The answer to that question lies in the eye of the beholder, so to speak. Two is too many for some households, ten is too few for others. My own personal best number feels happiest at four. I cannot tell you why I feel that way. That is just when peace and contentment seem to fully set in. But truthfully, that is only because I am the sole human in residence at the moment. There is only so much one person can do, in my opinion. There would be more if I had more help!
I used to think I was the oddball since having four dogs (before I lost Merlin) raised so many eyebrows. Having run a rescue for thirteen odd years, four was the fewest in residence most times. I once had nine here, five of them being puppies. That was a hectic time! I have had eight adult dogs at once, with four being either boarders or temporary fosters on their way somewhere else. Again, hectic!
Not being a fan of hectic, I have since learned to pace myself. Someday, when I have more room, both inside and outside and possibly another human to assist, I want more dogs as the status quo, but until that day comes, I will stick with a maximum of four permanent canine residents.
The reasons for this will shortly become clear. I have a check-list of minimum requirements for a multiple dog household. My own personal check list includes the basics, of course, such as appropriate affectionate attention to all, exercise sufficient to maintain canine (and human!) sanity, extra curricular dog activities when appropriate and cash flow sufficient to properly feed and vet all. Vetting, for me, also includes a monthly pet insurance payment, which actually makes the actual sickness and illness vetting process much easier. Peace of mind does have a price after all!
Your mileage may vary. But my own preferences aside, providing for physical needs is important. Remember, your crew must trust that you can take care of their physical needs in order to FULLY trust you, so this forms the basis of that trust. Do not take that need lightly.
Space is important as far as how many dogs you actually have room for in your home. Indoor space is important, but breed types can determine how important your indoor and outdoor space is. For example, if you have multiple Great Danes, although large, in general, they are not in need of a lot of exercise and running room so a large yard is not necessary. They are also known for liking to lounge around the house so again, as long as you have the space to accommodate such lounging, your house need not be large.
On the other side of the equation, having multiple herding breeds such as Border Collies, will make you wish that you not only have a large fenced yard but a few sheep to herd as well! Know your breed preference requirements when deciding on a happy number for your household!
Multiples mean more work such as laundry, vacuuming, poop scooping, training, walking but also more fun, more laughs, more kisses and love. You have to decide what your own limit it.
One other caveat that is of vital importance: everyone should get along. No one should have to live with permanent barriers between dogs who get along so badly that that there are safety concerns. Mistakes WILL happen. Eventually. So if there’s no fixing the problem, consider re-homing the most recently added crew member who is part of the problem.
Now that I have covered all the high points of how many is appropriate, take the time to tell me in the spaces below, what your crew consists of and why if there is a why? Join me in celebrating a household of multiples!
Please contact me if you want to know, “How many dogs can I have?”