Guinea Pig

Abyssinian Guinea Pig: The Perfect Pet For Beginners

Abyssinian is a guinea pig breed which is considered as a show animal and also a pet. The Abyssinian breed has a unique coat which is noticeable with rosettes (cowlicks of hair) or starfish shaped growing swirls.

History of Abyssinian

Abyssinian guinea pigs are one of the oldest breed among guinea pigs and was originated in South America, though its name is Abyssinian. Ethiopia was called as Abyssinia before and the real origin of this name “Abyssinian breed” is not acknowledged.

This breed’s unique coat has brought fame in an exhibition which was held in Victorian England. In 1800s, Abyssinian guinea pigs attracted much consideration and appreciation from guinea pig enthusiastic. Even after many years passed still they remain well-liked globally.


Unique coat of Abyssinian guinea pigs can be considered as their main feature and their hair is one and half inches long. Also they have this special hair swirls which is known as rosettes.

Normally there are about eight to ten hair swirls on a show quality Abyssinian guinea pig. You can find one on each hip and shoulder, two to four swirls on its back and two more swirls on the rump.

In colors, these guinea pigs come in a wide range and can be listed as following.

  • Roan: this is a mix of dark and light hair

  • Albino: these Abyssinian are pure white in color and have red eyes

  • Self: these cavies have one solid cover

  • Dutch: this type has a two tone color mixture

  • Tortoiseshell: this blend includes mostly black and red color blocks

  • Brindle: this pig’s coat has one dark color mixed with white

  • Dalmatian: this type is same as dog strain

  • Himalayan: Himalayan guinea pig has dark nose, feet and ears and other part of coat is very similar to albino kind

  • Agouti: this could be a favorite type for many people as this type has classic salt and pepper color mixture

No matter the color mixture or number of hair swirls, as for people are concerned every Abyssinian is an eye-catching breed.

The Personality Of Abyssinian Guinea Pigs

Usually this breed can be considered as a gentle and kind breed among other guinea pig types. They could be noisy and eccentric. They would be always searching for an exciting activity and have a relaxed and friendly nature. Abyssinians are very intelligent and can be trained to carry out certain errands and actions.

Male pigs are more sociable than females and some could identify this behavior as mischievousness or violent behavior. But this is a very usual behavior in their routine.

Guinea pigs owners talk very high about their own exceptional quirks and practice and that makes Abyssinians such a trendy choice.


Abyssinian piggy can be considered as a guinea pig with long hair. Because of that reason this cavy breed will have need of a particular care. They will not require a high maintenance as other long haired guinea pig do but they do need of particular shampooing, bathing and nail trimming. Also if you are Abyssinian piggy owner you need to comb your pig’s fur regularly to avoid knots or messy hair in fur. Further combing could improve the blood flow of the skin and get rid of any dead skin.

If you are an Abyssinian guinea pig owner you have to be very careful when you groom your pet guinea pig as it could be hurting to them even you can’t notice it. So be gentle to your pet and some suggest that giving them a snack or treat could make it easier for you as they will not try get away from grooming.


As mentioned earlier Abyssinians are very intelligent and you can easily train them. Training could bring you few benefits. While you train them you can take on your pet in exercise. Also training would bond you and your family with your pet. Training is not hard and you just need to repeat a word until they perform the task. Don’t forget to offer a treat while training your cavy. Check out following tricks and tasks that you can train your Abyssinian to perform.

  • Stand up

You can train your pig to stand up when you command it. Teaching this trick is very easy, hold your treat over its head and repeat the word “stand” or any other meaningful word until your pet stand up eat your treat. Do the same two times a day for few more days until your Abyssinian stand up for your command.

  • Litter box training

First place a litter box inside the guinea pig cage with hay and some fecal stuff inside the litter box. Observe your pet’s behavior and when you notice that your pig is using the litter box offer a sweet treat to your cavy. When you repeat it for few more times they will get use to this and they will start using the litter box.

You can refer to our Guinea Pig Litter Training guide to get a better understanding of the training process.

How To Keep Your Abyssinian Cool In Hot Weather

Some may consider Abyssinian is a short hair breed but when compared to an average haired cavy, Abyssinian has more hair and long in length. This simply means that you need take extra precautions in hot weather otherwise your piggy will be badly affected from extreme temperatures. High temperature can even cause death apart from overheating so take actions to keep your pet cool.

Providing them plenty of water, keeping them in shady areas and with ice pods are some of the methods you can use to keep them cool.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are Abyssinian Guinea Pigs Friendly?

Yes, among other guinea pig breeds Abyssinian pigs are one of the friendliest breed. They are noisy, charming and have an outgoing personality. Many guinea pig owners consider as Abyssinians are great pets because they love their owner. You need to offer proper attention to them and sometimes you need to fulfill their demands, in return they will show their gratitude towards you.

Most cavia porcellus breeds do not act well by their own, even Abyssinians are the same in this matter so keep them accompanied with another mate or few.

Is An Abyssinian Guinea Pig More Active Than Other Breeds?

Abyssinian guinea pigs are incredibly active when compared to other breeds. All guinea pig breeds need exercises and activities to keep them healthy and happy. Abyssinians should be monitored closely because they can misbehave if left unattended

Provide enough boredom busters around their activity area including balls, tunnels, holes and toys to chew on. They will keep them busy and keep them out of trouble.

👉 Very important: Do not provide exercise balls or hamster wheels as they are not good for you pets at all.

How Much Space Does An Abyssinian Need?

They would need much space as they are very active and come with usual curiosity. They need a lot of space to run and enough space can make them to explore more so these activities give them enough exercise. If you have a small space, try a folding run as it can be moved and stored easily.

How Long Do Abyssinian Guinea Pigs Live?

Normally guinea pigs live five to six years. Their life expectancy depends on how they have been treated. Good diets, active lifestyle and genetics also play a vital role in deciding their lifespan.

What Is The Difference Between A Silkie And An Abyssinian Guinea Pig?

Hair can be pointed out as the main difference between silkie and Abyssinian guinea pigs. Silkie guinea pig has soft straight hair which goes over shoulders while Abyssinian has a classic rock star look with its swirls, whirls and curly hair.

What Health Issues Do Abyssinian Guinea Pigs Have?

Mainly like other cavy breeds, Abyssinians can’t make their own vitamin C. As you are aware vitamin C deficiency could lead guinea pigs to scurvy. So make you provide enough fresh fruits and fresh vegetables in their diet.

You need to monitor your cavy’s weight as they tend to develop diabetes than other cavy breeds so if you suspect any health condition which is related to diabetes get a professional opinion and reduce your sweet treats.

Abyssinians can get eye problems too. Microphthalmia and cataracts can be seen in many pigs so if you notice any change in their eyes that can be an early warning regarding an eye problem. If this occurs, take your cavy to a veterinarian considering this as an urgent matter.

Will My Abyssinian Guinea Pig Get Along With My Other Pets?

Apart from cats, yes you shouldn’t have any issue keeping your Abyssinian cavy with your other pets. Abyssinian guinea pigs would even cuddle up their cage mates and have no issues sharing their surroundings with other animals. So you can raise other pets along with Abyssinians without any issue.

Final Thoughts

Raising an Abyssinian guinea pig would be a great experience for anybody including children and adults as these pigs are charming and fascinating. We do believe that you have learned new things and enjoyed reading our facts about Abyssinian guinea pigs.

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