How to Tell if a Guinea Pig is Male or Female

Complete guide to determining the sex of guinea pigs.

If you’re new to owning guinea pigs, knowing how to tell the difference between male and female piggies is an important skill to develop. Both male and female guinea pigs make amazing pets, but there are some health and care requirements that can be different between the two. Plus, not all pet stores or breeders are going to do a good job making sure they tell you the right sex for your piggies!

This guide will walk you through how to tell if a guinea pig is a male or female so you can confidently tell the difference between your pigs.

is my guinea pig male or female

How to Tell if a Guinea Pig is Male or Female

Let’s jump right into it!

The way to tell if a guinea pig is male or female is by looking at its genitals. Gently hold your piggy with its back against your chest and look at its underside down near its bum.

A male will have a more “i” shape while a female will have a “y” shape. This can be a bit hard to tell in younger guinea pigs, but the same concept applies to all ages. With older males, it’s usually a little easier to see the penis.

These photos will hopefully help this make a bit more sense:

Female Guinea Pig

Differences Between Males and Females

There are some basic differences you might see between a male and female guinea pig, besides their reproductive organs.

Male guinea pigs are called boars, while females are called sows. Just like pigs! (Although guinea pigs are not actual pigs.)

Male guinea pigs are usually a little bit larger than females. There isn’t a “one size fits all” weight for guinea pigs as it depends on the build and genetics of the specific pig.

You’ll see some sources that say the average size for male piggies is 900-1,500g and for females is 700-900g. Honestly, I think these are pretty low. Most of my adult female pigs weigh anywhere from 900-1,400g and males between 1,000-2,000g. Males generally will grow a bit bigger than females, but it’s more important to learn what is the normal healthy weight for your own pigs.

I’ve also found boy pigs can sometimes be a bit messier and more territorial. I prefer to give my male guinea pig pairs the largest cages possible so they can have space to get away from each other when they want to. Guinea pigs love to run around and play, so a larger cage gives them plenty of room to do that. A large cage also helps keep it from feeling as messy as quickly.

Care Differences Between Male and Female Guinea Pigs

There aren’t huge differences in the care required for male and female guinea pigs, however, there are a few potential health issues to be aware of.

First off, ovarian cysts in female piggies are very very common. It is estimated that up to 80% of female guinea pigs between the ages of three and five have some sort of issue with ovarian cysts. These can require regular hormone treatment and even spay surgery to manage, though many piggies don’t show any symptoms. Female guinea pigs can also be more likely to develop urinary tract infections.

Male guinea pigs may need “boar cleanings” done occasionally. Boy piggies have a little pocket around their genitals that can get filled with poop and other stuff. Some boars have more issues keeping this area clean than others.

Cleaning it out is a messy and smelly job. But it’s important to keep your piggy healthy. I won’t go into the entire process in this article, but you basically use a cotton swab and some warm water to gently remove all the stuff from the pocket area. I prefer to have someone hold the piggy so I can see what I’m doing and make sure my guinea pig gets extra clean.

All guinea pigs have a spot on their bums called the “grease gland” they use for scent marking, but males’ may be a bit messier. You may not even be able to see the spot on a lot of females, but may have to regularly clean the spot on some males. Grease glands are used for marking territory, so if you have a more territorial pig – male or female – you may have to do some extra cleaning.

Can Male and Female Guinea Pigs Live Together?

For most people, the answer is no.

While the majority of guinea pigs should live with at least one friend, you need to be smart about your pairing.

If you put a male and female guinea pig in the same space without having one of them spayed or neutered, you’re going to end up with babies. This can be very dangerous for the mom and, if you can’t keep all the babies, contributes to the overpopulation of shelters that is happening.

You can put a male and female together only if the male has been neutered or the female has been spayed. If you are able to make this happen, male and female piggies usually get on pretty well.

Keep in mind when choosing piggies that usually only two males can live together without fighting. Males are usually more territorial than females. Females, on the other hand, can be happy living in larger groups. If you do have a neutered male, one male to multiple females can be a great dynamic.

Do Male or Female Guinea Pigs Make Better Pets?

I personally have not found a big difference between keeping male and female guinea pigs. Piggies have such different personalities that they all have their own needs and preferences.

The biggest consideration when deciding between males and females is what type of pairs or groups you’d like to have. Only two males can live together peacefully, so if you one day want a larger herd of piggies then you don’t want to bring home a bunch of males.

There is a myth that male guinea pigs will always fight, but this is just not true. Many owners have had plenty of pairs of boy piggies that have gotten along their entire lives just fine. And there are plenty of female pairs that don’t end up working out. There is no hard and fast rule about whether two piggies will get along – they all have personalities just like people.

In my opinion, there is no real answer to this question because both genders make great pets!

Learn More About Guinea Pig Care:

How to Tell if a Guinea Pig is Male or Female

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