Can sibling dogs live together?

Many factors influence behavior, and not all siblings raised together will exhibit this problem, which is called “littermate syndrome.” In other words, it’s a risk, not a foregone conclusion. That said, many dog behaviorists, trainers, breeders, and shelters actually discourage adopting siblings.

2020 Update: This blog has grown to be one of our most popular pages, and requests for more in-depth advice on raising siblings have been flooding in. To help fill that need, we created an online course on the best ways to raise puppies that are siblings or are of a similar age. Sibling School: Spectacular Siblings is now available on demand!.

We’ve all heard the dire predictions that follow discussions about raising littermates. If you read some of the comments on social media, you might believe that raising two puppies at once is the worst mistake anyone has ever made in the annals of mistakes. The advice to rehome, give back, or otherwise get rid of a pet is never given more openly than when the subject of raising litter mates is brought up. The issue is that there is too much emphasis on shame and fear mongering to persuade people to adopt or return one puppy, which drowns out useful and productive information. As a result, too many puppy owners feel intimidated and may not ask for help with their puppies out of concern for criticism. However, many people have had success raising dogs of the same age or a similar age that are well-balanced and well-adjusted. What are these successful owners doing to raise two canines that are the same age or younger that are well-adjusted and behave normally?

I have raised several sets of siblings from birth to death as a professional dog trainer and breeder of German Shepherd Dogs for over 25 years. All were successful, well-adjusted, and exhibited behavior that was appropriate for their breed, age, gender, and environment. I therefore made the decision to share our fundamental list of best practices with other breeders, trainers, and owners of companion dogs in order to assist those who might find themselves raising two puppies at the same time who are close in age.

Due to your breeder’s influence, you might be tempted to bring home two puppies from the same litter, but you should proceed with caution. Keep in mind that the breeder is just trying to make a quick extra sale with you; this is their business. Avoid the breeder and look for another one if they encourage taking home two puppies at once without explaining the challenges of having canine siblings.

This article comes to us from Wayne Booth, of , a dog training company in Nashville, TN. Wayne also offers dog training information on his blog at . I hope you enjoy the article.

Keep in touch with your breeder and a good dog behaviorist if you have to care for two puppies from the same litter at once because it will be a lot of work and you’ll need their expert guidance!

First of all, as you are probably aware, having just one dog is a huge responsibility that should not be ignored. When you bring a puppy home, it will take a lot of your time, energy, love, and attention to raise that puppy. Two puppies require twice as much time, work, love, and attention, as well as twice as much responsibility. Make sure you have the motivation and means to provide that to two new family members.

The fact that when two dogs are raised together, they bond much more strongly with their sibling than they do with their human companion is another thing to take into account. This frequently affects their ability to be trained because they are less motivated to please their human handlers than they would be if they had more time to form a close, exclusive bond with their master. If a dog has a sibling to be close to, they may end up getting too close and focusing more on their sibling than on you.

Advantages of Raising Two Puppies Together

For those who are contemplating whether they should choose a littermate relationship, there are a few additional benefits that are noteworthy.

The fact that litter mate puppies are entertaining to watch is a major benefit. Two puppies may provide hours of entertainment. Owners frequently find themselves turning off the TV so they can watch the animals run around, explore, and play.

Puppies are energetic, and many puppy owners struggle when their dog wants to play. This may occasionally lead to frustration and resentment over getting a puppy.

When there are two puppies, playing together helps the puppies burn off excess energy.

Two puppies also get to polish their soft mouths skills. In other words, they practice softening their bites through play. However, since your skin is much more delicate than your dog’s, you will still need to work on your puppy’s bite inhibition.

When each puppy has a strong response to commands like sit, down, come, etc., you can occasionally work with them together to your advantage even though you are initially training each puppy a lot individually.

For instance, I prefer to have puppies sit before I feed them or before I open a door to let them go potty outside. When necessary, I also like to practice recalls with both of them at once (once one dog starts running in your direction, the other should follow suit out of a sense of reward).

This kind of training, in my opinion, is very beneficial because it teaches the puppies to focus on you despite the distraction of being together.

You will enjoy something twice as much if your two dogs get along well and grow into two wonderful dogs. Numerous individuals have praised us for how well-trained our Rottweiler puppies have turned out to be.

They served as my “business cards” as a dog trainer, helping me to demonstrate how commitment and perseverance pay off over time when caring for and training dogs—and yes, that includes raising and training littermate puppies if you’re up for the challenge!

Is It Hard To Raise Two Puppies Together?

Raising two puppies simultaneously is difficult because their innate sibling tendencies may make it more difficult for them to fit into a larger household.

While it may seem more cost-effective to raise two animals together, this is not the case because they will require separate and double amounts of everything: twice as much food, twice as much equipment (including everything from leads to crates), and twice as much money for veterinary care.

Given that they are pack animals, dogs naturally bond and compete with one another for dominance. Sibling puppies will play fight, but they will also compete to rule their pack of two.

When both puppies are the same gender, this happens much more frequently. Due to this, it is advised to adopt both a male and a female puppy if you are adopting siblings, provided that they have been neutered and spayed to prevent breeding.

They shouldn’t eat together while you are training new puppies from the same litter. The other dog should wait in the crate while they eat, either in different rooms of the house or at different times.

For the dogs to learn the difference between their food and that of their sibling, this is crucial.

It is probably best to continue with this routine for the first year or so. After that, you might be able to arrange their bowls next to one another, but for the first few weeks, you’ll need to keep an eye on it.


Can two dogs from the same litter live together?

It is not advisable to bring home two puppies of the same age, much less two from the same litter, according to professional trainers like myself. While in theory this seems like a good idea, in practice it frequently results in considerable heartache and may even result in serious aggression issues.

Do sibling dogs know they are siblings?

According to research, dogs can recognize their parents and siblings later in life as long as they spent the first 16 weeks of their lives together. It makes sense that the less time puppies spend with their families, the less likely it is that they will later be able to identify a family member.

Can you have a brother and sister dog live together?

Due to the potential for long-term health issues, it is typically thought to be dangerous to breed dogs from the same litter. Even if inbreeding is carefully planned and controlled, it can eventually lead to other indirect issues.

What is dog sibling syndrome?

When two puppies from the same litter live together, Collier explains, “Littermate syndrome in dogs occurs when they develop such a strong attachment to each other that it interferes with their ability to interact in a normal manner with other people, other dogs, or any situation where they are not together.”