Guinea pigs come from South America , and more precisely from the Andean region. So they inhabited the area of current Peru, Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. They were domesticated by Incas. Guinea pigs were bred for meat and for medical purpose. Currently, wild pigs are rare, although it is still possible to observe them in the Andes area. In southern America guinea pigs are still bred for food. If you go to Peru, where guinea pigs are particularly popular, avoid dishes, containing the word cavia in their name (guinea pig in latin is cavia porcellus) in restaurants.
Wild guinea pigs aren’t divided into races – people after domesticating them, bred a few breeds. Wild pigs have short, smooth fur in one colour – grey-brown colouration called aguti. They are better built than domesticated pigs. They have stronger and longer limbs. Domesticated pigs are squat and less agile than their wild ancestors.
Guinea pigs were brought to Europe in the 16th century. They became popular very quickly. From the beginning they were used as domestic animals, later also as laboratory animals, but they were supplanted by mice and rats, which reproduce much better.