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Does Your Dog Need a Friend?

How to choose the perfect pal for your pup!

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If you’re considering getting a pal for your dog, the match is all important. Of course, it all comes down to the individuals, but there are general rules to follow to help ensure a good pairing. Here, Gina DiNardo, breed expert and AKC Executive Secretary, shares the guidelines for choosing a dog who will get along well with your dog.


1. Does your dog enjoy the company of other dogs?

Some dogs love the company of people, but other dogs, not so much. Ask yourself if your dog really wants a canine companion. Though many dogs can do well with other dogs if socialized from puppyhood, there are certain breeds that typically like being with other dogs. Beagles were bred to hunt in packs and enjoy company, Bulldogs are friendly toward other creatures, and Collies tend to be tolerant of other pets, among others.


2. Do you currently own a male or female dog?

Gender: While there is no set rule that a female dog will be a better friend for a male dog, if you have never had two dogs at the same time it is generally easier and often safer to have dogs of the opposite sex. Same-sex combinations can be tricky to manage as dogs work out their dominance or pack order.


3. How old is your current dog?

Age: Take your dog’s age into account when considering a second dog. If you have a senior dog, getting a young, playful puppy might not be an ideal match. The older dog might find a rambunctious puppy too much to handle, especially if he has age-related issues.


4. How big is your dog?

Size: Keep size in mind. A very big dog and a toy dog would need plenty of supervision together to make sure the little guy doesn’t get hurt during playtime.


5. What is your current dog’s energy level?

Matching your dog’s energy level is a good idea. That way, one isn’t overwhelming the other with their energy.


Do you have a medium to large, high energy dog and are looking for a similar breed? Sporting breeds such as the Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever are energetic dogs that need plenty of exercise.


Do you have a medium to large, calmer dog and are looking for a similar breed? Bernese Mountain Dogs are sturdy, hard workers with a calm, affectionate nature. Clumber Spaniels are mellow, sweet and easygoing, but can be relentless on a scent. Bulldogs are notoriously kind, friendly, docile companions.


Do you have a small dog that doesn’t require a lot of exercise and are looking for a similar breed? The Brussels Griffon, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and English Toy Spaniel are all wonderful, small, playful companions.

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