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What’s Littermate Syndrome? A Story of Two Puppies

What’s Littermate Syndrome? 

Littermate syndrome is an anecdotal time period that refers to a listing of behavioral points occurring when two pet siblings develop up in the identical family. 

Sometimes pet siblings go their separate methods, however in some circumstances, house owners will select to maintain two child canines. However is littermate syndrome actual, or are you simply wanting into how one can cease sibling puppies from combating? Maintain studying to seek out out! 

two dogs at home

Is Littermate Syndrome Actual?

Ask this query of a bunch of canine trainers and even veterinarians, and you’re going to get as many solutions as there are individuals. Some will say that littermate syndrome is a fantasy, and a few will say that this canine sibling syndrome may be very actual certainly. However what does science say? 

Littermate Syndrome Research

For one thing to be true within the scientific group, a scientist or researcher must receive constant outcomes. Nonetheless, additionally they must get the identical outcomes throughout different research aiming to reply the identical query – every research with its personal information. This is named reproducibility and replicability. 

On high of that, these outcomes will then have to be peer-reviewed to be a sound scientific time period. The truth is that so far, no research have confirmed that littermates that reside collectively are extra vulnerable to behavioral issues in comparison with canines raised aside from their siblings. 

Littermate syndrome is, subsequently, purely primarily based on anecdotes. Why is it then such a typical false impression? Listed below are some glorious recommendations as to why. 


Fairly a number of behavioral points are, not less than partly, as a consequence of genetics. In case you have one canine that suffers from nervousness when left alone, it may be terrible, then think about you probably have two on the identical time, it could possibly appear so much worse! 


Main fairly properly on from the final level, younger puppies – and even grownup canines – can exacerbate issues in one another. If one of many canines may be very fearful of people, it could possibly venture that concern onto the opposite canine – making it appear a lot worse. 


You could have heard the age-old saying that two canines don’t equal two occasions the work. That saying doesn’t go for puppies, in my expertise. A pet is a whole lot of exhausting work – two puppies are sometimes greater than twice as exhausting. Double the mischief, double the coaching, and double the getting up at night time. 

To some house owners, even skilled canine house owners, it could possibly shortly appear to be the difficulty is that the 2 puppies come from the identical litter. However perhaps it’s simply because it’s a lot tougher to coach two canines directly? 

It doesn’t matter what, we should conclude that littermate syndrome is, for the second not less than, purely a idea – albeit a prevalent one, and maybe sooner or later, it is going to be confirmed as a real scientific idea. Nonetheless, that won’t cease us from wanting into this alleged syndrome and, extra importantly: How you can repair littermate syndrome!

The Results of Littermate Syndrome in Puppies

We’ve coated that littermate syndrome canines are anecdotal and a idea, however what’s it that may be taking place when you have got points adopting littermates? 

The principle situation appears to be that many house owners report that the littermate syndrome puppies are likely to get so connected to one another that they can’t type a correct bond with their human house owners. 

Once you carry one or a number of puppies house, you need to bond with them, which means a whole lot of house owners can really feel completely disregarded when their canine isn’t all in favour of them. On high of that, some house owners additionally report that this lack of bonding means it may be exceedingly tough to coach the puppies – as they’re extra all in favour of one another. 

The Challenges Regarding Littermate Syndrome 

Though littermate syndrome isn’t a real scientific time period, 4 points appear to reappear when discussing littermates and the problems they could have. 

Over-attachment to Their sibling

Probably the most reported situation when bringing house two puppies from the identical litter is that the puppies develop into overly connected, or extra like they don’t develop into significantly connected to their new house owners. 

Fearful habits 

As a response to being overly connected, some puppies can develop fearful and even anti-social habits, particularly when separated. Ultimately, this lack of social abilities can result in aggression in the direction of others. Learn our article and discover out Breed-Particular Canine Aggression.

Battle Amongst One another 

Generally, some canines present elevated aggression in the direction of their siblings when housed in the identical house. It’s price noting that many puppies will playfight with any canine of the identical age they’re near, however some house owners expertise that siblings will do that extra steadily.  

Compromised Obedience 

Some counsel that canines raised with their siblings are tougher to coach, maybe as a result of they bond extra with one another or maybe as a result of they get distracted by one another. Nonetheless, it ends in canines which can be harder to coach and are, in flip, extra disobedient than canines raised in a single-dog family. 

little girl with two dogs

How you can Repair Littermate Syndrome

Any analysis per se doesn’t again littermate syndrome, however there would possibly certainly be extra points with sibling puppies. Nonetheless, it’s most likely extra more likely to be as a consequence of different issues than the canines simply being siblings. 

We’ve already talked about how points may be genetic and inheritable, in addition to the elevated chaos with two puppies in the home, however let’s dive somewhat additional into this and what you are able to do to repair the supposed littermate syndrome. 


No proof means that there are some particular bonds between siblings or that they’re more likely to bond much less with their household due to one another. Nonetheless, it’s not unusual for house owners with two puppies to let these two play collectively reasonably than take them to satisfy different canines.  

Two puppies residing collectively can’t socialize with one another correctly; they may nonetheless want a whole lot of socialization with different canines, new environments, individuals, and experiences to develop into well-rounded puppies. It might even be helpful to separate the puppies to make sure that they’ll deal with new experiences on their very own. 

It can additionally assist develop a stronger bond between a pet and its proprietor. Folks typically neglect that two puppies will nonetheless individually want the identical quantity of contact with an proprietor as a single pet. Not every little thing can occur with each puppies current directly; ensuring to spend loads of time alone with the pups will make a greater bond.  

Fearful Habits

Main on from the final level, it’s potential that as siblings spend a lot time collectively that they’re more likely to search out one another in new or scary conditions reasonably than their house owners. 

However it is usually potential when the puppies are on their very own, they could begin exhibiting extra fearful habits in the direction of new experiences in comparison with puppies that already spend most of their time alone. 

Some house owners with two littermates may be much less vulnerable to socializing their puppies as they tire one another out. To fight any fearful habits, giving your pet loads of optimistic experiences with a lot of treats for good habits is crucial. Bear in mind, socializing is all about high quality above amount!  

Battle Amongst Every Different

Puppies like to playfight – after they get somewhat older, their playfight might seem like actual combating and battle. Which may be dangerous sufficient in case your pet is play-fighting with the neighbor’s canine after they meet within the park, however whether it is on daily basis, it could appear to be extreme battle. 

It’s anticipated, as puppies age, that they may take a look at limits – with their house owners and canines of their speedy surroundings; this will typically seem like extreme conflicts, and, after all, it could possibly typically flip into conflicts. 

It’s an age-old fantasy that canines ought to “work it out” amongst one another, nevertheless it’s our jobs as house owners to look out for our canines – particularly if one canine is extra “tough” than the opposite. In the event you steadily expertise your puppies combating, educate them that when that occurs, you’ll separate them, a.okay.a. –the enjoyable ends. 

You may attempt to put them again collectively when each puppies are calm. If the too-rough combating continues, separate them once more. Ultimately, your pups will study that combating, even whether it is simply tough enjoying, will result in the enjoyable ending. 

Compromised Obedience 

Puppies are fairly playful, so they could select to play with one another reasonably than keep calm and trainable with their house owners. As they mature, they’re more likely to prioritize coaching reasonably than enjoying. However, as puppies enjoying might be on high of their to-do listing, which is why it looks as if littermates are far tougher to coach.   

To assist keep away from this, be certain that coaching classes typically happen away from the opposite pet. In the event you can, cut up up the canines between two relations. That’s very best; in any other case, it’s best to simply cut up the coaching classes into two, eradicating the distraction of playtime with their littermate and buddy. 

Coaching puppies individually and maintaining one ready can be a good way to show the opposite canine to be alone for a bit and a little bit of persistence! 

Ultimately, you’ll be able to maybe do the coaching classes with one canine ready and looking out on when you’re coaching the opposite. However at first, preserve the canines aside to allow them to’t see one another, and hopefully, your playful pet will develop into a trainable canine very quickly. 

Can Canines Acknowledge Their Siblings?

It’s unclear whether or not a canine can acknowledge one other canine as their sibling particularly – canines don’t have the identical sense of “household” as we people do. That mentioned, canines have an uncanny skill to acknowledge canines and people for years after they final noticed them. 

It’s, subsequently, very potential that though they could not know that one other particular person canine is their sibling, it is extremely possible that our canines notice that they know the canine and acknowledge them as “associates.”

How you can Keep away from Littermate Syndrome

Though littermate syndrome isn’t confirmed, it’s, nonetheless, a widespread concept. The anecdotal proof means that there could also be some reality to the concept that littermates who develop up collectively in the identical family have behavioral points. 

It then goes on to say that the easiest way to keep away from littermate syndrome is to not carry up littermates in the identical family. Suppose you’ve already bought two littermate puppies at house and really feel such as you’re experiencing growing points with them. In that case, it may be very effectively price contacting an expert habits therapist that can assist you. 

However, in the event you’re not fairly there but, preserve studying to get some nice tips about coping with the most typical habits points at house – relevant to littermate syndrome and single puppies. 

Our High Behavioral Drawback Suggestions

In case your pet has behavioral points, we advocate you return and have a look at our part on ‘how one can repair littermate syndrome.’ Many house owners report the identical troubles in single-puppy households! 

That mentioned, right here’s some good recommendation for any pet proprietor on how one can curb the worst of behavioral points. 

  • High quality above amount: When socializing a pet, it’s extra necessary to have nice experiences reasonably than many experiences.
  • Constructive reinforcement: Treats and reward will go a good distance along with your new member of the family. 
  • Keep away from negativity: Don’t shout at your pet if one thing goes incorrect. If essential, say a transparent “no” and redirect your pet’s consideration to a needed habits. 
  • Psychological stimulation: Your pet will, after all, have to be walked and performed with, however keep in mind that psychological stimulation, like coaching, looking for treats, and psychological video games, are what makes for a cheerful pet.

An important recommendation we may give you: Ask for assist! Getting a brand new pet may be overwhelming. It’s okay to ask for assist from associates, household, or professionals if you’re struggling and your candy pet is extra like a furry piranha!

Is Littermate Syndrome Relevant to Cats?

Though described by cat house owners, the idea about littermate syndrome isn’t almost as widespread amongst cats as canines. However maybe that’s as a result of intently bonded cats are much less more likely to trigger bother than two intently bonded canines? 

There have been some stories that grownup sibling cats will get alongside higher than grownup cats that aren’t siblings, regardless that they grew up in the identical family, so perhaps there’s one thing about littermate syndrome in cats? 

two cats

The Backside Line

Whether or not littermate syndrome is an correct scientific time period or merely an anecdotal idea, there’s little doubt that having two puppies at house concurrently is a wrestle for even probably the most skilled canine proprietor! 

In case you have introduced house two puppies, separating them from time to time is crucial to make sure they obtain all of the coaching and love, they want as people – after which they’ll play and revel in one another’s firm all the opposite hours of the day! 



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