Hairless animals aren’t everyone’s idea of adorable, but the popularity of hairless guinea pigs is rising. Baldwin guinea pigs are one of two naturally occurring hairless breeds. You may not have to worry about brushing them, but that doesn’t automatically mean a Baldwin guinea pig is easier to care for. Keep reading to learn more about the lifespan and behavior of the Baldwin guinea pig, along with a primary care guide.
|Warm temperatures, more experienced guinea pig owners
|Cuddly, vocal, playful, affectionate
If you’re looking for a small pet who loves to snuggle in your lap after a day of playing, the Baldwin guinea pig might be the one for you. Yes, the hairless pigs are probably just using you for your body heat, but it’s still an adorable gesture.
The gentle and playful Baldwin has all the charm you expect from a guinea pig but none of the fur. In this article, you’ll learn all about these hairless wonders, including whether they are good pets for families and what you need to know when owning a Baldwin guinea pig.
Baldwin Guinea Pig Breed Characteristics
How Much Do These Guinea Pigs Cost?
Because the gene that causes hairlessness in the Baldwin guinea pig is recessive, it’s tough to breed them consistently. This genetic quirk means that Baldwins are one of the rarest guinea pig breeds and are priced accordingly. You can expect to pay anywhere from $100–$300 for a Baldwin.
If you’re interested in breeding Baldwin guinea pigs, another option is to purchase a sow or boar who has been genetically tested and shown to carry the recessive hairless gene. Breeding two animals with the genes typically results in hairless Baldwin guinea pigs. These furry guinea pigs with hairless genes are usually cheaper than a confirmed Baldwin guinea pig.
Guinea pigs are frequently available for adoption from animal shelters or exotic pet rescues. However, finding a Baldwin guinea pig may be tough because of their rarity. You may have to go on a waiting list and exercise patience if you want to rescue a Baldwin guinea pig.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Baldwin Guinea Pig
Baldwin guinea pigs are social animals who crave the company of humans and other pigs. They are playful and curious small pets who are sometimes vocal. Like other guinea pigs, the Baldwin is smart enough to learn tricks with patient training.
Because they lack fur to stay warm, Baldwin guinea pigs are frequently cuddlier and more affectionate than pigs with hair. Baldwin guinea pigs are usually calm and easy to handle, making them a good choice for families with kids. However, they have some special care needs and sensitivities to be aware of that we’ll discuss later in this article.
Do These Guinea Pigs Make Good Pets?
Baldwin guinea pigs make excellent pets, but they are generally best for those with previous experience owning a guinea pig. They are sweet, friendly, and tolerant of being handled. Well-socialized Baldwin guinea pigs usually don’t scratch or bite, which is an important consideration if you’re looking for a kid’s pet.
Kids should be taught how to gently handle a Baldwin guinea pig and be cautious of their sensitive skin. Social Baldwin guinea pigs need daily attention and would prefer not to live alone.
Does This Guinea Pig Get Along with Other Pets?
All guinea pigs are naturally social and prefer to live with other pig companions, including Baldwins. Females usually get along together, while males usually need to bond with other males when they’re young to live together peacefully. Male and female Baldwin guinea pigs usually get along, but you’ll want to have them spayed and neutered to prevent unwanted breeding.
Small exotic pets generally don’t get along with dogs and cats because they view them as predators. Even if the dog or cat doesn’t actively try to harm the guinea pig, their presence can be dangerous for the smaller animal. Baldwin guinea pigs also shouldn’t live with other species of exotics, like hamsters or rabbits.
Things to Know When Owning a Baldwin Guinea Pig:
In some ways, Baldwin guinea pigs are easier to care for than breeds with hair. However, they also have unique care needs you should know if you’re considering adopting a Baldwin guinea pig. Here’s what you need to know when owning a Baldwin guinea pig.
Food & Diet Requirements
Baldwin guinea pigs are herbivores and should eat a plant-based diet only. They have similar dietary requirements as other guinea pig breeds. However, Baldwin guinea pigs burn more energy staying warm than furry pigs and, consequently, need to eat more food each day to compensate.
You should provide unlimited grass hay supplemented with pellets, fresh vegetables, and a limited amount of fruit. Guinea pigs can’t produce Vitamin C and usually need daily supplementation. Talk to your vet about the specifics of your Baldwin guinea pig’s diet.
Habitat & Enclosure Requirements
Baldwin guinea pigs need a cage measuring at least 30” x 36” for one pet, but the more space, the better. Make sure the sides are at least 12” high. The cage should have a solid floor instead of wire. Use at least 2–3 inches of paper-based bedding in the cage.
Avoid wood shavings that irritate the Baldwin guinea pig’s skin and respiratory system. Baldwin guinea pigs are more sensitive to temperature extremes and direct sunlight than breeds with fur. Keep their habitat in a quiet, draft-free, warm room out of the sun. Baldwins should never be kept outdoors.
Exercise & Sleeping Needs
Baldwin guinea pigs benefit from daily access to a larger enclosure to play and exercise. They enjoy playing with toys, especially chew objects. Bonded Baldwin guinea pigs like playing and exercising together.
Guinea pigs are most active during the morning and evening hours. Your Baldwin’s cage should contain a hiding box for them to sleep or get alone time if they’re feeling nervous or overwhelmed.
Baldwin guinea pigs can be trained to follow simple commands and do tricks. You can also litter-box train your pet, which will make cleaning their cage easier. Use your Baldwin guinea pig’s favorite treats to coax and reward them to perform the desired activity while using the command you want them to learn. With patience, your pet can learn to come when called or jump through a hoop to entertain your friends.
Because they lack fur, Baldwin guinea pigs can be easier to keep clean than other breeds. For example, you won’t have to worry about poop or pee staining the fur on their rear. However, their exposed skin is sensitive and fragile.
All guinea pigs need nail trims, but it’s especially important to keep a Baldwin’s claws clipped, particularly if they live with other pigs. Baldwin guinea pigs are vulnerable to scratches and other injuries. They can be bathed if needed but not too frequently, or you may dry out their skin. Like all guinea pigs, the Baldwin’s teeth grow continuously. Chewing rough hay or toys helps keep them ground down.
Lifespan and Health Conditions
Baldwin guinea pigs have a reputation for being more medically fragile than other breeds, but that is not supported by health data or studies yet. They have unique health challenges, such as being less tolerant of cold temperatures. Feeding a healthy diet and keeping your Baldwin guinea pig’s cage clean are the best steps you can take to avoid health problems.
Male vs Female
Male Baldwin guinea pigs are larger than females. As mentioned earlier, males are prone to be aggressive towards each other if not introduced and bonded from a young age. If you want to house your male Baldwin guinea pig with females, make sure they are spayed, or he is neutered first. Female Baldwin guinea pigs can suffer from ovarian cysts, so spaying is recommended if they are not to be used for breeding.
3 Little-Known Facts About Baldwin Guinea Pig
1. They Are Born With Hair
Yes, the hairless guinea pigs start out with fur. Baby Baldwin guinea pigs are born with a full coat of fur, which they begin to lose once they’re a few days old. Hair loss occurs gradually from the head backward for the first 2 months of life until the Baldwin guinea pig is hairless.
2. They Aren’t Just One Color
Despite not having hair, Baldwin guinea pigs still display various skin colors and patterns. Their skin can be the same color as the hair of furry guinea pig breeds. You can find tortoiseshell, Himalayan, or Dutch (solid with white markings) Baldwins.
3. The Breed Originated by Accident
Baldwin guinea pigs trace their ancestry to a spontaneous genetic mutation in a White Crested guinea pig colony. A breeder in California found that some of her pigs were born without hair. With further breeding, the presence of the recessive hairless gene was confirmed, and the Baldwin breed was official.
Baldwin guinea pigs have the same winning personality and general care needs as any other breed. However, you must protect them from skin injuries, infections, direct sunlight, and temperature extremes. These hairless small animals make sweet and entertaining pets if you can meet their unique care needs.
Before bringing home a Baldwin guinea pig, ensure you have all the supplies you need to keep them safe and comfortable. Most guinea pigs end up in animal shelters because their owners underestimated the care they need. It’s best to take the time to research and prepare before adopting a Baldwin guinea pig.