Rosette Guinea Pigs: a Trusting Cheeky Badgers With a Stormy Hairstyle

If you look at a rosette guinea pig, the first thing you notice is the idiosyncratic hairstyle of the little rodent. The firmly structured fur grows in a vortex shape on the body. According to the breed standard, the rosette guinea pig should have eight to ten such fur swirls: four on the body and two each on the hips and hindquarters. Whiskers or a rosette over the nose occur. But even if there is too much or a not-so-perfect symmetry of the fur rays: If you get rosette guinea pigs, you are choosing lovable and affectionate housemates.

The Origin of the Rosette Guinea Pig

The rosette guinea pig – known internationally as the Abyssinian – is one of the oldest systematically bred breed guinea pigs. On the other hand, it is unclear how it was named after Abyssinia (today’s Ethiopia), because there was never any doubt about the South American origins of the rodent. Because of its eye-catching fur, the rosette guinea pig was popular in Victorian England, so that targeted breeding according to breed standards took its course from there. Among the long-haired guinea pigs there are also rosette guinea pigs: Depending on their appearance and color, these are called Peruvian or Angora guinea pigs.

The Species-Appropriate Attitude

In order for the rosette guinea pig to feel comfortable with you, it needs at least one, better two, conspecifics – these can be guinea pigs of other breeds, but not other small animals. Guinea pigs are pack animals, keeping them alone or socializing with foreign species such as rabbits is not appropriate to the species.

You can keep rosette guinea pigs in the apartment as well as in an outdoor enclosure in the garden; in the outdoor enclosure, there should be at least a group of three. It is also better to keep old, weak, or sick animals in the house. It is important to have a suitably large cage – the minimum requirement is two square meters for two animals – or, if kept outside all year round, a stable with reliable wind and weather protection and adequate shade. As a facility for the cage and enclosure, you need suitable bedding, enough and large hiding places for all animals. If you keep them outside, make sure that the animals can always withdraw to the shade.

The Essence and Behavior of the Rosette Guinea Pig

Rosette guinea pigs do not only look funny: They impress with their friendly and lively character and are therefore popular with children. They are considered to be a little more energetic than other breeds – a small animal that knows exactly what it wants and has a mind of its own. It is also cheeky and shows little fear of familiar people. You should be careful when petting: Due to the curious structure of the fur, the rosette guinea pig feels uncomfortable when the hair is touched against the grain.

Can You Raise a Rosette Guinea Pig?

Rosette guinea pigs are bright and trusting. Those who are sufficiently concerned with the animals can, with a little patience (and bribery in the form of species-appropriate treats), teach them a few tricks. Then, after a short time, the guinea pig will listen to its name, for example, or come in or out of its cage on request.

The Menu for the Rosette Guinea Pig

There are also no relevant differences to other breeds when it comes to the species-appropriate food for the rosette guinea pigs. The most important feed is high-quality hay with the longest possible fiber content, which must be freely available to the animals at all times. Guinea pigs also have high vitamin C requirements, which they have to cover with their food. Therefore offer your rosette guinea pigs daily fresh food in the form of grass, herbs, and various vegetables. The animals also need softwood and fresh twigs to nibble on. Guinea pigs only need a small dose of grain feed if they are kept outside all year round in winter in order to build up energy reserves. Grains are unnecessary when it comes to housing.

Is a Rosette Guinea Pig Good as a Pet?

The rosette guinea pig is an uncomplicated representative of its kind. It is considered to be easy to care for and is a good choice especially for beginners in keeping guinea pigs. A little extra effort is required when caring for specimens with longer fur: comb the animals regularly and carefully with a soft brush or a plastic comb to prevent matting.

Please pay attention to responsible breeding: guinea pigs with the color shade gray (just like Dalmatian guinea pigs) carry a so-called lethal gene, the roan factor (Rn). Mating two animals that are both carriers of this gene can result in the death of the offspring or severe disabilities. Breeding, therefore, belongs in the hands of experienced breeders.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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