The guinea pig is a rodent mammal native to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia in the Andes, where it has always had a close relationship with the pre-Inca people, either as a food source, high in protein and low in fat or as an animal associated with traditions maintained to the present day. Since ancient times, guinea pig breeding has traditionally been carried out in small spaces inside the kitchens of rural farming families, near the stove. To meet rural households' need for income, a commercial production system has been established and has introduced improved strains/breeds which have spread throughout the Andean region, almost completely absorbing the native guinea pig. On the other hand, since the sixteenth century the guinea pig has gained in popularity around the world as a pet, for exhibition purposes, or as a laboratory animal. In this paper, a literature review has been undertaken to compile and disclose the main issues concerning the guinea pig and the Andean population, with the aim of creating awareness of the importance of conserving local genetic resources and providing a starting point for future research.