What Is Littermate Syndrome In Dogs?
Littermate syndrome a.k.a. sibling syndrome in dogs refers to a variety of canine behavioral problems that arise when two puppies, often siblings, are adopted at the same time. Littermate syndrome is a condition where two puppies who live together form a very strong bond that interferes with their normal behavior and social development.
With littermate syndrome, puppies form a so-called hyper-attachment, where their whole focus is on each other. To put it simply, two puppies will form a stronger bond with each other than their human parents. If not treated properly, it can lead to a whole set of behavioral problems that will challenge your relationship and your dogs’ wellbeing.
Although the term suggests that littermate syndrome only affects siblings, that’s not the case. Puppies who are the same age and have been adopted at the same time can just as well develop an unhealthy codependency towards each other.
(Courtesy of Doodle Doods website: What Is Littermate Syndrome In Dogs? – Doodle Doods
Some other resources:
Petlist: 2 Small pups, one big problem
Littermate Syndrome: Real or Myth? | PawLeaks
Littermate Syndrome – Canine Behavioral Services (k9behavioralservices.com)
The Pros And Cons of Adopting Two Puppies at Once (fishsubsidy.org)
Our policy on adopting littermates – or more than one young pup – is a strong no. Our leadership team is made up of veteran rescue folk who came to realize this syndrome after so many returns of “half a duo”. We will NOT adopt littermates together – we also will not adopt a puppy to a home with a dog under 6 months. Adopting a puppy to a home with a dog between age 6 months and one year will be addressed on a case-by-case basis, but is highly discouraged.
Please focus on one pup – get them trained and ready to HELP you bring up your second dog!!!