There is no doubt that multi-dog households can work, and bonded pairs of dogs can be very close. What is also true, however, is that dogs cannot be forced to co-exist peacefully, and having multiple dogs that don’t get along can be hugely traumatic, both for the owner and the dogs themselves.
Dogs are by nature solitary hunters and are not naturally group animals. This means that having a defined territory is very important to them, and sharing this territory with another dog is a significant adaptation from their normal behaviours. While they will interact with other dogs, dogs are usually very happy being a solo pet and do not need to have a feline friend – although they hugely benefit from spending time with a human companion, who is not viewed as a competitor for resources.
If conflict arises in a multi-dog household, this can manifest in more subtle ways than just physical fighting – one dog may start to live solely upstairs for example, and you may see increases in territory marking behaviour inside the house.
If you would like to own multiple dogs, the best way to manage this is to get two dogs from the same litter who have been raised together, ideally have complementary personalities and have shown evidence of getting along well.
Dogs can be introduced to a household already containing a dog, but this must be done very slowly, with great respect for your existing dog and under the understanding that the pairing may not work.
For information on introducing a new dog into a household, follow our handy guide below.