So you have decided to get a cute little friend – a guinea pig. But even though you already know what kind of pet animal you want, there are still so many questions that you need to answer!
One of the main questions being: Which guinea pig gender should I pick or what breed? Luckily for you, we have already made a helpful guide on guinea pig breeds. If you are having any doubts click on the link and see what guinea pig breed is the best for you. In this article, we are going to talk about guinea pig genders.
Which guinea pig gender is better? Both guinea pig genders will make for a great pet, no matter if it’s a male or a female guinea pig. For example, male guinea pigs are a little less shy, physically larger, and somewhat more trainable while female guinea pigs are cleaner, less aggressive and they are not noisy. Still, these differences are negligible and hard to take into consideration as every guinea pig has a different personality. Both females and male guinea pigs have their pros and cons and we have done a direct comparison between them in the following sections.
In the following sections, we will try to give you a more in-depth answer to with guinea pig gender is better and hopefully, you are going to have the answer you were looking for.
Keep in mind that it is incredibly hard to give you a direct answer to this question and that you will have to decide on the answer on your own after we have given you all the necessary information. Let’s begin!
The General Characteristics of Guinea Pigs
Let’s figure out what makes guinea pigs amazing pets in the first place. Are there some specific qualities that are typical of them?
There are quite a lot of various guinea pig breeds but no matter which one you are going to choose – all of them share some basic traits. Generally, guinea pigs are friendly animals that have a great attitude towards people. They are gentle and in most cases curious and playful.
Keep in mind that guinea pigs have strong personalities and you will be able to vividly see the difference if you decide to adopt more than one guinea pig.
Also, remember that guinea pigs are vulnerable animals that need to be treated with love. This is not really that surprising because these tiny creatures can hardly defend themselves. If there is something that they are scared of or that they don’t like – the guinea pigs might easily get stressed out because of that.
Guinea Pig Gender Differences: Direct Comparison
Important: These characteristics and behavioral patterns between these two genders are not always applicable for every guinea pig. For example, not every female guinea pig will have a shorter life span than a male guinea pig or not every male guinea pig is more aggressive than a female. Every guinea pig has a unique personality.
|Female Guinea Pig||Male Guinea Pig|
|Size||Females are often smaller and shorter than male guinea pigs.||Males are longer and larger than female guinea pigs but sometimes there are some exceptions.|
|Life-Span||Shorter lifespan (with proper care and diet they can live longer)||Longer lifespan (still all of this depends on health care and diet and not always the case).|
|Behavior||Sows are less active. They are calm and love play with other guinea pigs.||Boars are more active; they fight most often with each other.|
|Level of Aggression||Less aggressive and rarely fights with other guinea pigs.||More aggressive, especially if there are more male guinea pigs.|
|Personal Hygiene||Like to keep their cage clean.||A little bit messier than females.|
|Smell||Less smelly||Sometimes they can have a strong smell and their grease gland must be cleaned often because of that.|
|Care Requirements||Female guinea pigs require less maintenance.||Male guinea pigs are messy and the cage needs to be cleaned more often after them.|
|Noises | Sounds||They are not noisy because females are usually calmer.||Louder and they can create a lot of noise.|
|Possibility of Traning||Female guinea pigs can be very shy around humans and because of that are not easier to train.||Easier to train, because of their personality and level of activity.|
|Gender Compatibility||Female guinea pigs can live peacefully with other females and usually they will not fight.||Males will often fight with other male guinea pigs to establish dominance in the cage.|
|Size of the Cage||They need a little bit less space than male guinea pigs.||As they are larger, naturally they require more space.|
Which Guinea Pig Gender Is Better?
Did you know that male guinea pigs are called ‘boars’ and the females are ‘sows’?
A guinea pig of any gender will surely make a great pet but your choice should certainly depend on the aims that you’re pursuing. In case you want to be able to breed guinea pigs in the future, it might be a great idea to get a male at first. You will then have as much time as you need to pick the perfect sow.
If you initially pick a female, you will only have a couple of months to organize the whole process (the breeding of guinea pigs should ideally take place when the female is between four and six months old).
If you are simply looking for a wonderful and docile pet for you or for your kids then any guinea pig gender is good. Just make sure to handle the animal a little bit before adopting it.
The guinea pig should not bite and be overall aggressive. It might take you only a few minutes to assess the temperament of the guinea pig. It goes without saying that the guinea pig should have a healthy look as well. Now we are going to go in-depth talking about the pros and cons of both guinea pig genders.
The Pros & Cons of Boars – Male Guinea Pig
| Pros of Owning a Male Guinea Pig |
• Male Guinea Pigs Are Less Shy
Of course, each guinea pig is different and guinea pigs are the type of animals that have strong personalities. In general, males are a bit more outgoing and they can show their natural curiosity from day one.
Essentially, it might be easier and quicker to establish a connection with a male guinea pig, rather than a female one. Though you should always remember that there are exceptions.
• Male Guinea Pigs Live Longer Than Sows
• With a Male Guinea Pig, You Don’t Need to Rush With Breeding
If at one point, you decide that you want to try and mate your guinea pig with another one – it might be better to choose a male guinea pig and then later adopt a female when you decide that you want to have more of them.
The age of the male guinea pig does not really matter when we talk about breeding. While female guinea pigs have a certain period where they can safely have babies. After that period is over, any pregnancy can result in serious health problems.
So you have the opportunity to change your mind about whether or not you want to deal with baby guinea pigs as many times as you want by picking a male.
| Cons of Owning a Male Guinea Pig|
• The Males Are More Aggressive
This is the main difference between the genders and frankly speaking, this is not only the case with guinea pigs. The males tend to be more aggressive. Especially, when it comes to defending their territory, for example.
However, if you’re planning to keep one guinea pig, then there shouldn’t be any problems but if you are thinking of introducing a new guinea pig, then a little clash of opinions might occur.
• Male Guinea Pigs Are a Little Messier Than Females
Something that you may not even notice if you never had a guinea pig before but boars tend to be a bit messier and not care about their house a lot.
This simply means that you would need to spend more time cleaning the cage or that you would have to do that a little more often.
The Pros & Cons of Sows – Female Guinea Pig
| Pros of Owning a Female Guinea Pig |
• Highly Social
This one can simultaneously be both a pro and a con. Female guinea pigs adore being surrounded by other cavies and they might become very sad if left alone in their cage.
If you want to have at least a couple of guinea pigs, then it’s better to choose females as they won’t get into fights. Moreover, they will become real friends.
• All-In-All, Female Guinea Pigs Are Neater
Sows are real girls that like to keep their houses nice and clean. There certainly can be exceptions, but overall the cage will stay neater if you have female guinea pigs.
| Cons of Owning a Female Guinea Pig |
• Sows Are Shy Around Humans
When it comes to interaction with humans, female guinea pigs are shy and can even get scared. While the males are a bit more outgoing. It might take you a couple of months to establish a connection with your beloved sow
Don’t worry if the female guinea pig won’t let you handle her for quite a while, the sow simply needs a lot of time to get used to you.
What Gender of Guinea Pig Is Better If You Want to Adopt More Than One?
If you are going to adopt only one guinea pig, then it’s better to adopt a male guinea pig. Now, if you want two or even more guinea pigs then you have three different options to choose from.
1. Two or More Females
Female guinea pigs get along extremely well together. In fact, it is always better to get two sows from the very beginning, as they don’t like to be left alone in the cage.
Moreover, it doesn’t matter whether the guinea pigs have been together from birth or not. The female guinea pigs are gentle and friendly but remember to give an equal amount of attention and food to both of the sows.
2. Two or More Males
Even though male guinea pigs are more aggressive than females, it does not necessarily mean that they will be constantly fighting. In fact, if the boys were together since birth – there shouldn’t be any major problems.
However, some conflicts might arise, when it comes to defending one’s territory.
3. One of Each
A male and a female guinea pig will, most certainly, have a lovely relationship. Have in mind that if there are two males and a female, conflicts might arise.
One extremely important thing that you have to remember is that the two guinea pigs will, most definitely, have babies. It might get dangerous if the female is over one year old and has never given birth before.
Related: How Long Is a Guinea Pig Pregnant?
Around this time, the bones of the female have already hardened. That means that the poor thing might end up being in a lot of pain when attempting to deliver babies.
By the way, if you end up getting a male and a female, you will certainly have a lot of fun observing their relationship. So cute!
So, which guinea pig gender is better for your lifestyle? Certainly, both of genders have their pros and cons. Make sure you know the main reason why you need to adopt the guinea pig in the first place. If you think that one pet will be more than enough, then a lot of guinea pig owners suggest getting a male guinea pig.
Always remember that the females are social animals that can literally die of solitude. So, it’s a great idea to buy female guinea pigs in pairs.
If you want to become a real guinea pig ‘parent’ and see your beloved pets give birth to guinea pigs, then getting a young female and a male is a perfect choice for you.
No matter what gender you decide to choose in the end, any guinea pig makes for an amazing pet. Each with a unique personality and taste. You will have a lot of fun getting to know your new family member! Best of luck!
List of Sources
Barnes, M. J., Constable, B. J., Impey, S. G., Kodicek, E., Mortality rate in male and female guinea-pigs on a scorbutogenic diet, Nature, 1973.
Bruce, H. M., Parkes, A. S., Feeding and breeding of laboratory animals; breeding of guinea-pigs, The Journal of hygiene, 1948.
Cohn, D. W., Tokumaru, R. S., Ades, C., Female novelty and the courtship behavior of male guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus), Brazilian journal of medical and biological research, 2004.
Kaiser, S., Kirtzeck, M., Hornschuh, G., Sachser, N., Sex-specific difference in social support–a study in female guinea pigs, Physiology & behavior, 2003.
James, A. F., Arberry, L. A., Hancox, J. C., Gender-related differences in ventricular myocyte repolarization in the guinea pig, Basic research in cardiology, 2004.