How to Determine the Compatibility of a Second Dog: The Tail-Wagging Tutorial

Bringing one dog into the family is loads of fun, so doesn’t two dogs mean twice the love from our furry friends? Ideally, it would, but that’s not always the case. 

More isn’t necessarily always merrier with dogs in a household. It’s paramount that the dogs in the home are compatible and will get along. Without a good relationship between the dogs, it means more work for you, the chance of fighting and injury, and a stressful home environment for everyone.

Before you bring home a second dog, here’s what you need to know and do to ensure a good fit.

Breed considerations

A great way to start your second dog search is by learning which breeds are the most compatible with each other. 

There are also dog breeds known to get along with any dog they meet. Here we find Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers, two famously friendly breeds. If your goal is to add a second dog to your family home with perfectly seamless integration, getting in contact with a white Lab breeder is a wise choice.

As far as specific breed pairings go, French Bulldogs tend to get along well with Boxers, Labradors, Hound Dogs, or other Frenchies. Huskies, on the other hand, do best with another medium- or large-sized dog like a Great Dane, Malinois, or German Shepherd. Tiny Dachshunds do better with dogs closer to them in size, so Pugs, Maltese, or more miniature terriers can be a good fit.

Beyond breed, it’s all about your current dog’s genetics and temperament. 

Know your current dog

The best way to make the right decision for a second dog is to know and understand your current dog. How does your pet usually interact with other dogs? Does your dog tend to show submissive or more dominant behaviors toward other dogs? What about resource guarding food? Are your animals protective or happy to have other people and animals around sharing the attention?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you pick the right companion. 


Dogs of varying sizes can get along living in one household, but it can make the home feel a little threatening for much smaller dogs. A Great Dane could accidentally step or sit on a Chihuahua, or a German Shepherd could hurt a Westie trying to play. 

Having dogs closer in size can make the home feel safer and even the playing field a bit, making it easier for the dogs to create a bond.

Opposites attract

When it comes to the age and sex of dogs in the home, opposites tend to attract. For example, if you have an older male dog, a young female puppy could be a good fit. Young dogs can help bring life and energy to a senior dog, keeping them more active and healthy as they age. 

Older dogs can also help to teach young dogs proper manners and behaviors, making training a bit easier with a veteran pet in the house.

Off-site meeting

A step you can’t miss when choosing a second dog is the off-site meeting. You should never adopt a second dog without letting the dogs meet first somewhere off your property. Keep both animals on leashes at first, and allow them to meet and investigate each other on their own time. One will usually show more dominant postures and the other will act more submissive.

If the dogs aren’t getting along at all at the park or wherever they meet, chances are high it will only get worse in the home.

Adding one more to the mix

Bringing another dog into the mix can be an exciting new addition to the family and home, but only if you do your due diligence beforehand in selecting the right dog and ensuring compatibility. As long as you have a little patience and flexibility during the decision-making process, you’ll end up with the right pup.

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