humans and other guinea pigs. Hence, they’re safe for kids and make great friendly pets.
The Rex guinea pig is a unique breed that entertains adults and children. There’s a lot to know about this breed before you go ahead and buy or adopt one.
This guinea pig breed is famous for its short curly hair. The fur removes the guard hair, resulting in a shorter, easier-to-manage fur coat. They’re friendly and make great sociable pets.
However, grooming and cleaning them regularly is important. Learn how to keep your pets clean, and they’ll be healthy and happy.