Quite spectacular with their "mohawk" like ridge and roostertail

NZ Plume Pedigree Guinea Pig being judged at The Nationwide Cavy Show

New Zealand Plumes are one of the oldest unique breeds

New Zealand Plumes are one of the original exclusive guinea pigs (cavy) breeds that was created as a pedigree breed back in the 1970's.  Thankfully numbers have increased in recent years by Independent Cavy Club members.

They look quite spectacular with their "mohawk" like ridge running down their back with a cascading tail of hair resembling that of a Rooster Tail.  NZ Plumes are marvellous characters and are nice-natured.

With NZ Plume genes, it takes time narrowing down the genetics.  This involves selective breeding, and this is done to isolate genes and bring out the desirable traits.  The desirable traits are a well raised ridge and a high arched rooster tail that has more than a few hairs.

NZ Plumes have the option to be taken up to the Judge on a Show Board in Pedigree Main Cavy Shows and can also be shown in any colour.

New Zealand Plume Cavy
New Zealand Plumes Female Guinea Pig
Nz  Plume Cavy
Champion NZ Plume Guinea Pig in Show

Pedigree New Zealand Plumes Show Standards with Independent Cavy Clubs

New Zealand Plume Cavy Show Standard

The history of New Zealand Plumes

Many years ago in the 1950's, a woman migrated from England to NZ with her English Peruvians and Abyssinian cavies. There were no cavy shows or clubs, so she mixed mated her cavies and sold the babies as pets.  She lived in Wellington. Christa Krey found her when she was looking for a pet for her 9-year-old son and saw some of her longhairs and bought some for herself. They had more than two rosettes and a coarser coat. 

When the inaugural meeting to form a cavy club was held in the Wellington area in January 1976, more than 70 people turned up with some of their cavies. Many of these were NZ Plume type and NZ Peruvian type with four or more rosettes, probably all going back to the 1950's pigs. Lots of these people wanted to show, but English pedigree imports were few at that stage and did not breed fast enough. Therefore, the Committee of the newly formed National Cavy Club of New Zealand ( later renamed New Zealand Cavy Club because we were not allowed the word National when incorporating), drew up standards for two breeds, the NZ Plumes and the NZ Peruvians for members to work with to produce showable cavies. 

There were some lovely NZ Plumes and NZ Peruvians shown for some time until more pedigree stock from English imports became available and breeders turned to those.  Just a few breeders persevered.

New Zealand Cavy Club photo from 1970's

Photo taken during a New Zealand Cavy Club show in the 1970's.  Featuring a NZ Plume in the 'In Show' winners.

The genetics of New Zealand Plumes

The dominant gene R gives rosettes in the coat while rr cavies are smooth coated. The effect of R is enhanced by the modifying genes mm, so that RRmm cavies are fully rosetted. Rrmm cavies may lack some rosettes. Where the genotype is RrMM or RRMM the cavy nearly always has the hair on its toes growing backwards up the foot or in small whirls. The rest of the coat is usually smooth, though occasionally there is a ridge down the back and one or two rudimentary rosettes on each side of the spine (the basics for Bonnets). R-Mm cavies nearly always have two rosettes and a marked ridge between them (the basics for the NZ Plumes).

NZ Plume Cavy Breed
NZ Plume Baby Guinea Pigs

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