The Abyssinia region of Africa is full of history, and the Abyssinian guinea pig is named after the region.
There is only one small problem, and that is that they are not actually from anywhere near that region, and no one knows why there were named as such.
This breed of guinea pig is actually from South America and is a close cousin to the Peruvian guinea pigs.
Their distinctive hairstyle has made them common pets all around the world.
They have outgoing personalities, with an even more outgoing coat, and a spiky mess of hair which is endearing to all who look at them.
Their distinctive hairstyle has made them common pets all around the world. They are bold animals, and more intense than most other guinea pig breeds, making for exciting pets which adults and children will enjoy.
Abyssinian Guinea Pig Coat & Looks
This is another breed of guinea pig with a unique coat. They are extremely cute and have what is known as rosettes.
They cover the body of the guinea pig, all except for the head and belly, and are cute tufts of hair that stick straight out from the body.
This type of guinea pig is often displayed in exhibitions, and you may be able to do so with yours as long as it has symmetrical tufts.
There are generally 6 or 8 rosettes, with the show-quality guinea pigs having one on each shoulder, two or four down the back, and one on each side of the hips. It does not matter if there is no symmetry; these guinea pigs are cute regardless of whether you can enter them in shows or not.
Abyssinian coats are around 1.5 inches long and come in a variety of colors.
There are a variety of names that go along with each specific color. ‘Brindles’ have a mix of black and white hairs (in a variety of shades), ‘Tortoiseshells’ have patches of black and red, ‘Roans’ are a mix with white; usually red and white (Strawberry Roans) or black and white (Blue Roans), and ‘Selfs,’ are solid colors.
Check this compilation video of Abyssinian guinea pigs:
Check: American Guinea Pig Facts
How Do I Care for an Abyssinian Guinea Pig?
Abyssinian guinea pigs require a little more care than your average breeds of guinea pigs, and some of that is down to caring for their coat.
The hair must be brushed at least once every couple of days to keep out any tangles. Abyssinians like to roam around their areas and play, and you may find that they pick up some debris in doing so.
Grooming them will get rid of that debris and keep their coat clean.
Most guinea pig breeds are active, and these guinea pigs are no different. They are small creatures but love to run around and play.
If you are letting them out of their cage regularly, they will do just fine, but you can never go too big with their cages. The bigger the cage, the happier your little guinea pig is going to be.
Abyssinians are social creatures, so you will find they need a lot of interaction with you or with other guinea pigs.
If you find that you are not able to spend a lot of time with your guinea pig, then investing in a little friend for your pet may be the answer. If you do have the time to spend with your Abyssinian, then do so when they are out of their cages.
A large pen will give them enough space to stretch their legs out in, but an entire room is better. Many guinea pig owners dedicate an entire room to their pets, removing anything which may be dangerous before letting them out.
Guinea pigs have been known to gnaw on wires, so make sure to lift any from the floor and clear the room of anything else that you do not want to be chewed. Be in the room with them and take this time to groom them too.
How Active Are Abyssinian Guinea Pigs?
Abyssinians are an active breed and thrive when they have somewhere to play and someone to play with. Look for toys to add to their cages and pen, and interact with them when they are running around outside of their cage.
If you sit on the floor of the run of the room, your guinea pig will come to you and interact with you. They love toys that can be rolled around the room, such as balls.
Abyssinians also love to play outdoors, and like the feel of the sun on their bodies.
If you have a yard that you can use, then invest in a run for them.
A run should come with multiple levels for them to run around on, and you need to make sure that the ramps from level to level are shallow to protect their little legs as Abyssinians can have a problem with hips and spine if they have to move up and down steep inclines.
Again, be with your guinea pig as much as you can, and do not leave them unattended outside.
What Should I Feed My Abyssinian Guinea Pig?
Hay is one of the best things which you can feed to your guinea pig. They need lots of hay to grind down their teeth. Guinea pig teeth keep on growing and can cause serious health problems if they do not stop.
Hay will naturally combat this. You can never give your Abyssinian guinea pig enough hay. Change it when it becomes old and top it up as your guinea pig eats it.
Always make sure that your guinea pig has lots of fresh water.
Hay will make up around 70% of your guinea pig’s diet, and you will need to supplement this with guinea pig pellets.
Look for pellets that contain some vitamin C as this will help to make an Abyssinian coat shiny and luxurious. Follow the instructions on the bag for how much to feed your pet. Around 1/8 cup per day is standard.
When you add fresh fruit and veg into this diet, you are giving your guinea pig everything which they need.
Leafy vegetables, such as parsley, romaine, and lettuce, are best for your guinea pig, and fruits like strawberries and watermelon can be added in occasionally.
Always make sure that your guinea pig has lots of fresh water. If ever the bowl is empty or close to being empty, then refill it and spot-clean the bowl when necessary.
Healthcare for Abyssinian Guinea Pigs
Abyssinian guinea pigs do not suffer from any health concerns other than what most other guinea pigs have to deal with.
The most common problem which you will face is a dental issue, though most of those can be prevented with the correct diet.
Guinea pigs can also get mites in their coat. This can cause itchiness which will result in a lot of scratching.
Over time, the teeth of your guinea pig will continue to grow. Teeth that are too long can cause pain and discomfort to your furry little friend.
A diet that is rich in hay will naturally wear down their teeth without you having to do anything. If you are ever concerned, then consult your local vet.
Guinea pigs can also get mites in their coat. This can cause itchiness which will result in a lot of scratching. This constant annoyance can stop them from sleeping and be detrimental to their health.
Again, this is easily combatted by regular cleaning of their cage and regular grooming. If you are ever worried about your pet, then a visit to the vet will put you at ease.
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Abyssinian Guinea Pigs as Pets
Abyssinian guinea pigs are relatively easy pets to have. They are great around children as they are very social creatures, and will love to have someone in their area with them. Smaller children may need some supervision.
Abyssinians thrive when they can socialize.
They do require a little more time and attention than a regular guinea pig due to their coats, so you should have that in mind before you buy one.
If you do not have the time to groom them every other day and be there with them to socialize, then it may not be the pet for you. If you have the time to groom but not to socialize, then we would recommend buying them in pairs. Abyssinians thrive when they can socialize.
Overall, they are a great pet for someone who has the room and time for them.
What do you love most about Abyssinian guinea pigs? Let us know in the comments below!