Male vs Female Guinea Pigs: Which One Should You Bring Home?

The planning phase is one of the most exciting parts of guinea pig ownership. Unlike awkward human gender reveals, piggy parents don’t have to leave anything to chance. They can decide in advance whether they would like to adopt a male or female guinea pig.

Every guinea pig, male or female, has a unique personality. It is better to focus on whether you prefer a cavy with a more dominant or submissive personality rather than gender. Females and males may develop different gender-related health concerns as they age.

Piggies are so cute and fluffy that most people have trouble telling the sexes apart when they are very young. So, are there any significant differences between owning male and female guinea pigs? Let’s find out.

Should I Get A Male Or Female Guinea Pig?

No two piggies are exactly alike, so hoping for an instant friendly replica of a friend’s cavy based on the animal’s gender will undoubtedly lead to disappointment. The personality of each guinea pig is shaped by its history, socialization, living conditions, breed, and the herd dynamic.

While it is sometimes said that males tend to be more confident, individual temperament has a lot to do with how a piggy behaves. Stereotypical views and unfounded labels like ‘aggressive’ have led to males often being overlooked at rescue centers.

When deciding whether to adopt a boy or a girl piggy, the answer should always be: it depends. Here are five things to consider:

1. Guinea Pigs Should Be Kept In Pairs

Instead of focusing on one sex, the focus should be on whether two males or two females would suit your setup better. Piggies communicate with each other and take cues from one another. In some countries, it is illegal to keep a solitary cavy.

When adopting two piggies, getting two males who already know each other or are from the same litter is fine. Unless a male is neutered, it should never be adopted with a female cavy, even if they are siblings. Sows can become pregnant from around two months, so check and double-check the sexes when adopting a pair.

Female piggies are more social with each other and are more likely to accept new additions to their herd later. However, some may be less outgoing than boys.

2. Males Tend To Be Bolder

The occasional challenge between male cage mates as they sort out dominance issues has led some sources to label them as more aggressive. Even bonded males may occasionally challenge one another, but they usually settle things quickly and continue to coexist peacefully.

The boldness that some males exhibit can make them highly interactive pets with interesting, confident personalities. This makes handling them easier as they are less inclined to be overly skittish.

3. Cavies May Develop Gender-Specific Health Conditions

The development of an assortment of age-related health conditions is inevitable in all animals. There are two common gender-related conditions that owners should be aware of.

Males

Females

Fecal impaction – Can affect both sexes but is most common in older, intact males.

Ovarian cysts – Common in females over the age of one.

Male piggies also usually live a year or two longer than females. However, the overall health of both sexes mainly depends on their diet, environment, and care.

4. Keep Herd Dynamics In Mind

While neither gender is better than the other, there are differences in how all-male and all-female herds interact. While it is possible to have two or three bonded males living peacefully together, when kept in larger groups, girls tend to get along better.

Of course, adopting a neutered male and slowly introducing him to a female herd is also possible. Whether you choose a male or female guinea pig or a pair of cavies, providing adequate space per animal is essential. Fights, depression, and behavioral challenges can result from being confined in a cage that is too small.

5. Cage Behavior Can Differ Between Sexes

While there are exceptions, many cavy owners have noticed that male piggies are often messier than girls. They tend to be more enthusiastic around the food bowls and more likely to scatter hay around the cage.

While male and female piggies use vocalization for communication, the boys may be a little louder and more expressive than the females. Fortunately, even the loudest guinea pig isn’t overly noisy.

How Do You Pick A Friendly Cavy?

Rather than basing your choice of a new pet on whether it’s a boy or a girl, it is better to spend some time getting to know the animal. It is perfectly natural for piggies to seem skittish when first approached, but with some patient observation, you may be able to tell more about their personality.

Remember that a large part of how your piggy will adjust depends on its environment when you bring it home. Gentle, slow, confidence-building taming with plenty of treats will almost certainly result in a happy piggy.

Do Male Or Female Guinea Pigs Smell More?

One of the reasons most cited by prospective owners for not choosing a male cavy is the notion that they are stinky. While it is true that males can have a musky odor, it needn’t be a dealbreaker if the cage is kept clean.

Both sexes will smell if their cage isn’t cleaned out regularly or if unsuitable or unabsorbent bedding is used. Spot cleaning should be done daily, and a main cleanout must be done at least once a week to keep odors at bay.

Are Male Or Female Guinea Pigs More Playful?

It is natural to want to choose a pet that is playful and entertaining. As with most pets and even humans, playfulness in cavies is more likely to be related to the animal’s age rather than its gender.

A well-socialized, relaxed, young cavy of either sex is much more likely to play and popcorn around than a senior. The amount of handling and its level of trust in humans will affect a piggy’s playfulness more than its gender.

Conclusion

Gender stereotyping guinea pigs before adoption can lead to disappointment. Some males are submissive, and some female divas rule the roost. It is always better to focus on the personality profile that would fit best with your personality and any existing piggies you have. Like any parent, it is up to piggy owners to bring out the best in each unique little piggy, regardless of whether it is a male or a female.