How Do Dogs Recognize Their Siblings?

The birth of a dog is a very special experience. Most puppies are not born alone but as siblings.

How many puppies a female gives birth to depends entirely on the breed. This is where a very special question arises for many dog ​​owners:

Do the littermates recognize each other
when they meet again a long time later?

In principle, littermates can recognize each other by smell even after a long period of separation. Dogs have an olfactory memory.

The longer the puppies and mother stay together, the more the scent becomes ingrained in their minds.

If the animals have spent around five weeks together, there is a very good chance that they will recognize each other even years later.

Can dogs recognize their littermates by smell?

So most puppies grow up together among siblings. In the first days of life, the mother and littermates are the centers of the world.

The little dogs cuddle up close to each other. Proximity to family members is particularly important. Because the dog family keeps you warm and calms you down. Later we play and have fun.

At some point, the day will come when the siblings will be separated. Then each animal goes to its new family.

First weeks of life among siblings

In general, puppies should stay with their mother and siblings for at least eight weeks after birth.

Dogs go through different development phases after birth :

  • Vegetative phase or neonatal phase
  • transition phase
  • embossing phase

Each phase is important for their later life because they learn from their mother and siblings.

Unfortunately, this is not always possible. It may be that the family is separated early or the bitch is seriously ill. In this case, it is up to his human to get the dog used to his later life.

Developmental stages of puppies

The first two weeks of life are referred to as the vegetative or neonatal phase. Ears and eyes are closed. The dog sleeps a lot, cuddles with its mother and siblings, and is suckled.

Then comes the transition phase. The little one still sleeps a lot but is slowly beginning to perceive his surroundings.

The next phase, the embossing phase, is particularly important. The puppy is now beginning to make its first social contacts and contact with people.

Puppy abandons mother and siblings

So you can imagine how important the littermates and mother dogs are to the puppy.

Their parents and siblings are what he sees, feels, and smells first in his life. The dog family gives warmth and conveys security. The puppies learn from each other and the later characters of the animals develop.

After the eighth week, it is usually time to say goodbye. The puppies will be adopted into their future families and may never see their siblings again.

What remains, however, is the dog’s olfactory memory. And that can even last a lifetime.

How long does a dog recognize its mother and siblings?

This means that the dog may remember the smell of the family, i.e. its mother and littermates, for life.

According to research, the memory of the smell is said to manifest itself when the dog has only been with its mother for a day or two.

It takes longer for siblings. If the animals have spent around five weeks together, there is a very good chance that they will recognize each other even years later.

It can become a problem if you keep littermates. This is known as littermate syndrome.

The littermate syndrome

Exactly this fact can make it difficult to raise littermates together.

Keeping multiple dogs from one litter can sometimes be problematic.

You have to imagine that these animals learn from each other and they have everything in common. They are perfectly matched to each other and the human being is just a minor matter.

If the dogs are only separated from each other at a much later point in time, they show strong separation fears.

Do littermates get along?

Raising several littermates requires significantly more time and perseverance than raising a puppy because the bond between the animals is stronger than that of humans.

Siblings can engage in fierce power struggles.

It can get particularly awkward between littermates during the ranking phase. The dogs then try to sort out their place in the family. This can lead to fierce competition between siblings.

Frequently Asked Question

Can a dog remember its siblings?

After Years of Separation: Do Dogs Remember Their Siblings? Their sense of smell helps dogs recognize their siblings. For us, it is quite unlikely that we will meet a long-lost sibling on the street.

How long do dog siblings recognize each other?

It takes longer for siblings. If the animals have spent around five weeks together, there is a very good chance that they will recognize each other even years later.

How long does a puppy miss its siblings?

It is said that a puppy should be around its mother and siblings for at least 7-9 weeks.

Can dogs remember each other?

If the young animals are only separated after 16 weeks, they have a good chance of remembering each other years later. However, if they only meet after six to seven years, it may be too late.

How long does a dog remember its mother?

If you separate mother and children six to ten years old, they still recognize each other by their smell. This research demonstrates that olfactory memory and recognition of family members last throughout a dog’s life.

When do dogs forget their owner?

No, dogs do not forget their people. And also not the experiences they had with their people. This explains why a dog who was miserable with the first owner will ignore him when he then has another owner and sees the first one again.

Can a dog miss me?

However, that doesn’t mean that dogs don’t miss being home alone at all. They may miss their company, but that longing in well-groomed dogs is more anticipation than longing, comparable to the human feeling when a loved one goes on a long journey.

Can a dog be resentful?

No, dogs are not resentful. They don’t have the foresight or emotional intelligence to be resentful or vindictive. Most seemingly unforgiving behaviors are caused by other factors such as instinct, conditioning, and upbringing.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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