Guinea Pig - Abyssinian Breed Profile
Domestic Cavy or Abby
On average this guinea pig can live to 5 or 6 years, there are exceptions to this with some living longer and others shorter lives.
The ideal age for the female guinea pig to start breeding is at least 20 weeks of age and before 1 year old.
Average Litter Size
The guinea pig can produce, on average, 3 young. Litters can be between 1or 6, sometimes more.
The gestation period is between 65-72 days.
General Physical Description
The Abyssinian Guinea Pig has a broad head and a short face with a moustache around the nose, the eye are bright and quite large. The ears are petal shaped and droop and their bodies are relatively long. These guinea pigs have a distinctive coat with the most common colours being tortoiseshell, roan and brindle.
Guinea pigs can measure 20-40.5cms in length. Some wild guinea pigs can be as long as a metre.
A well-balanced dry guinea mix will contain all the necessary nutritional requirements that a guinea pig needs. They do enjoy the occasional treat in the form of fruit and vegetables. Do make sure these are limited as too much can cause diarrhoea. Avoid giving too much lettuce as this can lead to liver problems. Cavies cannot make their own vitamin C, so they must be fed fresh vegetables in order to get a supply. It may be necessary to supplement vitamin C into the diet, especially during the winter months when the fruit and vegetables are in limited supply. An earthenware bowl is the best type of feeding dish to use, as they are harder to knock over than the plastic ones, also they not chewable. A water bottle fixed to the outside of the cage, with the water tube going into the cage, ensures a fresh water supply is available.
A basic standard cage, with a plastic base and a wire or plastic cover that attaches to the base, can be used as long as they are kept indoors, also the guinea pig must be allowed out for supervised exercise daily. Wooden hutches are more commonly used and can be for outdoor or indoor use. Make sure that the guinea pig has adequate space for exercise and a separate sleeping compartment. Wood shavings should be used for the floor of the cage with some hay on top. Fine sawdust can cause eye irritations and do not use straw as it can cause eye injuries. The cage or hutch should be cleaned out weekly, the indoor cages may need to be cleaned out ore often, and any old food removed. If it is necessary to wash the housing then only use a cleaner specifically designed for cleaning these little animals houses. An earthenware food bowl and a drinking bottle will also be required to feed and water the guinea pig.
Suitability For Children
The Abyssinian guinea pig does not like to be handled and stroked as much as the smooth haired varieties. They can be quite vocal and do love to be talked to. They make good pets for children.<
Character & Temperament
The guinea pig is quite a sociable individual by nature, living in pairs or groups. They should be socialised at a young age, before they have been on their own for a time.
In the wild cavies are more active at night.
Toys & Exercise
The cage or hutch itself could be furnished with items, such as boxes and tubes, for the guinea pig to hide in. A box with several holes big enough for guinea pigs to go through will keep them amused for a good long while.
Types of Coat
The coat is short, harsh and contains rosettes and ridges. Rosettes are whirls of hair that grow out from a centre point in a circular direction. Where the rosettes meet a ridge is formed.
The Abyssinian guinea pig comes in many different colours, commonly seen in tortoiseshell, roan and brindle. They are much less commonly seen in white.
Guinea pigs can become accustomed to the sound of your voice, and will show various degrees of response. It may even be possible, using treats as rewards, to train the guinea pig to carry out some of its natural activities.
For showing the Abby has to have its rosettes in the right place and in the correct composition. Ideally they should have four rosettes in a straight line round the middle, four rosettes nearer the back end (rump) and one or two rosettes on each shoulder. It can be difficult to breed the Abbysinian with the correct formation of these rosettes. The coat should be harsh with no flat or smooth hairs anywhere. The coat of young Abby can be softer than that of the adult Abby. They can be shown in any colour, however the solid coloured ones tend to have soft coats and are therefore not popular for showing.
Country of Origin