Description of the guinea pig breed “Merino”
The Merino (Merino Guinea Pig) is a very beautiful, even majestic breed with long curly hair and a rosette crown on its head. Outwardly, merino pigs are very similar to texels and coronets . They are related to texels by long wavy fur, and with crowns – by a rosette-crown on the head.
Merino is a rare breed, in USA you can find such pigs only in nurseries, but in a number of European countries, merino is quite popular as pets, firstly, due to its amazing appearance, and secondly, because of its wonderful character and wonderful temperament …
From the history of merino
Merino is the so-called cross breed, which appeared as a result of crossing Texel and Coronet breeds. For the first time this breed appeared in the UK, and to this day it is in England that active work continues to improve the breed, and it is England that is the main habitat of these pigs. There, this breed is quite popular, which cannot be said about other countries.
Merino is not yet included in the list of officially recognized guinea pig breeds, and a standard for this breed has not yet been developed.
Main features of Merino guinea pigs
The Merino is a long-haired breed with curly long hair and a rosette on the head between the ears. The hair on the head is short, allowing you to see the cute little face of a pig and beady eyes. The merino coat is quite soft and light.
The merino has a short and wide head, a characteristic “Roman” nose.
Merino color can be any. Various color combinations are allowed.
Average weight is about 1 kg. Males are usually heavier than females.
The average lifespan is 5-6 years, which is less than that of some other guinea pig breeds. For example, American pigs live 8-10 years.
Pigs of this breed are usually not recommended to start as the first guinea pig, as they require increased attention when leaving.
Merino guinea pig care
Like other guinea pigs, the merino is not demanding in terms of care. For a long and happy life, they need very little – a spacious large cage, the right diet, 3 meals a day and your love and care, of course.
The guinea pig cage should be really spacious and well ventilated. Guinea pigs spend most of their life in a cage, and since they are quite active animals, they need a place where they can walk, run, jump and engage in other physical activities. Otherwise, the mumps may be at risk of obesity and other health problems. The recommended cage area is 0.6 square meters, which corresponds to a cage size of 100×60 cm.
Merino is the same absolute vegetarian as other guinea pigs. A variety of vegetables, fruits, fresh grass and / or hay, pelleted food (dry food) and clean water are always available – that’s all that should be in your pig’s diet.
Merino pig hair care
So, merino, like other representatives of long-haired breeds, require increased attention to their luxurious fur coat.
There are two ways: to trim or not trim the merino pig’s fur. The first option is suitable for those breeders who keep a merino as a pet. In this case, regular haircuts to a comfortable length will make life easier for you and your pig.
If you are participating with a pig or planning to participate in exhibitions and demonstrate a chic long fur coat, then you will have to figure out how to protect it from debris. Usually breeders use special papillotes for this, twisting long curls in them.
The hair of guinea pigs grows constantly, on average by 2-2.5 cm per month, so if you decide not to trim your pet, you will need to ensure a comfortable stay for the pig in the cage. Long hair should be pulled up, otherwise, dragging along the floor, they will collect debris, hay and excrement. In addition, the texture of the merino wool is such that it absorbs urine perfectly, so the wool around the anus should be regularly trimmed short.
You can use regular scissors or hairdressing scissors to trim the wool, but the most efficient method is with electric scissors.
You can buy a special brush at the pet store for cleaning fur, but a toothbrush is also perfect.
Another tip is to run your fingers over the pig’s fur from time to time to find tangled areas and unravel them. Many pigs are very fond of this procedure.
As for bathing, experts generally do not recommend bathing guinea pigs, but an exception is made for long-haired breeds. For a merino it will be quite sufficient to bathe once a month. If you need to use shampoo, then choose only specialized products at the pet store. Don’t wash your pig with your shampoo!
Merino guinea pigs character
Many breeders and merino lovers unanimously claim that these pigs have a wonderful character. They are very friendly, obedient, they have a calm temperament, they love people.
In addition, merino are very smart guinea pigs, they have one of the highest IQs in the world of guinea pigs. They are better trained than other breeds. In addition, they need to get to know the world around them and they will be very happy with any additional toys and amusements in the cage.