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Male vs Female Guinea Pig: What’s the Difference? (With Pictures)

Nicole Cosgrove

February 16, 2021

The male guinea pig is known as the Boar, while the female is the sow. They are hard to tell apart physically, and they both make fantastic pets that are great for the whole family. Both are quiet pets that will get scared easily and will require special handling. It’s also important to remember that each animal is unique and may not always display the typical traits of that sex. However, many experts agree there are some noticeable differences between them, and we’ll take a look at them here.

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Visual Differences

male vs female guinea visual
Image Credit | Left: Male (Maksimenko Taras, Shutterstock); Right: Female (fotosv, Shutterstock)

At a Glance

Male Guinea Pig
  • Average height (adult): 8 – 10 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 2 – 2.6 pounds
  • Lifespan: 4 – 8 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Easy
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Yes
  • Trainability: Litter box training
Female Guinea Pig
  • Average height (adult): 8 – 10 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 5 – 2 pounds
  • Lifespan: 4 – 8 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Easy
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Yes
  • Trainability: Litter box training

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Male Guinea Pig Overview

A guinea pig running around in the garden_theianov_Shutterstock
Image Credit: theianov, Shutterstock

Personality Character

Many people choose the male guinea pig because it quickly bonds with its owners. It’s often more outgoing, confident, and friendly. The male is more likely to let you carry it around or sit on your lap, but it is also likely to run off exploring when it gets the chance. If you have never owned a guinea pig before, you might find the male more approachable. However, if you keep too many males in an enclosed space, they may become territorial and fight with each other, so it’s important to make sure they have enough space.

Health and Care

The male guinea pig is much messier than the female. It will toss its bedding around the cage, which can end up on the floor. It will also throw around the fruit, hay, lettuce, and other food you supply them. Despite their messy ways, they will require a constant supply of timothy hay and fruits and vegetables for nourishment and to help wear away their constantly growing teeth. While males look the same as females, they can be as much as one-third heavier, which means they will require slightly more food ad exercise to prevent them from becoming overweight. Males also have a scent gland that they use to mark their territory, which can cause them to have an odor that some people may not enjoy, but you can manage it easily with more frequent baths.

Guinea Pig
Image Credit: colognephotos, Shutterstock

Suitable for:

Male guinea pigs are suitable for inexperienced guinea pig owners. They are a bit more friendly and courageous, so they won’t spend the first few weeks hiding. Their messy nature will be time-consuming but will quickly give you the experience you need to care for these animals, and they will enjoy being carried around and exploring the home.

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Female Guinea Pig Overview

guinea pig on neutral background
Image Credit: Svetlanistaya, Shutterstock

Personality and Character

The female guinea pig is more reserved than the male and is easily scared, which will send her into hiding. An unseen pet can be frustrating to a new owner that may not understand why the guinea pig is worried. Sows are also less likely to allow you to carry them, but with patience, your female guinea pig will bond with you and be nearly as friendly as the male. Once familiar, it will prefer to be near you when they are scared, and they will also help calm other scared guinea pigs you may have.

Health and Care

Like the male guinea pig, the female will require a never-ending supply of timothy hay with plenty of fruits and vegetables. However, the female is much neater and is unlikely to mess out of its habitat, much less throw food onto the floor. Many people who choose a female do so because of how much neater they are, requiring much less maintenance than their male counterparts. You will also need to clip the nails and give an occasional bath to both the male and female guinea pig.

a male guinea pig
Image Credit: Jackson Stock Photography, Shutterstock

Suitable for:

Females are a better choice for those who have enough experience to allow her time to get used to the environment before pushing her into making friends. It’s also perfect for those that don’t have a lot of time to clean up after them and to put their habitat back in order. Females are also a good choice if you want to have several guinea pigs because they will not only help comfort them, but they may prevent or lessen the risk of territorial disagreements between males.

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Which Breed is Right for You?

We recommend most people get a male as their first guinea pig for the experience they provide and the fast friendships they create. It lives slightly longer and owning a male will quickly prepare you for more guinea pigs. Once you have experience or plan on getting more than one, it’s better to get a female to eliminate the risk of territorial disputes. If you have housed a male and a female together, they will likely mate if you don’t get them fixed.

We hope you have enjoyed our look at both sexes of this popular pet. Hopefully, we answered any questions you had and helped you choose which one is right for you. If you think it can help others, please share this guide to the male and female guinea pigs on Facebook and Twitter.

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.