Can Father and Son Dogs Live Together? (Truth Explained!)

dog father and son

Cute, and adorable, were likely the first words you uttered when you saw your new pups. Having pets bring a lot of joy, satisfaction, and of course responsibilities. Part of the maternal needs of young pups would be cared for by the mom dog.

Bitches like humans provide breast milk and maternal care for their young ones, but what about the father dogs? Can they really live with, care for, or get along with their son dogs?

Indeed, father and son dogs can live together but it would require extra effort on your part for them to get along in harmony. One good way to encourage positive interactions is by providing for the individual needs of each dog. This means you would need to provide separate toys, food, and treats as this would encourage individual exploration rather than competitions that could cause conflicts.

Studies have shown that animal parenting behaviors are quite unique both in wild and domestic species. Canines receive maternal care during the first few weeks of their life. But there is a different kind of relationship between father and son dogs.

Do Father Dogs Recognize Their Puppies?

Let’s explore the mystery of the relationship between the father and son dogs. Can father dogs truly recognize their offspring? Dad dogs cannot recognize their puppies apart from other young dogs. The relationship between dad and son dogs is not unique or stronger than that of two unrelated dogs.

Father dogs can identify puppies and remember them. This recognition is based on some factors such as smell, sound, and physical contact.

Dad dogs rely heavily on their sense of smell for recognition. Dad dogs can detect even minute odor differences. They can pick up the scent of each pup in a litter by using a special gland for smelling located around their muzzle, this gland is called the vomeronasal gland.

Dogs can also recognize the sound of other dogs, but this recognition pattern is not as unique as the sense of smell. Dogs have a great sense of touch, they may lick the body of new pups to recognize them and interact with them, they also use physical contact to assert dominance or in some cases show submission.

Do Father Dogs have Paternal Instincts?

No, dad dogs do not possess paternal instincts and are unable to recognize their puppies. Though they are more likely to show affection towards their pups as they would towards every other dog, this should not be confused with paternal instincts as they are rather indifferent as compared to the mother dog.

However, the interaction between dad and son dogs is unpredictable. Father dogs may show a range of behavior from love, and care to jealousy, and aggression.

Dogs are of wolf descent but unlike dogs, dad wolves are known to show paternal instincts to their pups.

The difference in the paternal behavior between dogs and wolves lies in the fact that domesticated dogs today do not often live with their pups, and when they do the human parent fills the role of the father by providing all the needed paternal care. This explains why domesticated dogs do not exhibit paternal instincts.

How Do Father Dogs Behave Around His Puppies?

When bitches meet their young ones for the first time they are usually excited and overprotective. They tend to lick, smudge and cuddle their puppies in their bosom. How do father dogs react to meeting their young?

Continue reading to get an overview of the paternal bond between father dogs and their puppies. By understanding the range of emotions that dad dogs display we can better understand their behaviors and help them create strong bonds with their pups.

Lack of Interest

Father dogs show a general disinterest in their puppies. This is evident in the way they interact with the puppies upon first contact. They do not show any special interest or attention to their puppies. But as days and weeks go by, they may begin to show interest in the puppies by interacting and playing with them.

More specifically, they show this interest by licking the pups, cuddling with them, and playing with them. This interest is more of a friendly gesture and should not be mistaken for paternal instincts because they would do the same to other puppies from different parents.


Dad dogs do not always show dominance. The trait of dominance depends on the individual dog and the relationship between the dad and son dog. How exactly do dogs show dominance, and is it a good trait?

Dogs like wolves are pack animals, and they naturally display dominance to ensure their pack remains in order. Father dogs may assert dominance in a bid to establish themselves as the leader of the pack.

They manifest dominance through territorial marking and aggressive posturing. They can also demonstrate dominance by controlling access to food and other resources if they stay in the same kennel with puppies.

Dominance can be a good trait if properly checked, else it may escalate to outright aggression.


Dad dogs can experience jealousy too. This usually happens when they feel that their deserving attention is taken from them and directed to someone or something else. Jealousy often springs up from unequal treatment.

For example, they would feel jealous if their human parents neglect them or show more interest in their pups. They exhibit jealousy by barking, growling, or even outrightly attacking the pups that are receiving more attention than them. They may also withdraw from others, ignore their human parents for a while or even show aggression toward them.

Pet owners should be careful to continue providing the needed attention and care to dad dogs in order to prevent jealousy.


Territorialism is an instinctive behavior in dogs that are seen when they are protecting their home and family. Father dogs are known to show territorialism as they are the ones who typically guard their home and family.

They display territorial behavior upon encounters with intruders and unfamiliar dogs. If a new pup is brought to the home it should be gradually introduced to the dad dog under close supervision to prevent territorial aggression and conflicts.

Territorialism may be exhibited as barking, growling, or an attack on intruders and unfamiliar dogs. Though it is a natural instinct that helps protect the pack and the owner’s home, it should be properly kept in check so it doesn’t lead to persistent aggression.

Shows Love and Care

Though not a general rule, father dogs can show affection to their pups and have a positive relationship with them. They express their benevolence through their behaviors licking their puppies and playing with them.

They also demonstrate their love and care through their protective behaviors in times of danger. The father dog may be seen freezing, staring, snapping, and growling to ward off any potential threats.

Should You Separate The Father Dogs From Their Puppies?

Do you ever wonder if father and son dogs should share the same space? Well, the answer is no, they shouldn’t.

One of the first steps towards peaceful and successful living arrangements between father and son dogs is to establish boundaries. Father and son dogs should have separate kennels as this would create time for a special ‘me’ moment. Doing this would prevent competition and allow each dog to recharge before coming back again together, leaving them both refreshed and ready to explore things side-by-side.

While father and son dogs may enjoy spending time with each other they should be supervised during the first few weeks of their relationship, pet owners should also remember that father dogs do not recognize son dogs as their offspring but simply as young dogs.

Also Read: What Happens if a Dog Gets Pregnant by Her Brother? (Explained!)

How Do I Stop My Father and Son Dogs From Fighting?

Usually fighting results from competition for resources. Have two different sets of items for both dad and son dogs as this would eliminate competition and conflicts. It also ensures that no one feels neglected. Encouraging positive interactions would help.

When introducing a new pup into the home positive reinforcement goes a long way in helping both father and son dog in being comfortable around each other. Always remember to reward good behavior from both, while discouraging negative ones at the same time.

Final Thoughts

All things considered, we have investigated the role father dogs play in caring for their offspring. Father/son pairings have just as much potential as any other type of relationship when given proper attention and care.

With patience, dedication, and lots of love, you would soon find yourself by two very content pooches living happily and peacefully under your roof day after day.

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