Guinea pigs strut their stuff

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Star quality . . . Judge Christa Krey, from Levin, makes friends with Yella, an American Crested Saffron guinea pig, owned by Joan Clack of Rangiora, at the North Canterbury Guinea Pig Club's inaugural Guinea Pig Show, at Woodend last Sunday. PHOTO: SHELLEY TOPP

By SHELLEY TOPP

The North Canterbury Guinea Pig Club’s inaugural show at Woodend last weekend could lead to a nation-wide event.

Fifty of the furry little critters, also known as cavies, were entered in the show which was open to pedigree and pet guinea pigs and held at the Woodend Scout Den.

Club president Jenny Barker from Waikari, said the club was “very happy” with their first show and looking forward to holding a nation-wide event, hopefully at the same venue, next year.

Guinea pigs made marvellous pets, she said.

“They are up and running within an hour of birth. They are easy care and a nice wee pet for children to handle.”

Guinea pigs eat grass, rabbit pellets, most fruit and vegetables, but not potato peelings or rhubarb which are toxic to them.

“They love watermelon, corn cobs, over-ripe bananas, and cucumbers when the weather is hot,” she said.

The show’s visiting pedigree guinea pig judge, Christa Krey, from Levin, said there were many different breeds of guinea pigs.

“They all have a standard, just like dogs, cats and horses, and they all have to conform to that.”

The standard for self short-hair gold guinea pigs means they must have bold eyes, rose-petal shaped ears, a short roman nose, great even colour and also a “good shoulder” with nice conformation. The Dalmatian guinea pig was one of the most difficult to breed for showing, she said, because their coat was supposed to have clearly defined coloured spots but often “roaning”, a blurring of the spots, occurred which counted against them at shows.

The club is a social group of cavy breeders and owners established to encourage the welfare of pets and provide show opportunities.