Abyssinian guinea pigs are distinguished by their rosettes (hair radiating in a circle from a center point). They have 8-10 rosettes on their body and head. They usually have a rosette on each shoulder, four around the body, one on each hip, and two on his behind.
The edges of the rosettes that run into each other form a distinctive “ridge”. Their hair is coarse, which helps the rosettes keep their shape. Abyssinians also have a “mustache” – raised fur around their nose. There are Satin Abyssinian guinea pigs, which just have a glossier coat that the regular Abyssinian. Here are some pictures of various colors.
There are a lot of color variations found in guinea pigs, but there are eleven basic types of colors. They are:
- Solid Color
Solid refers to guinea pigs that have different-colored hairs that are intermingled, but look like they are all one color (e.g., white, orange, brown, black)
Agouti coloring is marked by hair that is darker at the base and lighter at the tip. There are silver agoutis, dilute agoutis, and golden agoutis, which refers to the base coat color. Dilute agoutis can have one of several base coat colors, such as beige, black, lilac, and chocolate.
Brindle refers to hair that is a mixture of red and black hairs.
Just like in the dog of the same name, dalmation guinea pigs have spots all over their body that are the same color.
Dutch coloring refers to guinea pigs that have a white face and white band around the front half of their body. The back of their body, as well as the top of their head, can be one of any of the available colors (solid or agouti).
Roan refers to a coloring where white hair is interspersed among one or two other colors (solid or agouti). Usually, there is a more pronounced “roan” effect behind the shoulders, meaning the back part of the body appears to have a lighter shade to it.
The Himalayan coloring is one where there are dark areas on the ears, nose, legs, and feet. The rest of the body is white.
Marked refers to a pattern where there are two or more colors that are separated and distinct from one another – not interspersed coloring.
Self just refers to a solid-colored guinea pig that has short hair. Common self colors include brown, black, beige, cream, lilac (not purple! Light grey with a purple tint), white, red, or “red-eyed orange” (reddish-orange coat with pink eyes).
This is a pattern of red and black patches that are distributed equally, like a checkerboard pattern.
- Tortoiseshell and white
Same as the tortoiseshell pattern, but with patches of white thrown into the mix.
So now that we’ve covered the basics of guinea pig coloring, let’s look at some examples of Abyssinian guinea pig colorings:
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If you want to read more about this topic, visit Abyssinian Guinea Pig Infographic.