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Sheba Guinea Pig: Pictures, Lifespan, Behavior & Care Guide

Jordyn Alger

By Jordyn Alger

brown sheba guinea pig

Sheba guinea pigs are popular pets due to their adorable appearance and gentle nature. They have long, silky coats, making them a perfect contender for guinea pig shows; however, the Sheba guinea pig is an equally great candidate for a simple family pet. Regardless of why you are considering the Sheba guinea pig as a pet, you will want to learn more about their behavior and care needs before bringing them home.

Breed Overview

Size: Standard
Weight: Up to 3 lbs
Lifespan: 5–7 years
Similar Breeds: Peruvian, Sheltie, Coronet
Suitable for: New or experienced guinea pig owners, households with multiple guinea pigs
Temperament: Curious, gentle, and social

The Sheba guinea pig is a standard-size guinea pig with a long lifespan. Their luxurious coats make them an appealing option for many pet owners, especially since their coats do not require much maintenance. Sheba guinea pigs are curious and gentle, making them an excellent choice for new and experienced pet owners.

They are also social creatures, so housing them with other guinea pigs is recommended. However, not all pets are fit companions for the Sheba guinea pig. To learn more about the dos and don’ts of caring for a Sheba guinea pig, keep reading below.

Sheba Guinea Pig Characteristics


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How Much Do These Guinea Pigs Cost?

The Sheba guinea pig was first bred in Australia, but the breed can now be found all over the globe. The price range can vary drastically depending on where you acquire your pet.

Your local animal rescue is one of the most affordable places to find a Sheba guinea pig. Typically, adoption fees for small mammals are under $50. The challenge of adopting from a shelter is that there is no guarantee that your local rescue has any Sheba guinea pigs in their care. You can contact the animal rescues in your area to determine whether or not they have any Sheba guinea pigs in need of a home. You may need to look elsewhere for your pet if they do not.

You can also look for a Sheba guinea pig at a retail pet store. It is best to look for reputable retailers that treat their pets with dignity and care. The prices may vary somewhat based on the retailer you visit, but you can generally expect to pay under $100 for your pet.

The most expensive option is to acquire your Sheba guinea pig from a breeder. When researching breeders, it is essential that you find one that is responsible and ethical to ensure your pet is bred with good health. The cost of a bred Sheba guinea pig may vary, but you should expect to pay over $100.

brown black sheba guinea pig inside its cage
Image Credit: Faraonvideo, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the Sheba Guinea Pig

Sheba guinea pigs didn’t gain popularity just because of their unique appearance but also because of their friendly disposition. They are affectionate creatures that desire social interaction, so ensure you can give your pet plenty of attention. Individual Sheba guinea pigs may have their own unique personality quirks, but for the most part, this breed is gentle, curious, and loving.

Just as the Sheba guinea pig needs attention, they also need mental stimulation. Sheba guinea pigs are clever creatures that enjoy regular exercise and playtime. Providing your pet with toys is a great way to keep them enriched.

Do These Guinea Pigs Make Good Pets? 👪

Sheba guinea pigs are excellent pets. Their personalities make them great companions for children and adults. They typically do best in quiet, peaceful environments, so not all household dynamics suit the Sheba guinea pig.

Young children who do not know how to handle a small mammal properly may startle or injure the Sheba guinea pig, which may cause them to nip. Therefore, older children who understand boundaries with small animals are best for the Sheba guinea pig.

Does This Guinea Pig Get Along With Other Pets?

Sheba guinea pigs are social creatures who thrive when allowed to socialize. Other guinea pigs are the best companions for your Sheba guinea pig, but males and females should be kept separate to avoid accidental pregnancies.

Larger pets (like cats and dogs) should be kept away from the Sheba guinea pig. No matter how friendly or calm your pets are, they may startle the Sheba guinea pig due to their size. Likewise, small mammals like guinea pigs can trigger another animal’s prey drive, causing them to chase your Sheba guinea pig.

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Things to Know When Owning a Sheba Guinea Pig:

Guinea pig owners must know how to cater to their pet’s needs. In the case of a Sheba guinea pig, your pet has requirements for their diet, habitat, exercise, and more. Below, you will find details on how to best provide for your Sheba guinea pig.

Food & Diet Requirements 🥕

A high-quality diet is essential to your Sheba guinea pig’s health. Your pet’s meals should consist primarily of commercial pellet food and grass hay. You should then supplement their regular food with leafy greens and other vegetables.

Fruits, seeds, and nuts can be used as occasional treats. Fruits should be offered on rare occasions since they are packed with sugar. The same goes for seeds and nuts, which can be high in fat. It is vital that your Sheba guinea pig’s diet contains sources of vitamin C.

Guinea pigs cannot synthesize their own vitamin C and must receive it from their diet. Without adequate vitamin C in their meals, your Sheba guinea pig can suffer from serious health issues.

sheba guinea pig eating lettuce
Image Credit: Dmitriy Burmatov, Shutterstock

Habitat & Enclosure Requirements 🏠

An appropriate habitat will provide your Sheba guinea pig with ample space to play and exercise. The enclosure should be at least 30” x 36” for a single guinea pig. For each additional guinea pig placed in the enclosure, the habitat must expand by another 3 square feet. The larger the space, the better; this will provide your Sheba guinea pig with plenty of room and enrichment opportunities.

Choose your pet’s cage carefully. The cage should not have a wire floor, which can hurt your pet’s feet. Similarly, they should not be made from glass aquariums or plastic tubs since they do not provide adequate ventilation for your pet.

Exercise & Sleeping Needs 🐹

Even tiny mammals like guinea pigs need exercise. You can provide ramps and platforms in their enclosure to help your Sheba guinea pig stay active. Likewise, leave toys in their cage so that they can entertain themselves.

If they are housed with other guinea pigs, they can keep each other active by playing together. You should also allow your pet to play outside of their cage so they can explore larger areas. The Sheba’s habitat should be in a calm, quiet area so your guinea pig can rest. If their cage is placed somewhere chaotic and loud, they may not get proper sleep.

Training 🥎

Sheba guinea pigs cannot be trained in the same way as cats or dogs. However, that doesn’t mean training your pet is impossible. Sheba guinea pigs are intelligent enough to be trained to use a litter box and to come when called. Positive reinforcement is the best way to train your Sheba guinea pig, so focus on rewarding desired behaviors with healthy treats.

sheba guinea pig and american guinea pig inside the cage
Image Credit: lilylinlin, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

Your Sheba guinea pig has a long, beautiful coat that you surely want to keep in pristine condition. Thankfully, the Sheba’s coat doesn’t require excessive maintenance. Regular brushing should keep their coat looking its best.

Lifespan and Health Conditions 🏥

Sheba guinea pigs are typically healthy animals that can live as long as 7 years. However, there are some health conditions that the breed may be prone to developing. Serious conditions that you should watch out for include obesity, pneumonia, respiratory infections, and scurvy.

Obesity can lead to other serious health complications and cut your pet’s lifespan short, so avoid it by providing your Sheba guinea pig with a balanced and healthy diet. You should also watch for signs of pneumonia and other respiratory infections, which can negatively impact your pet’s breathing.

Scurvy is a common issue that guinea pigs face when they are not given adequate vitamin C in their diets. Since two of these four severe conditions can be largely avoided with a healthy diet, consult your vet regularly to ensure that you provide for your Sheba guinea pig’s dietary needs.

Relatively minor conditions that your Sheba guinea pig may experience include diarrhea, bumblefoot (meaning sores on the bottoms of the feet), and dental disease. Checking on your Sheba guinea pig frequently can help you detect signs of a possible medical condition, so be sure to give your pet attention consistently.

Minor Conditions
  • Diarrhea
  • Bumblefoot
  • Dental disease
Serious Conditions
  • Obesity
  • Pneumonia
  • Respiratory infection
  • Scurvy

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Male vs Female

The personality differences between male and female Sheba guinea pigs are mainly anecdotal; however, some claim that the males are feistier and the females are more relaxed. In the end, your pet’s personality will determine their character more than their sex will.

Males and females should not be housed together. If they are placed in the same enclosure, there is a high risk of an accidental pregnancy. To avoid an unwanted litter of guinea pigs, keep the males and females in their own cages. Sheba guinea pigs of the same sex can be safely housed together.

3 Little-Known Facts About Sheba Guinea Pigs

1. Guinea Pigs Make Unique Sounds

Many people describe the guinea pig’s sound as a squeak, but did you know they can make several distinct sounds? Guinea pigs click or cluck when they are peacefully exploring an area. This sound is a brief, occasionally repetitive noise and is often a signal that they are content.

Another noise that guinea pigs make is a whistling sound called a wheek or a wheet. These are often made in times of high excitement, such as playtime. They also make “tutt-tutt” noises, which are often warning signals to other guinea pigs. Other unhappy noises include screaming or squealing, which usually indicates pain, fear, or danger.

2. The Sheba Guinea Pig Is Not Officially Recognized

While many devoted cavy fans consider the Sheba guinea pig to be a breed, the American Cavy Breeders Association (ACBA) does not agree. Sheba guinea pigs are a mix of the Peruvian guinea pig and the Short-Haired Abyssinian, so some consider them a hybrid rather than their own breed. Still, that doesn’t stop people from adoring the Sheba guinea pig for their beauty and gentle spirit.

3. Guinea Pigs Need to Be Handled Gently

Handling a Sheba guinea pig is a great way to bond with your pet; however, you must handle them correctly. Picking them up with poor form can startle or injure your Sheba guinea pig, causing your pet to become distrustful or even fearful of you.

Place one hand under their ribcage close to their front legs to correctly handle your Sheba guinea pig. With your other hand, scoop their rear. Now that they are in your hands, hold them securely against your chest.

When you first begin to handle your Sheba guinea pig, they may squeal due to surprise or fright. As long as you are not holding them improperly, continue to hold them until they settle down. They should soon realize that you are not a threat, and eventually, they will begin to enjoy being held.

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Final Thoughts

If you think that the Sheba guinea pig is right for you, there are many ways you can bring one home. Animal rescues, retailers, and breeders may be able to provide you with your newest furry friend. Before you plan on bringing a Sheba guinea pig into your home, you must ensure that you have a quiet, peaceful place for their cage that larger animals cannot access. Similarly, it is in your Sheba guinea pig’s best interest that you consider housing multiple guinea pigs together for socialization purposes.

Sheba guinea pigs are excellent pets. Although they are not an officially recognized breed, their merits make them an exceptional guinea pig for novices and experienced cavy owners alike.

Featured Image Credit: Noheaphotos, Shutterstock

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