How Many Dogs is Enough?

How Many Dogs is Enough?


How many dogs is enough? Too many? Can one have enough dogs? Are there crazy dog people, like crazy cat ladies? Or crazy chicken ladies? *ahem*

Naughty Chickens!
Naughty chickens! Get out of the feed bucket!

Most of y’all know we have two dogs. For twelve years we had one dog, our first Aussie, Clee-o. She was a handful for a long time, full of energy, destructive at times, protective, brilliant, a little neurotic, sweet. We loved her completely. And then she passed. Cancer.

Now we have two neurotic dogs who share a brain. They seem to share their energy, dividing it pretty evenly. I hadn’t thought about it much till yesterday, but I think I prefer having two dogs. I think it might even be important to have two dogs versus one most of the time. Hear me out.

Sister Dog
How many dogs is enough? For us, probably two.

Talking with my friend Diane, Brute Squad mom with three Chihuahuas, we discussed a dog’s need for company. Dogs are social creatures, living in packs naturally. They either need people all the time, or a dog friend. Or some kind of friend. I mean, the friend could be a deer, right?

Or a fox.

My point is, dogs need friends. Articles online, like this one, address a dog’s need for a pack, a family, a leader. True. Dogs need those things. But I think most of us visualize that need as a human family for their domesticated dog, without thinking about the possible need for a dog friend.

Granted, some dogs don’t take well to other dogs. Just like some people are loners, extreme introverts. On the whole, though, I think it might be safe to say that many families leave dogs home while they go to work and school. Or the mom is home with the kids and the kids either don’t understand the dog, or they just grow up. Help me here – I’m seeing it with my two dogs, that they need each other. In fact, I dread the day one passes and leaves the other behind, since they’re litter mates.

Pretty Aussie mixes
Flash is telling me to pay attention to the road and stop taking their pictures. You’d think I’d listen.

So I’m reading all kinds of articles about dogs being socialized (with various people, and I completely agree they need it), as well as with other dogs (play dates with dog friends versus having another dog in the home). The other dogs articles vary. So I’d like to ask what y’all think. Does a dog need another dog in the home? Maybe need is too strong a word, but is it better to have two dogs?

Waddling away
Jimmy and Petey love long walks on the beach, vivid sunsets, and mojitos at dawn. Or so I’m told.

We have two ducks, Jimmy (white) and Petey (black). When my Hunny brought our first duckling home a year and a half ago, I went out that afternoon and got a second duckling. They are very social creatures and need a buddy. That buddy could be me, or it could be another duck. And me. In fact, the domesticated duck seems to need both me and another duck.

Y’all, I’m fairly convinced that it’s the same with dogs. They need people. C’mon, we’ve seen a million and one videos, read a thousand and one stories, about homeless and abused dogs who are rescued by humans and practically worship them as a result. Dogs need us. But I’m serious about dogs needing each other. We humans are unpredictable and unreliable. Dogs are not. Almost ever.

There are a ton of exceptions to this, I know. People who are devoted to their dogs. People who truly pay attention to the one dog in the family. I’m just saying that I think a dog may be more emotionally balanced if it has another dog in the home full time. Yes? No? How many dogs IS enough? Let me know what you think? Thanks!

Until I write again …


17 thoughts on “How Many Dogs is Enough?

  1. You know I am not even sure it is a personal choice, cos sometimes we human don’t always pay attention to what our dog needs, ….I know at our house, when we had three pugs it always felt like it should have been four, and when we only had one pug it needed to become two. Which we now have two. Thank goodness cos poor stella would be sad and lonely with us both gone most of the day! I know people who have several dogs and it works for them ….Most of our friends have ONE dog and I see a different personality than if they maybe had two….I don’t know…I am just rambling….it must be cos i had the flu….
    stella roses mom

  2. We absolutely felt that Dexter needed a friend to help him play and get some of his energy out. We purposefully rescued Daisy because she was older and calmer than he was, which we wanted so Dex would have a model who could show him how the gown up pups do their thing.
    As for how many is too many? That’s so individual. I would absolutely foster my heart out but Miss Daisy is a one dog kinds gal. If I was home, I could spend the time separating them and switching out who is where and who spends time in each area. But I work and am out of the house about 9 hours a day and my husband, who works at home and travels extensively, cannot accept the extra work of a foster. Yet we know young working couples, who have fostered 30+ dogs a year! Go Team!
    I never judge: have one, have ten! Just so long as everyone’s happy, good for you all. 🙂

  3. Thank you! I’m hoping people don’t see this as judgmental! I can be so black and white and opinionated. 🙁 I’m really hoping that the takeaway is for people whose dogs have behavioral issues which might best be served by having a second dog in the home. Sometimes we don’t think of the simple solution until it’s right in front of us.
    Flea recently posted..How Many Dogs is Enough?My Profile

  4. I just have Blueberry as you well know. Since other dogs tend to pick on her because of her complete pacifist nature – it’s best for her to be the only dog in the home. She’s excellent with puppies and I would love to only foster them – but alas, my work schedule isn’t fair to a puppy. Blueberry actually prefers to be the only dog as she then gets my full attention. When I am at work -she has Mr. Squirrel to spy on and that’s her “job”. She’s a squirrel spy even when I am home during the day – so she takes her role in doing that very seriously.

    However, I do believe it’s important for her to have some interaction with other people and dogs outside the home so I do my best to make sure I get her to places (at least a few times a week) where there are other friendly dogs and people to meet up with. She’s so funny at the pet store- she’ll go up to EVERYONE to try and hit them up for treats! And yet she’s just as happy to go hiking in some remote area so she can go critter “hunting”.

    Every situation is different – finances can play a role in how many pets one can have as well. For me one dog is plenty and I can devote all of my time and energy and Blueberry doesn’t have any behavioral issues because of being an only dog. If she did – you can bet I’d get her a buddy!! I am always so impressed with people that have more than a couple of dogs and/or cats – they have truly big hearts to be able to address each personality and shower each of them with such love!
    Blueberry’s human recently posted..Thoughtful ThursdayMy Profile

  5. I think two dogs is just right. Years ago when I worked at an animal shelter, I ended up having six dogs and four cats. That was way too much to handle. Years after that, Sephi was my only dog for years (I got Maya when Sephi was seven). Sephi was very unsociable with other dogs and she developed dog-aggression. After Sephi died and I just had Maya, I personally felt that I needed two dogs… not that Maya needed a companion, but I did. I have two hands, I need two heads to pet. Not only that, watching two dogs play is very entertaining.
    Dawn recently posted..Can’t Get Enough of Those Funny Subaru Dog CommercialsMy Profile

  6. Mom says that the number is determined by how many you can afford to properly care for including major illnesses or accidents but then she also likes to have pairs so no species is alone so we have 2 humans, 2 dogs and 2 cats…we find odd numbers don’t work too well as it always ends up in a 2 against 1.
    emma recently posted..Explorer 2013 | GBGV | Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

  7. Blueberry is a lovely only child. You do such a great job as her mother. And you’ve worked to see if a second dog would be an option for you both. I know it’s not for everyone. I’m pretty darn sure I couldn’t have more than two dogs.
    Flea recently posted..How Many Dogs is Enough?My Profile

  8. I agree with many of the points you make and do not feel you’re being judgmental…In a dream world I’d have the space and resources for a pack of 4 or 5 dogs, but in this world right now one is it for me…I make sure Giz has doggy friends and we get together for hikes and playdate often…I’ve considered getting him a brofur, but I’m also thinking about fostering this year, and I couldn’t do that if I had two dogs, so for now Giz remains an only child and he does revel in the attention
    Gizmo (@GizmoGeodog) recently posted..DAVIS ISLANDS DOG PARK, TAMPA FLORIDA–TRAVEL THURSDAYMy Profile

  9. Jimmy?!? Who’s that? LOL. Let me see… how many dogs? That depends.

    If it were my mom, 5 was enough. If it were my brother, 1 was enough. If it were my sister, 0 is final. If it were my brother-in-law, 10 seems to a good number. And while I only wanted 2, I’ve ended up taking care of 10. I do hope this answers the question. LOL.

    Huggies and Cheese,

    haopee recently posted..Puppy Deworming and Administering Medicine to DogsMy Profile

  10. TEN DOGS?!? That’s a whole lotta dogs. Your ten are small dogs, right? I mean, I can’t even fathom having ten St. Bernards. But ten small dogs is the outside edge of feasible. Unless you’re a breeder. Then you have as many as you can care for well until they sell, I guess.
    Flea recently posted..TGIF!!My Profile

  11. I like having 2 dogs of my own and then raising (for the guide dog school) or fostering a third. I’d love to have more dogs, but I think it would just end up being too much for me to manage. I agree with the social aspect and I’m sure Linus and Stetson feel better being home together then home alone. I think it’s partially for my own benefit as I feel better knowing that they have each other even though they are not the types that are totally attached to each other.
    Colby recently posted..7 Reasons Why You Should Adopt A Rescue PuppyMy Profile

  12. As the proud human to a pack of six Australian Cattle Dogs (and cross) rescues along with a mixed breed puppy, most with special needs (blind, deaf), I absolutely LOVE having a pack. All the dogs are house dogs and are only crated when alone. There is one who doesn’t play well with others (heck – I’ve been accused of that myself) but we adapt so that she isn’t put in situations that stress her. All the dogs are happy, well behaved and loving.

    It changes things when there is a pack to consider. It’s not possible now to take three dogs backpacking (which I have done, one was blind) because where are the other four going to stay? Boarding gets expensive and with special needs dogs, I worry to much. We’ll be moving to the country and with 40 acres we can camp out and hike without ever leaving home.

    Initially, it may seem like a lot of dogs. Honestly, I would never have thought I’d have a pack of seven special needs dogs but I’d never, ever change it – except to maybe add another one, or two or…? So, how many is enough? That’s not an easy question to answer.

  13. I would have lots of dogs if I could afford it and I had a huge back yard. Mollie goes to doggy day care once a week, where she plays bitey faces and chasing, all what dogs do when they live together. She thinks Alfie’s a dog, he is good, he lets her clean him, chase him and play bitey faces . I saw that fox with the dog on the telly the other day, fantastic. xx00xx

    Mollie and Alfie

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