So, you have finally decided that you want a guinea pig, but now the next question that comes to your mind will be should I get a Male guinea pig or a Female guinea pig? What is the difference between them? And which one should you go for?
Both male and female guinea pigs are great pets. Male guinea pigs are active, and they grow larger. They also carry an outgoing personality; thus, males bond quickly and are easier to train. However, they do need a larger cage, more maintenance, and can get aggressive sometimes.
How to tell if a guinea pig is a boy or girl?
It is quite tough to differentiate between a male and a female guinea pig. Even experienced guinea pig owners might struggle to differentiate between them. However, there are a few key points that can help you identify the same. These includes:
- Genital area
The genital area of a female guinea pig is “Y” shaped, and they have a small gap between the vulva and anus. Whereas the genital area of a male guinea pig usually has a vertical shaft of “i” shape. Male guinea pigs have a bulge in their genital area as they have testicles at that point.
Male guinea pigs are larger in size and weight than female guinea pigs, although it can be tough to distinguish based on size or weight. Thus, using their genital area for identifying is the best bet for you.
However, there are some behavioral differences that you must know if you are getting a guinea pig for the first time.
Are male or female guinea pigs better?
Let us check them out head to head and see which one makes the perfect choice for your family.
|Factors to consider||Male Guinea Pigs(Boars)||Female Guinea Pigs(Sows)|
|Age||Male guinea pigs have a longer lifespan. Typically a male guinea pig lives longer than a female guinea pig, but it totally depends upon the diet and care provided to them.||Female guinea pigs have a little shorter lifespan than male guinea pigs. Although if proper diet and care are provided to them, then they may live up to 6-8 years as well.|
|Size and Weight||Males guinea pigs are a little longer and bulkier than female guinea pigs.||Female guinea pigs are lighter and shorter than male guinea pigs. However, this may not be the case always.|
|Physical difference||Male guinea pigs have smaller nipples.||Female guinea pigs have larger nipples than males.|
|Genital area||The genital area of male guinea pigs has a vertical shaft which is "i" shaped. There is a bulge above the circular dot which can be easily distinguished.||The genital area of female guinea pigs are "Y" shaped.|
|Hygiene||Boars are a little messier than sows. Which means they tend to create more mess in their living space than sows. Thus, you need to do a bit of extra work in cleaning the cage every day.||Sows like it clean. It means they want to keep their living space clean and create less mess. You will notice they won't spread the food around the cage or tip the food bowl as boars do. However, as you know, every guinea pig is different and so some sows maybe even messier than the boars.|
|Smell||Boars tend to be a lot more smelly than sows. This is typically because of their active grease glands. Grease glands produce a sticky liquid which they use for marking purpose and also for attracting the females. But for us, it creates a foul smell in the area which can be daunting for some people. However, you can reduce the same to a minimum level if you take a little extra care of the guinea pig and clean it regularly.||Female also have a grease gland, but in most females, it is not so active. Thus, they are less smelly than males. However, some females also have an active grease gland which can produce a foul smell as boars do.|
|Personality||Boars have an outgoing personality and are less timid than sows. It is quite easy to establish a connection with a boar, and they will let you handle them quickly as compared to sows. However, as you know, every guinea pig is different, and so your guinea pigs personality may be quite different than usual boars.||Sows are timid and shy when you first get them. So, you might need to spend a few months with them to establish a connection and gain their trust before they let you handle them. However, just like boars, your guinea pig's personality may be quite different than other sows.|
|Activity||Boars are more active than sows. They are quite curious and love to explore new stuff.||Sows are a little less active. They are shy and loves to hide around.|
|Aggressive||Males guinea pigs are more aggressive than a female guinea pig. This behavior is quite natural as they are more concerned with their territory and can get aggressive to other males who are introduced later in their cage area. Also, if you have a smaller cage with more than one male guinea pig, then they tend to fight more as compared to female guinea pigs.||Female guinea pigs have a calm and social nature. They tend to live together in a group and are less likely to fight with each other. However, sometimes, even female guinea pigs can be aggressive towards their other cage mates.|
|Dominance||Boars are dominant than sows. Especially when it comes to guarding their territory, a male guinea pig can be aggressive and even fight to show dominance to other guinea pigs. Boars also get aggressive towards other guinea pig to show dominance if you have a sow in or around their cage.||Female doesn't have a dominant nature as compared to male guinea pigs. They are quite calm and friendly towards their cage mates.|
|Training||With an outgoing and curious personality, boars are quite easier to train than a sow. However, it may not be the case with all of them.||Sows are a little timid and shy, and it takes more time and effort to train them as compared to boars. However, some sows have an outgoing personality as well.|
|Sound||Male guinea pigs are a little louder than female guinea pigs. They can get noisy sometimes.||Female guinea pigs are a little less loud than male guinea pigs. However, they can get pretty loud sometimes.|
|Cage size||Boars need a larger cage than sows. If you are planning to keep more than one boar in a cage, then you will need a reasonably large cage as they can get aggressive and territorial sometimes.||Sows, however, require less space to live in. You can get away with a group of sows in a standard size cage as well. They are friendly and social towards their cage mate as compared to boars.|
Are male or female guinea pigs better?
A guinea pig of any gender will make an excellent pet. However, your choice might vary depending upon the personality you are looking for.
As you have already known by now, male guinea pigs have an active, outgoing, and dominant personality while female guinea pigs have a timid and shy one.
It is quite easy to train a male guinea pig than a female one, but again females are friendlier with their cage mates than males do.
So, depending upon the traits, you are looking for, you can definitely choose one or the other.
If you are looking to breed them then getting a boar first and then finding the right sow for them would work fine.
However, if you are just looking for a pet for your family, then any gender will do just fine. Just remember you choose a healthy guinea pig with a docile nature.
You can spend some time with the guinea pig to understand what sort of personality they carry before you get them home.
Is it better to have 2 male or 2 female guinea pigs?
It is always better to have two females than two males. Two sows get along quite well and the probability of them fighting is also pretty low.
However, boars have a dominant nature and they may end up fighting and creating trouble for you in the future when you need to separate them.
But, if you have a neutered male then you can keep them with a female guinea pig. They will also get along quite well.
Can two male guinea pigs be kept together?
Yes, two males can be kept together, but the chances of them fighting is always there.
However, this depends upon their personality as some guinea pigs can get territorial and that leads to fighting.
If you have bought them together and kept them together from a very young age, then they might get along but introducing a new male in a cage with a male already in there for some time is undoubtedly going to bring some dominance and fighting between them.
You can keep two guinea pigs together if you follow some of the advice given below:
- Have a large size cage. At least 8-9 sq feet of living area.
- Have two of everything, right from the water bottle, bedding, hiding, etc.
- Introduce them to each other at a very young age.
For more tips watch the video below:
So, I hope you have chosen one or the other as your companion pet. Although both boars and sows have their own pros and cons, still both of them make a perfect pet.
If you have no prior experience with guinea pigs and are bringing them home for the first time, I would recommend going with a pair of same-gender.
In this way, you will not have to deal with the complication of pregnancy.
However, if you want to enjoy being a guinea pig parent and want to see your guinea pig family grow then get a boar and introduce a young sow so that they can mate and your guinea pig family grows well.
Although it is not recommended for beginners, still if you want to breed your guinea pigs then you can refer to this guide from Vetzone for more info.
Either way, it doesn’t matter which gender of guinea pig you end up choosing, each of them will have a unique personality and taste, and you will definitely enjoy being with them.
Ref: Gender-related differences, Differences in Behavior and Social Organization of Female Guinea Pigs as a Function of the Presence of a Male
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