Kalusha's Cavies

Specialist Breeder of Lunkarya in Cornwall since 2007

                     Lunkarya Information

Welcome to Kalusha's Cavies Lunkarya Stud. We have been breeding Lunkarya since 2007. 

                                     Please note:

The Lunkarya breed is not the result of crossing breeds. It is the result of a unique MUTATION. 

Unless specifically breeding for minipli's, Lunkarya should never be crossed with an Alpaca, Texel, Merino or Rex! 

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:

  1. Lunkarya Basics 
  2. Lunkarya Background (history of the breed)
  3. Lunkarya Grooming & Showing: Grooming Page Link
  4. RVCC Guidance Notes for Breeders and Judges (the current aims for all breeders/exhibitors)
  5. The proposed RVCC Full Guide standard
  6. FAQ's

 *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!  

1. Lunkarya Basics

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.

Coat

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. Therefore, 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 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. So density is an important characteristic. 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!

Breeding pointers:

  • During the development of the Lunkarya in Germany, the gene was maintained through the use of peruvians. For the first 4 years of my breeding programme, I soley concentrated on improving my pedigree's by ensuring they are 'pure-bred' lunkarya with at least 4 generations of Lunkarya matings, so I had a good basis of stock from which to work with. A dear friend, Sandra at Faithfull Farm in Holland, regularly uses peruvian in her breeding which really highlighted to me just how delicate this balance is required for the Lunkarya. To improve the facial furnishings and encourage the ringlets, either a softer lunkarya or a peruvian need to be used sparingly. 
  • Regarding coat structure, the breeder must work towards getting the rough, harsh coat that is required of the breed. If you have a soft lunkarya, mate to one with a rougher coat. Those with poor chops/frontals or lack coat density should, ideally, not be heavily bred from.
  • You should keep all babies that have a firm, harsh curl in the coat when they are born.
  • Extra rosettes can be spotted from a few days old to 2-3months old - depending on how observant you are. Of course it is ideal to breed them out - as in the long-term you will be forever be having pet standards!
  • Whilst choosing matings, try to pair the best lunkarya for coat harshness and density. I critique every individual and try to match accordingly. Try not to forget to aim for the frontals and chops which are one of the essential longhair commandments!
  • Summer Breeding: Due to the density of the coat, it is NOT advised to breed the lunkarya over the summer months (i.e, June-Aug). The lunkarya can be prone to heatstroke and if they are in-pig, the results can be unimaginable. The last few summers they have been mild and pretty wet, so it may seem worth the risk this summer. Air conditioning was often advised with the first imported Lunkarya's, so this problem has been encountered in Europe. However, it is obviously up to the breeder, and everyone views this health-risk differently. Also, you will get variation in the local climate and the individual pig. Personally, I am happy to have a reprieve from breeding and it provides time to concentrate on showing. I also know I would feel incredibly guilty if something occurred and am happy just to breed in the other 9 months!!

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. 

 

The Lunkarya is pronounced ‘lunka-ree-a’.
They do not cope well in hot weather!


It is possible to cross-breed the Lunkarya gene with other long-hairs (Sheltie, Coronet). Obviously, the offspring will not be true 'Lunkarya's' as the skin will be much softer and not maintain the harsh coat. The coat is not the same and they cannot be classed as a pure bred Lunkarya.

 

Unless breeding for minipli's, Lunkarya should never be crossed with an Alpaca, Texel, Merino or Rex!

 

2. Lunkarya Background

Background:

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!

3. Lunkarya - Grooming Information Summary

Below is a summary.

For full details see the Grooming Page: Kalusha's Grooming Page Link

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 - 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 4 weeks prior to a show is crucial to keep 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.

 

SHOWING 

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 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 vet bed and a hay balll. 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!!

 

4. RVCC Guidance Notes for Breeders & Judges

January 2016 update:

"A longhaired cavy in the Peruvian model (having a frontal, chops and two hip rosettes), but with significant differences due to the harsh and coarse coat texture and the tendency of the coat to form ringlets. The hair on the frontal, chop furnishings and belly is rexoid but not ringletted.

The Lunkarya’s coat is its most important feature and on the body should be curly in a ringletted fashion, giving a corkscrew effect that needs to be present from the base of the coat to the tips, which should be intact. The coat should have harsh texture and be full and dense, with even lengths of ringletted curls sticking out from the body in a naturally untidy fashion. Therefore the Lunkarya should not be presented with a central parting.

Frontal and chops should be strong, with hair of one length and no gaps. The frontal and chops should be curly; the belly should show the presence of dense curls.

Judges must be able to run their fingers through the coat to check for coat quality and presentation, being able to pull their fingers up and out through the coat without encountering tangles, knots or matting.

A Lunkarya may be shown in any colour or combination of colours. It should be shown on a board of appropriate size.

In an older Lunkarya the weight of the hair will tend to make the outer coat fall towards the body, but the innate tendency for the coat to grow out from the body should still be evident and there should be no tendency to a parting."

5. The Proposed RVCC Guide Standard for the Lunkarya

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.

Presentation
                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.


SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS
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.

GUIDANCE NOTES
                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.)


SPECIFIC DISQUALIFICATIONS
Crests. Missing rosettes.

SPECIFIC FAULTS
Additional rosettes, causing a visible impact on the coat, to be penalised according to severity of this impact.

6. FAQ's

Lunkarya Help

I often get asked questions about the lunkarya that maybe are not covered on my Lunkarya information page... so here are a few to help out!

'What are Lunkarya crossed with?'

At the beginning of the Lunkarya development - being of course the one mutation expressed in one individual - it was crossed with various longhairs to help expand the gene pool. 

- It is best not to use a peruvian - unless you have the knowledge and space to make it worthwhile in your breeding programme. 

- Certainly do not use any rexoid variants (Merino/Alpaca) because you create nothing more than a pet, which is obviously a waste!

'Why is my Lunkarya soft coated?'

Lunkarya generally get harsher as they mature, so it may need more time. The best lunkarya are obviously those which have a harsh coat from birth!

You may have a lunkarya which does not have a have a high proportion of lunkarya in its background. For example, a lunkarya x peruvian has loose curls/wavy coat and is not much harsher than a peruvian.

'How to brush a lunkarya?'

You need an afro comb wide-toothed comb. Supermarkets generally have these for a pound or two. Working from the ends, gently brush out the coat. I tend to then use a medium comb to go deeper into the coat, around the sides and underneath to ensure no tangles are brewing!

'What hair-care is required for the breed?'

Currently they are presented 'naturally' on a show board. So you want to keep the curls as intact as possible. 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 occuring. Less is more with this breed!!

Due to the harshness of the coat, they are very good at not getting 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.

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.

You need to bath a Lunkarya about a month before a show, as with other longhairs, to enable to harshess to return and so it is clean for the judge!

How to show a Lunkarya...

People are individuals who do things differently - breeders vary in their wrapping technique and evne guard-hairing - so find what works best for you!

The Lunkarya are shown naturally, tangle-free and unbrushed on a showboard. However, they must be regularly maintained an groomed to ensure the coat is in show condition.

A month before the show, 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, give the odd brush with the afro comb to prevent matts occuring. Some breeder's do wrap their Lunkarya, whilst other use clips to hold the sweep up. I have found 'less is more', so just every day or just going through the coat and picking out hay seeds and other debris is a huge help. Depending on the pig, you may have one which is hopeless at keeping clean - whilst others have OCD's!

At the beginning of the show, provide the judge with the 'RVCC guidance notes'. Ask them to allow you 5-10mins in advance of requiring the pig to allow sufficient time to prepare your pig. Most preparation is completed in those 10mins before going up to the judge.

Personally, once I have reached the show, I completely 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!) misting of water then scrunch the coat to really enhance the curls. 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!!

'How can I tell a good lunkarya from birth?'

In a newly born lunkarya baby, you are looking for tight curls covering the coat. The tighter the better. Density and harshess will increase as the lunkarya grows. In some cases, facial hair will fall out at around 2 weeks old.

As with most longhairs, it is relatively easy to pick out faults as the coat grows in the first month. So you will be able to check rosette placement  and chop development.