The Downside to Adopting Littermates


Have you ever found a cute puppy whether it was on the street or at the pet store and wanted to take it home but didn’t realize that the puppy came with a sister or a brother? Of course then you had to take both of the puppies home because you would have felt guilty if you had separated them. However, many people don’t realize that separating a pair of littermates may be for the better. The reason to why one shouldn’t adopt littermates especially ones of the same sex is due to the two terms Alpha and Omega.

The terms Alpha (the beginning) and Omega (the end) appertain to the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. These two terms also pertain to the hierarchy of wolves, which are a close relative to dogs. The hierarchy of wolves consists of a male and female alpha and a male and female omega. However, males prefer to dominate other males while females prefer to dominate other females allowing their to be a low ranking member of each sex.

When one adopts two littermates of the same sex, one of the dogs becomes more domininant suggesting that the dog is the alpha of the pack and the other is the omega of the pack. This indication of the alpha and omega can cause potential problems between the two littermates.

One potential problem would be that the alpha might be able to procure a sense of independene while the omega is not able to due to the alpha always controlling the omega. I remember my mother explaining to me every other morning that she woke up in the middle of the night to the alpha of our two littermates growling and cornering the omega. The alpha would also push the omega to run across the invisible fence and to go to the creek nearby causing more issues as they disturbed a sheep farm, ate a deer carcus, and were skunked. The omega’s lack of independence causes the omega to think that it is simpler to follow the alpha of the pack and to rely on the alpha for comfort when the alpha is simply striking fear in the omega.

Another potential problem is that the bond between a dog and his or her owner will be more difficult to achieve with a littermate simply because dogs are pack animals. A dog will only respectively co-exist with a human if that human is found to be resourceful in the sense of food, shelter, and more importantly, a loving companionship. However, the littermate provides all the emotional needs for the other littermate to assure that a human relationship isn’t necessary.

In conclusion, do not think yourself to be a cruel human being for not adopting both littermates. It is now considered to be considerate when separating littermates due to the negative and emotional influences the alpha could have on the omega. By separating the two littermates, you are allowing each of the littermates to find their own confidence and to gain their own individuality helping them to become professionals at handling life and humans.