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adding a second dog - age difference

26422 Views 83 Replies 28 Participants Last post by  cshellenberger
I'm wondering if there are any guidelines for age differences between dogs in the same family. Much of what I've read focuses on situations with both dogs joining a family as puppies. What about adding a rescue? Other than the eventual issue of having two elderly dogs, does it matter if the existing dog and rescue are close in age or if the new addition is older?

For background, we added a 5 1/2-month-old standard poodle to our family in October, and she turned one this month. I've been seriously considering adopting a retired greyhound in a year or so. By the time we're ready to adopt, our current dog will be between 2 and 2 1/2years old; most retired greys seem to be between 2 and 5 years. Will that matter?

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I think the major reasons people have for wanting an age gap between their dogs is to reduce the chances of losing them both to old age around the same time.
I think the major reasons people have for wanting an age gap between their dogs is to reduce the chances of losing them both to old age around the same time.
Yup. As much as I hate the idea, I've been looking at dogs under 1 year because kabota is 3-4 and the thought of losing two dogs in the same year . . . I'm not sure I'd make it. Of course, there are no guarantees. Kabota could die of cancer next year, so you should probably just pick the best dog regardless of age.
I agree with both dagwall and Amaryllis. I think for the most part it is so you don't loose 2 dogs in one year. There have been times i have had 2 dogs around the same age or just months apart and there were times were one passed long before the other but i have had it were both died not to far from each other and it was devastating. Like amaryllis said, just pick the dog that is right for you regardless of age
The first two years dogs go through a lot of changes, much like humans from toddler to adult. There's the kid age, teens and finally they settle down. Most of them anyway.

It's not a good idea to get two puppies because they will often bond to each other rather than the humans. Plus it's easier to deal with one dog at a time through the teenage years and there's usually more control and training on a 2 year old dog vs. a 2 month old dog.

Other than that, like others have said you 'could' loose them close in age but there's nothing set in stone, some dogs live to very old and some don't live long enough. Even littermates don't all pass in the same month or year.
When Leeo and Blu Boy were almost 5 years old I wanted to add another puppy to help bring back the pup in the boys and I knew they were getting older. Leeo has since passed unexpectedly ... so now Blu Boy will be 6 years old and Abbylynn is almost 1 and 1/2 years old ... and now there is Eddee who is 10 months to a year old. I personally like to wait until a dog is at least a year old before adding another dog. IMHO ... The teenage stage is pretty well over by this time and usually the potty training is also over. Plus the older dogs help teach the younger dogs things too. It is a big help if your first dogs are well behaved before adding another pup or dog. It has been easier all the way around to me this way.
Thanks for the advice. Yeah, having two elderly dogs at the same time is a huge downside to adopting so soon. I was just looking at the adoptable greys at a local agency; they range from one to four years older than my current dog. The life expectancy estimates for both breeds are similar (~12-15 years), so I could potentially lose both in a short span of time. My options seem to be take that chance or wait until my current dog is even older (although that could make the adjustment to a two-dog household more difficult for her). Arrr! At least is doesn't sound as though there are any special issue with adding an older dog to the family. Thanks again!
I ended up adding then 3-year-old Pentti when Kimma was only 10 months (it was sort of unexpected - we hadn't anticipated adding another dog until Kimma was 2, and even then we were planning on a puppy). It ended up being great for both of them, as Kimma got a playmate who did not tire of her antics too quickly, and Pentti got to play a bit more than he had been used to! He also taught Kimma some manners, so it really was a win-win for everyone.

Now I have Bubbles who is only 2 weeks older than Kimma. At this point, all of my guys are pretty close in age, but I'm not too worried about their getting old together. I will manage it, as they were the right dogs for me and they came in to my life at the right times. I wouldn't stress too much about it, but keep the age differences in the back of your mind. When you're ready for another dog, I think you will know it and adjust accordingly - I think Katie will, too, even if she's a bit older since it seems like she is well-socialized :)
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For me, age doesn't mean anything. We adopted an 11 year old dog; our dogs at that time were, I think, 4 and 7. The adopted dog wasn't in good health, had had a cancerous tumor removed. Tucker, the 7 yr old was then 10. Since he was healthy, I assumed that the old dog would pass first. That didn't t happen. Tuck got sick and was put down in a month. I guess the moral to my story is that there are no guarantees, get the age dog you want and that works with your current dog. You just never know.
I would get a dog that's within a few years of being the same age as your current dog, if you want them to be friends. If the age difference is too great, the older dog may not have the tolerance for the energy of the younger one. We just adopted a mix that's around the same age, if not a bit younger than my poodle. They're getting along pretty well, although Maddie's energy is a bit higher than Potsie's.

If you have an older dog, I wouldn't hesitate to adopt another senior. With good care, they can live a good, long life. We took in a 9 year old golden many years ago, thinking we had a couple of good years left with her (her owner had died). Sunshine lived to be 17!!
Thank you for sharing your experiences and advice. A friend told me not to stress or overthink this, so I'm going to put all of this information in the back of mind for the next few months.
My current situation I waited until my first dog was almost 3 when I added the new puppy. I have a young daughter and I didn't want her to get knocked into by 2 puppies.

My first dogs I had before children. I got a 6mo stray and @ 4-5 yrs later added an 8-10yo dog to the house. Worked out fine, they both loved each other and played together well.

I do think that dogs within a few years of age get along better than a senior and a young dog. And if you don't have a tiny toddler in your house then having 2 dogs under the age of 2 is totally doable.

Mostly I think that having a well trained, reliable dog in the house before adding the second dog is more important than age. That way your new dog has a positive canine role model for good household behaviors. And you can spend your free time training the new addition instead of having to train 2 dogs at the same time.
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Age could play a part in dominance between dogs if any of them are dominant, and then of course they could be more likely to pass around the same time. I don't really care about age as long as the dog will fit well in my home.

I added 1 year old Bailey when Frag was 1, and I added 1 year old Chernobyl when Frag and Bailey were 2. I don't really mind that they're all the same basic age since Bailey will probably live to be over 15, Frag will probably live to be no more than 10, and Chernobyl will probably be pushing it at 12. Also, they all get along well and were at the training levels I wanted them before I got another. I don't want the stress of managing issues in more than one dog, so when the dogs aren't stressful or hard to deal with for any reason, I feel confident adding another.
I have to ask....you DO realize that Chernobyl was one of the WORST (if not THE worst) nuclear disasters in history, right?
...chernobyl .... seriously .... FFS nothing like being a good breed ambassador
Hmmm. Can't say I've met anyone turned off by his name yet. Most love the "historic, uncommon" name... And I totally forgot that a dog's name can determine whether or not they're going to be a good dog. I had two dogs named Killer and Little Killer growing up that were the sweetest Pit Bulls. :)
And I totally forgot that a dog's name can determine whether or not they're going to be a good dog.
Yes, because that was TOTALLY my point....

In regards to the OP, I add a dog when I feel I'm ready to add another dog, and that's pretty much all there is to it for me.

The latest dog added, Mahler, is almost 19 weeks old. My eldest dog is 8 years old. Strauss is getting a bit more impatient in his old age, but he's overall a benevolent leader, and pups learn early on who to follow, and how to not poke the bear.

Mirada is just over 2 years old now, and she came to my family at 10 weeks when Strauss was 6 years old.

Strauss is the kind of dog that would be perfectly happy to be an only dog. He is not best friends with anybody. Yes, he'll play with the bitches sometimes, but mostly he'll keep to himself, or play with humans. He can curl up on the couch with anybody and be civil, but his entire demeanor is one of toleration.
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The age difference to me ..Isnt as important as the maturity level and personality of my current dog.
First I consider my current dogs welfare as being optimal..and introducing another "Family Member" into the household should be done in a way that doesnt create turmoil...or envoke feelings of betrayal and jealosy.
Yes, because that was TOTALLY my point....
Uh, I didn't quote you because I wasn't replying to you. Obviously that wasn't your point. :confused:
I really prefer my dogs to be 2 years difference, it works for me. However, at this time, I have a 1 year old GSD, a 2 year old Cardigan and I'm adding a puppy this Fall.
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