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  1. kelliecalico says:

    Great tips. I had litter mates and I had a bit of a learning cure, but found solutions. They went on all the horseback rides with us which kept them super fit. They were male and female which helped, but still required a watchful eye. They didn’t always like each other.

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Kellie, thank you for this honest reply ❤ Nancy

  2. Summer Time Fun says:

    February 1991 I was looking for a single pup. The owners would not separate the 2 pup litter. I brought them home and the first visit to the VET he looked at me and said “You don’t have to do this”. This two pups became my world and welcomed my son when they were 6 years old. In the early years, much of what you describe was my experience. The male was sedate, an old man of sorts and was happiest laying on my lap and asking me to never move. The female was a firecracker, life of the party, whirlwind of energy and would entice her brother into ‘finding trouble’. He got caught and she was no where to be found, she was smart as a whip. They would gang up on me or both would not listen to me at the same time. He potty trained in 2 days and it took her 8 months and she was arrogant about it too. They were in concert completely until they were not. Probably around the ages of 11-12. Later in life they flipped. They would get into fights and try and tear each other apart. It wasn’t over food or a bone, sometimes it was just because he would walk past her and bump her and she would immediately launch into him. He wasn’t interested in her temper and became more aggressive each year. Shortly after this began, the little girl went to live with my parents and she blossomed. He needed the quiet time as he lost his cognitive skills, sight, hearing and became incontinent. She held her mind, sight, hearing and was never incontinent. They lived to 16 and 18 years of age, she died at 16 within 6 hours of onset of a spinal cord stroke, he shattered his back leg, most likely bone cancer at 18 years ~ My greatest gift to both of them was raising them mostly in the mountains, watching them romp in the snow, plunging into snow drifts was probably their most favorite activity in the world. They were small dogs that required bi-weekly grooming and a few surgeries, I did limited vaccinating and stopped all at 18 months and did Rabies every 5 years and stopped those after ages 14. He was allergic to the baseline material in the syringe and went into anaphylactic shock, he required a steroid push prior to deworming! Crazy and complicated. It was a very expensive experience that I never considered
    the moment I first laid eyes on them. Did I love every moment with them, absolutely. Would I do it again ~ NO!!

  3. There’s a chapter in pretty much every dog book I’ve read titled “Adopting Litter Mates: DON’T,” so I guess that’s for a reason eh? Though not impossible as you have proven. But 100% for sure something I would not do. 😉

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      it is not for the faint of heart. If I was not the breeder I would never have considered littermates in this lifetime or the next. Oddly enough, my closest friends that are also breeders have kept whole litters or littermates and say that when they are yours it is quite different, and they would also never consider ‘buying’ littermates from someone else, the difficulties and considerations are very real.

  4. dayphoto says:

    I have always wondered if I wanted littermates. I still wonder. But your post is very insightful and I will always keep it in mind. I have thought the two siblings would rather be with each other and not so much me, which has kept me from doing so. 🙂

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      and that is very real – unless you separate for training, and socializing, they do want each other more, so it is a lot of time and effort.

  5. Rachel says:

    Wish I would have read all these articles before getting our two pups. We did research on the breed before getting them but didn’t realize the whole littermate issues before getting them. I’m definitely willing to put in all the effort needed to raise good and I’m glad I found some tips. Hopefully it goes well.


    HI! I just adopted two litter mates last Saturday. They are still very young, only 7 weeks old. I had read up on having litter mates beforehand however I made the deal already before I understood it would have maybe been better to get pups form different litters. But don’t be mistaken, I am a very detemined dog owner! I do have a lot of time. I spend nearly every minute with them except for the nights and both myself and my husband are very active people that can really make them tired and above all: We already love them SO MUCH.

    However, now they are still young. The girl is already a bit bigger and seems to have achieved being the boss of the two. She is also the one that develops first. They already learnt so much in just a few days! But she is quicker than he is. Not a problem of course be it that the boy, who is half a kg smaller, has not yet accepted her position as the stronger one. 80% of the time they play together really nicely but the growls are getting lower as the days pass. How should I seperate them and make sure their plays don’t become fights without removing one of the two (and thus letting the other win)?

    Many thanks for your tips!

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Hi Symine,
      In short, this will be life pretty much forever. It isn’t about them winning or loosing, those roles with shift with age and maturity, quite often. Litter mates know how to push each others buttons for sure.

      Gates int eh home are helpful, managed time together, and managed time apart – individual training, outings, and time with you, as well as both together for training, outings, and time with you – all really well managed.

      It won’t smooth out, you will have a new way of living with your dogs –

      If you want a more detailed plan and to discuss things further I offer in person, phone, or zoom consults – just let me know, Thanks, Nancy Tanner

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