In this study, we characterized more thoroughly the social behavior of vasopressin 1b receptor null (V1bR-/-) mice. We confirmed that V1bR-/- males exhibit less social aggression than their wild-type (V1bR+/+) littermates. We tested social preference by giving male subjects a choice between pairs of soiled or clean bedding. In general, V1bR+/+ mice spent significantly more time engaged in chemoinvestigation of these social stimuli than V1bR-/- mice. Male V1bR+/+ mice preferred female-soiled bedding over male-soiled bedding, male-soiled bedding over clean bedding, and female-soiled bedding over clean bedding. In contrast, V1bR-/- males failed to exhibit a preference for any bedding. This difference in behavior is not explained by an anosmic condition as there were no differences between V1bR-/- and V1bR+/+ mice in their abilities to detect a cookie buried in clean bedding, or in their ability to perform in an operant conditioning task using a fully automated liquid dilution olfactometer. In the latter task, male V1bR-/- mice were fully capable of discriminating between male and female mouse urine. The latencies to learn this task did not differ between the two genotypes. Thus, a V1bR-/- male's ability to differentiate between male and female chemosensory cues appears no different than that of a V1bR+/+ male's. We propose that the V1bR plays an important role in social motivation, perhaps by coupling the processing, integration, and/or interpretation of chemosensory cues with the appropriate behavioral response.