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Is Owning Two Dogs Better Than One?

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For dog lovers one never seems to be enough. But is owning two dogs better than one? I believe most people are going to answer yes to this question and I would be one of them. I say this with a few caveats to consider first. A few things should be taken into consideration before you rush out and bring another dog into your home.

First we should consider the sex of the dog you now own. If you own a non-spayed female dog how is she going to react to you bringing home a female puppy? Most likely not very well so this is a situation best avoided. You can have your current dog spayed if she is not a purebred used for breeding purposes and the two ladies will probably get along ok. To be safe I would select a male dog and have him neutered.

Matching two males can work if one of the breeds is gentle but is owning two dogs better than one when you pair up two breeds who have dominate personalities? Definitely not unless you are will to put up with the fighting and vet bills until one of the dogs is recognized as the Alpha canine by the other dog.

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Avatar Of Vida

    Vida

    says:

    Thank you. Thank you so much for your insight. I just got a male Shih Tzu about two months ago, he is four months old and I am now contemplating getting another male shih tzu from the same breeder. And I was on the fence about all of the cons. You guys have really had a positive spin on adding another puppy to the home. There are so many negative sites on the Internet and even when they call themselves being positive they have a negative connotation about adding another dog. Even dog trainers have adopted this negative attitude. Thank you for this positive knowledge. If you have anything to add please feel free to contact me @ [email protected].

  2. Avatar Of Mike

    mike

    says:

    we have a female German shepherd dog, she was 7 when we added our new male little dog, the cotton de toulliare (sp) its been great. The GSD is a trained protections dog and we call her the German nanny. She has helped teach our cotton manners. He is now 2 and responds to German commands. great pair.

  3. Avatar Of Dog Mom

    Dog Mom

    says:

    We have always had two to three dogs at a time, of various sizes and breeds. We both grew up in homes that practiced this. We don’t breed so they have always been spayed or neutered. Currently we have 2 girls: an APBT and a lab mix. We were found by the Pit when she was an 8 week old pup. Our two grumpy old men we had at the time (Belgian Schipperkes) tolerated her puppy playfulness but at 14 & 15 were not up to her speed. They were both gone within a few months and we wanted a playmate for her. We knew we wanted to adopt from a shelter and that we wanted a dog that would be of similar size as we knew the Pit would be a strong girl. We got the lab mix from a local shelter. They are the same age, both spayed. We do laugh as our goal of having two of the same size hasn’t panned out. Mouse (the pit) is 65# and Tate (the lab) is 100#. We had about 2 weeks of Tate realizing that all Mouse wanted to do was play & wrestle, not hurt her. After that period they are now the best of friends and are almost 3 yrs old.
    I think that dogs need dog companions. They are pack animals and need that social environment.
    I think dogs also need to know the people are alpha, not the dogs. That has always been our stand when adding to the pack, not allowing any dog to try and get the upper hand on another.
    We love ’em and will always have ’em.

  4. Avatar Of Doglover

    DogLover

    says:

    I think it’s a great idea. Some people give up their pets because they’re not home enough, too busy. They feel guilty leaving their pup alone. But if you have 2 dogs, they keep each other company while you’re away. Dogs are social beings and need peeps and other dogs.
    I currently have 5 small dogs and love my little pack. They range between 4-14 pounds and are 5-15 yrs old. I have had issues with two of my girls fighting. And after many years and multiple fights, I finally gave one to my friend. That was very heartbreaking for me! We always kept trying to figure out why they would fight. And thought it was because I rescued them only 3 weeks apart. Well, according to this article, it’s because I had the unspayed female and brought home a female puppy. Please learn by mistake and do not do that! I feel pets are for life and it was so hard for me to give my dog to a friend.

  5. Avatar Of Mimi Fowler

    Mimi fowler

    says:

    I have 5 fur friends. 2-3/12 y.o. Yellow lab mixed males
    1 male miniature schnauzer. Who is def. alpha dog
    1 15 y.o. Male mixed breed
    And last but not least
    1 pit bull mix. Female and is now 9 weeks old. She and one of the labs are. Best friends and play a lot.
    All get along together and are happy.
    The labs are hobeaux and mojeaux ( yes louisiana boys)
    Schnauzer. Benjamin
    Mixed 15 y.o. Mickey
    And pit mixed. Daisy

  6. Avatar Of Tracy Peters

    Tracy Peters

    says:

    I have two male labs and they are best friends.

  7. Avatar Of Kathi Kelley

    Kathi Kelley

    says:

    I “own” one dog. But I have 4 foster dogs at the moment. Owning only one gives me stability and room to help out with those furbabies looking for their own homes. I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

  8. Avatar Of Eggers

    Eggers

    says:

    What on earth is the notion that spaying will promote female dogs getting along based on? And before anyone jumps on me with propaganda, I’m not looking for links from the ASPCA, I mean peer-reviewed studies. The few studies we have on spaying and behavior indicate an INCREASE in aggression and reactivity. The idea that two unspayed females can’t get along (and that spaying will cure that?) is nonsense. I have two intact bitches who get along just fine.

    For the record, there are four dogs in my house:

    2 intact females
    1 intact male
    1 spayed female

    and the spayed female is the least sociable with the other dogs. And no, we don’t breed nor have we ever had an accidental litter. If people cannot prevent their pets from breeding, I strongly suggest they alter them, but spaying/castration is hardly a guarantee that your dogs are going to get along. How silly.

    • Avatar Of Joanie

      joanie

      says:

      How do you keep your intact dogs from breeding? Would love to know your process as I will be needing it soon!

  9. Avatar Of Judy

    Judy

    says:

    I have a male Miniature Schnauzer (neutered) and a female Chinese Crested Powder Puff (spayed). They are always sleeping side by side or leaning into each other.
    He protects her from other dogs that I foster and if she is outside, he goes looking for her. They are Best friends and a perfect match. She is a puppy mill survivor and was next in line to start having puppies for the puppy miller. She was rescued at 4 months old. I adopted her at 6 months. My 2 dogs are both 2 years old now.

  10. Avatar Of J. Ordman

    J. Ordman

    says:

    I used to keep pet rats, and with them one absolutely has to have at least two. While in grad school I didn’t think I’d have the time or funds for two dogs, and it really bothered me – my boy had a close friend in the neighborhood, though, so he had a virtual sibling. When I have the income to support two, though, I will always have two!

  11. Avatar Of Susan

    susan

    says:

    I started out with two shitzus litter mates both males and then my son and daughter-in-law adopted a yorkie, female, from the humane society that was a puppy mill puppy. so now I have three dogs during the day. they get along well. It took some adjusting but that’s always the case now we cant get along without each other.

  12. Avatar Of Dusty Gres

    Dusty Gres

    says:

    We have always had more than one dog at a time. When we lived in an urban area we had two. Now, we live in a very rural country-side and we have 6, (down from 7), all rescues — ranging in size and temperment from a Jack Russell terrier to a Great Dane, with the new one a 3 month old Lab puppy! There are issues — particularly when you are adding to an established pack. We had more issues when we rescued the puppy, then we did with the previous rescue, a several year old Plott hound mix. Feeding, vet care, and wear and tear on the house are also negatives. Positives are the dogs little separation anxiety and lots of “friends” to run around with for exercise. The love grows with each one and there does always seem to be room for one more. If you are considering adding another dog I highly recommend the book “ComPETability: Solving Behavior Problems In Your Multi-Dog Household” by Amy Shojai.

  13. Avatar Of Wayne

    Wayne

    says:

    We have 3 a 7 YO Shepard mix Female, a 6 YO Black&Tan /Jack Russell mix male and a 1 YO Shepard/Husky mix male. The first week was a little rough when we got the last one But now all three play well(most of the time) and they look out for each other, and the older dogs teach the young one about things like snakes and bears.

  14. Avatar Of Michelle Baumeister

    Michelle Baumeister

    says:

    We currently have 4 big dogs:
    Danny: Rottie/Boxer/Alaskan Malamute
    Billy: Golden Retriever
    Margie: Pyrenees
    Johnny: German Shepherd Dog
    and 2 medium large dogs:
    Lucy: Bull terrier/Australian Shepherd/Cocker Spaniel/Siberian Husky
    Eddie: English Foxhound/White Swiss Shepherd
    I don’t think size matters, since they were always careful around my secretary’s Chihuahua, who thought he was the biggest dog in the room anyway. But I do think getting the right mixture of sexes might matter. Our experience before and now is that if a female isn’t happy, nobody is happy. Keeping 2 females content to put up with the rest of us is about all we can handle. What’s important is letting them work out the pecking order.

  15. Avatar Of Cheryl Lefebvre

    cheryl lefebvre

    says:

    I have two dogs, both female and dominate…need I say more. I have had Macie Grey for 13 yrs. and Bella for 5 yrs. I rescued Macie Grey from the shelter and found Bella. At the beginning I had a problem with them not getting a long. Now they do.

  16. Avatar Of Jan Hussey

    Jan Hussey

    says:

    Up until last year, we had two smaller dogs until they both reached the age of 14, and passed with cancer. Harry was a neutered male Bichon Frise, and LuLu was an altered female Bichon and Pekingnese mix. LuLu was two years younger than Harry, and had a bit more energy right up until the end. At that time, we got two because we both worked out of the house and we liked that they had each other for company. We ended up working from home, which worked out well for their advancing ages. They did always get along well, but Harry was not a playful guy. LuLu loved to play.

    Last Fall we got a French Bulldog puppy after a six month wait period to decide on our new baby. Tug is a neutered one year old male now. We are now in the process of deciding whether to get him a buddy. Now that we are home all the time, we have plenty of time to devote to walks and play. He loves to play with other dogs, and I agree with the person who said you just can’t replicate that type of play. However, we like to take him to Tiki Bars with us. And, on hikes an drives. It is easy to put one in the car and head out for the day. I’m not sure how much we would do this if we had two. Plus, he does get a lot of attention, and we feel unsure about how he would feel about sharing us.

    Cost is not a problem for us, but I do agree with that being a serious consideration. You want to be able to give them the medical treatment they deserve. If you can only afford one to have a sudden expensive problem. Stick with one.

    Tug trained very easily, and has turned out great. There is always the worry the next one won’t go quite as well. It’s funny to be unsure of which way to go!

    • Avatar Of Audrey

      Audrey

      says:

      Hi Jan,
      I’m exactly the same situation. I have a 1 1/2 year old female Frenchie, Penny, and her breeder has a 5 week old female which they are holding for me, but I’m concerned for all of the same reasons. Will this alter our close bond, will the new pup be over bearing for Penny, who is small and sweet. Did you make a decision yet, if you got a second is it working out or are you regretting a bit? Any help would be appreciated, I have to decide a.s.a.p. Thanks!

  17. Avatar Of L H Mackinnon

    l h mackinnon

    says:

    Two dogs are double the pleasure. I have had two dogs in the past and they were content with each other when I was at work. Be careful, though. Both my dogs went to heaven and I am still paying a credit card bill for vet care. Make sure you can afford it. I currently have one dog and am convinced she would be happier if she had a canine sibling.

  18. Avatar Of Christy M

    Christy M

    says:

    We currently have 5 dogs, 4 females and 1 male, 2 large dogs and 3 sm-med (13-22 lbs). It wasn’t planned that way, the last dog was a foster that turned into an adoption because she has the perfect temperament for therapy dog work. We usually have 3-4 dogs at any given time plus a foster. I do agree that they are great for keeping each other company and in our case the younger ones really take care of our 12 y/o golden girl. There are some things to keep in mind before additing to the pack but if you do your homework it can be very successful and rewarding for all involved. The downside, of course, is the added costs for vet care and grooming!(I always ask for a multiple dog discount!)

  19. Avatar Of Deborah Lyons

    Deborah Lyons

    says:

    We have always had more than one dog. Usually we have 3 (which we do have now, 2 males and a female)
    I think having one dog is almost cruel, especially if the owners are at work every day. Having another keeps them company, lets them play like dogs (you can not duplicate that no matter how hard you try) and are twice they joy and fun.

  20. Avatar Of Nancy Arnwine

    Nancy Arnwine

    says:

    I’ve owned multiple dogs, as many as 11 at a time for years. I also do a lot of fostering, mostly unspayed females with litters of pups. I don’t judge a dog by it’s breed, but by its personality & temperament. The dogs I have now range in size from 10# to 70#. Except for my Native American Indian dog, they are all mixed breeds of Chi’s, Shelties, Pit Bulls, Corgi, Shepherd & Lab. They range in age from 2-13 yrs. My littlest dog loves to play with the other dogs & if one of them gets too rough, she lets them know about it.
    I like having more than a few dogs. They keep each other company & have each other to play with. They all live together in the house & the only time I split them up, usually into 2 groups is when I go out.

  21. Avatar Of Allan Douglas

    Allan Douglas

    says:

    We have always owned two dogs and we foster at least one more most of the time. Ours are spayed/neutered, similar is size and age. Both were adopted foster dogs, so they got a chance to know one another before we decided on adopting the second.

    Benefits include the ability to entertain one another, they can run and play vigorously together where I can no longer do that, and my wife and I can each have a dog to dote over in the evenings. 🙂

    Potential problems are jealousy and competition for attention and food. We were careful to evaluate this before accepting the 2nd into our family, so it is not a problem for us.

    Drawbacks include the increased cost of food, preventive medications, vet bills and having TWO 90 pound bulldogs makes any kind of extended travel difficult at best (more like impossible: fortunately we like being where we are).

    You mention many other points in the article that need to be considered. Dog’s don’t necessarily think the way we do, and we can’t resolve some of those issues the way we would with human kids.

  22. Avatar Of Beth

    Beth

    says:

    I believe 2 is better than 1 especially if your first dog has separation anxiety. Also, before you bring a new dog into your home, let the 2 dogs meet at a neutral location and see how they interact with each other. I would not recommend bringing in 2 dogs who have completely different energy levels. One will drive the other one crazy. I have 2 spayed females. One I got as a puppy and the other was a rescue who was about 7 or 8 months when I got her. I think they also get along because they are close in age and energy level.

  23. Avatar Of John Gurney

    john gurney

    says:

    Two dogs are better for sure. They keep each other company and take care of each other. Both of our dogs just passed away, and my situation has changed, but if I could, I would have a house full of dogs. Every one of them comes pre loaded with all the love you will ever need. Bless each one of them-they are sacred!

    John

  24. Avatar Of Joyce Santacruz

    Joyce Santacruz

    says:

    I own a westie terrier 5 years old and I adopted a boxer/spaniel mix both males and both fixed and they get along with each other great! My westie is so much happier now that there is another dog in the household.

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