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So these terms for Guinea Pig all seem to be fairly common and in use, at least as far as I know, but the question(s) are:

where do the different terms come from?

is there any actual difference between the terms?

are the terms regional or not?!

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Apparently 豚鼠 comes from its appearance. It is also the scientific term. – user58955 May 15 '14 at 16:36
Regarding 荷兰猪, my speculation is that it was brought to China by Dutch merchants/colonists, and Chinese at that time didn't realise that it was rodent and thought it was a pig. They might think that the pigs in the Netherlands are different, because they are so small, hence giving the name 荷兰猪. – user58955 May 15 '14 at 16:37
up vote 3 down vote accepted

These are just nicknames.
There are no evidence about where these names come from, as I can see.
I found some explanations but I can't make sure they're true.

  1. It is called 天竺鼠 because Indian businessmen brought them into China.
  2. It is called 荷蘭豬 because it looks like a pig and its barking sounds like pigs' barking.
  3. It is called 荷蘭豬 because it was eat by Dutch before.
  4. It is called 豚鼠 because it is 鼠...

And user58955 also provided some explanations. I don't think any of them is true... Just don't be too serious with these nicknames...

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