The German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. They are intelligent, loyal, and active companions that form strong bonds with their families. Many German Shepherd owners consider getting a second dog of the same breed. There are several reasons why having two German Shepherds can be beneficial, but there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.
This article explores the pros and cons of having two German Shepherds to help you decide if it’s the right choice for your family.
The Benefits of Owning Two German Shepherds
Here are some of the main advantages of having two German Shepherds:
German Shepherds are pack animals that thrive when they have canine company. Getting a second German Shepherd provides built-in companionship and ensures your dog always has a playmate. It also gives both dogs comfort and security. They become bonded pairs who can entertain each other. This helps prevent boredom, loneliness, and anxiety when left alone.
Raising two German Shepherd puppies together from a young age is ideal for proper socialization. The dogs learn how to interact appropriately with other canines. Two German Shepherds brought up together will understand each other’s body language and cues. Proper socialization prevents aggression issues.
German Shepherds have high energy levels and need a lot of activity and exercise. Having two dogs means they can burn off energy by playing together in the yard. Taking two dogs on walks or hikes also tires them out and challenges them mentally and physically. With another dog, they are more likely to get the activity they need.
Training two German Shepherds together can have advantages. When one dog learns a command or behavior, the other will pick it up more quickly by watching the trained dog. Having another obedient GSD around reinforces the training. However, be sure to work with each dog separately as well.
German Shepherds are highly valued for their protective instincts and intelligence. Many people feel more secure having two large guardian dogs at home. Two dogs may also deter intruders better than one. And should an emergency occur, two dogs are better able to get help.
While the initial purchase price and medical costs are doubled, other expenses do not significantly increase for a second dog. Costs for food, grooming, boarding, etc. are lower per dog. Also, buying in bulk for two dogs saves money. Toys, beds, and other supplies can be shared.
Potential Drawbacks of Owning Two German Shepherds
While there are many perks to having two German Shepherds, there are also some important considerations:
The costs of food, medical care, grooming, boarding, supplies, etc. for two dogs adds up quickly. The expenses are a bigger commitment, especially if there are unexpected vet bills. German Shepherds often have health issues like hip dysplasia that require treatment.
German Shepherds are large, active dogs that require adequate room indoors and a securely fenced yard outdoors. Having two may mean they need more space, which could be a problem in a small home. More room for crates, beds, bowls, toys is needed.
Two dogs double the amount of time needed for walks, play, training, grooming, and care. German Shepherds have higher energy and exercise requirements. Make sure your family has time to properly care for and bond with two dogs.
While well-socialized GSDs do great together, fights for dominance can arise between same-sex dogs. There may also be issues over food, toys, beds, or attention. Ongoing training and proper exercise are essential to prevent problem behaviors.
Chaos and Messes
The chaos of two large, energetic German Shepherds can be difficult to handle at times, especially for first-time dog owners. More barking, jumping, roughhousing, etc. occurs. Also, twice as many dog hair tumbleweeds and messes!
Travel and Boarding Difficulties
It’s harder and more expensive to travel with two German Shepherds or find accommodations that accept large dog breeds. Boarding and arranging care for two dogs when you take trips can also be challenging.
Different Life Stages
If not acquired together as puppies, the dogs may be at vastly different life stages. Senior dogs need rest while younger dogs crave high activity. Their needs may be difficult to balance.
As you can see, there are compelling reasons on both sides of the issue. To make the best decision for your family, carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages.
Factors to Consider Before Getting a Second GSD
If you decide that a second German Shepherd is right for you, here are some important factors to consider:
- Gender – Female pairs usually do better together. Males tend to clash, but with training can get along. Avoid getting two dogs of the same gender to prevent fighting.
- Age – Introducing a puppy to an adult dog works well. The older dog helps train the pup. Adding an adult to an adult dog can be riskier.
- Personalities – Ensure the temperaments and activity levels of the dogs match. High energy or dominant dogs may not coexist peacefully.
- Training – Proper obedience training and socialization is essential for both dogs to learn good canine manners and responses to commands.
- Space – Make sure your home and yard provide enough space for two large, energetic German Shepherds. They need room to play and move comfortably.
- Time – Can you devote sufficient time to properly care for, exercise, train, and bond with two dogs? They need a lot of attention.
- Expenses – Determine if you can comfortably afford the higher costs of owning two dogs, including vet bills. Save up an emergency fund.
- Travel – Will you need to board the dogs often? Can you handle traveling with two? Make plans for care when you are away.
Taking the time to carefully consider these factors will help ensure a smooth transition to owning two happy, well-adjusted German Shepherds.
Tips for Successfully Raising Two German Shepherds
If you’ve decided to take on two German Shepherds, here are some tips to help you raise them successfully:
- Acquire the dogs at the same time if possible so they bond as puppies. Introduce new dogs slowly and safely.
- Feed, walk, train, and play with the dogs separately as well as together. Give them one-on-one attention.
- Socialize the dogs properly at an early age with other dogs, people, places, etc. to avoid aggression.
- Train each dog consistently with positive reinforcement. Teach them basic obedience commands separately.
- Ensure the dogs get adequate daily exercise – long walks, running in the yard, play time, etc. Tire them out!
- Provide interactive puzzle toys and activities to mentally stimulate both dogs.
- Give each dog their own bed, crate, bowl, toys to avoid conflicts. Feed separately.
- Bathe, groom, and clip nails regularly to maintain hygiene, neat appearance, and health.
- Keep up with vet care – exams, vaccines, preventatives. Monitor for signs of illness.
- Be patient and consistent. It takes time for two dogs to adjust to each other and the household routine.
With training, socialization, exercise, and two-on-one attention, two German Shepherds can be a wonderful, lively addition to your family!
Frequently Asked Questions About Owning Two German Shepherds
Many prospective and current owners of two German Shepherds have questions about properly caring for their dogs. Here are answers to some of the most common questions:
Is it better to get two German Shepherd puppies at once or separate them in age?
Getting puppies close in age allows proper socialization and bonding from a young age. But an age gap of at least 1-2 years can work with slow introductions.
How can I prevent my two German Shepherds from fighting?
Proper training, exercise, supervision, and adjusting problem behaviors are key. Dogs of opposite genders get along better. Monitor play and separate at any signs of aggression.
Should I feed my German Shepherds together or separately?
Feeding in separate areas avoids food guarding issues. But with training, you can teach them to eat calmly together. Monitor meals for any resource guarding.
Is owning two German Shepherds too much for a first time owner?
Socialized German Shepherds do well together with training. But they are more demanding than owning one dog. First timers should carefully consider the commitment involved.
How often should I walk and exercise two German Shepherds each day?
A: Plan on providing at least 60-90 minutes of vigorous exercise daily. German Shepherds need a lot of activity and stimulation to prevent bad behaviors.
Should I buy double everything – food bowls, crates, beds etc. for two German Shepherds?
Buying multiples avoids conflict. But with training, some items can be shared. Both dogs should have their own crate though. Monitor toys/chews closely.
How much more will caring for two German Shepherds cost than just one?
Expenses like food, medical care and boarding are doubled. But costs per dog on other supplies decrease. Budget at least an extra $1000-2000 annually.
Where can I find pet-friendly accommodations when traveling with two German Shepherds?
Ask about dog-friendly hotels/rentals in your destination. Drive instead of flying. Look into boarding facilities that accept multiple large dogs.
Should I take two German Shepherd puppies to the same training classes?
Early socialization classes are great for pair training. But also work with each pup separately. Check class sizes – smaller is better for two pups.
The loyal, intelligent German Shepherd is a great breed that thrives when paired with another canine companion. While having two German Shepherds can be rewarding, the decision requires careful consideration of the added responsibilities and expenses. Raising two dogs simultaneously demands time, training, space and financial commitment.
However, with preparation and effort, the benefits of doubled companionship and activity can outweigh the extra work. The keys are thorough socialization, obedience training, exercise, and personal attention for each dog. If you ensure you have the resources to meet their needs, two German Shepherds can become wonderful additions to your family!