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Home > Guinea Pigs > Himalayan Guinea Pig: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Himalayan Guinea Pig: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Himalayan guinea pig

Guinea Pigs are popular pets due to their adorable appearance and gentle nature. If you have considered bringing a guinea pig home as a pet, you may have wondered about the Himalayan Guinea Pig. They are a unique breed that can be an excellent fit for all sorts of family dynamics. To decide whether a Himalayan guinea pig is right for you, keep reading.

Breed Overview

Size: 8 – 10 inches long
Weight: 1.5 – 2.5 lbs
Lifespan: 4 – 5 years
Similar Breeds: Abyssinian Guinea Pigs, Peruvian Guinea Pigs
Suitable for: First-time guinea pig owners or experienced guinea pig owners
Temperament: Gentle, timid, social

The Himalayan Guinea Pig, despite their name, does not originate from Asia. Instead, it comes from South America. Himalayan Guinea Pigs are predominantly white. They may have a nose, ears, or feet that range from black to brown, and their eyes are typically pink. While they are normally born pure white, they develop dark spots later in life.

There is so much more to the Himalayan than their appearance, however. We’ll discuss their temperament, intelligence, care requirements, and more below.


Himalayan Guinea Pig Characteristics


How Much Do These Guinea Pigs Cost?

Himalayan Guinea Pig

Himalayan Guinea Pigs are relatively rare. You will most likely need to find a breeder specializing in Himalayan Guinea Pigs and purchase your pet that way. Since the breed is uncommon, the price will likely be a bit steeper. Thankfully, guinea pigs in general are pretty affordable.

In addition to the purchasing cost, there are many upfront expenses that you will need to be prepared for. You will need to purchase necessary habitat supplies, grooming care items, toys, and more. For more information on that, we’ll take a closer look at the details of your Himalayan Guinea Pig’s care later.

Before bringing your Himalayan Guinea Pig home, make sure that you have a good idea of what the recurring costs will look like. Even after you’ve bought your pet and covered the upfront costs for their care, you will have continuous expenses such as food and veterinary visits. Setting up a budget can be a great way to ensure you are prepared to meet the costs of caring for your pet.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Himalayan Guinea Pig

The Himalayan Guinea Pig is similar to other species in terms of temperament. They are social, smart, gentle animals that thrive on interaction with humans and other Guinea Pigs.

They enjoy being handled when their owner knows how to handle them properly. If you try to pick up your Himalayan Guinea Pig from above, they will likely mistake your hand for a swooping bird of prey and panic. Therefore, you should always approach your Guinea Pig from their side rather than above them.

Since they are prey animals, Guinea Pigs can be timid and fearful. To help your pet feel safe in your presence, you should always be gentle with your touch and patient. While Himalayan Guinea Pigs are not typically aggressive animals, they can bite if they are startled or threatened.

Do These Guinea Pigs Make Good Pets?

Himalayan Guinea Pig
Photo credit: Thye Chuah, PublicDomainPictures

Many owners commend their Himalayan Guinea Pigs for being sweet, loving, and calm creatures. As a result, they are a favorite among experienced owners. This affectionate creature loves humans and makes an excellent pet. They are social animals who enjoy spending time with their favorite humans.

While the Himalayan Guinea Pig’s gentleness can make them a great pet for children, it is advised that you take caution when bringing a Himalayan Guinea Pig into a home with young children. Young children who have not yet learned boundaries around animals may overwhelm and frighten the Himalayan Guinea Pig, causing them to nip whenever a child grabs them.

Similarly, if young children don’t understand their own strength compared to the Guinea Pig, they may accidentally harm the poor animal. Therefore, the Himalayan Guinea Pig is better for families who have older children.

Does The Himalayan Guinea Pig Get Along With Other Pets?

Since the Himalayan Guinea Pig is so social, they typically get along with other pets well. Lone Himalayan Guinea Pigs are not as happy as those with a buddy. They love interacting with other Himalayan Guinea Pigs, and having roommates fulfills their social needs.

However, Himalayan Guinea Pigs are unsuitable for households with dogs, cats, or other large animals. Dogs and cats will likely view the Himalayan Guinea Pig as prey and may chase or even injure your pet. Even if your Himalayan Guinea Pig manages to escape the chase, the fright might be so great that your little pet is permanently affected.


Things to Know When Owning a Himalayan Guinea Pig:

Before bringing your Himalayan Guinea Pig home, it’s best to learn more about their care requirements, including their diet, enclosure needs, exercise and training obligations, and grooming care. You will also want to know of any health conditions your pet may be prone to and possible differences between the sexes.

Food & Diet Requirements

himalayan guinea pig eating hay
Image By: PHOTO FUN, Shutterstock

The Himalayan Guinea Pig is herbivorous, as are all Guinea Pigs. They will only eat plants and plant-based materials. You should never try to feed your Himalayan Guinea Pig any meat or animal protein since their bodies are not built to process them.

Instead, focus on providing a consistent source of grass hay. Grass hay is an essential part of your Guinea Pig’s diet and should make up the bulk of their meals. Excellent grass hays you can feed your pet include Timothy hay or orchard hay. You can also provide pellets and fresh veggies to balance out their diet. Fresh fruits should be considered treats and should only be offered on occasion.

Vitamin C is also vital to your Himalayan Guinea Pig’s diet. They cannot produce their own vitamin C, so make sure that you are offering it to them in their food. Similarly, clean and fresh water should always be available for your pet.

Habitat & Enclosure Requirements

Guinea Pigs may be small animals, but they cannot thrive in small cages. You’ll need a significant amount of ground space in your pet’s enclosure. Still, the sides of the cage should be at least 12” high. The top of the enclosure can be open as long as no small children or other pets can access it.

Providing enrichment in your Himalayan Guinea Pig’s enclosure is vital. With ramps, platforms, and plenty of room to run around, your pet should have enough to entertain themselves when they can’t play outside the cage.

One of the best materials to make an enclosure out of is coroplast, a corrugated plastic. Glass aquariums, plastic tubs, and cages with wire floors are unsuitable for Guinea Pigs.  The number of Guinea Pigs that you house in one enclosure will determine how large it needs to be.

For one Guinea Pig, the minimum is 30” by 36”. Of course, bigger is better, but if you meet this minimum, you are providing adequate care for your pet. For two Guinea Pigs, you will need an enclosure that is 30” by 50”; for three Guinea Pigs, you will need one that’s 30” by 62”; for four Guinea Pigs, you will need a 30” by 76” cage.

Exercise & Sleeping Needs

Himalayan Guinea Pig in straw
Image By: Pernille Westh, Shutterstock

Exercise is important to a healthy, happy Himalayan Guinea Pig’s routine. Spending time outside of their cage is beneficial to their physical and mental health. Make sure your pet gets a good amount of time outside the enclosure each day to run around and burn energy.


Since the Himalayan Guinea Pig is so receptive to human contact, they are relatively easy to train. You can teach your pet fun trucks such as jumping, spinning, or giving a high five. Additionally, you can teach them complex problem-solving; they are known to navigate complex mazes.


Most Himalayan Guinea Pigs have short hair, so their grooming care is relatively limited. You will need to clean your pet’s feet and hind end and bathe them when necessary. Occasionally, you may need to trim their hair and nails.

When bathing your Himalayan Guinea Pig, be careful that the water is not too cold or hot. Lukewarm water is the safest temperature. Use a gentle pet shampoo and dry them with a towel. Do not use a hair dryer to dry them off since it can easily overheat your Himalayan.

Lifespan and Health Conditions

Himalayan Guinea pig playing with confetti
Image By: PHOTO FUN, Shutterstock

Some health conditions a Himalayan Guinea Pig can experience are serious, while others are minor. However, all of them deserve attention and prompt care. One of the most severe conditions that your Himalayan Guinea Pig may face is hypovitaminosis C or a vitamin C deficiency.

As mentioned, your Himalayan Guinea Pig cannot produce vitamin C. If they do not receive an adequate amount in their diet, they may develop a deficiency. Without treatment, it can lead to sepsis, progressive paralysis, and even death.

Other conditions to watch out for are dental issues and urinary stones. There are various types of dental diseases that your guinea pig may suffer from, so watch for signs of discomfort or dysfunction around the mouth. Urinary stones are another issue they commonly face, which may affect your pet’s kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.

Minor Conditions
  • Dental issues
  • Urinary stones
Serious Conditions
  • Hypovitaminosis C

Male vs Female

Since Himalayan Guinea Pigs do not like to live alone, housing them with another Himalayan Guinea Pig is ideal. However, be cautious of housing a male and female together. Guinea Pigs can reproduce rapidly, so if you are not careful, you may end up with more pets than you could’ve ever imagined.

When discerning the difference between a male and female Himalayan Guinea Pig, the only way to accurately do so is to check their genitals. There are no outstanding physical differences between males and females, and they share the same gentle temperament.

3 Little-Known Facts About Himalayan Guinea Pig

1. The Himalayan Guinea Pig Originates from South America

2. This Breed Closely Resembles the Siamese Cat

3. Himalayan Guinea Pigs Can Live 8 Years or Longer in the Right Conditions


Final Thoughts

Himalayan Guinea Pigs are shy yet friendly animals with a lot of love to give to their favorite humans. Whether you are a first-time owner or an experienced pet parent, the Himalayan Guinea Pig can make an excellent addition to your home. Due to their amiable temperament, they are ideal for families as long as younger children are taught how to handle them gently.

We hope this article has informed you about the fundamentals of caring for a Himalayan Guinea Pig. These incredible creatures deserve only the best of care, so if you bring one home, collaborate closely with your vet to ensure that you are providing the best lifestyle for your furry friend.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: PHOTO FUN, Shutterstock

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