For breeding purposes, it is recommended to select animals of good lines. In this case, it is recommended to pay special attention to the quality of males, because males pass on their type to offspring better than females. Meanwhile, many breeders are mistaken when they think that animals with the perfect number of rosettes are bound to produce perfect offspring. Piglets with an excessive number of outlets are observed in such litters. Therefore, it is recommended to choose for breeding animals with mild disabilities. The main condition: these deficiencies should not be present in both the male and the female at the same time. You should also avoid breeding animals in which any disadvantage is transmitted from generation to generation – it is extremely difficult to get rid of such shortcomings in the process of further breeding work.
The difficulty in choosing breeding animals also lies in the fact that breeders are very reluctant to sell good piglets, in most cases they are left in their nursery.
Breeding Abyssinian pigs
To breed these animals, along with knowledge of desirable and undesirable breed characteristics, knowledge of genetics is necessary. Rosette formation is dominant for smooth coat. Which means: when a smooth-haired pig is crossed with a standard rosette pig, rosette piglets are obtained in the first generation, but at the same time, from the point of view of breeders, the number and location of rosettes deviates from the standard. The second factor denoted in the literature “m” – the modifier, is responsible for the number and location of the sockets. This factor is recessive, which is transmitted homozygously and transforms the rosette mumps into a standard Abyssinian. (Wright 1935).
Among thoroughbred Abyssinians, the number and location of outlets is of particular importance. 4 rosettes in a straight line above the body are preferred. Behind them, in the back of the body, there are 4 more sockets in a straight line (top view). In this case, it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that the centers of the outlets are small and the outlets are evenly spaced. With an absolutely even and symmetrical arrangement of the sockets, vertically directed ridges are formed between the outlets. Of particular note is the ridge in the middle of the body, which runs from the head to the end of the body. In the back of the head, this ridge forms strands that give the guinea pig’s shoulders a massive look. This ridge is crossed across by the shoulder ridge and by the ridge formed by rosettes in the second part of the body. When viewed from above, the coat is split into squares by the combs. The tougher the woolthe better it manifests itself. Based on experience, males have a stiffer coat than females. This phenomenon carries a hormonal basis and is also observed in castrated males – their hair is as soft as that of females.
Shoulder and nasal rosettes are also desirable. They are not prescribed by the standard, but they increase the breeding value of the animal. While the nasal rosettes are located near the nose, the shoulder rosettes are located at the level of the elbows.
Such a multitude of criteria leads to many large and small “mistakes” that the ideal purebred animal should not have. For example, the number of outlets is not always correct. There are often redundant sockets as well. With “double rosettes” the distance between the centers of the rosettes should not exceed 0.5 cm. Excessive rosettes are located in other places of the wool, partially overlap with adjacent rosettes or are located in the area of the ridges and violate the harmony of the symmetrical picture. Double sockets are allowed by the standard, but not superfluous. This standard increases the difficulty of breeding. Lack of ridges is also not allowed by the standard.
The next mistakes are the location of the rosettes on the torso and the rosettes on the thighs not in the same line. In this case, the ridges are displaced and the symmetry is broken. Also, too open and large outlet centers are a disadvantage, which are evaluated at the exhibition in terms of severity. It should also be noted that the coat is too soft and too short. The length of the coat should be approx. 3.5 cm. Coat length varies according to color. Thus, multi-colored pigs and pigs with the presence of white color often have longer hair than pigs with a solid color or agouti.
An important criterion for the breed is the hardness of the coat. There are also agouti and black pigs with softer coats compared to multicolored pigs and red pigs (red, golden, buff, cream, saffron, white).
Breeding problems also affect the correctness of the ears. While for many years bred colors are often accompanied by good ears, new colors are accompanied by problems with the shape and position of the ears.
Another phenomenon observed among the Abyssinians is the weak color intensity. Abyssinians with a color comparable to that of smooth-haired pigs are very rare. Breeders should strive to increase the color intensity, but at the same time, one must be aware of the fact that the undercoat is visible due to the rosettes and the Abyssinians will always be lighter than smooth-haired. At shows, the lighter undercoat is taken for granted.
Preparation for exhibitions
Preparing for an Abyssinian exhibition is very simple. These are: trimming claws, cleaning ears, paws, cleaning wool from heavy dirt.
In order not to lose the required roughness of the coat, it is not recommended to bathe the pigs before showing them.
As you have already noticed, breeding Abyssinians is not an easy and interesting business. Therefore, it is very important that breeders share experience and information with each other.
In the previous topics, we have already met with the wonderful piglets that are in our club. The first step towards successful breeding has already been taken. It is now very important that breeders post photos of males and females and their offspring. So we will be able to think together and help each other in the selection of producers for this or that animal, we will figure it out together in the genetics of colors and inheritance of rosettes, and of course we will enjoy companionship.