Abyssinian Breed Standard

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Standard of points

Update 15th October 2009
Head Furnishings, Mane, Eyes, Ears 20
of which
Head To be well furnished with hair and a prominent moustache. (15)
Mane To be harsh and erect.
Eyes To be large, bright and bold. (5)
Ears To be medium-sized and slightly drooping, and set with good width between.
Body Shape To have a short, cobby body; thick-set, with good width across shoulders. 15
To be fit and of good substance, with plenty of firm flesh.
To have good size appropriate to age.
Coat Appearance 45
of which
Ridges To be straight, erect, stand well up and be placed as in Definitions below. (25)
To be placed so as to give a neat, close coupled effect.
Colour of coat to be rich, clear and bright with plenty of lustre and to extend down the hair shaft.
Length of coat not to exceed 1.5 inches (4 cm).
Rosettes To be well formed, of good depth, and radiate from pinpoint centres. (20)
To be distributed evenly over the body, with each rosette clear & distinct from any other.
To be placed as in Definitions below.
Coat Feel To have a wealth and depth of thick, harsh coat. To be clean and free from grease. 20

Description of colours

The following notes define the main colour groups and give guidance on the correct classes to enter when exhibiting:


Brindles have interspersed red and black hairs, as well mixed as possible. Brindles in which red hairs predominate are termed ‘light Brindles’; those in which black hairs predominate are termed 'dark brindles'.
Tortoiseshells have patches of red and black hairs, these to be as clear as possible but in no set pattern.
True Brindles and Tortoiseshells are rarely seen, the majority being a mixture of both patchwork and brindling. Occasionally exhibits can carry small clumps of white hairs.
Providing that these do not in total exceed the size of a £ coin, these cavies can be exhibited as Brindles/Tortoiseshells.

Tortoise and White

To consist of patches of red, black and white hairs placed separately but in no definite order. Although brindling is often seen, clarity of colour and patches is sought, and this adds to the attractiveness of the exhibit.


To consist of interspersed white and coloured hairs. Mixtures of white and black hairs are termed 'Blue Roans'; mixtures of white and red are 'Strawberry Roans'.
However, the majority of Roans have mixtures of red, black and white hairs.
Any cavy exhibiting any area of roaning must be termed a Roan, but the best examples will carry roaning over most of the body.


Any exhibits of one solid colour, the most common today being Red and Black.

Any Other Colour (AOC)

Any exhibit not falling into one of the above groups is termed 'AOC'.
The most commonly seen today are Red & White, Black & White and the Chocolate, Red & White Tricolour. All other colours are permissible.


The Abyssinian is a rough-coated, short-haired cavy in which a specific arrangement of rosettes creates a pattern of ridges both parallel and at right angles to the body.

The overall effect is most important in the Abyssinian. It should be cobby, thick-set & with a dense, harsh coat giving the ridges their erectness.

When the ridges are straight, a checkerboard pattern is formed

The Abyssinian should appear ‘short-coupled’, this is achieved when the collar ridge is set well back behind the shoulders & the back ridge is well up in front of the hip bones. This gives a compact-looking animal with deep-centred cup-shaped rosettes.

The head is greatly enhanced by a wealth of mane and moustache (which is formed by the hair growing forward from the jaw-line meeting the hair growing on the nose).

Shoulder rosettes are optional but improve appearance when displayed. Rump rosette centres are normally two-thirds of the way down the rump, and should not be too low.

A double, ‘lifter’ or split rosette on an otherwise good exhibit should not be unduly penalised.

Open centres and ‘guttering’ are often wrongly identified and penalised on dark-coloured Abyssinians or light-coloured ones with dark skins.

On account of their harsher coats, boars are more commonly shown in Adult classes, but sows should not be unduly penalised because of their coat texture.

It is difficult to assess coat qualities in young Abyssinians, as their coats are not usually ‘through’ until they are at least 12 weeks of age.

Specific definitions


To consist of:


To consist of:

Specific disqualifications

Specific faults

(in descending order of importance, i.e. worst first)

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