Should Guinea Pigs Be in Pairs? (Important Advice!)

a close up on guinea pig pair

Many potential guinea pig owners wonder whether they should buy or adopt guinea pigs in pairs. 

Yes, you must house together at least two guinea pigs since they are social animals and tend to get depressed or lonely if they are kept alone. In the wild, guinea pigs live together in large herds, so you might want to replicate that in captivity.

However, you must know which pairs of guinea pigs you can safely house together. After all, guinea pigs are known to fight and the wrong pairing might mean a lot of bullying and bickering!

In this guide, we tell you exactly how to keep guinea pigs in pairs.

  • Guinea pigs should be kept in pairs so that they can give each other company. They are social animals and tend to get bored or depressed if kept alone.
  • However, guinea pigs also have a social hierarchy and tend to fight to establish a pecking order. Usually, these fights last for a short while until the hierarchy is established. That is why it is important to know which pairs of guinea pigs work well.
  • In general, the RSPCA recommends keeping one neutered male with one or more females.
  • You can also keep two sows (females) and two boars (males) together particularly if they have been raised together from the start.

Also Read: Will Guinea Pigs Kill Each Other?

a small guinea pig running after a bigger one

Can Two Male Guinea Pigs Be in The Same Cage?

Two male guinea pigs or boars could live in the same cage provided you follow some basic rules and introduce them properly. Here are some tips that can help you get two boars to cohabit peacefully in the same hutch:

Introduce Them in a Neutral Space

Have a supervised introduction in a playpen or an enclosure that neither guinea pig has occupied previously. Allow the boars to sniff each other. If one guinea pig chases or attacks the other, separate them instantly.

Give Them Time

When you first introduce guinea pigs of the same sex, there may be some teeth chattering, display of aggression, and chasing. Guinea pigs do this to establish their dominance or pecking order. Give the two some time – most guinea pigs will come around once the hierarchy is established.

Provide Separate Resources

Once your guinea pigs are okay with each other in a neutral space, you may place them in the same cage. However, do ensure that the cage has separate resources like food/water bowls, toys, hammocks, etc. This is important to ensure that there is no fighting over these things later.

Ensure that The Cage is Spacious

It is important that the cage for 2 guinea pigs is at least 10.5 square feet (30” x 50”) or even larger. This is important to prevent stress in guinea pigs and avoid fighting over space.

Also Read: How Big a Cage for Two Guinea Pigs? The Complete Setup

Can 2 Female Guinea Pigs Live Together?

Yes, housing together two sows (female guinea pigs) is recommended and is one of the best pairings as far as guinea pigs are concerned. Female cavies are generally docile and calm. They do not show aggression or bullying as males tend to.

Having said that, you must still make sure to introduce them properly- preferably in a neutral space.

As with male guinea pigs, it is also critical that you provide separate resources like food, toys, and hiding areas for both your girls.

a small guinea pig running after a bigger one

Can You have 3 Female Guinea Pigs Together?

Yes, three female guinea pigs (or sows) will get along well with each other. It is always a good idea to have two or more guinea pigs, as they are social animals. In the wild, guinea pigs live in herds so it makes sense to do the same for captive guinea pigs.

Three sows will get along well provided you have introduced them properly or if they have been raised together from the beginning.

Naturally, your three cavies will need separate bowls, nesting boxes, toys, etc. Failure to provide adequate resources could lead to bickering and fighting over these resources. In most cases though, female guinea pigs are quite docile and tend to get along with each other.

Make sure the cage is of the right size for three cavies. The Humane Society recommends a cage of at least 13 square feet (30” x 62”)  for housing three guinea pigs.

Also Read: How Long Do Guinea Pigs Live Alone?

Is It Better to Have 2 Male or 2 Female Guinea Pigs?

Both genders of guinea pigs can make excellent pets. However, there are a few differences between the two that you should be aware of.

In general, male guinea pigs or boars are more explorative, curious, bold, energetic, active, and playful. They tend to spend time chasing each other or roughhousing. 

Female guinea pigs or sows tend to be more docile and quiet. Boars are prone to aggression and may bully each other or show dominance.

Unspayed female guinea pigs are usually prone to ovarian cancers or uterine cysts which need expensive veterinary treatment.

You can always consider keeping one neutered male with a female to prevent unwanted guinea pig babies.

Can You Have Just One Guinea Pig?

It is recommended not to keep just one guinea pig. Guinea pigs are social creatures. They tend to get depressed and feel lonely without the company of their kind. Solitary living can make them feel stressed and anxious and that can impact their health in numerous ways.

Due to a complete lack of social interaction, touch, and communication with other cavies, a lonely guinea pig can feel sad and purposeless. 

It may spend all its time hiding. This inactivity could result in unhealthy weight gain. Some guinea pigs even stop eating, when they are depressed. This can result in nutritional deficiencies and related health issues. Without a companion to groom them, they may develop skin issues and their fur may appear unkempt and matted.

Even if you play, groom, and interact with your guinea pig daily, your pet must get the much-needed social interaction that only other guinea pigs can provide.

In the wild, guinea pigs live in large herds. They forage for food, burrow, dig, groom, have babies, raise them, play, and climb rocks or branches together.

Naturally, as a responsible guinea pig owner, you must keep two or more guinea pigs together so they can do similar activities in their hutch.

FAQs – Should Guinea Pigs Be in Pairs?

Are male or female guinea pigs friendlier?

Male guinea pigs are generally bold, friendly, and open to exploring. Females are usually shy and docile. 

However, once a female cavy gets to know her owner, she will be quite affectionate towards them. No two guinea pigs are alike and the temperament of your guinea pig depends on their individual personality, socialization, and other experiences.

Are 2 male guinea pigs OK together?

Yes, as long as the guinea pigs are introduced properly, there is an established pecking order,, and there are no females around to compete for, two male guinea pigs should get along.

Can guinea pigs live alone if one dies?

Guinea pigs don’t do too well on their own once their long-term partner or cagemate dies. They tend to get extremely depressed and may spend all their time hiding. Your guinea pig must have at least one friend to live with it.

What happens if a guinea pig lives alone?

Generally, guinea pigs that are housed alone tend to be fearful and skittish. They may be prone to depression. Since they are social and friendly animals, they need the company of their kind.

Conclusion – Should Guinea Pigs Be in Pairs?

Yes, guinea pigs should be in pairs and they should never be kept alone. You can have two neutered, properly introduced boars or two sows in the same hutch or cave. You may also keep one neutered male with two or more females.

We hope this guide helps you select and keep your guinea pigs in the best possible environment.

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