Combining Guinea Pigs 

Understanding Guinea Pig Life

  • Babies grow up VERY FAST.
    They don’t stay babies for long. Within months, they are crossing over into adulthood. So, if you are looking for babies thinking that they will ‘grow up’ with you and bond better with you, that’s not really a big factor with guinea pigs. It’s generally better to have an idea about their personality.
  • Guinea pigs should have a friend.
    They are a social, herd animal and are generally healthier and happier in pairs or more — assuming you have a truly appropriate cage to house them in. Be careful what you put stock in on the internet and social media groups regarding appropriate caging and cage sizes. People tend to advocate strongly for what they buy for their pets — not because they have decades of experience with hundreds of guinea pigs.
  • Guinea pigs are closer to cats than dogs in their desire for human interaction.
    Guinea pigs are easy prey in the wild and are deeply, instinctively afraid of animals bigger than they are — that includes humans. Few guinea pigs loved being picked up. There are exceptions but don’t be led into thinking all guinea pigs are like some you might see on cute Youtube videos. Most will run away from you when you try to pick them up. That’s NORMAL. And they are good for short spans of lap time — generally speaking.
  • Finding Neutered Males vs. Spayed Females
    Most vets consider neutering easier and less risky than spaying females, although there are a few exceptions around the country. If you are counting on finding a spayed female to go with your intact male, you’ll likely be looking for a long time. Even so, neutering males, as with most vet care these days, can be pretty pricey and requires vets who specialize in small pets or exotics.

How Many?

The sweet spot for guinea pigs as pets is TWO. Guinea pigs are veritable poop factories. Yes, they are cute, and it sure is tempting to get more or try to have one for every kid at home, but consider all these factors, day after day, month after month, year after year, to help you decide if you are really up to the commitment needed.

More pigs =

  • Bigger cages needed, more space
  • Cage cleaning more often
  • More bedding needed
  • More fresh veggies, pellets, & hay
  • More laundry to do
  • Harder to find care for vacations and travel
  • More potential vet bills
  • Increased risk of them not getting along

More pigs require more of your resources, including the one more precious of all — time. If you have two who are getting along, it’s a wise idea to count your blessings. If you want more than two, just know what you are getting into ahead of time so you can be prepared.

Males vs. Females, which is BETTER?

The short answer is NEITHER. They both have their pros and cons which pretty much evens out the differences. And, it’s important to note that all guinea pigs have very different personalities. It’s important to give them a good, ample cage environment so that you can observe and appreciate those differences. When they are crowded in a cage that is too small, you won’t be able to enjoy them as much as you could.


  • Can get pregnant (just worth noting in the scheme of things)
  • Get along well with other females — most of the time.
  • Go into heat every 14-16 days, can be irritable or aggressive for a day or two every so often.
  • Sows aging health issue is possible ovarian cysts later in life — causes them pain and instigates irritable behavior.


  • Sometimes, they don’t play well with others
  • Can get smelly once in a while
  • Need to clean the privates occassionally 🙂
  • Boars aging health issue is possible impaction, requires you helping them with their poos (stinky mess)
  • Can’t get pregnant 🙂
  • Boar Glue 🙂

Since males tend to get a little bit of a bad boy reputation due to their more aggressive behavior in certain circumstances, we think it’s important to point out that, a lot guinea pig people give a slight edge to males on the friendly and fun scale. Not by a huge margin and it’s still guinea pig personality-specific thing, but just to make the point that males really are worth the trouble. 🙂

Guinea Pig Pairings

In order from easy to challenging, here are guinea pig combinations and considerations. If you are brand new to guinea pigs and want to keep your life as easy as possible, then stay in green zone. 🙂

  • Two Females
    Two females almost always get along fine. Once in a while, you’ll get a diva female who is more difficult with other guinea pigs. If so, read the info about Managing Males for tips and tricks to help them work it out.
  • One Female, One Neutered Male
    This is another great pairing that works out almost 100% of the time. Even though neutered, the male will still chase the female around and mount her, especially initially and then later when she’s in heat. But the female will put him in his place soon enough. And it settles down to a good pairing.
  • Two Males
    Two males are also a good pairing. There is a little higher of a chance that it may not work out in the long-term, so just be prepared. And review the article on Managing with Males, for some helpful tips on how to help make it work.
  • Three Females
    info here
  • One Spayed Female, One Intact Male
    This combination, while it does work, can be stressful for the female. When a male is neutered, it can help reduce his drive and aggression a bit. But an intact male will pretty relentlessly go after a female until she finally puts him in his place, hopefully.
  • Three males (not such a good idea)
    Please review the full article here about Managing with Males to get a better, more detailed understanding of the challenges of pairing up multiple males. Know the risks going in and be prepared for the possible outcomes.
  • More than three males (still not a good idea)
    Generally, trying to get three males to live together in the long-term is challenging enough. Four can be even more so. The saving grace with 4 (not more) is you can pair them off into two separate groups if needed, which is usually likely — again, assuming you’ve got the appropriate cage space and setup to do it.

Sometimes later in life, things just change

Whether males or females, once in a while, something upsets the apple cart of a normally bonded pair or group.

With females, it can be triggered by hormonal changes of aging females that may have led to ovarian or hormonal problems. A female who gets aggressive later in life should get a vet check.

With males, something may trigger a change or a number two male may decide it’s time to challenge the top pig and take over.