Animals / Rodents

The English Self

Синонимы и названия на других языках

Order: rodentia

Family: cavidae

Genus: cavia

Species: cavia porcellus


Guinea pigs originated from the UK. This specific breed occurred back in the 19th century as a result of selective breeding, so it is one of the oldest. In the beginning of the 20th century a special “English Self Cavy Club” was established and it exists until now. If you would like to acquire a real English self, you should contact breeders that have membership in this club. There are such breeders in Russia too.  Some breeders keep English selves in groups that have several females and due to this an interesting feature came out: they take care of the litter together. 

Внешний вид

It is very easy to tell this breed apart from others. It has a compact body, a big head, big eyes and big ears in the shape of rose petals. They are usually sole-coloured. They look very cute and funny.

In contrast with many other breeds, English selves are very calm and friendly animals. They rarely fight. Males are considerably larger than females. Also they tend to grow slower than other guinea pigs. They are considered to be adult at the age of 2 years, and then they reach the top of their looks. According to the standards, English selves have special color of ears, eyes and paws. The coloration range is quite wide: there are black, white, golden, even lilac and sage coloured guinea pigs. 


Guinea pigs are sociable animals who feel best in company of their specimens. If you have several of these small cute rodents, you will be able to watch their behavior in a group which can only be seen when a cavy feels safe in a circle of mates. If a guinea pig lives alone, it can only communicate with people, so the owner will have to give it a lot of time and attention.

Содержание и уход

English selves are very popular as pets for children. They are very friendly and gentle and like interacting with people. They need similar husbandry as all other breeds.

You should choose a cage with solid bottom and a tray, a bit over half a cubic meter in size. It is recommended that the cage is in the room where it is neither too hot nor too cold and where there are no draughts. You can let your cavy out of the cage, but you will have to observe it constantly, because these rodents very active and can start chewing on something improper. You can teach an English self (like all guinea pigs) to respond on its name.

You will have to clean the cage regularly due to specific smell which is typical for most rodents. 


The English Self needs the same food as all other guinea pig breeds: grass, hay, vegetables and fruit, grain and commercial dry mixes. If you want to give your cavy a treat, offer it a carrot, a cucumber or an apple. They adore this food.

Of course, the menu of your pet has to be balanced. Pay attention to your cavy’s behavior and appearance. If it is active and playful, has bright eyes and glossy coat, it means that your pet is in good health. If any of those characteristics is compromised, it means that your pet is ill or maybe lacks vitamins.  You may want to buy special mineral blocks for rodents so that your English self fulfills its lack of nutrients. 


Guinea pigs, like all rodents, tend to gnaw on furniture and other objects. Males usually fight with each other. They get very stressed because of temperature swings.


The most common diseases of guinea pigs are rachitis, conjunctivitis, parasites, tapeworms, diarrhea, viral and bacterial infections, hair loss, respiratory diseases, digestive system disorders, pasteurellosis, pseudotuberculosis. 

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