Pros and Cons of Raising Two Littermate Puppies

Updated on September 22, 2018
alexadry profile image

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant, and author of "Brain Training for Dogs."

Littermate Puppies: Double the Joy, or Double the Trouble?


Upon visiting a breeder, prospective puppy owners at times may find it challenging to pick a puppy among the litter. At times, they may be debating on two puppies and may therefore come to the conclusion of ''what if I adopt both''?

This choice however, needs to be thoroughly evaluated as it is not easy as it may seem. Indeed, responsible breeders are mostly aware of the difficulties of raising two puppies at a time and therefore, they may categorically refuse to give two away. However, some breeders that enjoy the profit of giving two away at once, may not intercept with your decision.

Raising sibling dogs may have advantages and disadvantages.

  • The biggest disadvantage is that it takes double the trouble. House training one puppy is unnerving enough that two may really make it really quite impossible. You may find yourself, c cleaning up the mess of one pup while the other is soiling at another location. Because small pups may pee and poop every 3-4 hours, you will soon get the idea.
  • Puppies may also need very close supervision, they need to be watched as they can easily get into trouble. You may find yourself removing one pup that is chewing the couch while the other is right about to take care of your shoe.
  • The idea of raising two sibling puppies is almost impossible if owners are at work half of the day. They require constant supervision, and guidance.
  • One of the main issues that owners of sibling puppies must deal with is the disadvantage of the puppies bonding too much together. This often creates two dogs that feel better being among each other than with their owner. This creates problems that may intercept with the training and bonding process with the owner. Two pups raised together may not be able to flourish into complete dogs but as two half dogs that sleep, play and eat together for all day.
  • For this reason it is recommended to keep the puppies separated for most of the day, scheduling only a couple of set play-times. This way the puppies will bond more with the owner and concentrate their energy in pleasing the owner in obedience training. Left to cater to each other on their own, the puppies will choose the easy way, which is to focus on carrying on their own lives.
  • This is visible upon correcting the pups. If one should correct one puppy say, with a negative marker, and re-direct, often that puppy will not care much of the correction because it will forget all about it by playing with its brother a few seconds later. This teaches the puppy not to give much importance to the owner, because it has the opportunity to bond with its litter-mate.
  • Keeping the puppies separated may be quite challenging because it often translates into dividing the chores in two. Owners therefore will find themselves, walking one puppy and then the other, feeding one and then the other, training one and then the other, doubling the time for just about everything. This can be time consuming and both mentally and physically draining.

However, raising two puppies together have some advantages.

  • One of them is that they may be fun to watch. Two puppies may provide hours of entertainment. Owners often find themselves shutting off their television, just to watch them romp around.
  • The puppies benefit from playing together as well, as they get to get rid of excess energy.
  • They also get to polish their ''soft mouths'' skills. In other words, they correct each other when one bites too hard by squealing in pain, allowing themselves to learn how to bite softer. Yet, you will still need to work on bite inhibition as your skin is much more delicate than a dogs'.

Most owners do not have the time and patience to accomplish this. This is why often those who give it a try often end up rehoming one puppy. However, those that are determined enough, have lots of patience, experience and time on hand may be able to raise two well behaved puppies that may ultimately be able to grow to their full potential--or very close to it.

Where you successful in raising two littermate dogs?

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© 2009 Adrienne Janet Farricelli


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    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      4 years ago

      Miss Mitch, I wrote this hub in 2009 and the puppies in the picture are my beloved dogs who are now turning 7. I was very discouraged initially and trainers and people on forums were telling me to re-home them because the risks of them bonding to each and becoming "half dogs" were very high. I didn't listen to them; rather, I pulled up my sleeves and decided I would do what it takes to train them separately, walk them separately, and allow them alone time with me. I was fortunate enough to not work at that time, so I had all day long to dedicate to them. I had a few tough times a where on walks they would feed off each other's moods, (that's when I started walking them separately), then at the peak of adolescence, my female was becoming dog reactive and my male during a fear period human reactive, but I learned several great techniques and nipped these behaviors in the bud before they had time to establish. Today, I am a dog trainer/behavior consultant blessed with 2 wonderful Rotties that are well-behaved and not only, I even use them as demo-dogs for training and for behavior modification with reactive dogs. One piece of advice, other than the regular train them, walk them, bond with them separately. Make sure you also socialize them separately, they need to learn how to interact with other dogs and people separately. So, to sum it up, it can be done, but of course results vary on a case-by-case scenario and I always thought when there is a will there is a way, especially if time is not a factor and there's oodles of determination. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Miss Mitch 

      4 years ago

      I've got 2 almost 10 week old staffy pups. I'm at home most of the time with them and I find training them and feeding them separately is great they both respond much better with me. I do walk them occasionally together and they are fine, even when meeting other dogs. I understand how important it is to separate them and give individual time and training to each. They do sleep on the same bed even though they have their own beds. I'm going to change that though and separate them at night time. They play well together although sometimes they get a bit nippy at each other but I've noticed it's usually when one is tired and the other is pestering to play. All the information I have read is very interesting and makes me think It is possible which it is.... The one HUGE point is that they need separation from each other and individual time with us (their human pals) which to be honest is the hardest part especially the TIME consuming energy it takes to train one pup then to put one away while you train the other! This is something I totally underestimated. Anyone with any other advice or tips or success stories or anything that will help in better understanding of raising 2 sibling pups would be greatly appreciated.

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      7 years ago

      Are they male and female? It ultimately can be done, especially with opposite sex dogs but requires loads of work, socialization training, that the average working person many not be able to provide.

    • profile image

      suzanne salomone 

      7 years ago

      May need to separate 6year old liter mate's they are Great Danes need some in put on this....

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      The puppies are indeed beautiful and this hub is so very interesting and useful.

      I love dogs but for the first time ever I do not own one(not from choice).

      I vote up and thanks for sharing.

      Take care


    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      7 years ago

      Separating and training them apart is a good start. This article may be helpful:

    • profile image


      7 years ago


      My family just got 2 8 week old lab puppies, one male and one female. They seem to be doing well together although they do wrestle a lot. We are trying to separate them as much as possible. We take them out to potty separately, try to feed them separately (the previous owners were feeding all puppies out of the same bowl, so this has been a little difficult), and tonight they are sleeping in separate rooms. We also bought separate crates for them and plan on separating them some during the day. I really want these dogs to be the best dogs they possibly can be. Do you have any advice or tips for us? My dad is retired and so he is home a lot to work with them. I will be home a lot for the next couple of weeks until school starts. Any help is much appreciated.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I am currently raising two yorkies!! I love watching them play and they keep each other company, however the bigger one plays rough and seems a bit jealous at times. I am questioning my sanity at times for getting two but the second one was offered to me for free... How could I say no. I will work hard to ensure they grow into two well behaved yorkies!!

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      9 years ago

      Thank you, they are 84 lbs right now and still are my babies!

      It is great you have time on your hands and are working on separating them. I also am currently living overseas (Italy) so have an idea on how challenging it may be at times getting support. A great book I can recommend for dealing with two siblings is behaviorist Patricia McConnell's ''Feeling outnumbered?'' It has lots of insight on how to raise and manage multi-dog households.

      Another great expert this time on great danes when it comes to nutrition is Linda Arndt. If you have any questions about development or orthopedic issues she has lots of resources.

      Here is her website:

      Are they good on leash? A halti or a sensible harness may help you manage them in the future to prevent them from potentially dragging you around! I am sure they are big babies with big hearts~! Feel free to contact as needed, best wishes!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      They look adorable!

      I've been working on the separation of my two, in prep for Sacha's 1st season (my vet has strongly recommended waiting till after her 1st heat before spaying). I've been doing little by little, gradually building up the time they spend apart - any suggestions you have to help would be much appreciated!

      On the adolescence phase... well I'm just trying to get through puppy time :-), I'm sure I'll be looking through your hubs for more support as they grow up! I'm lucky enough to be in the position of being able to dedicate most of my time to my two and really want to work at getting it right (not only because they will soon weigh more than me...). I live overseas and don't have the usual support networks I would have at home. Your informative writing is an invaluable source of knowledge. Thanks and keep up the good work!

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      9 years ago

      I own two Rotties, (the ones seen in the picture above). They are great dogs over all, they are two years and 6 months now, and their teen age phase is almost over (in Rotties it is up to 3 years). They have bonded a lot, but I am able to separate them for even a week apart with no problems when I have to take my female to training with me. My female bloomed quite well, my male turned out to be a bit weak nerved but I am working on it on a day to day basis.

      Lots of work, double the trouble, but also double the satisfaction in many cases. Something not for the faint of heart for sure or those who do not have the time to commit to raising them into separate and confident entities. With lots of effort,it can be done though...Tough times though may await when they hit the adolescence phase...

    • profile image

      Ms Bob 

      9 years ago

      Thank you for the informative hub!

      I have two 8 month old great dane pups from the same litter. There were times in the early days that I really questioned our sanity and reasoning behind getting 2 at the same time. However, 5 months down the line and I wouldn't change it for the world. Yes, they have a strong bond with each other, but their bond with us is even stronger. I feel happy knowing they have each other. Their play-mates who are single pups do not have that constant companionship and bond that they have with each other and I know that they are never lonely. As they are giant breed, their adolescent phase will last until around 2 years, so I've a long way to go before they are fully matured. Believe me, an extended puppy phase, with 2 giant breed pups is not to be underestimated.

      Absolutely, it is hard work, but I truly believe that any responsible dog ownership requires love, commitment, patience and a willingness to put in time and effort.

      In my view 2 dogs are better than one!

    • Eternal Evolution profile image

      Eternal Evolution 

      9 years ago from kentucky

      as always very informitive hub. and the puppies are beautiful.

    • jacobkuttyta profile image

      Siny J 

      9 years ago from Delhi, India

      Thanks for the information.

      Keep posting

    • The Scarecrow profile image

      The Scarecrow 

      9 years ago

      oh boy, you can see the evil puppy look. no shoe is safe in that house.

    • bbp-studios profile image


      9 years ago from BBP - Studio

      These puppies are beautiful.


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