Everything You Need to Know About Abyssinian Guinea Pigs

Posted by Tori Holmes
Abyssinian Guinea Pig

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.

When it comes to Abyssinian guinea pig care, these small pets need to be groomed with a soft brush as this breed of guinea pig has a rough coat. The hair of an Abyssinian is unique. The fur curls around in "rosette" patterns and often there is a ridge of fur meeting from different directions on the spine.

A show quality Abyssinian guinea pig has at least 8-10 rosettes which will increase their points in the ring.

Guinea pig owners should be familiar with the wide range of breeds. These include American, White Crested, a Silkie guinea pig exists too and satin versions!

A wonderful resource for first-time guinea pig owners is the Abyssinian guinea pig guide. Here you will learn about the color varieties. Did you know that the"Roans" have a coat consisting of mixtures of the white color. They are classified as Strawberry Roans or Blue Roans.

Enjoy your little guy!

Hover over the image for more information.


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.

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Everything You Need to Know About Abyssinian Guinea Pigs