Raising dogs from different breeds in the same house isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible. Here’s what you should consider before getting a second dog from a different breed. 

You know what's better than one dog? Two dogs.
You know what’s better than one dog? Two dogs.
Image from Onasil-Bill on Flickr

One of my neighbors has three gorgeous dogs: two Saint Bernards and a Newfoundland. Our Charlie doesn’t like them very much, for reasons we never managed to figure out, but they’re probably the calmest dogs I’ve ever seen. I’ve often wondered how their owner-managed to train and take care of three dogs at the same time.

Taking care of multiple dogs can be a wonderful experience, not to mention a great way to make sure all your neighbors’ kids envy you. But if you’re thinking of getting another dog, there are a few things you need to consider.

Should You Get Two Dogs?

Having two dogs is rewarding, but it's a big responsibility.
Having two dogs is rewarding, but it’s a big responsibility.
Photo from Adrian Scottow on Flickr

Before we get into the logistics of different breeds and socialization, you’ll have to ask yourself: is it really a good idea to get another dog? Aside from the simple fact that two dogs are better than one, there are a few factors you should consider if you want to have two different breeds in your house.

It’s generally a good idea to wait until your first dog is fully trained and out of puppyhood, especially if the second dog you bring home is still a puppy. This way you won’t have to deal with training two puppies at the same time. On the flip side, if you adopt your second dog as an adult, you may have some trouble getting two adult dogs to accept each other as roommates.

In addition, you’ll want to make sure that you have the time, the energy, and the space for two dogs. If one dog is enough responsibility for you and your family, you might not have the time or energy to deal with two of them. While two dogs can keep each other company, they’ll still need individual attention from you.

Know Your Breeds

Some dogs don't get along with different breeds, but other breeds won't have a problem.
Some dogs don’t get along with different breeds, but other breeds won’t have a problem.
Image from mick huscroft on Flickr

Another important factor to consider is the breed of both dogs. Some breeds, unfortunately, just don’t do well with other dogs. Sometimes it’s a matter of temperament. A dog from a breed with a possessive or high-maintenance streak, like the Pekingese, won’t take kindly to having to compete with another dog.

In addition, more territorial breeds like the German Shepherd may have trouble sharing their space with a stranger. However, territorial instincts can be helped with good socialization and training. Some dog owners have successfully raised multiple dogs from different breeds, including a German Shepherd. However, if you have a breed that’s known for being territorial, you’ll have to take extra care to socialize your first dog and look out for any aggressive or territorial tendencies that might cause problems with another dog.

If your first dog is on the larger side, you might worry about your first dog unintentionally causing harm to your new dog. You may want to get a larger breed, especially if you’re getting a puppy. Try to rehearse basic training with your first dog before the new dog comes to help them exercise restraint.

Other Factors in Adoption

There are several factors to consider before getting a second dog.
There are several factors to consider before getting a second dog.
Photo by Sebastian Coman Travel on Unsplash

Most experts agree that if you’re going to have two dogs in the house, especially two dogs of different breeds, it’s a good idea to have one of each gender. This may reduce territorial behavior caused by having two dogs of the same gender in close proximity. However, if you do this, you’ll want to make sure both dogs are neutered unless you’re planning to breed.

Of course, your dog’s individual temperament is an important factor as well. If your dog needs a lot of individual attention, is territorial, or seems to feel claustrophobic inside your house, getting another dog might not be a great idea.

Finally, you’ll have to consider if you’re ready to commit to taking care of another dog. Taking care of a dog is a commitment of several years; taking care of two dogs will double the amount of care, money, and space you’ll need. However, it can be highly rewarding if you’re up to the challenge.

Having two dogs can be a wonderful experience if you’re up to the challenge. However, owning a pet is a big responsibility, and having two dogs in the same house creates complications that you’ll have to address. Plan carefully if you’re considering getting another dog.