Hey there GuineaGang,
Have you ever wondered about Abyssinian Guinea Pigs? Watch this short video for a quick summary of this topic:
It should come as no surprise that guinea pigs come in a variety of breeds. Although most people can’t tell most guinea pig breeds apart, by learning more about Abyssinian guinea pigs through reading this blog, you'll be more informed than most! We'll also help you to assess whether an Abyssinian guinea pig is the right choice for you.
Abyssinians are considered to be one of the oldest breeds of domesticated guinea pigs, but the exact origin of this breed is uncertain. It is also worth noting that this breed has advanced since the earliest days of domestication. Abyssinian guinea pigs are not rare. These popular guinea pigs are pretty commonly found at rescues, in pet stores, and in the homes of guinea pig parents!
Abyssinian Guinea Pig Characteristics
A healthy Abyssinian will have a naturally robust build, with a broad body and a wide head.
Abyssinians have multiple rosettes across their bodies. Rosettes are central points from which fur grows outward and these furs collide with fur from the opposing direction, causing them to crest and create ridges. Many of us call these “bad hairs” on Abyssinians.
Abyssinian guinea pigs come in a variety of colors and patterns, but those recognized by the breed standards of the American Cavy Breeders Association are listed below.
This term is used to describe a guinea pig that is a solid color. For Abyssianians this patternless coat is recognized in beige, black, chocolate, cream, lilac, red, and white.
A red base with black patterning blended in is commonly referred to as brindle, and it is a popular coat type amongst Abyssinians.
Another popular coat is roan, which consists of evenly mixed white and colored hairs covering a majority of the body.
Any Other Solid
When a guinea pig’s coat consists of well-blended yet varying shades of a single color it may be classified as dilute solid, golden solid, or silver solid.
Agouti describes a fur pattern where each individual hair consists of two distinct colors. This pattern is similar to their wild ancestors and is recognized in dilute agouti, gold agouti, and silver agouti.
Any guinea pig with specific patterning may be classified as marked. Many of the markings recognized look exactly how they sound, including tortoise shell, and dalmatian.
You may be wondering, are Abyssinian guinea pigs friendly? And the answer is yes! Of all the breeds of guinea pigs, many claim that the Abyssinian is one of the most friendly.
Also, Abyssinian guinea pigs are known to share the average guinea pig traits of skittishness and social bonds. However, it is often noted that boars from this breed can be rather feisty compared to other breeds. Generally, Abyssinian guinea pigs will only bite when they're extremely uncomfortable and as a defense mechanism, but this is how most guinea pigs are in general.
Like any guinea pig, they can be desensitized through positive reinforcement and socialization with humans. If you’re more interested in learning about bonding with guinea pig, you can read our blog “Here are the 4 Steps to Bond With Your Guinea Pigs”
The structured coat of an Abyssinian does not blend well with water. Light bathing can be used in cases where your guinea pig is particularly dirty, but their distinct fur patterns may take weeks to return to their former glory. Avoid heat treating the fur and any brushings should be gentle to not disturb coat patterning.
You may be wondering, how big does an Abyssinian guinea pig get? An Abyssinian full-size guinea pig can range from 8 to 12 inches depending on gender, birth order, diet, and overall health. Much like other breeds, a single Abyssinian should be given at least 7.5 square feet of cage space.
For each guinea pig that is added to that cage, it is best to add another 3 square feet. The most important thing when it comes to housing an Abyssinian is ensuring that their cage is kept very clean. The cleaner their cage, the less bathing they will require and the better their signature hairstyle will look. We recommend that you clean the cage more often with the GuineaDad Premium Liner and replace any soiled fleece liners.
Food, Diet & Exercise
Abyssinians are meant to have a more robust body type, but they are not intended to be overweight or excessively large. Feed a balanced diet and provide plenty of opportunities for exercise to keep them at a healthy weight. Always considered clean, filtered hay such as GuineaDad Timothy Hay. Extra care when processing is necessary to ensure guinea pig’s respiratory health.
Common Abyssinian Health Issues
With a proper environment and diet, most health issues can be prevented in the Abyssinian. This includes things like bumblefoot, respiratory diseases, and infected lesions. Hereditary health issues can be more difficult to manage and, like any specialty breed of animal, they may be enhanced by irresponsible breeding. The GuineaDad Premium Liner has AirCell™ Technology keeps guinea pig’s paws dry, and safe.
Where to Find an Abyssinian Guinea Pig
Rescue centers and pet stores carry plenty of guinea pigs. You may also look for experienced breeders for Abyssinians with a reliable health history. It may take some time to find your perfect guinea pig, especially if you are in search of a rarer color of Abyssinian, but it is certainly worth it. You can read more about “Where Should You Get Your Guinea Pig” in our blog.
To learn more about guinea pig breeds, read our blogs: