Is It Better to Have Two German Shepherds?

Is It Better to Have Two German Shepherds?

German Shepherds, like all dogs, can bring so much into our lives: This breed is, in particular, affectionate, loyal, loving, and protective. Some owners even report their dogs have saved their lives from danger and cancer. So, the next question is, what could be better than a German Shepherd? Well, how about two, to be exact?

Getting two German Shepherds of the opposite sex seems to be a better choice considering dogs are less likely to fight with the opposite sex. Ideally, the two dogs should have at least 1.5 to 2 years apart to avoid excessive bonding between each other that may impede their socialization with humans and other dogs.

In this article, we will first look at the pros and cons of having two German Shepherds in the same household. Next, we will get some ideas from current owners on whether you should get two males, two females, or two opposite-sex German Shepherds. In the end, you will have a clear idea of what to expect when choosing your second GSD. 

Also read: Male vs Female German Shepherds: How to Choose?

The pros of having two German Shepherds

Double the love and fun

Your first dog already brought a lot of fun and love, adding another dog will undoubtedly bring twice the joy and love into the family.

Making training easier

If you have a well-trained dog at home to set a good example, then it will be easier to train the new puppy you bring home. The old dog will be able to teach the new dog some tricks as it will look upon it for guidance.

Having a companion for your dog

If you have a high-energy dog like German Shepherds, you may be able to redirect your dog’s energy, so the dogs entertain each other. For example, the second dog in your home may give your dog company and reduce destructive behavior due to boredom or separation anxiety.

Having one more companion for your family

Having another dog can give your family one more furry companion: While you may want to have a good run with one dog, and your son may want to play fetch in the backyard with the other.

The cons of having two German Shepherds

More time and efforts

Obviously enough, one and one is two. There’s no getting around off it. With two dogs, you’ll still have to spend some one-on-one time with each dog every day. Make sure you have enough time for one dog before considering a second dog. 

Doubling the fur

This is more specific to the German Shepherd Dog – they are also known as the “German shedders”. They shed all year round and if you introduce one more GSD to your home. You may need to put up with doubling the fur – which means more time for picking up the furballs on the floor or a more powerful vacuum.

More expenses to be incurred

With two dogs instead of one, you may be doubling your expense on food, boarding, dog sitting/walking, grooming, and veterinary care bills.

Two dogs may not get along

Not every dog wants another pal to share his/her territory or even owners. And you have heard of littermate syndrome or two female GSDs getting into serious fights in the same household. In extreme cases, it may lead to re-homing of either of the dog or keeping them in separate rooms for good.

Should you get two males, two females, or two opposite sex German Shepherds?

To make our points more relevant, we spent some time researching the internet and social media to get the best possible answer for this specific question.

Here are what the current German Shepherd owners have to say about having two German Shepherds when it comes to choosing the sex:

Thinking that both ladies may work it out together is not a good choice. Very likely, fights may escalate, and one dog may severely injure or kill the other. This seems to happen most often when the two dogs are close in age or when one dog is older and a newer dog is introduced to the pack.

PetHelpful.com

You are playing with fire with two males. My advice is to definitely get a female. If they get along it’s great, but sometimes one of them “snaps” and it could lead to death. 

Ren. A.

Don’t do it (getting two GSDs). My GSD pup (male) seemed fine with the older female GSD on my parent’s property when I first brought her over. They played together fine for months. Then they stopped play-fighting and fought for real, and part of an ear was bitten off in the process. We have to keep them separated now. 

Tiffany N.

It is not possible to keep two male dog(s) where one is of age and doesn’t like another one(.) With a female, there will be no problem because a male dog is never aggressive to a female dog.

Schweizer V.

Regardless of breed, while many dogs of the same sex do get along peacefully, having two dogs of the same sex may pose a higher risk than the opposite sex.

This can be explained by the sex hierarchies for dogs. Within a pack, there are separate hierarchies for males and females. So if either or both dogs are concerned about dominance, they’ll be fine with another individual of the opposite sex while they are more likely to fight with an individual of the same sex.

Key takeaway: Get two GSDs in opposite sex

In a nutshell, it seems that getting the second dog of the opposite sex is a wiser choice. So, if you already have a male dog, choose a female, and vice-versa. 

Also read: Bringing Your German Shepherd Puppy Home for the First Time

Does neutering /spaying reduce aggressiveness?

In most cases, fixing your dogs can reduce their aggressive behavior. 

Neutering can help to calm aggressive dogs and can stop them from roaming. In fact, neutering has been proven to create a much happier and calmer male dog over time.

When a female dog enters heat, the hormones in her body change. Unspayed females sometimes compete for the attention of a male dog by fighting. Spaying your female dogs can also be a significant improvement in her behavior. 

Also read: 26 Critical Time in a GSD’s Life That Every Owner Must Be Aware of

Is it a good idea to get two dogs from the same litter?

Many dog behaviorists, trainers, breeders, and shelters discourage adopting siblings from the same litter. Evidence suggests that behavioral issues, also known as littermate syndrome/sibling aggression, may arise during key development periods.

It is because the two puppies are deeply bonded. It impedes their individual ability to socialize with humans and other dogs.

As a breeder, I would never sell two puppies to a home, or one to a home that just got or is planning to get a second puppy. They need individual attention, training and to bond with you, not the other pup. It’s your job to train, exercise, and be the most important thing to the pup, not another puppy.”

Marsha M.S.

What is littermate syndrome/sibling aggression?

Signs of littermate syndrome include fearfulness of strangers, dogs and any
(moving) objects they saw, such as runners or bikers.

They may develop intense anxiety when separated and have difficulty learning basic obedience skills. In extreme cases, the two dogs will fight incessantly.

Littermate syndrome can affect dogs of any breed, and it may also affect unrelated puppies who are adopted at the same time and raised together. 

The good news is: not all puppy pairs develop littermate syndrome and pet parents can prevent significant issues with specialized training methods.

How to prevent sibling syndrome in dogs?

The key is to give the puppies periodic time apart every single day. 

That means they should be regularly walked separately, played with separately, and trained separately. Do not allow the pups to share a crate. Feed meals separately, and out of two separate bowls.

Conclusion

While many male dogs, as well as female dogs, do get along peacefully, getting two dogs of the opposite sex seems to be less risky for the first time. Your worst nightmare is to have one of them re-homed simply because they do not get along. Ideally, the two dogs should have 1.5 to 2 years in between to avoid littermate syndrome which may lead to behavior problems. 

At the end of the day, dogs can only be dogs, and a lot depends on your level of commitment.

Further questions

Should you get a young or older dog as a second dog?

If you have an old dog, he may not be physically able to play with or tolerate a pup. While it isn’t advisable to adopt two puppies (especially litter mates) at the same time, if you have an adolescent dog at home already, adding another adolescent can be a great match in their energy level.

What is the best age gap between dogs?

The ideal age gap between dogs is that once your first dog has received all its basic training, it has matured to set a good example for your second dog. For many owners, this is around two years of age.

Will my dog get jealous if I get another dog?

Your dog is used to being your companion, and if there are other dogs that are taking you away, they may get upset, jealous, and even angry. This new puppy is also on their territory, and they may feel like their life is in jeopardy.

Further readings

How to Get Two Male Dogs Living in Same House Not to Fight – Pet.thenest.net

The Risks of Raising Two Female Dogs – Pethelpful

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