DESIGNING a costume for a guinea pig is not as hard as one might think. Sure, they don't have the typical model-esque shape with their chubby, furry bodies and stumpy, almost non-existent limbs.
But at the Capital Country Cavy Club's Guinea Pig Show it's not unusual to see the little creatures dressed up as princesses, moonlighting as caterpillars or simply disguised as a sunflower.
The Guinea Pig Show is on again this Sunday, October 28 with competitiors looking for a win in one of the pedigree or pet sections.
The animals are judged on categories like their colour, coarse coat, overall condition and weight and there are also open categories like "most interesting markings", "owner/pet lookalike", "most colourful" and of course "best dressed".
The club's public relations officer Sharon Scott said the best dressed category brings an element of fun to the competition.
The theme for the club's final competition held this Sunday is "fancy dress".
"The "best dressed" competition is so much fun and everyone really enjoys it," she said.
Mrs Scott has been involved in the club and competition for the past two years after she bought her 10-year-old daughter Charlie some guinea pigs.
The family now owns 12 guinea pigs and often enter the "best dressed" category.
"You just have to make sure you choose something the guinea pig is comfortable with, the owners have been very innovative," she said.
"They can usually get away with something draped on the animal like a poncho or the guinea pigs just love to dive into things."
The guinea pig, also known as a cavy, is not just judged on its clothing and accessories but also any accompanying props like a carriage or cabbage leaf bed.
Another light-hearted category is the "fastest eater" competition where the guinea pig to eat a piece of fruit or vegetable in the shortest amount of time is declared the winner.
Mrs Scott said the competition was not just fun and games but also inspired owners to look after their animal and take pride in their pet.
"There's an emphasis on improving the standard of health for the guinea pig and also the prizes encourage the owners to take care of their pet," she said.
"The prize might be some litter, a grooming kit or some feed."
Mrs Scott said the club and competition is a great way to meet other animal lovers and is a good family fun day out. She estimates about 100 spectators attend the event and about 10-20 competitors enter each of the categories.
"I'm impressed with how nice everyone is and there's a lot of information on how to keep the guinea pig healthy," she said.
"We've just bought our 12th one but no more. They're like any little critter, little furry things. They're really manageable for kids, they're easy to handle and all you have to remember is to give them food, water and a bit of a play everyday."
* The Capital Country Cavy Club Guinea Pig Show will be held on Sunday, October 28 at the Scout Hall, Erin Street Queanbeyan. Cavies must be registered by 11.30am, for more information please contact Jo on 6299 8934 or Mel on 6259 9325.