Can Two Male Dogs Live In The Same House?

Can Two Male Dogs Live In The Same House?

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One common question that comes up when families are looking into getting a second dog is, what should the gender be?  That’s because gender does play a role in how a dog will act.  While gender is only one factor, it can be an important one!  Luckily, when you adopt a new dog into your family, you can pick and choose what kind of dog, how old they are, and whether they’re a male or a female!  If you already have a male dog at home, your biggest concern will probably be the following;

Can two male dogs live in the same house?

Yes, two male dogs can absolutely live in the same house.  However, there is always a possibility for aggression between dogs of any gender.  Whether or not your two male dogs get along will depend on personality, breed, size, and gender.  Plus, having neutered dogs might ease the tension! 

In this article, we’ll discuss the different dynamics between neutered and unneutered male dogs.  We’ll also talk about why dogs fight in the first place and what you can do to avoid fights in your home!

Can Two Male Dogs Live In The Same House?

It is totally possible for two male dogs to live in the same house.  Although many people recommend 1 male and 1 female dog as the “ideal” living situation, many other gender combinations should also work out just fine!

It’s not uncommon to see two male dogs live their entire lives together, as close as siblings.  These dogs will play, eat and sleep together without any issues.  But, this isn’t the only outcome!  Two male dogs can cohabitate, but they are more prone to fight than two females.

So, why is that?

Male dogs have more testosterone than female dogs do.  Testosterone does great things for the body like increasing muscle mass and bone density (which is why you shouldn’t neuter dogs too young)!  But, testosterone can also be responsible for increased aggression in dogs.  Males dogs are just quicker to fight than females.  Because testosterone plays a role in aggression, we’ll discuss how it might affect relationship dynamics between two male dogs next.

Can Two Intact Male Dogs Live In The Same House?

Obviously, the riskiest situation for cohabitation is two intact male dogs.  In this case intact means they still have their testicles!

Intact male dogs are more likely to lean towards aggression to solve issues.  Plus, intact males like to mark things with urine, so you might end up with a really stinky yard!  And, some intact dogs like to pee on other dogs as a way to establish dominance.  But, if you have two intact male dogs in the house they still might get along just fine!  If their personalities mesh well, there might never be an issue.

However, if your two intact males both want to be the alpha, you could face ongoing dominance problems.

The Pack Mentality

Wolf packs are a well-known concept in our society today.  Countless sports teams and groups have been named after the wolfpack.

The pack mentality is something that our domesticated dogs have inherited.  Many of our current dog species are pack animals, which generally means they like company and socializing.  Sometimes, the pack mentality means that in a group, dogs like to establish order.  This video gives an interesting description of the wolf pack organization.

If you have two unneutered male dogs, they might fight to establish dominance as the “Alpha” of the pack. While the concept of an “Alpha” isn’t always a perfect fit for the modern domestic dog, the idea can still apply and less testosterone may reduce the urge to dominate other dogs socially and might reduce conflict!

Can A Neutered And Unneutered Dog Live Together?

An easier pairing for two male dogs might be a neutered and unneutered male dog!

In this case, it should be pretty evident who’s “boss” as far as the hormones are concerned.  You’ll deal with less marking for sure and hopefully won’t have to worry about fighting as much.  A neutered and intact male can live together in the same house and will have an easier relationship than two intact males.

Can Two Neutered Dogs Live In The Same House?

The path of least resistance with behavioral issues is to have two neutered male dogs living together.

Two neutered male dogs have less testosterone and need to establish dominance.  These dogs won’t be tempted to mark everything with their scent.  Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with any urine indoors!

It’s important to note that even though your dogs are both neutered, there is always the potential for a fight or an argument between them.  We’ll talk more below about reasons why dogs fight and how to keep them from going at it!

Should You Neuter Your Dog?

All this talk about neutered and unneutered males brings us to the question of whether or not you should neuter your dog.

Ultimately, the choice to neuter your dog is up to you.

As a veterinary technician, I will almost always recommend neutering your dogs.

Testosterone is important for growing dogs.  Because testosterone contributes to bone and muscle growth, some dog breeds should be altered a bit later than others.  Recent research shows that German shepherds, for example, might benefit from neutering later in life so that their growth plates aren’t affected by a lack of testosterone.

That being said, when you can neuter your dogs, do it!  Neutering is a very non-invasive and budget-friendly surgery.  Unlike spays, neuters do not go into the abdominal cavity.  They’re quick. safe and effective.  The main goal of neutering your dog is to prevent them from having puppies.  Even though puppies are adorable, after working at an animal shelter, I would be happy to see fewer puppies!  The number of dogs without homes that come through our shelter every year proves that we do not need to be breeding dogs as much as we think we do.

Neutering your dog also has behavioral and health benefits.  After being neutered, your dog won’t be able to get testicular cancer.  They’ll be less of a target for dog fights at the dog park.  Ideally, your dog will stop marking so many things with their urine after they’re neutered.  And even though neutering isn’t a fix-all for behavior issues, you’ll probably notice that your pup has less dominant and aggressive tendencies.

Again the choice to neuter or not is up to you, but it might make your and your dog’s quality of life better in the long run!

What Else Affects If Two Male Dogs Can Live Together?

Besides gender, some other factors come into play when you’re thinking about having two male dogs live together.  You should consider these things as well when you’re looking for a new addition to your family!

Breed

Some breeds of dogs are just more friendly than others!  Because of their histories, dogs like herding dogs might be more friendly towards other animals.  They’re used to it and actually thrive on the company!  Most dog breeds benefit from having another dog around them, but there are still a few that might operate better as single dogs.

Age

If there’s a big age difference between your two male dogs, expect the unexpected!

Your older dog might like or dislike the puppy.  Some older dogs might act protectively of a puppy and love them as their own.  More commonly, an older dog might be annoyed and irritated with a puppy’s “lack of manners.”  Older dogs might snap at and seriously injure puppies that get in their faces.

Personality

Personality is something you’ll probably be able to see when your meet your new dog.

Are they relaxed and quiet?  Do they jump and bark in your face?  Do they like to play or would they rather nap?  If the personalities of your dogs match that could be a good thing!  Or, if you already have a “dominant” dog., you might want to look for a more relaxed and submissive dog.  Either way, we’ll hope that they’ll learn how to get along eventually!

Size

Why does size matter in dogs?

Initially, it might not seem like size would be an issue.  But, some small dogs might be threatened or fearful of larger dogs, even if the larger dog isn’t acting up.  Small dogs are quicker to become defensive and aggressive because they need to protect themselves and don’t really stand a chance against a larger dog.  If you’re introducing a large puppy to your smaller dog, expect some hiccups at first while your tiny dog establishes the order in the house.

Why Do Dogs Fight?

Why do dogs fight in the first place?

It can’t all be blamed on the lack or presence of testicles, and it shouldn’t!  There are a few things that can set off both male and female dogs.  While some of these reasons might be obvious, it’s important to know them all so you can set your two dogs up for success.

Resource Guarding

One of the main reasons that dogs become aggressive is resource guarding.

This behavior is common with many dogs and it describes a dog becoming aggressive over a threat to one of its resources.  In a dog’s case, a resource is something like food, a toy, or a bone.  My dog has a dog best friend that he grew up with.  They never fight, they sleep together and they lived together for months at a time.  But, I know better than to leave these two dogs with a bone.  Because my dog sees this bone as “his”, whenever his dog friend tries to approach him and the bone, he’ll end up snapping at the other dog.

Even though this aggressive behavior is totally out of character, it’s present because of the bone (AKA resource).

Overstimulation

Overstimulation can be another source of aggression between dogs.

Dogs can become overstimulated just like people.  They can get too much stimulation physically or mentally.  You may have known a dog that enjoys light petting but yelps or snaps when they’re pet too hard.  Or, you may have had a dog that does fine meeting 1 or 2 dogs but becomes aggressive when they’re introduced to too many at once.

This is totally normal in male and female dogs and can cause a calm dog to become aggressive and defensive when they just can’t handle all of the sensations!

Protection

The last reason that dogs might fight each other is protection.

If you have a protective dog breed in your house, it might be hard to introduce a new family member. Your dog might see a new dog as a threat and attack them based on protective instincts.  Great Pyrenees are a great example of gentle animals that might become aggressive when protecting their “herd.”  Although these fluffy giants usually do great with other dogs, you’ll have to make sure that your dog isn’t trying to guard your family against the new dog.

Protective dogs will act aggressively when threats approach their families.

How To Tell When It’s Not Just Playing

What are some of the signs that your dogs aren’t getting along and might be about to fight?

It’s easy to tell when dogs go from play fighting to actual fighting!  They’re very expressive with their body language and if you see your dog doing any of these things, try to call them off before they start going at it!

  • Ears back and flattened against the head
  • Tail tucked between legs
  • Lip curled or snarling
  • Growling
  • Hair on back raised up
  • Staring

Make sure to keep a close eye on your two male dogs for any of these signs in the early days.  The easiest way to keep aggression from happening between dogs is to prevent it.  Try to control what you can when you have two male dogs living together for the first time to keep fighting at a minimum!

Final Thoughts

Two male dogs can live together and there are many factors that can affect whether they get along or not. The best companion for your dog will vary greatly by breed and a GSD will have different matches than a pittie and so on.

For the best chances of success, you might want to consider neutering your dogs.  You’ll also want to prevent any aggression from happening and keep an eye out for signals that they might fight.  Hopefully, you’ll have two male dogs that end up loving each other and living a long life together!