The Abyssinian's body is of medium length with well-developed
muscles. The legs are slender in proportion to the body, with a fine
bone structure. The paws are small and oval. The Abyssinian has a
fairly long tail, broad at the base and tapering to a point.
The head is broad and moderately wedge-shaped, with almond-shaped
eyes that can be gold, green, hazel or copper. The nose and chin
usually form a straight vertical line when viewed in profile. Their
alert, relatively large ears are broad and cupped at the base, and
moderately pointed at the tips, where there are occasionally tuffs
of hair. An M-shaped marking is found in the fur on the forehead.
The coat is short, fine and close-lying. Each hair has a base-colour
with three or four darker-coloured bands; the hair is the lighter
colour at the root, and the darker "ticking" colour at
the tip. The original Abyssinian coat colour is known as Usual in
the United Kingdom and as Ruddy elsewhere. Over the years various
other colours have been developed from this, but the markings on
the coat have remained the same. The back of the hind legs and the
pads of the paws are always darker than the rest of the coat. Abyssinian
kittens are born with dark coats that gradually lighten as they
mature. It usually takes several months for the final coat colour
to be established. Since they carry the gene for long hair it is
possible to find Somalis in a litter of Abyssinians.