This page is entirely my own thoughts on the Lunkarya breed. I have written it to help those who have an interest in the breed have some background knowledge.Please ask permission before copying anything from this page!
I have researched and written this from my own experience - so please dont nick it!
On this page you will find:
*You will find other information pages by hovering your mouse on the 'Lunkarya Information' heading on the menu to the left*
'Guinea Pig Magazine Issue 12 January 2013' (https://guineapigmagazine.com) features our Lunkarya article!
The Lunkarya breed is not the result of crossing breeds. It is the result of a unique MUTATION.
For those still new to this New Emerging Variety, the Lunkarya is a dominant, rexoid variation of the Peruvian model. It is pronounced ‘Lunka-ree-a’. The characteristic cork-screw curls are enhanced by their remarkably harsh coat. They are surprisingly laid-back and the coat is generally easy to maintain.
At a week old, the facial hair on the baby will start to fall out. This is a result of the harsh coat. In Continental Europe, it is said that the more facial hair that is lost, the better the coat harshness will be. As such, in Continental Europe, it is widely regarded as an indicator for their future coat. It is not something which is specifically aimed for - it is just a characteristic of the breed. However, it does compromise the chops and frontal. So it is a fine balance of maintaining the harshness and retaining the chops/frontals.
Coat colour does make a difference regarding harshness, as is seen in other breeds. Agouti, as seen in Rex’s and peruvian’s, seem to have much greater harshness. I have found the solid colours, and some agoutis, have better density.
The hair is intended to be high-standing and this is enhanced by the hair growing on the sides of the coat, that effectively ‘push’ the coat up. Typically, harsher hair will stand more erect than a soft coat, which will just fall. Once they reach over 5/6 months of age, gravity plays a role and a parting has to occur!
Once you become more familiar with the breed and the stages of baby growth, you will start to recognise a good lunkarya from birth. Just a summary: well defined, hard curls shortly after birth.
Monica and Annica Lundqvist were sisters who ran a petshop in Kungsholmen, Stockholm. They bred dogs and rex cavies. In 1986, a litter of guineapig were brought in which included a longhaired curly male. He was named Prince Adam and was of common guinea pig ancestors. They kept him and mated him, it showed that would produce curly offspring when crossed with longhairs. He was the result of a mutation and is the origin of the breed.
Initially it was described as a dominant rex Peruvian, but later was named Lunkarya through a combination of ‘Lundqvist’ and ‘rya’ meaning ‘sheep’ in Swedish. At that time the texel had been bred in England and they did not wish for this to become too similar, so they chose to develop the coat towards the rough, un-brushed coat. It has been said that after a few years interest dropped and the lunkarya breed was almost abandoned. Then luckily an enormous interest restarted the breed and the lunkarya is now one of Sweden’s major breeds.
The lunkarya gene is dominant and cannot be carried. All lunkarya are the Peruvian variant and any other type, sheltie or coronet must have the lunkarya prefix attached. The main characteristic of the lunkarya is the dense, harsh coat and this can be in any mixture of colours.
It is a unique gene for several reasons:
• It is the first time a ‘curly’ gene has risen in a long-haired cavy – previous 3 as cited above were all short haired (or semi-longhaired hair for CH teddy).
• It is also the first dominant gene for ‘curly’ hair. The ‘curly’ is a short-haired Lunkarya! The Lunkarya refers to the Peruvian combination.
• The skin is very harsh, which helps result in the ‘high-standing’ of hair.
• A pup is easily recognisable after birth due to ‘hard curls’ and often the hair shaft will break off due to the harshness. As time progresses, the hair becomes rougher, thicker and stands.
• It is possible to brush out the curls, however they will return – unlike an alpaca.
• The strength and elasticity of the hair differs from Alpaca’s, Texel’s and Merino’s. The hair is comparable to sheep!
The Lunkarya is pronounced ‘lunka-ree-a’.
They do not cope well in hot weather and are advised to have AIR-CONDITIONING!
Due to this it is best not to breed them during the summer months.
Unless breeding for minipli's, Lunkarya should never be crossed with an Alpaca, Texel, Merino or Rex!
People are individuals who do things differently - breeders vary in their wrapping technique and even guard-hairing - Most breeder's do not wrap their Lunkarya, preferring to use clips to hold the sweep up - it is usually matter of trying various things to find what works best for you!
The Lunkarya are shown naturally, tangle-free and 'not brushed out' on a showboard. So you want to keep the curls as intact as possible. You will need a wide-toothed comb or even an afro comb. Daily grooming will break off the ends of a harsher coat, so you want to aim for just general daily removal of debris in the coat with your fingers - then every few days an overall brush out to prevent tangles occurring. Less is more with this breed!!
Due to the harshness of the coat, they tend to not get matts easily. Still they do need some work to maintain the curls! Bathing every 6-8weeks is crucial in keeping the skin healthy and coat clean. Although Lunkarya are shown 'natural' they must still be presentable and clean!
The hair grows straight till they reach around 5months old and then gravity takes action! so you do not have to worry about wrapping for quite some time. Personally I use hair clips to hold the sweep up - but even then depending on your pig you may not even have to - as again the harshness prevents it becoming overly soiled compared to peruvians, for example.
A month before the show, I bath the Lunkarya. After a week or so, the curls are prominant again and the full harshness returns over the next few weeks. In the meantime, use an wide-toothed/afro comb to gently maintain the coat, tease out tangles. Carefully blow or remove hay seeds and other debris with fingers daily. Depending on the pig, you may have one which is hopeless at keeping clean - whilst others have OCD's!
Personally, once I have reached the show, I nearly brush out the lunkarya and clip their nails. Ensure no tangles hidden anywhere and no other debris is lurking around! Then into their pen they go with a hay ball and a towel. When it is time, give the pig one last look over and a (very light!) misting of water then scrunch the coat to really enhance the curls (you may find until they are 5months they may not need it). We are now aiming for a look without a parting - so you have to really mess the hair up as much as possible, but without tangles!!
A longhaired cavy in the Peruvian model (having a frontal, chops and two hip rosettes), but differing in coat texture, which should be as harsh as possible. The coat is curly in a ringletted fashion, giving a corkscrew effect that needs to be present from the base of the coat to the ends. The hair on the frontal and chop furnishings is rexoid but not ringletted, like the coat on the belly. A young Lunkarya may have a softer coat than an adult and this should be taken into account.
Due to the random corkscrew effect of the coat the Lunkarya cannot be presented with a parting. To maintain a clean coat free of knots and matting the Lunkarya should be regularly brushed, combed or groomed by hand. For presentation at the judging table the Lunkarya must be shown with a coat that appears 'messy’ to display the random ringlets. (This can be achieved by brushing the Lunkarya out and then 'misting the coat with water' to enhance the curls, however the cavy must not be damp when presented to the judge.)
For presentation it is essential that the judge should be able to run their fingers through the coat to check for coat quality and presentation. Therefore the Lunkarya must be shown free of knots and tangles and on a board, but brushes and combs must not be taken to the judging table. A Lunkarya can be shown in any colour or combination of colours.
LUNKARYA (Proposed Guide Standard)
Frontal, Chops, Head, Eyes & Ears
of which Frontal and Chops: The hair constituting the frontal should originate from the
shoulders and be of good length, in keeping with the cavy's age and in harmony
with the shoulders and chops.
The chops should be strong, with hair of one length and no gaps.
and Head to be short & broad, Muzzle of good width & rounded at the nostrils.
Eyes to be large, bright and bold and set with good width between.
Ears to be large and drooping, and set with good width between.
Coat Appearance (Shoulders, Sides, Sweep)
Coat should consist of hair forming natural, regular 'corkscrews'. It should not lie
flat against the body, but should be even in length all over, to give a generally oval
appearance when the cavy is viewed from above.
Shoulders and Sides should continue evenly from the frontal and chops of the cavy,
with good length in keeping with the cavy's age.
Sweep should cover the hindquarters, with good length in keeping with age.
Coat Feel (Texture & Density)
of which Coat Texture to be harsh and thick.
and Coat Density to be full and dense, with a thick undercoat.
Belly to be curly, woolly and dense.
To be presented clean, free of grease and unmatted, with the waviness/corkscrew
pattern of the coat left in its natural state but tangle free.
Due to the density of the rough coat, the cavy cannot be combed out.
Body To have short, cobby body; thick-set, with good width across shoulders.
To be fit and of good substance, with plenty of firm flesh.
To have good size appropriate to age.
The cavy must be shown with no central parting, on a board of appropriate size.
This should be large enough to give an outline of coat shape, maximum 20 x 20",
and covered in natural-coloured hessian. The coat must not be cut.
The Lunkarya is a long-coated cavy with a coarse, rough hair structure that
distinguishes it from all other breeds.
It has two rosettes on the rump, being the curly-coated equivalent of the Peruvian.
It can also appear in a Coronet and Sheltie version and should be judged accordingly.
The placement of rosettes is important in producing density in the sweep.
The coat should have a tendency to fall into natural corkscrews, and be dense and
rough, with a particularly dense undercoat.
The coat cannot be combed out, and it should not lie flat.
However, it should be even in length all over so that the overall appearance,
looking down onto the top of the cavy, should approximate to an oval shape.
There should be no central parting.
Lunkaryas may be shown in any colour, or mixture of colours.
The coat grows at the same speed and length as other standardised longhairs, approximately 1 inch per month.
Crests. Missing rosettes.
Additional rosettes, causing a visible impact on the coat, to be penalised according to severity of this impact.