Too Many Dogs? How Many IS Too Many?

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!

Nine dogs on a futon.

Nine dogs on a futon.

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?”

Leave a Comment (109) ↓


  1. Carrie November 26, 2017


  2. Trish November 27, 2017

    We have three dogs in our happy home. We have an 8 yr old puggle, (a rescue), a 3 yr old English bulldog, and a 1 1/2 yr old Newfie. Generally, we are all very happy and play together well. The newf and bully are younger and more playful, the puggle is a bit out-sized, but fends well for himself. I don’t think I could manage more, because my newf is so young and they all seem to need their share of attention and exercise. But I couldn’t agree more that they seem to need their own kind to play and socialize with, as much as they love their humans. :)

  3. Kevin December 18, 2017

    I have 16 corgi 1 chauahuah 2 corgis full grown 4 corgi chauahuah mix 4 mix puppies and 6 corgi puppies me and my wife intend on keeping all we have decided we have reached our limit I have a vet in case of illness or an emergency I have learned to trim nails give shots deworm the whole 9wouldnt race them for nothing I have a large yard tho so they get much exercise lots of cleaning but lots lots of fun

  4. Morgan January 15, 2018

    I’m a 22 year old finding her way and living with my parents for the time being. I found four puppies in the middle of a country road about a year ago last October. I could not leave them because I knew it wouldn’t end well. I ended up keeping two at my parents house, one at my boyfriends house and a nice lady took one who still brings her puppy over for playmates. I love them all dearly but it is so overwhelming sometimes that I don’t know what to do with myself. We have a total of four dogs now including a Borkie that thinks shes the alpha dog and an older Toy Fox Terrier who mainly keeps to herself. Does anybody have any advice on how to live with multiple dogs with out going insane? Any advice would be appreciated.

  5. Debby McMullen January 16, 2018

    Hi Morgan, there is no way to address your questions via this venue. You did a good thing by helping the puppies but that many is a lot to raise at once. I can help you find a qualified behavior expert in your area if you want to provide a zip code or postal code?

  6. Juliette January 17, 2018

    I moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico for work almost three years ago. Since getting here, we have adopted six dogs…there is a huge stray population here so these are dogs we have literally taken from the streets. All together we have rescued about 40 dogs. Some have gone to the states and others I was able to find homes for privately. For some it was unfortunately too late as they were sick or extremely neglected by their owners and died shortly after we found them.

    Living with six dogs has been challenging but completely worth it. I wish I had more time to dedicate to everyone but these guys are so greatful to have a home that they tolerate my husbands and I crazy work schedule. We have run with some aggression issues within the pack but it mostly has to do with outside stressors, such as the neighbors dog coming up to our fence. They get agitated about that but turn on eachother when they can’t get to the outside dog. It’s something I am trying to correct but it is a challenge with this many dogs. Right now I just separate the trouble makers when we are not home.

    The only advise i can give when you live with four plus dogs is to stick to a routine. Feeding, bedtime, pack time, my guys behave at their best when things happen the way that they are used to. Everyone waits for their name to be called at meal times and I always do it in the same order. I guess is the little things like that. I would not have these many dogs normally, but living in PR is hard for dog lovers. You either ignore the problem, or get overwhelmed by it. I am still learning to manage my pack while still trying to help more pups. I think six is too many for two people who work full time. However, I love my guys and couldn’t part with any of them.

  7. Derek January 28, 2018

    We currently have 6 young dogs living with 5 Persian cats. My wife is a stay at home mom who also home schools our 4 kids. Most of the time someone is always home. We currently have 2 German short hair pointers, 2 Weimaraners, 1 Springer spaniel, and 1 Boston terrier. When we watch tv or movies at night, seating is at a premium as you can imagine! I have had dogs my whole life, but this definitely has been the most at one time. I personally think that 2-4 is probably enough for most house holds under normal circumstances. We live in the country on 6 acres and have no immediate neighbors to impact either.

  8. Debbie February 20, 2018

    I have 3 male dogs. One pug and two poodle mixes. The third one was a rescue almost 3 years ago and he is very unpredictable. He doesnt like my pug very well, if I try and get stickies off of his eyes he growls and shows his teeth at me. He’s never bitten me but i dont know if he will. I’m checking into getting a small female dog but not sure if its a good idea. I’m like you, i feel 4 is a good number but other people think I’m nuts. I’m 64 and just love dogs. What do you think about getting the female?

  9. Francis March 15, 2018

    I’m from Peru and I live at my parent’s house for the time being, we have a total of 7 dogs. We used to have only one female, but last year we rescued this male Shi Tzu who was beaten by other dogs, poor thing almost didn’t make it; fortunately he recovered, and got our lady dog pregnant, giving birth to 5 puppies. One thing lead to another and now my family wants to keep them all. I am a little nervous, but we do have the space to raise them. Also, having to raise the puppies will help my dad, who’s about to retire and has been feeling down lately. Also, we are a total of 5 people at home, so it’s not necessarily a burden; if it was just me I don’t think I could bear it. If someone’s planning on taking care of this many dogs, be sure to schedule every single detail (feeding, playing, walks, vet, etc.), give them all the equal amount of attention and distribute the responsibility among the people in your household.

    Good article, by the way. Greetings!

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