The Risks of Raising Two Female Dogs
Male-female combinations often work better
Why 2 female dogs may not be the best combination
You just visited a local breeder and fell in love with two puppies. They are two adorable female pups that seem to love to play together. You inquired about adopting one, but your heart is split in half between the two. You finally decide that you want both, and the breeder seems quite content of doubling the profits.
If you ever would find yourself in such scenario, think again. As cute and playful such puppies are, chances are that once in their teens and adulthood, they may engage in some serious discussions that may sometimes even turn bloody.
Thinking that both ladies may work it out together is not a good choice. Very likely, the fights may escalate, and the cases where one dog was injured to death are not very uncommon. This seems to happen most often when the two dogs are close in age and when one dog is older and a newer dog is introduced to the pack.
When two females are close in age, there is often a lot of competition. They will fight over several competing elements. Such fights seem to occur the most in the presence of the owner. They may fight over who walks first up a ramp of stairs or through the door, they may fight over sleeping areas, foods, treats and toys. Sometimes a cause may not be completely visible in the owner's eyes but it any case one dog may have felt challenged by the other dog and felt the need to send her back down the ladder.
Adopting a female younger dog when owning already a female senior dog as mentioned above is also high risk. The newer dog may perceive that the older dog as weak either because of sickness or weakness and may try to take over. Unfortunately, it's not unheard of such fights having a sad ending.
However, not all female dogs tend to have such fights. There are cases where owners are able to allow them to peacefully co-habitat with no problems. A big role is played by the owner, applying a "no fight" policy and intervening if something looks more than a minor squabble. Through desensitization and counterconditioning a lot at times can be achieved.
However, should a fight still disrupt, owners must be very careful in their attempts in separating the two fighting dogs. The chances of 'redirected aggression" are high. In such cases, the fighting dogs will get confused by the fight and over aroused up to a point where they may attack the owner attempting to bring peace back.
It is best therefore, to separate the two by startling them. This is accomplished by tossing a blanket over them, watering them with a hose, making a sudden loud noise or grabbing one dog by the rear legs and pulling away as if the dog was a wheelbarrow. You'll need to be very careful.
While many female dogs do get along peacefully, adopting two puppies of the same sex can sometimes be like playing the Russian roulette, their future may be a question mark. As cute as they may be, please try to consider that in the future one of them may have to be re-homed simply because they do not get along. If you are purchasing from a responsible breeder, he or she will not allow you to adopt such combination. If you really must adopt two, a female and a male is a much savvier combination, however ideally consider they should have a few years in between to avoid excessive bonding between each other than with the owner. However, no black and white statements can be made. A lot depends on your level of commitment.
Thinking that dogs "will get over it" and sort things out on their own, is pretty naïve when it comes to raising two female dogs. This may specifically apply the most to certain dogs of certain breeds as some are predisposed to same-sex aggression. Please do your homework seriously and do not take decisions lightly. It may cause you to give up a dog or worse it may cost another dog's life.
Questions & Answers
I have a senior female boxer-pit mix and a younger bully female that is just over a year old. Recently, they have started fighting so bad that there is usually bloodshed, and both are limping. Does it matter who started it? It happens so fast, almost always when my back it turned. I feel terrible because I can't afford a trainer in my area.
Thank you for this article. I have been dealing with this issue for 6-9 months and after the last fight, I am surrendering. So, I know my next step is getting a home for my female dog. What do you suggest? Meaning, where do "Good People" look for dogs? Craigslist? Equinenow? I live on a ranch in the country. Care and love my animals. If she must go, I want her to go to a excellent caring and loving family.