Second Dog: Which Dog Breeds Go Well Together?

two dogs playing outside with a ball

Dalmatians and Papillons like to be with their own kind.

Some dog lovers would like to start with two dogs straight away. For others, a second dog only enters their home slightly later. But which pedigree dogs are best suited to a long-established companion? Of course not just the breed plays a role when looking for a second dog, but many others factors like sex, age and socialisation too. Despite this, some dogs get on better with each other than others do. We will give you tips on dog breeds that go well together. 

Pack dogs that go well together

There are dogs that love the company of fellow canines, which is why they are best suited to being kept in a pack. They like living with their own kind. Many of them also don’t bond as closely with people. 

A good example are typical Nordic dogs like the Alaskan Husky, Greenland Dog and Siberian Husky – they go well with one another and enjoy life in larger groups. As typical pack dogs, they can live with dogs of similar breeds. 

This also applies to several scenthounds and bloodhounds like the English Foxhound, Beagle or French scenthounds. They are used to living and hunting in a pack. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a pack: dogs of these breeds can usually live together in smaller numbers too without any problems. 

These dogs like companions

Provided extensive socialisation has taken place during the puppy phase, there are several dog breeds that go well with fellow canines and like their company. Since stature and sporting ability also play a role, we will list socially tolerant dogs sorted by size. 

Naturally even small dogs can get on well with large dogs or sporty dogs with lazier ones. However, these combinations place special demands on the owners, who have to meet different requirements. 

Small dogs that like fellow canines

Socially tolerant medium-sized dogs

Socially tolerant large dogs

Very large dogs that get on with fellow canines

This list does not claim to be exhaustive. Feel free to take a look at similar breeds. Speak to your breed and bear in mind beforehand that animals can always surprise you! 

Big Kangal dog outside relaxing in a park © shodography /
Some livestock guardian dogs like the Kangal don’t like to share their territory with fellow dogs. Hence, this breed isn’t suitable as a second dog.

Do birds of a feather flock together?

It makes sense to choose a second dog that has a similar temperament and exercise requirements to the dog you already have. However, a similar temperament is no guarantee of them getting on well. 

For instance, many livestock guardian dogs are happiest as lone wolves and a companion often isn’t a good idea. So neither the motto “birds of a feather flock together” nor “opposites attract” are much use. 

If you live with a dog that is sceptical towards fellow canines, you should talk to an expert, e.g. a dog trainer, before taking a second dog into your home. 

These breeds should only be kept with other pedigree dogs under certain conditions: 

  • Livestock guardian dogs like the Kangal
  • Terriers like the Parson Russell Terrier
  • Doberman
  • Portuguese Waterdog
  • Some sighthounds like the Afghan Hound and Borzoi
  • Some mastiffs like the Dogo Argentino or Mastino Napoletano
  • Shiba Inu

Even among these dogs, there are exceptions that get on wonderfully with other dogs. 

Socially tolerant dogs from animal shelters 

If you’re looking for a second dog, you will find numerous socially tolerant pedigree dogs or hybrids in animal shelters. Animal shelter employees can provide information on how well the dog in question fits with other dogs. Often animal shelter dogs from foreign countries that used to be street dogs are very compatible with other canines. 

It’s particularly good for them if the established first dog is present to accompany them in their new everyday life, because the composure of the first dog calms socially tolerant second dogs. 

However, there are also dogs in animal shelters that prefer to be lone wolves. The breeds involved can help make an assessment, but appearances can be deceptive with hybrids. Trust in the judgement of animal shelter employees, who will do anything to find a good home for their charges. 

Which second dog should I choose? 

If you’re mulling over this question, you shouldn’t just think about the breed. 

What role does sex play? 

For dogs that get on well with all fellow canines, sex doesn’t play a big role. But things are more harmonious for many if a male and female live together. Consider though that at least one of them should be castrated or neutered to prevent unwanted offspring. 

What role does age play with a second dog? 

Intuition is required regarding age. Dogs of the same age are often most in sync with each other. If two puppies of different breeds grow up together, a friendship for life can even develop. 

However, young pups can also learn a lot from confident first dogs, although things can get uncomfortable if it gets too much for a senior dog. This is especially the case if the temperament differs not just due to age, but breed too. 

What role does origin play? 

An extensive socialisation phase is vital when it comes to whether dog breeds are suited to each other. You won’t turn a rather solitary terrier into a party animal. But the dog gets used to company and then finds life in a household with multiple dogs easier. 

What role does activity play with a second dog? 

Some dog lovers deliberately wish to plan other activities with their second dog. Two dog breeds of different characters may then be suitable. 

However, bear in mind that planning should be well thought out. Some owners go on double walks because their dogs have completely different requirements. Dog toys and sport takes up a lot of time too. Plan realistically so that none of your four-legged friends miss out. 

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