The Ultimate Guide to Hairless and Skinny Guinea Pigs Kavee blog

Guinea pigs are well known for their pouty lips, adorable noses, and floofy fur, which comes in wool-like curls, soft rosettes, and even long locks. But what about the hairless guinea pig? Are there hairless guinea pigs at all? Yep, and they make adorable pets!

The little furless friends are known as skinny guinea pigs, or simply skinny pigs - not to be confused with a full-size pig on a diet. Apart from their unusual appearance, these sweet pigs aren’t too different from their furry relatives, though every aspiring hairless guinea pig parent should read up on skinny pigs skin care.

Find out more about the adorable and adoring skinny guinea pigs and become an expert in skinny pigs care with this ultimate guide!

Are there hairless guinea pigs? Yes, and there are different breeds of hairless guinea pigs!

Where do Skinny Pigs Come From? 

The origin story of the hairless guinea pig is a sad one. Many little floofs spend their lives confined to the unwelcoming environment of labs, where they’re used for testing and other scientific purposes. And even though a lab cage isn’t the homely environment our own companions are used to, it’s where the skinny pig was born!

The story goes that skinny guinea pigs come from an unplanned genetic mutation in a Canadian lab in 1978, so the floofless friends have been around for over 40 years! Unfortunately, their hairlessness makes the skinny pigs even more useful for testing, especially dermatological testing with products that go directly on the skin. The skin of a hairless guinea pig is similar to our human skin, so the poor pigs have become the guinea pig for lots of cosmetics.

A guinea pig, hairless, needs extra care to be happy and healthy!

At Kavee, we’re against animal testing, and we take great care that our products are cruelty-free. Our mission is to make the lives of small pets and their pet parents better, with the cute companions living a luxurious life - not in cramped lab cages. 

The world of cosmetics is moving away from animal testing, but many big brands still test their products on our little friends. Next time you’re out looking for a new face cream, keep an eye out for the cruelty-free sticker - for your own sake, and that of skinny piggies.

On a much brighter note, skinny guinea pigs are beloved pets across the globe today, and their piggy parents are often experts in skinny pigs care.  Let’s find out what kinds of hairless guinea pig there are, in case you’re looking for the perfect floofless friend for yourself!

Hairless Guinea Pig Breeds

We’ve got the answer to the question, ‘Are there hairless guinea pigs?’, but what about different breeds of hairless guinea pigs? You may be surprised to find out that the cute hairless guinea pigs of the world are divided into two breeds - the skinny pigs and the Baldwin guinea pigs.

The differences between the two? Let’s find out!

Skinny pigs

Today, when we talk about skinny pigs, we usually mean any guinea pig that’s hairless. If your friend tells you about the new skinny guinea pig addition to their little herd, they could have a skinny pig or a Baldwin guinea pig, without knowing there’s a difference - but there is one (or two, or three)!

Skinny pigs are hairless guinea pigs that are entirely bald, except for a bit of fluff on their legs and feet, and a cute hairy patch on their nose that looks almost like freckles. The skinny pig’s skin comes in various colors, and sometimes even different colors on one pig, just like their hairy counterparts.

When a skinny pig has some extra tufts of hair across their cute bodies, they’re lovingly known as werewolves. No studies show whether these cute companions are more active during a full moon, but we’ll just assume they won’t go howling at it.

Another difference between skinny guinea pigs and Baldwin guinea pigs? Skinny pigs are born with very little to no hair. The tufts on their feet, legs, and face grow as the pigs themselves get bigger. Do you find hairless guinea pigs adorable? Just imagine a tiny version of them - oh my!

Skinny guinea pigs are special pets that thrive with the right skinny pigs care.

Baldwin guinea pigs

Baldwin guinea pigs are also a breed of hairless guinea pig, but they’re a little different from their skinny pigs friends. The Baldwin guinea pigs are born with hair - unlike the skinny guinea pigs - and their fur falls out gradually over the first few months of their lives. We can all imagine how surprised piggy parents can be when their hairy floofs are suddenly floofless!

When the Baldwin guinea pig’s hair falls out, they end up being entirely bald - the other way to tell them apart from the skinny guinea pigs. While the skinny pigs have tufts of hair on some body parts, including their face and feet, Baldwin guinea pigs are toe-tally bald, from head to piggy toe.

Just like skinny pigs, the Baldwin guinea pig is an accidental genetic mutation. A breeder in California noticed her White Crested guinea pigs going bald - probably expecting the worst - only to realize she had a new breed of adorable hairless guinea pigs at her hand.

Are there hairless guinea pigs? Yes, they're either skinny guinea pigs or Baldwin guinea pigs.

Hairless Guinea Pigs and Guinea Pigs with Luscious Locks: What are the Main Differences?

Now you know hairless guinea pigs do exist, and there’s two types of them, you may be wondering how skinny pigs and Baldwin pigs are different from their furry relatives. Because their skin isn’t protected by a layer of cozy fur, a hairless guinea pig has some extra needs skinny pig parents should know about.

Cute hairless guinea pigs can live with hairy piggies, but they have extra care needs.

Time to take a look at the many (to be precise: 3) ways in which our cute hairless guinea pigs are unique.

Hairless guinea pigs are more sensitive

Skinny guinea pigs are more sensitive - but not in the way you’re thinking. They aren’t more likely to cry while watching Titanic with you. It’s all about their skin! 

Guinea pigs with fur wear a protective layer against the cold, sun, and moisture, similar to their hoomans wearing clothes. Skinny piggies miss that layer, so they’re more sensitive to the temperature and other elements that affect their soft skin.

Fur protects guinea pigs from sunburn and skin damage from UV light, but our hairless guinea pig friends don’t have this luxury. They’re also much more likely to feel drafts and cold - imagine walking around in nothing but your undies in winter. You’d be freezing pretty quickly!

And because a pig’s fur also protects them from moisture and injuries, it’s extra important for hairless guinea pigs to stay dry and safe (read: extra cage cleans and soft bedding), or they could end up with sores and fungus.

Because skinny pigs care and skinny pigs skin care is a bit more demanding than regular pig care, it’s best to give these cute hairless guinea pigs to experienced pig owners. If you’re brand-new to the piggy world, why not start off with a furry pig herd? Once you feel confident in cavy care, you can always add to your adorable cavy crew.

Hairless guinea pigs snack more

We already know skinny pigs get cold more easily because they don’t have fur to keep them snug as a piggy bug. The other effect this has is that the floofless friends need more energy to keep themselves warm. So where do skinny guinea pigs get that energy from? You may have guessed it already - it’s food!

The furless friends have a faster metabolism. They burn through their energy reserves quicker, so they eat more. What does this mean for piggy parents? First and foremost, they need to make sure their precious pets have lots of food and water available at all times.

Like any other guinea pig, hairless guinea pigs need plenty of fiber and some vitamin C in their diet. Guinea pigs are known as walking stomachs because they constantly eat and poop, and skinny pigs do even more of both. An extra big pile of hay, on top of their regular veggies and pellets, helps these sweet pets stay warm and healthy.

The downside of this situation? Extra cage mess. Skinny pig parents clean up even more poop than their furred friends’ parents, and a perfect cage cleaning routine is an absolute must for hairless guinea pigs. If the furless pigs lie in a damp environment, they’re likely to get skin infections and even fungus.

Bottom line: our cute hairless guinea pigs need extra food, extra cleaning, and the coziest bedding!

Hairless guinea pigs love the indoor life

Most guinea pigs live indoors with regular trips to the garden if the weather’s right. The reason these small floofs aren’t great at staying outdoors is because they’re sensitive to the heat, cold, and drafts. So, really, the indoor life with a comfy room temperature is the best option for any guinea pigs - but even more so for our skinny pig friends!

The ideal room temperature for a hairless guinea pig is a little higher than their furry friends need, at 72°F to 75°F (21°C to 24°C). Because they’re missing the warm fur their piggy friends have to stay warm, skinny pigs enjoy staying in a comfortable temperature at all times - so get ready to put the heating on in winter. Of course, they also like to cozy up in a big pile of hay and a fleece hidey, but the right temperature is key for your skinny pigs’ wellbeing.

Another big factor in hairless guinea pig care is their sensitivity to the sun. Yes, the cute hairless guinea pigs love the warmth, but their skin isn’t protected from the sun’s rays in any way. If you’re now thinking about getting your sunscreen out for your pigs, wait a second! If we’ve learned one thing about hairless guinea pigs, it’s that their skin is so sensitive - and could have a bad reaction to human cosmetics. Our top tip: keep your hairless guinea pig out of direct sunlight and in the shade. And avoid midday sun and hot temperatures at all costs.

Now, this doesn’t mean that trips to the garden with your skinny pigs are out of the question. Skinny guinea pig parents just have to prepare a little more, offering their pigs shade, plenty of water, areas to keep cool and hide from any wind. Although this list sounds pretty complex, once you’ve got a good outdoor setup for your cute hairless guinea pigs, it’ll be easy to take them to the garden with you.

What are Skinny Pigs really like?

We’ve learned a lot about skinny guinea pigs’ looks and needs, about the difference between skinny pigs and Baldwin guinea pigs, and the basics of hairless guinea pig care. But what are the floofless pets really like? Do they get along with their furry family members? Every pig is an individual with their own personality. So let’s uncover the hidden depths of the cute hairless guinea pigs!

Can skinny pigs live with hairy guinea pigs?

The short answer: absolutely! Your hairy and hairless guinea pigs can live together in the same habitat. In fact, your furry friends may enjoy the extra fuzz the skinny guinea pigs get, from extra food and a wheek-y clean cage to a cozy room temperature. As long as the pigs get along, there’s no reason to keep hairy and hairless guinea pigs apart.

And what if they start fighting? The general rule is that guinea pigs should be separated if either pig draws blood. When it comes to skinny piggies, their pet parents have to be a little more careful. Because the hairless guinea pigs don’t have any protective fur, they can get hurt much quicker. Keep an eye on bickering skinny pigs!

Do skinny pigs like to be held?

Like any piggy, a hairless guinea pig has their own personality. Some love cuddles, others are a bit more shy. Some enjoy spending time with their hoomans, others prefer the company of guinea pigs.

When it comes to snuggle time, piggy parents should treat their skinny guinea pigs like any other pig. It takes time to bond with their cute hairless guinea pigs, and the more patient the hooman is, the more confident their pet will become.

When it comes to lap time with your skinny, watch out that you’re extra gentle with them. Their sensitive skin feels soft, and it’s also very fragile. So skinny guinea pigs are best handled by experienced and gentle guinea pig parents.

Piggy parents have to be extra gentle with their guinea pig, hairless.

Can skinny pigs live alone?

No guinea pig should ever live alone, and skinny guinea pigs are no exception to this rule. Guinea pigs are very social animals, living in large herds in the wild, so they need at least one companion of their own kind. In Switzerland, it’s even illegal to keep a single guinea pig.

So when you’re off to adopt your skinny pig, make sure to also bring a friend for them.

How to Take Care of Skinny Pigs

Skinny piggies are just like hairy guinea pigs in many ways. But the right hairless guinea pig care requires some extra knowledge from the piggy parents. The four pillars of great skinny pigs care are

  • An indoor piggy palace
  • Special skinny pigs skin care
  • The right bedding and accessories to keep them warm
  • Weekly health checks

Are you ready to find out about hairless guinea pig care?

Skinny pigs care is a little more complex than normal piggy care.

skinny pigs care for beginners

Generally speaking, skinny pigs have the same basic needs as any hairy guinea pig. So skinny pig parents give their pets plenty of food and water, trim their nails, and even give a regular bath when needed. Luckily, hairless guinea pigs don’t need haircuts or regular grooming. But what these floofs lack in hair care needs, they make up for guinea skinny pig skin care needs!

We’ve already learned about the extra care our floofless friends like, and nail trimming is at the forefront of skinny pigs care. If a skinny pig’s nails grow too long and scratch the soft skin, then piggy parents aren’t just facing a scrape. Piggy claws are often messy, so a scratch can lead to an infection. And that’ll take extra piggy parenting efforts to clear up and - much more importantly - is sore for the little pigs.

We think it’s better to be safe than sorry, so a super skinny pigs care routine keeps your furless friends happy and healthy!

Skinny pigs skin care for extra soft skin

Skinny pigs skin care is a sensitive topic - just like their skin is. Remember that their skin is like a human’s, but even more delicate. And just like ours, their skin comes in different skin types, from dry over normal to oily. But unlike us, they don’t have a host of skin care products available to moisturize. So what can skinny piggy parents do to keep their floofless friends looking shiny? Skinny piggies go cocoNUTS for coconut oil!

If you notice your hairless guinea pig has either oily or dry skin, cold pressed coconut oil is your friend. Give your skinny guinea pig a very gentle wipe down with a soft cloth, and apply some oil to their skin, missing out the face and inner ears. The coconut oil simply melts on their skin - and it’s a massage for your pig.

Skinny pigs skin care equals a piggy spa day!

Do skinny pigs need baths?

Skinny pigs and baths are an interesting topic. Surely, if their skin is like ours, they’ll also need baths like us, right? Well, not quite.

Bathing a skinny pig isn’t part of the skinny pigs skin care routine because it dries out their skin. If you give your hairless guinea pig regular baths, they can develop cracked skin and this - you guessed it - could end up getting infected. Skinny pigs care really isn’t as easy as it looks, right?

The rule of thumb is giving them baths only if absolutely necessary. And ideally only in the area they’re particularly dirty. For most guinea pigs, a bum bath is all that’s needed a couple of times a year. There’s no real need to wash the whole pig. The same goes for our furless friends. Simply clean the area that’s in need of a good wash (likely a soggy bottom or a dirty paw) to avoid drying out the skin or giving your skinny guinea pig a cold.

Once they’re out of the bath, your skinny piggy will enjoy being super snug in a comfy towel until they’re completely dry. This part reduces the risk of them catching the piggy version of a cold, an Upper Respiratory Infection (URI), and adds to their enjoyment of spa time, too. Remember skinny pigs are sensitive to heat, so keep your hair dryer well away from them. It’s not like they have hair to dry anyway.

If you’re using a shampoo on your hairless house hippo, make sure to opt for one that’s developed for them. Their sensitive skin can react badly to products, so only the gentlest of skinny pig shampoos is the right choice for them. If you do shampoo your little boo, choose wisely.

Skinny pigs health checks

A weekly wellbeing check is a vital part of any skinny pigs care routine. It’s a good way to track their health, check for any injuries, and also get to know your pet. By keeping a close eye on their body, you’ll notice sooner when something’s off. Plus, if you give them cuddles and tasty treats during the checks, it also becomes human-skinny pig bonding time.

You can keep track of your checks in a physical or digital document, and make sure you’re checking

  • their weight
  • their nails
  • their teeth
  • their ears
  • their eyes
  • their ears
  • their skin

for anything unusual.

The weekly wellbeing checks go hand in hand with an annual trip to the vet to make sure your furless friends are doing well. If you have any concerns about your skinny pig’s health, talk to your trusted cavy-savvy vet straight away.

Best Cage for Skinny Pigs

Skinny pigs are strict indoor pets, apart from trips into a shaded corner of the garden on a warm day. They like to stay in a warm room temperature. So what’s the best cage setup for skinny pigs?

Unsurprisingly, wooden hutches aren’t great for the small pets, partly because they’re used outdoors and partly because the wood can be uncomfortable and even scratch their skin. There are better guinea pig cages out there to protect your beloved pets!

The majority of skinny pig parents choose a C&C cage for their floofless friends. These cages are made up of cubes or grids and a coroplast base, so they’re easy to customize, have lots of room to zoom, and they’re super easy to clean (so important for skinny pigs!).

And another clear bonus for cute hairless guinea pigs: fleece liners. These soft, plush liners fit perfectly into the C&C cage, so the pigs are comfortable wherever they go.

Want to find out more?

Best cage setup for skinny pigs

We know our beloved skinny guinea pigs need some extra TLC due to their fragility. Their cage is no exception to this, and it should provide the hairless house hippos with soft surroundings. A C&C cage with a fleece liner is a brilliant start, and with a few fleece accessories, it becomes the skinny pig palace of your dreams!

If you set up a cozy corner for your hairless guinea pigs (and their furry friends), they can snuggle up comfortably and stay warm at the same time. Fleece accessories, especially a hidey and a tunnel, are ideal options for cozy winter nights at home and the rest of the year, too. The pee pad in our fleece hideys is removable, so you can make sure your sweet pigs stay clean while they’re also staying comfy.

Are there hairless guinea pigs? Yep, and they need an extra cozy cage.

Another ideal accessory for your C&C cage? The serene sleep sack. This super soft sack is lined with fleece, so it acts as a little piggy den. You can pop it inside your cage and also take it out for snuggle sessions, so your skinny pigs are warm at all times.

When you’re getting the cage ready for your new arrivals, also think about the right food bowls and water bottles. Are they big enough for a skinny pig’s appetite? Remember the lovely pets eat and drink more, so their access to food and water 24/7 is so important.

Now you know the must-haves for your skinny pig cage, it’s time to have fun with the adorable designs available!

Best bedding for sensitive skinny pig skin

It won’t be a huge surprise that soft fleece liners are the skinny pig friendliest bedding.

Wood shavings are too scratchy for their soft, sensitive skin and can cause more harm than good. Not to mention the dust in some beddings, and the lack of cozy snooze spots for skinny pigs who feel the material directly on their skin. So fleece liners it is!

Lining your C&C cage with the plush fleece liners makes your skinny pig feel like they’re walking on clouds. You can imagine what it’s like to have a nap on these liners. The fleece liners also surround your skinny pig with a layer of comfortable warmth.

And if you like to decorate your home, then you can customize your piggy cage with fleece liners in lots of different designs. A win-win situation for you and your pigs!

Is It okay to Keep Hairless Guinea Pigs?

There’s no doubt that hairless guinea pigs are oh so cute! But, as we’ve learned, skinny pigs care and skinny pigs skin care are complex topics and could almost require their own piggy parenting classes. The sweet pets are exposed to cold, drafts, and sunlight much more than their furry family members, and they’re also at a much higher risk of getting hurt. So, really, is it ethical to keep skinny guinea pigs as pets?

There’s been a lot of talk about ethical breeding of pets recently, especially when it comes to dogs and cats. Some dog and cat breeds inherit health issues that they’re bred with for particular features, like a pug’s squished face or a Scottish fold’s floppy ears. Although these pets look cute, their wellbeing is at risk and often takes a sudden downturn because of these features. So what about hairless guinea pigs?

Skinny guinea pigs wouldn’t have any chance of survival in the wild - and they don’t have to, since they’re mainly kept as pets. But even when the floofless friends don’t have to fight for food and shelter, they’re much more likely to get injured or ill than a furry pig. So is it fair to buy a skinny pig from a reputable breeder, knowing they may have more health problems than other guinea pigs?

Animal welfare organizations have expressed concern for the rising numbers of pet skinny pigs because of the special care these pigs need. These organizations raise questions around putting a pet’s looks before their health, asking pet parents to carefully consider the additional needs these pigs come with.

In the end, it’s every piggy parent’s decision if they want to add a skinny pig to their herd. If they learn about skinny pigs care and make sure their pets have everything they need and want, then a skinny guinea pig can live as good and long a life as their hairy friends, sometimes even longer.

A guinea pig, hairless, likes to be extra cozy with fleece accessories.

Conclusion: The Cute Hairless Guinea Pigs Deserve So Much Love!

Cute hairless guinea pigs make a wonderful addition to any herd, with their unusual looks and fun personalities. Wherever you stand on the question of ethical skinny pig-keeping, one thing’s sure: these adorable animals deserve the same love their furry friends do!

If you’re thinking about adopting a skinny pig, make sure to read up on all their care needs. Their skin and bodies are sensitive and fragile, so they need just a little (or a lot!) extra TLC to be happy, healthy pets.


Frequently Asked Kavees about Hairless Guinea Pigs

Skinny pigs eat more because they use more energy than their furry friends. Piggy parents can stick to the recommended cup of veggies per day plus high-quality pellets, and should add an extra big pile of hay to the cage to make sure their pigs never run out.
Just like other guinea pigs, skinny pigs eat a mixture of hay, vegetables, and pellets, with the odd piece of fruit as a treat. And just like any pig, they need vitamin C in their diet and access to fresh water.
Skinny pigs live for around 5 to 7 years, like other guinea pigs. With the right care, the hairless guinea pigs sometimes outlive their furry cage mates.
Skinny pigs can look a little smaller than their furry friends because they’re missing the coarse coats and luscious locks of other guinea pigs. They normally weigh 1 to 2 lbs and can get between 9 and 12 inches long.

About the author

Fine Mayer

Fine is an ardent animal lover and particularly enjoys the company of her three guinea pigs, Tiberius, Ziri, and Henry. With more than 15 years of pigsperience, she knows the ins and outs of guinea pig care. Today, Fine lives in Glasgow, Scotland, with her three pigs and three noisy birds.

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