Having been breeding cream selfies for 20 years now, I have found that while cream selfies are really beautiful, this beauty is difficult to obtain; and more than one disappointment awaits those who embark on the path of breeding the perfect creamy selfie. By the time I first saw cream selfies, this breed had been around for a long time and was one of the first self-breeds. The first selfie ever to win the Bradford Show was cream and owned by Mr. Tildesley; it happened in 1928, then there were 5 more winners, including (in the post-war period) victories of two of the greatest breeders of cream selves – Milton Baxter (1950) and Harold Carbutt (1960). The fact that in 32 years not a single creamy selfie has repeated these successes, despite their constant participation in the best exhibitions, simply proves thathow difficult it is to get a truly outstanding specimen.
PERFECT CREAM SELF
Before we embark on the journey to the breeders’ Holy Grail – getting the perfect pig, we need to clearly define what we are striving for. I see a pig in which all the important traits are in balance. In front, you should be struck by a wide muzzle, wide-set eyes and powerful shoulders. An excellent posture should be visible from the side, the body should be large, but at the same time short and dense. The eyes should be round and expressive, the large ears should be hanging, the color should be matte, even and pale with no visible lighter undercoat. Taking the pig in your arms, you should find a soft, short, well-groomed coat with hairs, evenly colored along the entire length, cream in color. Strive for this very look as much as possible – it is all very difficult to combine in one creamy selfie,much more difficult than in his main rivals – black and white selfies.
Color is the source of many difficulties and sometimes controversy when breeding cream selfies. Cream selfies are not a “pure breed” unlike all other selfies, with the exception of some golden selfs obtained from mating pigs of different colors. Mixing two cream-colored guinea pigs will most likely produce buffalo or white selfies along with creamy selfies in different shades. Genetically, the breed of cream selves is based on genes for agouti, red and chocolate selves, while the brightness of red is suppressed by “diluted” genes. The “diluted” gene, which doubles to produce white selfs, is only one in cream, and its combination with the doubled gene produces buffalo selves. The “diluted” gene for the buffalo self does not completely dominate the white, thus giving rise to a cream color.By the way, cream and white selfs are close genetic relatives (since they are based on the agouti gene, red and chocolate genes, and “diluted” genes), and they are very different from black selfs, whose basis is the non-agouti gene, the black gene. colors and “non-diluted” gene.
Since the genetic basis of cream selfies is a combination of diluted genes, they can be obtained in a number of ways:
Cream Self x Cream Self = 50% Cream, 25% White, 25% Buffalo
Cream x White = 50% Cream, 50% White
Cream x Buffalo = 50% Cream, 50% Buffalo
Buff x white = 100% cream
In this case, buffalo x buffalo = all buffaloes, and white x white = all white.
In cream selves, you can see a variety of shades from almost white to rich, dense color. A creamy selfie with a rich color is close to the color of a buffalo self, and with a pale color – to an ivory color, but both remain creamy selfies in genetics. The standard assumes the following color for show gilts: “pale cream, without lemon or yellow tints, with an appropriate undercoat”.
However, all but white guinea pigs have a slightly lighter undercoat, and the lightest cream selves may have a white undercoat, so these guinea pigs are often variegated. A slightly darker color, with a slightly lighter undercoat and an even shade – this is what show animals usually strive for, but the color of the coat itself should not be bright at all.
In my experience, I can say that it is very difficult to fix the shade – it seems that random genetic factors are at work here, but, as a rule, cream selves from whites are lighter, and from buffaloes – darker, at least in my herd. Readers may think this is just common sense, but common sense is usually not a reliable guide to color genetics (I suppose you wouldn’t expect agouti from crossing a creamy self with a chocolate one, I suppose), these results may just be coincidences. It is more important to maintain balance in your herd to get the right shade. So, despite the fact that pigs are bred mainly for the sake of type, I leave insufficiently purebred pale cream pigs (I would not leave dark ones, although, according to the law of meanness, they usually do not work), so I keep in the herd “pallor factors, “whatever they may be, in the hope that one day they will show up in good-typed guinea pigs.
When I talk about using white selfs in a breeding program, I mean whites from creams. The problem with using white gilts is that it is not known what exactly hides the albino color – would the pig have a good or bad undercoat if it were not an albino? If white selfs come from cream ones with an even color and a good undercoat, then there is a chance that they are carriers of these characteristics and will be inherited. If the white pig comes from a “clean line” of white selfies, you have no idea what the white is hiding, and it will be almost impossible to predict the result. I have successfully used two or three mestizos from my pure line white selfies, but these white pigs also had cream ones in their line (breeder J.R. Wood),and I would not recommend using “unknown” white selfs in breeding.
In the old days, breeders were generally against the use of white selfs, even from cream parents. Ernest Dixon, the best breeder of the 1930s, said that when using white gilts, “good pale cream selfies can be obtained, but at the same time this crossing is a harbinger of many shortcomings that are not easy to get rid of -” layered “color, light chest and paws, etc. “
In addition to shade and undercoat, there is another rare color problem – uneven color, most often in light-colored pigs; it appears as light spots, visible when looking at the mumps from above. I would not use such gilts in breeding, because, in my opinion, this problem can be repeated in the future. From time to time, pigs appear that have a chocolate tip on their hairs (suggesting that the genetic basis of cream selfies is agouti) – but such cases are so rare that they do not pose a problem for breeding.
And one more final idea about color – in my experience, good color is closely related to good coat. If you get a pig with a short, tight-fitting coat, then the color will be matte and even, without visible undercoat. So attention to the quality of the coat is an important point when breeding not only show-class pigs, as. this quality seriously affects the color of the guinea pig as a whole.
The width of the head – and between the eyes and the entire muzzle – is equally important for top-of-the-line cream selfies. However, this width must be combined with the corresponding head size: the heads of guinea pigs with too short a profile usually look small and disproportionate.
While a large, broad head is a trait that is not difficult to get from cream selfies, there is another characteristic that cannot be calculated – when crossing two pigs with wide heads, piglets with a narrow head can be obtained, and in general, mediocre pigs are obtained more than pigs. with a good type. In this, they are similar to white selfies and unlike black ones, who are much more likely to pass on typical qualities by inheritance. And again, the trick is that in the herd some gilts have the necessary typical qualities, but at the same time they are too dark or even buffalo, however, if the desired characteristic falls into the “line”, in the end, it will appear, and, we will hopefully it will show itself in combination with other good traits and in a pig that survives!
I am often asked to sell a trio of good cream selfies, but even if I had them, I would not sell them. You need to breed them yourself, but if you start with a herd in which all the characteristics are present (maybe the male has a good head, eyes and ears, but he is dark, one female is mediocre, but with good ears and a light color, and the other female good type, but small ears and darkish color), then you at least have a chance. I try to provide all the traits I want by selling three gilts, but don’t expect a trio of “near perfect” gilts as you would expect when buying black selfies.
The head should not only be wide, it should be of good shape, but in my opinion the shape cannot compensate for the narrow forehead of the show pig. You need a Roman profile and a good head size – so that you get a beautiful silhouette. When breeding cream selfies, you can get both males and females with a fairly good “show” head shape.
The eyes of the cream selves are ruby. This trait is consistent across all the best lines, although I have seen unusual cream selfies (they were really unusual) with black eyes, the basis of this trait was apparently black, not chocolate. The eyes should be large and round, their size can be fixed without using pigs with small eyes in breeding. Round eyes are needed to add expressiveness to the face.
If we talk about diseases, then the most insidious are eye fat deposits – white wen in the lower part of the eye. This disease progresses as the guinea pigs (usually males) age and gain weight. But sometimes it also appears in young gilts even before the breeding period. The advice in this case is not to admit such animals to breeding, because it is a hereditary characteristic. But if wen appear in a pig that has already been used in breeding more than once, all you can do is to be more careful when further crossing the offspring (that is, do not cross them with each other). Another rather rare drawback is deep-set eyes – large, but not round. This is more common in gold selfies, and again the answer is selection – focus on pigs with properly set, round eyes.
Large hanging ears, as close as possible to the eyes, are necessary for greater expressiveness of the eyes and head; with cream selfies, all of this is quite achievable. Problems that arise periodically are associated with small, protruding ears or ears with irregularities. I would never use a pig with bad ears in breeding, much less use a pig with uneven ears, because this unsightly flaw caused by a recessive gene can spread quickly in the herd and show up too often.
For me, the fit of the ears is more important than their size – the ears should be set wide, as required by the Standard, not high and not close to each other. When the pig gets older and the ears go down, you can come to terms with ears that are small but well set, but small and high set ears are terrible. The main advice is that when breeding pigs from the same parent, the ears should be perfect. Thus, a balance is achieved:
You are trying to get the perfect gilts, and in order to achieve this, you need to balance the different characteristics in your herd and in each pair of gilts. If you keep all the desired traits in your herd, you can correct the imperfections before they have gone too far.
For the type, as well as for the profile, width is a decisive factor, especially the width of the shoulders, where you want to get the maximum width. But such a powerful front should not be accompanied by a loose body. Only a pig with a long, narrow body can be worse than a pig with a loose body. When viewed from the side, the shoulders should look strong, smoothly merging into the back, and the back should be at the same level as the butt – the pig should not resemble a pantomime horse – this is a drawback, although some judges turn a blind eye to it.
Cream selfies can be great, although the prettiest guinea pigs are the hardest to get – like other breeds of selfies, guinea pigs that have been the best babies don’t often become the best adults. Piglets with a large head and wide muzzle are more likely to become pigs with a broad bone and strong body, while piglets with a small head often grow small and disproportionate. As a breeder of cream selfies, you must learn to rate your babies for given characteristics. Selection for size and width is very important, as is selection for type and color. Good feeding is important, but with it you can only develop genetically determined body size and density.
In addition to the fact that the coat after grooming should be short and smooth, and after bathing – clean and silky, it should be good and dense by nature, in order to ensure an even color. Avoid using guinea pigs with too thick or too soft coats (both cream and white selfs) and try to keep coats close to the body in your flock.
The coat of cream selves often thinns, especially in the middle of the belly, as you gain weight; regular bathing and brushing and a good balanced diet are essential to minimize these problems.
Cream selfies bred for a tight coat, even color and a good undercoat should be grooming. The coat will become shiny and shiny, which is necessary to give the pig some chic. This is what can turn a pig with the right type and color from a good show animal to an excellent one.
Each breeder must decide for himself, guided by his knowledge and previous experience, how to achieve the Holy Grail – removing the ideal pig from his flock. There are so many things that can go wrong when breeding cream selfies that frequent disappointments and misfortunes are inevitable on the way to the goal – it is very difficult to achieve a combination of all the necessary qualities in one pig. I think breeding and balancing these qualities in the herd is the key to success. You should always be afraid that you will go too far in one direction – highlight some features and at the same time lose others, for example, all pigs will have a good type, but they will be too dark or spotted, or they will have good heads, but set high ears. To avoid this, I keep as many good type pigs as I can,I reject guinea pigs with small eyes or high set ears and maintain a variety of shades – white selfs born from cream, cream, light, medium and dark selfies, and buffalo selfies.
Selection continues when babies are born. Immediately after birth, a lot can be said about them – whether the head is wide, whether the eyes are round, what is the size and shape of the ears. Their color is darker than what will be later, but the lightest ones will remain so, and the buffalo selfie will not turn into a cream selfie. At about three months, when the first fluffy coat fades, the final color appears. Rigorous selection is essential: cream selfies often produce large litters, but many piglets do not fit because they are too small or rustic or with the wrong color. The mortality rate can also be high, making it difficult to get a herd of show animals, especially if you frequently advertise the sale of the “good cream selfies trinity.”
Cream selfies are some of the most beautiful pigs out there, albeit some of the most difficult to breed. You need to consistently strive for the mental image of a good pig, while constantly remembering about balance. Frustrations are not uncommon, but the “end product” when you reach your goal means that you have coped with the most difficult task and brought out a pig that can surpass black and white selfs in type, shape and size, a pig with a beautiful pale cream color, which so pleasing to the eye. I fell in love with cream selfies at first sight, and they are still my ideal.