female dogs and getting along

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Barked: Wed Mar 13, '13 3:58pm PST 
I have a 6 year old female German Shep. Our 15 year old lab passed on and we got a Husky/Shep female mixed who is now 6 months old. Our female German Shep named Stormy likes to sleep a lot and plays with the puppy very little. We have considered getting another puppy but I do not want to rock the boat. I searched the net and discovered many many articles about female dogs fighting at maturity. So now I am concerned what if the two I have do not get along down the road. Are there signs I would see now with a 6 month old puppy that might indicate these 2 will fight later. For now the get another puppy thing is off.
I have never had 2 female dogs together in the past and it never occurred to me this could be a problem.
ps. I fix all my dogs, I am anti breeding with all the dogs that end up in the pound, abused etc..

Spooky Mulder
Barked: Wed Mar 13, '13 4:22pm PST 
GSDs are certainly a breed where bitch aggression isn't unheard of.

That said, its all about the individual dog. If your older dog is lazy and not very interested, and the puppy is respectful of her space and not overly pushy with her, then I wouldn't worry about it. There really isn't much you're going to see at 6 months anyway- cross that bridge when you come to it, but don't lose any sleep.

Besides, the age gap is pretty wide. By the time the puppy is sexually mature (the time frame that inter-bitch would likely start developing), your Shepherd will likely be too old to really cause much of a fuss.
Jake & Sweet- Caroline

Tricolored- Hounds for life!
Barked: Thu Mar 14, '13 10:03am PST 
I'm with Mulder on this one.

My grandma had a female Akita/GSD mix that lived with several other female dogs over the course of her life. She shared the backyard just fine with a Shiba/akita female and a smaller cocker just fine. As long as they respected she was the boss.

My grandma's newest GSD shared the backyard with the Akita/Shiba mix until she died of old age. Now it's just the single GSD back there.

It is really all up to the individual dog.

Plus with teh age difference i think it'd be the same as if a hormonal teenager was jealous of their grandma. Just monitor them closely i'm sure you'll be fine.

Good luck. wishes

Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Thu Mar 14, '13 11:30am PST 
Actually, I am going to differ on the age thing. Very often, these SSA issues explode with age or some sort of decline in condition. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen or heard of this scenario....literally girls who had gotten along fine for quite an extended time. Just seemingly peas in a pod....and then, WHAMMO! Sometimes, it comes after a move and the stress shown by the older girl is seen as a weakness and thereby an opening. Sometimes, escalating toughness as she slows down. Sometimes, after a medical procedure or due to arthritis.

I had this real "aha!," going back quite a few years, when Animal Planet used to run this emergency vets show. They had an urgent surgery on a wolf, who lived with a pack in a zoo, where she was the boss. She needed a leg amputated, and the zoo fearing keeping her out of the pack for any amount of time at all....this was to be a very fast surgery and then putting her right back in. When they did, clearly there was one wannabe right under her she was concerned about, for she very distinctly held her one legged side away from this other bitch and was giving her a very stern and intense posture. So there it was, she knew she had a weakness, and was trying to hide it long enough to diffuse anything from her competitor and to underscore to her...."do not mess with me." It just really connected back to when things explode between females.

We don't have a clue as to how our dogs interrelate a lot of the times, IMO and experience, because it is all very subtle and on that front we are pretty daft. In terms of natural biology, young females very often won't challenge an older dog for quite some time. I know with the intact males I have, they may be grown, but until they really fill out they are not yet really willing to engage in a challenge. They become quite used to, beyond our perception, deferring to their elder. But they will wait...particularly the girls, who are cagey. They will wait until they see some chink in the armor. And then start to test waters, challenge more. Equally unbeknownst to us, the elder is quite happy with her role where she is deferred to, and as much as that is true is unwilling to let it go. Slowly, this escalates....the younger testing, the older unwilling to budge. And then one day, all this interplay going on under your nose, it erupts. It has gotten to the point of a fight, and once it has both are willing to yield no longer. The fights between females are particularly intense, and there is no settling it because they have gotten to that near "fight to the death" point, each aware of the intent of the other.

My best advice to you is to memorize like nuts the body language and interplay of the two girls. You probably will see nothing change over time....this is strictly precautionary. But the most minor of shifts, take that as early warning. If you can prevent it from getting to that "battle on the mount" stage, then you have averted the problem at its worst.

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Thu Mar 14, '13 11:43am PST 
From everything I've read since crossing over to dog world-opposite gender and an age difference is suggested as the safer way to go with most breeds. Interesting that with boy cats they are usually the more outgoing and willing to have confrontations...but with dogs it seems to be the females who can really get into it. I'm sure it depends on the dog
Ava & Nix

Suburban Farm- Dogs
Barked: Thu Mar 14, '13 12:17pm PST 
Great post, Tiller. applause I know lots and lots of people who own multiple females, intact OR spayed, and have never had an issue, so it's not that it's not doable, but it's a very real risk, especially in breeds that have a reputation for some same-sex aggression. Fair to say I also know a lot of people who HAVE had issues between their females. A friend of mine had to re-home two of her four girls, because they all started fighting eventually. Spaying has never made a difference. It all seems to depend on the individual dog.

Before getting Nix I had my heart set on a female Border Collie--even had a name picked out for her and everything--but when I learned that female aggression is quite common in the breed I decided a male was the better choice, given that I already had Ava. It's just not a risk I'd be willing to take.
Addy, CGC

Let's go for a- walk!
Barked: Sat Mar 16, '13 3:03am PST 
Two females together can work out very well, but I have to agree with Tiller. The few cases I personally know of (rather than what I've read here in Dogster or elsewhere) have involved a healthy, younger female and an older female whose health was starting to decline, after the dogs had lived together for years. In one particularly painful case, they wound up having to rehome the younger bitch to a home where she was the only dog, because the girls had to be separated and she was the newcomer.

After the older girl died, they started again with new dogs, closer in age, from good breeders, screening specifically for an absence of bitch aggression in the history of the lines.

I have two bitches. Their breeder, who has now retired from breeding, still has four bitches living together successfully. It can work, and it isn't even that rare. And everything depends on the individual dogs. But two bitches is the combination that, all else being equal, has the greatest risk of going wrong. Be aware of your girls' body language and interactions, especially as the one matures and the other one ages.

Barked: Sun Mar 17, '13 9:22am PST 
Would adding a male make it worse? Would adding a male pup increase the chances of the 2 females possibly fighting someday?

When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Sun Mar 17, '13 10:43am PST 
IMO this is one of those 'know your dog' things. I have always had multiple dogs of various genders, and surprisingly few issues. However, several years ago I was holding a female GSD waiting for a rehome and although initially Sabi was fine with her it quickly became evident that the new bitch was going to create an issue. She simply refused to show Sabs the respect that was asked for. It became a crate and rotate situation within days.
I have also noted recently that my two girls are developing issues. On the bed this morning Shadow blatantly challenged Sabi. As one declines, the other steps up. It is a natural order but not one you want in your home. I have not ever noted that adding or subtracting males impacts this at all. There is probably a reason that not nice human females are referred to as female dogs.laugh out loud