Training Talk: Sibling Dogs Good or Bad Idea?

Many people like to have more than one dog but is it a good idea to have sibling dogs?

That depends, usually if the dogs are related you will encounter the issue where they are bonded stronger with each other than they will be to you.

Getting two dogs that are not related is a better idea (see my two students to the right–who are a good match).

BUT if you are having behavior problems with one–the odds are that the other might give you trouble by picking up those bad traits from the first–and then you have double trouble.

Some time ago I received a call from a woman who had three pups who needed training.

In our preliminary conversation I discovered that they were all from the same litter and so I said…

“Can I ask you a personal question?”


“What made you decide to adopt three pups at a time? Are you insane?”

Once the client stopped laughing she booked the appointment.

Although I was joking, it was also a serious question because she tripled her work load and also had to deal with triple the challenges presented by a new puppy–because she had three different temperaments AND they were strongly bonded with each other.

I encourage people NOT to get pups from the same litter.


Some of you might remember the delinquents that were sent to boot camp with me in 2007.

The duo was strongly bonded and so bounced off of each other–creating a canine cyclone unless they were separated.

Normally I take dogs in for about two weeks but these pups needed a whole month. They did well but their bonding made the owners feel left out. It was something that was never going to change–good behavior or not.

If you are firmly set on getting two pups–make sure you get them from different sources–and I’d suggest getting one at a time.

Also, it is often easier to add an animal of the opposite gender to the household that already contains a pet.

No matter what your choice, be sure to also take the time to properly integrate an animal.

The pros?

Two dogs can provide companionship for each other.

Plus, it is always fun to have a doggie duo.

But please carefully consider whether or not to add another dog to your household BEFORE you do it.

Make sure you are ready and be sure you existing pet is ready…and remember, don’t fall for those cute furry faces and bring home two pups from the same litter…it may be something you regret.

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  1. It is definitely something every parent needs to consider carefully and I do agree with your idea of pups from different litters. I’d probably say that spaying/neutering may help in training their behavior if you do get pups from the same litter. It’s been proved to help during the adaptation process. Great info!

  2. Thanks for stopping by Karina. Although spaying and neutering can help with some behavioral issues it does not impact the bonding and sibling specific issues found with sibling dogs from the same litter.