In an ideal world, bringing home two puppy siblings would be a fun and exciting way to get two times the love and fun in your household as you raise the new family members. However, some behavioral experts believe that issues can arise from this decision, which is why most behavioral dog trainers don’t recommend this choice. Littermate syndrome has become a controversial topic in the dog community. Some say it is real, some say it is not. Keep reading to find out what we think you should know about bringing home more than one puppy.

Controversy about the dangers:

The first reason behind why littermate syndrome is controversial is because it can prove to be dangerous for the families of pets and the pets themselves. Littermate syndrome is a commonly used term to describe multiple forms of behavior issues that have been attributed to raising dog siblings or “littermates” (the dogs don’t have to come from the same parents, they can also just be close in age and raised together as siblings) in the same household past average adoption age.

  • One form of aggression that falls under this category is aggression between siblings.
  • Another form of aggression that falls under this category is that of aggression between siblings and others (people, pets, etc.).

These forms of aggression can lead to injuries of siblings/littermates and people who are exposed to the littermates. If littermate syndrome does exist, it makes sense that behavioral dog trainers would try to steer future pet adopters away from adopting littermates.

Controversy about whether it exists:

The other big reason littermate syndrome is controversial is because there are strong supporters and cynics of littermate syndrome. Some behavioral dog trainers believe that this behavioral issues is real and that there is clear evidence that it happens. They usually cite personal experiences of clients they have had where littermates exhibited littermate syndrome.

Others are on the opposite side of the spectrum, stating that there is no evidence that littermate syndrome exists. These cynics state that the only evidence that exists for littermate syndrome is purely anecdotal. This may be true, as it doesn’t seem like there have been many studies done on this syndrome.

All in all, this syndrome, real or not, has affected many people and gets people talking about canine behavior. What do you think? Is littermate syndrome real? Have you experienced it or witnessed it before? Let us know in the comments!

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Additional Reading:


Pet Adoption 101: Tips for Raising a Kitten or Puppy

Don’t Take Home Two Puppies: Littermate Syndrome in Dogs  from Bark Magazine

How and When to Train Littermate Puppies by American Kennel Club



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