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White Crested Guinea Pig: Pictures, Lifespan, Behavior & Care Guide

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By Nicole Cosgrove

White Crested Guinea Pig on white background

There are various guinea pig breeds each with unique characteristics that make them stand out. The White Crested guinea pig’s characteristic is hinted at in their name, as they have a white rosette on their forehead. These guinea pigs are often called American Crested guinea pigs to tell them apart from other Crested guinea pig breeds. Their small size, docile temperaments, and playful nature make them excellent pets for older children and adults alike.

Breed Overview

Size: 8–12 inches
Weight: Up to 3 pounds
Lifespan: 4–8 years
Similar Breeds: American, Teddy, and Himalayan Crested guinea pigs
Suitable for: Families with older children looking for a laid-back pet
Temperament: Aloof, docile, shy, and curious

White Crested guinea pigs are similar to other guinea pig breeds in terms of size and care. These guinea pigs can grow to 12 inches long and weigh around 3 pounds. Their appearance is similar to the American guinea pig with almost an identical breed standard. The White Crested guinea pig is told apart by their white forehead marking and different colored body.

White Crested guinea pigs should not be confused with Himalayan or English Crested guinea pigs who have different breed standards on the color of their forehead crest. These guinea pigs can be found in several colors, usually black or brown. However, not all of the different color variations are acceptable for shows.

White Crested Guinea Pig Characteristics


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How Much Do These Guinea Pigs Cost?

White Crested guinea pigs are rarer than some other breeds, which is reflected in their price. These guinea pigs are a relatively new breed developed in the United States. They were recognized by the American Cavy Breeders Association (ACBA) in 1974 as a short-haired breed with a smooth coat and distinctive white crest1. No other parts of the White Crested guinea pig’s body should be white, and they are not found in satin.

It is uncommon to come across White Crested guinea pigs from rescue centers, but it is a possibility. It is recommended to check whether you can find these guinea pigs up for adoption or rehoming before looking for a breeder. It costs around $20 to $50 to adopt a guinea pig, usually excluding any foods, housing, and toys they come with.

Many White Crested guinea pig breeders take pride in preserving and improving this breed’s standards. Getting a White Crested guinea pig from a reputable breeder is the next best option aside from adopting. You can expect to spend between $25 to $80 for a juvenile or adult White Crested Guinea pig from a breeder.

Temperament & Intelligence of the White Crested Guinea Pig

Do These Guinea Pigs Make Good Pets?

Guinea pigs in general make good pets for individuals or families with older children. They are naturally social and docile animals that respond well to taming and proper handling. The White Crested guinea pig is no exception, and they are often described as aloof and playful. Most guinea pigs are labeled as starter pets, although they are not the right pets for everyone. Caring for a guinea pig is a decade-long commitment and requires your time and money.

White Crested guinea pigs need proper care to thrive, so you need to raise them with updated care practices. All White Crested guinea pigs should be taken to a veterinarian when ill, housed in a spacious enclosure, and fed a healthy diet.

Does This Guinea Pig Get Along with Other Pets?

Like other breeds, the White Crested guinea pig is a social animal that should be kept in pairs or groups. You should never house these guinea pigs alone or with different species, such as rabbits or hamsters. When keeping them in groups of opposite sexes, the males need to be neutered to prevent unwanted breeding.

Keep in mind that guinea pigs are shy animals that do not handle stress well, so they should not be introduced to dogs or cats in the home.

golden american white crested and coronet guinea pigs beside each other
Image Credit: yykkaa, Shutterstock

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Things to Know When Owning a White Crested Guinea Pig:

Food & Diet Requirements

The White Crested guinea pigs’ diet is the same as any other breed. According to experts at VCA Hospitals, guinea pigs need a diet of unlimited hay, vitamin C-fortified pellets, and a variety of fresh foods.

Hay is incredibly important for a guinea pig’s digestive system, so it should be offered every day. Timothy hay is often preferred for guinea pigs as it is rich in essential fiber and proteins. Aside from hay, White Crested guinea pigs need a source of vitamin C. A guinea pig’s body cannot produce vitamin C, so they need to get it from their food. White Crested guinea pigs will benefit from fresh leafy greens and safe vegetables alongside their pelleted food and hay.

Enclosure Requirements

Choosing a suitable enclosure for your White Crested guinea pig is an important part of their care. This is where they will spend most of their time, so it needs to be spacious and secure. White Crested guinea pigs enjoy having plenty of room to explore and play in, so confining them to a tiny, wired cage is not ideal.

The Humane Society recommends a minimum floor space of 7.5 square feet for a pair of guinea pigs, with 10.5 square feet being preferred. The more guinea pigs you house together, the larger the enclosure needs to be. An enclosure size of 30″ × 76″ inches can house a group of four White Crested guinea pigs together.

Their enclosure should be lined with absorbent floor material such as aspen shavings, fleece liners, or paper pellets. White Crested guinea pigs need a large hideout that they can rest in and retreat to when they feel unsafe.

Exercise & Sleeping Needs

White Crested guinea pigs will be active during the day. They spend their time vocalizing, munching on hay, and socializing with each other. If the enclosure is large enough, most White Crested guinea pigs do not need to be exercised outside of the cage often. However, it is recommended to let them run around a guinea pig-proof room or enclosed space a few times a week. You can offer them fresh foods during this time and introduce them to new toys and activities. White Crested guinea pigs will sleep at night in darkness but may nap for short intervals during the day.

white crested guines pig beside potted pet grass
Image Credit: Kirill Kurashov, Shutterstock


White Crested guinea pigs are intelligent and trainable, which is why they make good pets. You can train your White Crested guinea pig to do various tricks and commands, such as their name. Litter training remains one of the easiest things you can teach your White crested guinea pigs to use. They respond well to plenty of praise and food-related rewards during training and learn things better when they are in a positive environment.

When a guinea pig is litterbox trained, they will urinate in a suitable litterbox rather than around the cage. This helps make cage maintenance easier and reduces unpleasant odors.


The White Crested guinea pig has a short, smooth, and manageable coat. Their forehead crest is slightly longer than the rest of the coat but still requires minimal grooming. These guinea pigs have undemanding grooming requirements when compared to the longer-haired breeds like the Silkie. To keep their white crest looking neat, you can use a fine-toothed comb to fluff it up.

The most crucial part of grooming your White Crested guinea pig is keeping their nails trimmed. You can either take them to the vet for a nail trim or do it from home. It is recommended to consult with your guinea pig’s veterinarian before trimming their nails so you can learn the correct methods.

White Crested guinea pigs do not need to be bathed unless otherwise stated by a veterinarian. They groom themselves by licking. Bathing them may strip their fur from natural oils which can cause dry skin and a dull coat. They groom themselves through licking. The White Crested guinea pig is dirty and soiled with urine or feces, this is often a sign of an underlying health problem that needs veterinary treatment.

Lifespan and Health Conditions

The lifespan of a White Crested guinea pig is typical of other breeds. They have an average lifespan of 5 to 8 years, although some may live to 10 years with proper care. There are various reasons a White Crested guinea pig’s lifespan might be shorter, such as disease, poor diet, injuries, or improper care.

White Crested guinea pigs may suffer from the following health conditions:

Minor Conditions
  • Overgrown nails
Serious Conditions
  • Vitamin C deficiency (scurvy)
  • Tumors and Cancer
  • Ear infections
  • Overgrown teeth
  • Reproductive disease
  • Diarrhea
  • Respiratory infections
  • Ringworm
  • Urinary problems

Male vs Female

The most noticeable differences between male (boars) and female (sows) guinea pigs are their behavior and size. Male White Crested guinea pigs usually weigh a few pounds more than females. The males are sometimes more outgoing than the females and slightly aggressive. Female guinea pigs tend to smell less than males because their grease gland is relatively inactive.

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3 Little-Known Facts About White Crested Guinea Pigs

1. There are three different types of Crested guinea pigs

The three different types of Crested guinea pigs—are the White Crested guinea pig, the Himalayan Crested, and the English Crested guinea pig. The main difference between them is that the White Crested has a white crest with a different body color. Whereas the Himalayan Crested has white fur and darker feet and ears. Their crest is the same color as the rest of their body, and their eyes are red. The English Crested is a self-colored guinea pig with the same body color as their crest.

2. They are also known as the American Crested guinea pig

White Crested guinea pigs are also known as American Crested guinea pigs or cavies. However, they should not be confused with the American guinea pig which lacks the forehead crest.

3. White Crested guinea pigs are a new breed

These guinea pigs were recently developed as a breed and formally recognized in the early 1970s.

white crested guinea pig underneath a thin cloth
Image Credit: Kirill Kurashov, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

White Crested guinea pigs are known for their friendly disposition and playful behaviors. You can easily recognize them by their white rosette on their forehead and different colored bodies. They make good pets for both families and individuals who can meet the care requirements for this breed. However, they make poor choices for small children who might not be able to care for them properly.

The White Crested guinea is a shy animal and does not enjoy being cuddled or handled roughly by small children. Owning a White Crested guinea pig is a huge responsibility and a 10-year commitment. Be sure that you have the time, space, and finances to care for them properly.

Featured Image Credit: Olena Kurashova, Shutterstock

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