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Guinea pigs exhibit typical animal behavior when it comes to dominance, and they are no exception. But why do guinea pigs assert their dominance over one another? What are the signs of guinea pig dominance, and what should you do if you suspect it is occurring? As a curious guinea pig owner, I decided to do some research, and the following is what I discovered.When kept in a small enclosure, guinea pigs will compete for limited resources such as food, water, and other essentials such as bedding. When one guinea pig establishes dominance over the others, the competition is resolved. It is the dominant guinea pig’s responsibility to mark his territory and to always demonstrate dominance over subordinate guinea pigs in the group.When two or more guinea pigs share a living space, it is natural for one to assert dominance over the other.While it can occur peacefully when one guinea pig asserts dominance over the others, the subordinate guinea pig usually relents and recognizes the other as the leader fairly quickly.Sometimes, however, things can turn out differently because both guinea pigs are stubborn and unwilling to give up, and a battle for the throne of leadership ensues.However, is this a problem with all guinea pigs, or is it only a problem with some of them? Continue reading to find out more about it.


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Do all guinea pigs show dominance?

No, not all guinea pigs are dominant in the same way. The level of dominance displayed by one guinea pig over another can vary greatly depending on their behavior, living environment, and cage mate relationships.

It is important to recognize that while some guinea pigs are more dominant than others, we must recognize that this is part of their natural bonding process and that we should not intervene.

Male guinea pigs are more likely than female guinea pigs to exhibit dominance behavior, which is also more likely to last for a longer period of time.

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Usually, guinea pig dominance ends with one of the guinea pigs giving up and accepting their defeat, which is indicated by them lowering their heads and making a rumbling or chuttering noise. The dominant guinea pigs then mark off their territory and take the position of a leader in their group.

Following on from our previous discussion on the basics of guinea pig dominance, let us now look at what the signs of dominance are in guinea pigs, and how they differ from one another, in order to better understand the subject.

Guinea pig dominance behavior

It is possible that the dominance phase will pass quickly and that you will not notice any signs of it because one or more guinea pigs will give up immediately.

A loud squeal followed by a dash for the door will usually signal that I am no match for you and that I am therefore giving up the fight.

However, the faceoff can sometimes drag on for a long time because neither of them wants to give up. The confrontation usually begins with a verbal confrontation, and if neither of them is able to assert their dominance, it may escalate to a physical confrontation.

Guinea pig dominance sound: Verbal Confrontation


When the guinea pigs decide to assert their dominance, they usually begin by engaging in a verbal battle with one another.

Mild teeth chattering is a typical behavior that guinea pigs exhibit at the beginning of their lives. Other sounds that can be heard during this phase include purring and low rumbling, which are both quite common.

These are the signs that are typically observed during their initial dominance behavior, and they indicate that the guinea pigs are unhappy with the situation in which they find themselves.

If the situation continues and neither of them withdraws their consent, the intensity of the vocal sounds will increase during this phase.

guinea pigs snorting (which sounds like hissing or sneezing, if you will) followed by stressed squeaking and loud teeth chattering are some of the sounds you will hear during this phase.

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If you observe this type of behavior, you can expect to see some physical dominance emerge in the near future.

Guinea pig dominance behavior: Chasing and mounting

If neither of the guinea pigs backs down during the verbal confrontation, one of them will begin to exhibit physical dominance behavior toward the other.

It usually starts with the person raising their chin to their chest and wiggling their bottom (moving their bottom from side to side), which is followed by a rumbling or chuttering noise.

After that, one of the guinea pigs may begin rubbing their bottom in the area that has been designated as their territory. If the other guinea pigs don’t back down by now, the dominance will escalate to the point where chasing and mounting become commonplace.

A typical scenario involves the more dominant guinea pig chasing the other one around the cage, nipping at their backs and rumbling loudly.

The guinea pigs begin mounting and humping the other guinea pig once they have chased and cornered the other.

Occasionally, they will stop and drop down for a few seconds in between rumbling and then start back up for some more humping.

Most of the time, this dominance behavior continues until the other guinea pig relents and accepts its new position as a subordinate guinea pig in the cage.

It is most often the case that one guinea pig will take the initiative, and the peace in the cage will be restored to normal.

However, there is the possibility of a serious fight occurring at any time. If neither of them makes the decision to give up, the dominance behavior may take a drastic turn for the worse.

Typically, during this stage, the struggle can become dangerous, with participants tackling one another, rumbling loudly, and biting one another off as signs of serious dominance.

If the dominance behavior takes a dangerous turn, you may need to intervene to prevent it from continuing, as both guinea pigs are capable of causing severe injury to each other, which can be fatal for both of them.

This situation can be alleviated by stopping them and transferring them to another cage, or by adding a divider to the existing cage.

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Guinea pig dominance behavior male

Male guinea pigs are well-known for their dominant behavior, which they demonstrate by fighting and humping each other to show off their superiority.

Despite the fact that the fights are usually not serious, things can change quickly, and the situation can quickly escalate into an aggressive and serious situation.

Numerous factors can cause male guinea pigs to exhibit dominance behavior, all of which are listed below. Some of the most frequently cited reasons are as follows:

  • The transition from a child’s to an adult’s stage of development
  • Seasonal variations have an impact on behavior.
  • The presence of a female guinea pig is noteworthy.
  • Due to a lack of space or insufficient resources
  • Introduce a new cage mate into the mix.

Introduction of a new cage mate:

It is inevitable that there will be fights between the older guinea pig and the newer guinea pig in the cage whenever you introduce another guinea pig.

The old guinea is attempting to convey the message that the territory belongs to him and that he is not willing to share it with you at this time.

As long as the newer experimenter accepts the subordinate position, there will be little to no conflict.

However, if the additional guinea pigs also standoff to demonstrate his dominance, they may find themselves in a fight to establish their own dominance.

Lack of space or inadequate resources:

It is recommended that a pair of guinea pigs be kept in a cage with a minimum floor space of 7.5 square feet.

If you have two boars, on the other hand, you may require more space to accommodate them.

Boars can become territorial, especially if you keep them in a small cage where they have to compete for resources with one another.

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The transition from a young age to adult one:

You may find that if you house an infant and an adult guinea pig, the infant may consider himself or herself to be subordinate in the early stages of the relationship.

However, as he matures and enters the adult phase, he will fight back to assert his dominance over the more senior guinea pigs in the group.

Seasonal changes affect on behavior:

Hormonal changes in guinea pigs are frequently associated with hot and humid weather, particularly in the spring. As the guinea pigs warm up, they become more aggressive, resulting in a fight between cagemates, which eventually settles down with one proving to be the superior of the two.

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Presence of a female guinea pig:

It has been observed that when two or more male Guinea pigs are kept together in the same cage, the males will fight with each other in order to establish dominance and thus attract the female for mating.

Males can become enraged by the mere presence of a female in the room, or even by the smell of a female in the room, which can result in fights.

Guinea pig dominance behavior female

Everything You Need to Know About Female Dominance in Guinea Pigs!

Female guinea pigs do not have the same level of dominance as male guinea pigs. Even so, they may find themselves in a fight with other sows in the cage in order to establish dominance.

Despite this, they are less aggressive toward their cagemates unless they are suffering from some sort of health problem themselves.

The most common signs of guinea pig dominance include vocal confrontation, a little humming and chasing, as well as rumbling noises.

Some sows will engage in a serious fight in order to establish their dominance, but in the majority of cases, they will resolve the situation by chasing and humping on their backs only.

In the same way that certain factors contribute to male dominance, there are a few factors that contribute to female dominance as well. Some of the most common factors that lead to female guinea pig dominance include the following:

  • Introducing a new cage mate to the group
  • Changes in the environment can lead to health problems such as ovarian cysts.
  • Problems with behavior

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Introducing a new cage mate

The introduction of a new cagemate in a guinea pig’s environment can result in dominance behavior.

Although the reaction is not triggered because they don’t want to share their territory, the behavior is triggered because they are unfamiliar with the new guinea pigs and therefore exhibit aggressive behavior.

Female guinea pigs frequently exhibit dominance behavior as a result of their feelings of insecurity and fear.

Change of environment

Changing the living environment of your guinea pigs, such as moving them to a new cage or living enclosure, can also be a factor in triggering dominance in sows.

Guinea pigs can become aggressive as a result of their fear of being in a new and uncertain environment, which can lead to the development of dominance in them.

Health issues like ovarian cysts

Changing the living environment of your guinea pigs, such as moving them to a new cage or living enclosure, can also be a factor in triggering dominance in sows.

Guinea pigs can become aggressive as a result of their fear of being in a new and uncertain environment, which can lead to the development of dominance in them.

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Behavioral issues

Every guinea pig is unique, just as every human being is unique in his or her own way.

Every guinea pig has a distinct personality and mannerisms all its own. While some have a calm and friendly demeanor, others are aggressive and mischievous in their nature.

Certain individuals will always fight and never accept a cage mate’s offer of cooperation. If you do end up with one of these guinea pigs, it is best to keep them apart from the others.

How long does guinea pig dominance last?

Guinea pig dominance behavior can last anywhere from two days to two weeks or even longer depending on the circumstances. There is no specific time frame for this because it is dependent on whether or not one guinea pig is willing to relinquish control and allow the other to take over as the dominant one.

They will continue to fight for the subordinate position until and unless one of the guinea pigs accepts the subordinate position and begins to respect the dominant guinea pig.

Men are more dominant than women, and this behavior is usually more persistent in boars than in sows, according to the literature on the subject. In some cases, the dominance behavior can last for several years or even decades.

In the case of a guinea pig pair, the younger one may remain subordinate for several months until he becomes strong enough to challenge the dominant one, at which point the dominance cycle is restarted once again.

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Do Guinea Pigs Fight? (Sibling/Male/Female+Why+How To Stop)

How to stop guinea pig dominance?

In this way, you have already gained an understanding of the factors that cause dominance behavior in guinea pigs and how to identify signs of dominance behavior.

In addition to what you may already know, the dominance behavior of guinea pigs can last for an extended period of time, and if they become too aggressive, they may even end up hurting each other.

So, let us learn a few tips that will help us to reduce their dominance behavior in the future:

How to Bond with Guinea Pigs: What to Do When They First Arrive

Get a fairly large cage

Guinea pigs are known to be territorial, and having a smaller cage can exacerbate the struggle for their territory even further.

When guinea pigs have plenty of room to roam around, they are able to claim their own territory and do not feel as though they are lacking in living space.

However, if they have a smaller living space, the fight for space becomes more intense, resulting in the dominance behavior being triggered more frequently.

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Provide each guinea pigs with their own resources

When you confine two animals in a space with limited food, water, and other resources, it is inevitable that they will engage in a struggle for those resources.

The same principles apply to guinea pigs as they do to other animals. Providing them with their own food bowl, water bottles, and hiding space can help to reduce the competition for resources, allowing the dominance behavior to settle down more quickly.

Keep male and female separately

If you keep two male guinea pigs with a female, or even if the female is housed nearby, the two males may begin to exhibit some dominance behavior toward the female over time.

Male guinea pigs frequently demonstrate their suitability for mating by exerting dominance over the other guinea pig.

Keep male and female guinea pigs in separate areas of the house or neuter the male to keep the aggressiveness to a minimum.

Use a divider if needed

If your guinea pigs are not able to stop their dominance behavior, using a divider to separate them may be the only option left to you.

Sometimes guinea pigs get into fights, which can be very dangerous for both of them if they are not properly restrained. If such circumstances arise, the use of a cage divider can be extremely beneficial.

Introduce new cagemates slowly

Whenever you are planning to introduce a new cage mate, make sure to do so slowly and methodically. Begin by putting them in a separate cage next to your guinea pigs to keep them company.

Try diving the old enclosure and housing them there for a while, gradually removing the divider to keep them together as they become accustomed to their new surroundings.

Generally speaking, this is more effective than simply tossing a new cage mate into the mix. Diverting their attention with hay and vegetables can also help to prevent them from getting into a fight with you and your family.

Visit a vet

If your guinea pig’s dominance behavior has been going on for a long time and you are concerned that they are not settling in, or if one of your guinea pigs is becoming increasingly aggressive, visiting a veterinarian and having a checkup done can often identify the source of the problem.

Diseases such as the Ovarian cyst, for example, can frequently be the cause of aggressive behavior. If you have any doubts or questions at that time, make sure to share them with your veterinarian.

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esty Wooden farm-style hay rack For Guinea pigs


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Sources: The effect of human interaction on guinea pig behavior, Reduction in aggression and dominance status in guinea pigs, Guinea Pigs: Aggression and Dominance, Social confrontation in male guinea pigs, The environment, hormones, and aggressive behavior: a 5-year-study in guinea pigs, Effects of domestication on guinea pigs.