The Abyssinian guinea pig, or cavia porcellus, is a breed of guinea pig that, like other guinea pigs, probably originated in South America. This breed of guinea pig generally has a coarse fur coat, with several circular swirls known as rosettes on its haunches, shoulders, and back. This breed of guinea pig lives for an average of five to six years, and usually reaches a maximum adult length of 7.8 to 15.9 inches (20 to 40.5 cm). These rodents are popular pets, because they are typically easy to care for and like being handled. Fans of the Abyssinian guinea pig claim that these animals are very personable, affectionate, and capable of being trained.
This breed of guinea pig may among the most popular exotic pets. Their typically short, coarse fur can display a wide range of colors and color patterns. This breed's fur coat typically displays eight to ten rosettes, or circular swirling patterns in the fur. The breed standard for the Abyssinian guinea pig usually requires that four rosettes appear on the animal's haunches, with an additional four down the center of the back, and at least one on each shoulder. Ridges of fur may appear in the coat as well, often in between the rosette formations.
The Abyssinian breed of guinea pigs is often considered to have a more interesting, enjoyable personality than other breeds. Fans of the breed typically identify this guinea pig's personality as affectionate and friendly, but also somewhat stubborn. These guinea pigs may be taught to perform simple tricks, and may learn to identify and respond to their own names. The Abyssinian guinea pig is generally considered a very socially-oriented animal, and can often form an emotional bond with its human caretakers. It is generally recommended that these house pets receive large amounts of physical affection and socialization from human caretakers or other guinea pigs, beginning at a very young age.
These guinea pigs are generally considered very easy to care for, as house pets go. They usually require a diet that contains fresh fruit, since they are normally incapable of producing vitamin C within their own bodies. They can be kept in a wire or plastic cage, though they should generally be offered plenty of exercise opportunities outside of the cage.