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Littermate Syndrome: What is it and Should You be Concerned?

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Littermate Syndrome: What is it and Should You be Concerned?
Littermate Syndrome: What is it and Should You be Concerned? | Innovet Pet

Most people who go through the process of adopting a new canine often find themselves at a crossroads. With the current generation of people dealing with their increasingly hectic work life, the thought of adopting two pups from the same litter eventually strikes an owner.

However, this is actually one of the biggest mistakes that a pet owner can make, as it can lead to a serious of adverse reactions. Adopting two or more pups from the same litter can lead to a very complicated situation as they will need extra effort.


1. What is Littermate Syndrome?
2. Signs of Littermate Syndrome
3. Problems You May Face As a Result Of Littermate Syndrome
4. Solution to Your Problems
5. Different Training Sessions
6. Conclusion

What is Littermate Syndrome?

Littermate Syndrome: What is it and Should You be Concerned? | Innovet Pet

Littermate Syndrome is when two or more pups from the same litter grow together and face certain behavioral and development issues. What might not seem like a very dangerous or serious matter can turn into a very serious problem in the future for you, your pup, and the people who come in contact with them.

In most cases, as the pups share a very deep primal bond, they are unable to connect or form bonds beyond the relationship that they share with their siblings. Littermate Syndrome can greatly affect the way your pups see you, and how they interact with you.

While most young dogs that are raised separately from their litter will indulge with you and socialize with other members of the house, young canines that suffer from this symptom can often have the opposite reaction. This means that they will not properly interact with you or may even be afraid of you.

Signs of Littermate Syndrome

Before you can move onto properly healing and ridding your pup of Littermate Syndrome, you must first be able to identify it. There is a multitude of different signs and indications that a dog is suffering from littermate syndrome, the first one being obviously, their fear of strangers.

Stranger Danger

Being afraid of strangers is not very common in young puppies, as they are incredibly curious and are often open to meeting new people. That being said, if you find that your pup is displaying any signs of being afraid of new faces, like your friends or family, and is going to cuddle anyone besides their sibling, you might have a serious problem on your hands.

Unless your dog has been through a very traumatic experience or you rescued him from a very abusive household, there is no reason for them to feel scared of other humans, let alone dogs.


Another sign of littermate syndrome is that your dog will have trouble learning basic obedience. Not only is it very hard to tame and raise a young puppy due to how committed you have to be in order to make sure they are not left with any bad traits, but two or more puppies is nearly twice the work. From sleepless nights to ripped curtains and couches, you need a lot of patience to raise puppies.

With this in mind, it is increasingly hard for owners to properly train and tame their pups, as the siblings will continue to distract each other due to their bond.


One of the easiest ways to find out if your pups may have Littermate Syndrome is by keeping one away from the other for a certain period of time. If you see that one or rather both of your pups seem to become distressed or begin to feel anxious, that is when you know that your dog has Littermate Syndrome.

Problems You May Face As a Result Of Littermate Syndrome

Littermate Syndrome can lead to a variety of different problems for you and your pups. Other than your pups having trouble learning obedience, they will also give you a very tough time. One of the major problems that you will face as a result of Littermate Syndrome is their aggressive behavior and emotional dependence.

Now you might be thinking, will my dog be aggressive towards me? In response, no but he will be incredibly aggressive to the other pups in the litter. While it is true that most pups are inseparable when they are young, the exact opposite happens when they grow up, as many speculate that bullying and fights become very common among dogs.

Other than their aggressive behavior, when they are young they will also be very dependent on each other, which means that separating them will trigger a very frustrating experience.

Solution to Your Problems

If you have adopted more than one pup from a single litter, then there is a way for you to properly raise them without facing much trouble. One of the steps that you can take in order to ensure that they do not have any behavioral issues is to give them separate playtimes.

Separate Play Time

Many behavioral experts advise owners to allow each of their dogs to play with other dogs; this will allow them to greatly improve their social skills and allow them to grow into their own by socializing with other dogs and humans.

A common misconception when it comes to littermates is that since they have each other, they don’t need other dogs to socialize with. This is very wrong, as it can further add to the anxiety that they feel when they are apart as well as add to their behavioral issues.

Different Training Sessions

Another one of the many actions you can take in order to reduce littermate syndrome is to give your pups individual training sessions. By teaching each of them separately, not only will the pups now have your attention, but they will also be more likely to respond to your visual and audio cues. 


While Littermate Syndrome is not common in every pair of pups that you pick from a litter, it is common enough for various behavioral experts to advise against it. Even if you happen to adopt them, be sure to follow the aforementioned instructions, and raising them together won’t be a problem.


Littermate Syndrome
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