The Abyssinian is unlike any other breed of guinea pig. Its coat grows from eight rosettes which are arranged in two lines across the body. Their coat is harsh, and the hair length should not exceed 4 cm. It is very difficult to breed a guinea pig with perfectly placed rosettes, and many Abyssinians end up as pets, and not as show stock.
Roan Abyssinians should not be bred with each other as the roan gene is closely linked to a lethal gene which causes genetic abnormalities, often young are born with small or absent eyes. A Roan can be mated to a solid colour, or a brindle.
Abyssinians come in a variety of colours. Brindle (interspersed red and black hairs mixed as evenly as possible), Tortoiseshell (patches of red, black and white) Roans (white hair, either interspersed with red or black hair, known as strawberry or blue roans) and solid colours, particularly red or black.