Think smooth coats are overrated? Here is everything you need to know about Abyssinian guinea pigs!
They may be named after the historic Abyssinia region in Africa, but the Abyssinia guinea pig actually originates from South America. Like its close cousin the Peruvian guinea pig, Abyssinian guinea pigs arrived in Europe during the 16th century. From there, they made their way to America as exotic pets.
Overall, Abyssinians are great pets for children and first-time guinea pig owners due to their outgoing personalities and enjoyment of being around their humans.
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The Abyssinian guinea pig has a relatively long body with a broad head and short face. Their ears are petal shaped and droop towards the ground.
The Abyssinian guinea pig has a distinctive coat, characterized by ten rosettes that cause the hair to grow in a circular fashion around the body. The coat is harsh, with no flat or smooth spots to be found anywhere on the body. Some Abyssinian guinea pigs can have a small mustache of hair around the nose.
They come in a wide variety of solid and mixed colors, with the most popular being tortoiseshell, brindle, roan, solid white, red, or black.
Abyssinian guinea pigs have friendly outgoing personalities, and prefer to be in your company rather than handled. They are known to be a bit more mischievous than other breeds but still make great pets for children and first-time owners.
Abyssinian guinea pigs are known to have a higher occurrence of eye problems, such as microphthalmos and cataracts. Microphthalmos is characterized by small eyes, which often result in blindness. The breed is also known to have a higher occurrence of developing diabetes and ovarian cysts.
Abyssinians with roan coats have a gene that is linked to genetic deformities, so two roans should never be bred.
All images courtesy of Warren Photographic.