Many potential adopters are driven to our facilities because of the puppies we place up for adoption. Every week, the excitement we see from our “puppy posts” seem to grow, but we also continue to see one common question. “Can I adopt more than one?” Most potential adopters are taken back when they learn our adoption policy doesn’t allow for two puppies from the same litter to go home together. Behavioral research in dogs has been done and provides evidence as to why puppies are better off NOT going home with their siblings. This explanation is referred to as littermate syndrome.
Littermate syndrome is not something that always occurs, but it is a risk that is taken when two sibling puppies are brought home together. While at first it may seem cute, the puppies will begin to act out. Common behaviors could be correction growls/snaps at one another, the two siblings competing, harder to get the attention of the puppies, fearfulness of people etc. In other words, the siblings either compete with one another, which leads to scuffles and behavior issues. Or, the siblings will feed off one another, meaning they isolate themselves from the other animals or the people in the home.
Another issue discussed occurs when adopters suggest taking two puppies, but from different litters, home at the same time. While they may think this is a compromise to the Litter Syndrome issue, there are other factors that play into why this is still not a feasible idea. Most puppies that are adopted only have their first set of Distemper 5-way vaccinations. To be considered fully vaccinated, they need to have three sets of this vaccine. This vaccine is what helps prevent puppies from contracting illnesses such as parvo. Exposing two, unrelated puppies to one another, could cause one or both puppies to become sick. It is best and recommended that after adopting one puppy, an adopter should wait at least until the puppy is up to date on all sets of vaccines before introducing another dog/puppy into the home. Not only does this prevent illness, but it gives the puppy time to adjust to its new home, environment and routine.