Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

Best friend adopted littermate - risk of littermate syndrome?

2489 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Bfrayne1
Hello -

My best friend and I have just recently adopted puppies from the same litter. While we do not live with each other we are just a few blocks away and I anticipate seeing him and my puppy’s littermate often. We’ve also considered using similar doggie daycare and walking services. However, I’ve been reading a lot about littermate syndrome, so am now wondering if our dogs are at risk in developing the syndrome if we allow them to spend too much time together. Would appreciate any/all input based on your personal experience.
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
For those of us uneducated.....
Could you define "Littermate Syndrome"?
For those of us uneducated.....
Could you define "Littermate Syndrome"?
Littermate syndrome is when two puppies that are close in age (the don't have to be actual littermates) who live together become overly attached to each other, and not to the human family members. It can eventually lead to several scenarios, including dogs that panic and can't cope when separated from each other or dogs who eventually start fighting (sometimes called sibling rivalry). Patricia McConnell talks about it in this blog post. https://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/adopting-littermates-dont

OP, as long as most of the puppies spend most of the time apart from one another, and both get plenty of attention and interaction from their respective humans, then I wouldn't worry overly much. However, if they spent most of their time together, then I would be somewhat concerned.
Thanks. So to paraphrase and simplify.....The Human/Dog bond is not complete. So the Dog/Dog bond is complete.

The Human/Dog bond is rooted in the interactions between the two. The Dog can't be expected to make a bond with the human if the human is not engaged with the dog.

Dogs are pack animals. The "pack" can be human (family) and dog(s). If humans are not in the "pack" then the dogs will bond with each other. This seems to be a nature driven "Syndrome" that someone is making a name for themselves by giving the bonding an "illness" sounding label. JMHO.

Dogs that panic and can't cope are animals trying to rejoin the "pack"
Dogs that are fighting for "sibling rivalry" are establishing the order of the pack.
Nature with an ominous illness label.

This is simple. They don't live together. So the chance of a complete Dog/Dog bond is not very strong.

You don't need to worry about such silliness. Engage your dog, walk your dog, allow the dogs to meet and/or play together.......get on with life.

I'm not an expert, just applying my knowledge, a bit of logic and a bit of experience. All the previous is Just My Humble Opinion.
See less See more
I don't think I'd be concerned about littermate syndrome in this situation, but it wouldn't be a bad idea to be alert to the fact that they're likely to hit milestones such as fear periods and sexual maturity around the same times, which has the potential to exacerbate scuffles from normal dog spats into potentially dangerous fights if you don't intervene. You'd particularly want to keep an eye out for this if they're both male or both female, and/or if they're of a breed that's prone to dog aggression. Adolescent dogs, like adolescent humans, have a lot of big feelings and impulses and don't always know how to channel them in an appropriate way, lol. Put multiple adolescents together, and things can get rowdy.

I think you'll be grateful to have a good friend that also has a pup and lives nearby for convenient puppy playtime - two dogs can tire one another out wonderfully, and a tired puppy is a good puppy. Just keep a parental eye on things.

Congrats to you and your friend on your new pups, and it's great that you're being proactive about making sure they form healthy relationships with both humans and other animals :)
See less See more
In this situation you shouldn't have to worry about it too much. They are sleeping separately, eating separately, training separately, and will spend most of their time apart.

I think it's great that you have done your research and are aware of the possibility though!

Congratulations on the new puppy :)
Thank you all for the thoughtful and helpful responses! Appreciate the well wishes ?
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.