If you’re new to the world of furry potatoes with legs, better known as guinea pigs, you may have lots of questions. One of those questions may be, “what are the similarities and differences between male and female cavies?” While all piggies are adorable, especially when they’re eating or singing the song of their people, knowing what's the same and what's different between piggie genders is essential. While you can’t go wrong with either gender, we’ll break it down for you next.
- Herd mentality. All piggies are social or “herd” animals. Therefore, it's best to carefully group cavies by gender while closely monitoring the herd to ensure everyone is happy and healthy.
- Ample enclosure size. All guinea pigs require proper living space to prevent stress and fights. The Humane Society of the United States recommends the following guidelines:
- One guinea pig: 7.5 square feet, or about 30"x 36", is recommended bare minimum, but bigger is better.
- Two guinea pigs: 7.5 square feet (minimum), but at least 10.5 square feet (30” x 50”) is preferred.
- Three guinea pigs: 10.5 square feet (minimum), but at least 13 square feet (30” x 62”) is preferred.
- Four guinea pigs: 13 square feet (minimum), but at least 30” x 76” is preferred.
Want to learn more about why more space is better? Check our blog.
- Size: Generally speaking, adult male guinea pigs, also known as boars, are larger than female guinea pigs. The females are also called sows. Weights for sows can range from 1.5 – 2.25 pounds, while weights for boars can range from 2 – 2.5 pounds. Depending on genetics, males can even weigh around 3 pounds in some cases.
- Herd size matters: Males do best in pairs or trios. Sows typically enjoy larger herds. However, you may see them having “discussions” with their roommates regarding their social standing. Female pigs rarely require removal from the main herd if they can’t get along.
- Confidence. Studies have shown that male piggies are more confident while females are shyer. As a result, your boys may be more inquisitive and easier to handle. However, all cavies are loving and fun. The more time you spend with your herd, the more you will learn about each other and improve your bond.
- Health issues. Similar to humans, each gender has the potential for different health concerns. Also, depending on your cavy's age, their medical needs change. Therefore, it's super important to have a trusted exotic vet BEFORE you adopt cavies. Additionally, all piggies should have wellness exams at least once a year. If you need help finding a vet, check out our blog.
- Impaction (Males): As intact male guinea pigs age, their muscles weaken. A second-order effect is the inability to empty the 💩 in the anal sac or impaction.
- Mammary, ovarian, and uterine cancer (Female): Intact females risk developing cancer in these organs as they age.
Again, adopting cavies will bring joy to their lives and yours. For experienced piggie owners, we’d love to know why you chose male or female guinea pigs for your herd…or do you have herds of both genders? Please comment on our socials or email us.
DISCLAIMER: The links and information are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Small Pet Select of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual.
Want to learn more about guinea pigs? Check these out!
Guinea Pig Ear Infection: How to spot them, treat them, and avoid them.
Small Animal Recycled Paper Pellet Bedding: All You Need to Know