Should I Get a Third Dog? My Thoughts After Trying it Out
I’ve seen more than one rescue or puppy that made me want to bring a third dog home.
Those cute faces are irresistible!
So I’ve asked myself, “Is 3 dogs too many?”
If I did get a third dog, it would be another Dachshund.
And if we became a 3 dog household, at least I would be doing it after having some practice.
I wouldn’t be doing it without having an idea of what it could be like.
I’ve been a Dachshund sitter for 10 years so I’ve regularly had 1-4 Dachshunds – for a maximum of 6 at time – in my house.
But the longest any of them stayed was 3 weeks. I can do anything for 3 weeks.
But do I want three in the house all the time?
There is a difference between temporarily having 3 dogs and adding a third dog permanently.
I recently had the chance to try out having three Dachshunds long-term when a third Dachshund stayed with us for two months.
It was long enough that I truly feel like I got to experience what it would be like if I had a third one of my own.
Here are my thoughts about getting a third Dachshund.
The Pros and Cons of Getting a 3rd Dog
I firmly believe that choosing to add another Dachshund – or any breed for that matter – to a household should be done only after careful consideration.
These are all of the things that I considered when deciding if I wanted a third one or not.
Benefits of Having 3 Dogs
1) More Dachshunds means more fun
These quirky dogs are silly and entertaining so adding a third means there will be more fun.
2) More cuteness
Who doesn’t want three little Dachshund faces staring up at you pleading for cheese?
3) More love
A Dachshund seems to know when you are feeling said or blue and will come to your rescue.
Having a third will add to that feeling of comfort.
4) It’s easier to take one out alone
If you want to spend a special day with just one of your Dachshunds, the two left home can keep each other company (this is especially handy if one or both has separation anxiety).
5) Another playmate
Two can play while the other takes a time out.
If one is a senior, they may always be the one to sit on the sidelines and they will probably enjoy the peace.
The pros and cons of getting a third dog should be heavily weighed before you decide to do it.
Cons of having a third Dog:
1) Increased cost
You will spend more money on food, leashes, jackets, veterinary care, pet insurance, dog sitters, etc.
2) Increased barking
If one Dachshund barks, the other will join in.
Throwing another one into the mix means you now have a 3rd potential instigator.
3) They can develop a pack mentality
If there are more dogs than people in the house, they outnumber you, which means they may pay more attention to each other than they listen to you.
4) It takes more of your time
Properly caring for, managing, entertaining, training, and taking dogs for walks takes time.
When you add a 3rd, that time commitment increases and, likely, the time you can give each of your existing two dogs individually will be diminished.
5) You have one less hand than you have dogs
Whether it be petting, walking, or traveling, you will have one more dog to juggle and try to give equal attention to.
6) You may not be not be able to stay at hotels
Most hotels have a two-dog limit, regardless of how small the dogs are.
Note: Quality Inn, Kimpton, Ashore Hotel, and Adrift Hotel allow more than two. La Quinta might at select locations.
7) Traveling solo may no longer be possible
Because of the “more dogs than hands” issue, it may not be feasible to tote three dogs with you (either physically or it may make it unenjoyable) when you take a vacation.
8) May limit dog sitting and guests
The dog sitting issue may be more of a personal one but I decided a long time ago that 4 Dachshunds in the house is my max.
That means I can’t watch more than one Dachshund at a time, it would exclude clients with multiple dogs, and my friends couldn’t bring more than one of their own dogs over.
9) The dogs may fight
In an ideal situation, all 3 dogs will become best friends. In my experience, that rarely happens.
Peaceful coexistence might be the best possible outcome and it’s not unusual for dogs within the same household to fight so one needs to be prepared for that (which can require a lifetime of management).
10) Takes up more space in the bed
If your Dachshunds sleep with you, you may have thought two is a crowd at times.
If a 3rd dog is added, there will be even less space in the bed (or you may have to upgrade to a larger size).
Is Having 3 Dachshunds Really Harder Than 2?
Intellectually, you may know the pros and cons but it’s not a substitute for direct experience.
Some things that sound like a big deal may turn out to be pretty easy to deal with while others you didn’t give much thought end up being the biggest challenges.
More dogs than hands
For example, something that ended up being easier than I thought was the two hands, three dogs thing.
It did complicate things for me but it was manageable after some adjustment.
At first, walking three dogs was frustrating.
The leashes kept getting tangled (I’m not a fan of leash couplers so I always had three) and, while Summit and Gretel almost always walk in a straight line, the third Dachshund weaved back and forth and circled me, often tripping me up.
But that frustration quickly went away.
The third one learned to fall in line with my other two and mostly started walking on the leash in a straight line.
Good training and a hands-free leash can minimize the hassle of walking three dogs at a time.
I discovered that if he was being unruly, I could hook my other two to my waist belt so I only had to manage one Dachshund pinballing at the end of the leash.
Constant management was required
The thing that ended up being the most frustrating, and taking up the majority of my time and attention, was the fighting.
The fights were never anything too major – no dogs got hurt – but I had to constantly stay vigilant.
There were very few times that I felt I could let my guard down.
In general, two dogs of the same sex tend to fight more than two of the opposite.
But spay/neuter status is more important than gender in my experience and opinion.
Summit has an ovary-sparing spay so she still has the same hormones as an intact dog.
While she can’t get pregnant, she still goes through heat cycles and is moody.
She has also shown a tendency to resource guard food and special toys in the past.
The third Dachshund we watched for two months was a young male (8-10 months) and, For health reasons, he was not neutered yet.
Since he was still developing while he was at our house, it was like a new discovery to him that he had male parts and instincts.
He often stuck his nose in Summit’s nether region to check it out.
She did not like that and was not shy about trying to set boundaries.
He also had limited experience playing with other dogs and was a bit slow on the uptake when Summit was giving him signs to back off.
There were several skirmishes (that sounded worse than they were) so I could never leave them alone together unsupervised and I had to closely monitor them during play with toys or during meal time.
While it’s true that things may have been different if this third dog was a female, or not intact, it’s a reminder that there are no guarantees.
Bringing a third dog into a house is always a risk and there is no guarantee they will all get along.
Bottom line: 3 dogs could be harder
So, yes, having these three Dachshunds together was significantly harder than having two.
But there are many, many times I’ve had 3-6 Dachshunds in the house and have encountered no issues.
So the answer to the question, “Is having three Dachshunds harder than two?” is maybe and it depends.
Just be prepared that it could be.
Observations After Going from Three to Two Dogs
It’s been 6 weeks since I went from three Dachshunds in the home back to two.
I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on my experience of “owning” three dogs.
It didn’t take long after the 3rd one went home to start feeling like something was missing.
While it was nice to go back to a peaceful routine with two dogs that are well-adjusted to our routine, if I’m honest, things felt a little boring.
Managing three dogs with different needs and personalities was indeed hard and time consuming.
However, if I’m being really honest with myself, I felt more engaged with the dogs when there were three.
With three, the effort felt constant and now, back to two, I feel like I have the luxury of being more complacent.
I’m not sure I like it.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that my 13 year old Dachshund Gretel seemed more interested in playing than she ever had before.
he third one we watched loved to play with Summit and Gretel eventually started to get in on the action.
A bit of that enthusiasm seemed to stick around.
There is still a lot for me to think about in regard to adding a third dog.
Weighing the Decision to Get a Third Dog
I listed most of the primary pros and cons of getting a third dog above.
I was hoping that trying out owning a third Dachshund while I was dog sitting for two months would help me make up my mind about getting another one.
But it didn’t. Not totally anyway.
You’d think because my list of cons outweighs my pros, the decision would be a no-brainer.
But the heart wants what the heart wants.
My Dad told me once that if you wait for the perfect time to do something, you will never do it because there is no such thing as the perfect time.
It just happens and you make it work.
But then I think about that list of cons – the two biggest ones for me being the additional cost and traveling solo with three – and my brain says “no way”.
Could I make it work with three? Sure. I would find a way.
Sometimes you just have to take the leap and work out the details later.
But would it be at the expense of the calm, mostly peaceful routine I have developed with the two Dachshunds I have currently?
Maybe. At least during the adjustment period.
I’ve always been a person, for good or for bad, that has made ultimate decisions based on my heart and intuition.
What Did I Decide?
I was seriously thinking of adding a third Dachshund before my actual experience living with 3 long-term.
After waffling back and forth for a long time, my Hubby and I made our decision – we’re going to do it!
Owning three Dachshunds is going to be really challenging for me and our lifestyle in some respects.
But our focus has always been the dogs first so I have no doubts that we will adjust.
There are a couple caveats though.
The perfect fit:
We want to wait for the right Dachshund to find us.
I’m not interested in going out and getting the first one I find.
Gretel is 13 and, luckily, she is in good health. But soon that may not be the case due to her age.
My first Dachshund Chester developed dementia and incontinence starting at about 14.
It took up most of my time and energy to care for him.
The care of my younger dog in the house (Gretel) was kind of on autopilot because she didn’t have needs beyond the basics of food, exercise, and love.
If we’re getting a third Dachshund, it will be within the next year so I can get it trained and used to our routine before Gretel needs more of my attention.
If we don’t find the right Dachshund to add to our pack within a year, we will likely wait until Gretel has passed to get another.
Now that I decided to get a third dog, I had another decision to make – what gender?
If I Get a Third Dachshund, Should It Be Male or Female?
I’ve thought long and hard about what the best gender distribution is for 3 dogs.
Should I get a male or female?
Male vs Female Dachshund Personality
In general, it’s said that male Dachshunds are more cuddly, attached, friendly to strangers, playful, and female Dachshunds are more aloof, moody, independent, and unfriendly to strangers.
Based on my experience with my own Dachshunds, and the ones that I have met and dog sat over the years, I’ve found the personality differences to be more dependent on coat type (long, smooth, or wire), and each dog’s upbringing, so my choice would not be made on those generalizations.
In fact, I’ve found male Dachshunds to be more aloof and my females more snuggly and bonded with me.
Potential for Gender Conflict
Female dogs are more often involved in household fights with other dogs than males.
Also, hen females get into an aggressive situation, injuries are apt to be more severe and the fights tend to be longer and more furious (source).
Some say that male dogs are more likely to back down when confronted by a female but that has not been my personal experience – both genders may back down or choose to escalate things equally.
Thankfully, in our case, none of the dogs involved in the skirmishes have held grudges and warmed up to each other again after a little bit of pouting (or time out in their crates).
I know a few people whose dogs had major fights and they were never able to be in the same room again so it’s good to be prepared that there is a chance something could go horribly wrong with the pairing.
Since the majority of dog fights within a household are over competition for attention, food, or toys, as long as those situations are carefully managed, fights within the household can be greatly reduced or eliminated.
If There is an Intact Dog in the House?
There are a lot of behavioral and health benefits to an ovary sparing spay, which is why I chose it for Summit after much research.
I am very happy with my decision but that does mean I am, essentially, living with an intact female dog and my decision will affect all of my future dogs.
I’ve never done that before so it’s been a bit of an eye-opener.
It became a very important factor when considering what gender a third Dachshund should be if I brought one home.
The gender mix of three dogs in one home is an important factor that can influence how well they get along.
I was sure I would absolutely not want to have an intact female and an intact male, or a male that had a vasectomy, in the same house.
But, now having first hand experience with that, I am 1000% sure it would be a terrible idea.
So that leaves me with only two options – get a male and have him neutered or get a female.
My preference is to get another female because I like their personalities better and I would choose to leave her intact (for health benefits, not breeding) or also get her a ovary sparing spay.
But then I would have two intact females in the house, which could further increase the potential for fights.
So, if I do get a third female, I will need to be prepared to get a full spay performed on Summit, or have the new female spayed, if there are conflicts.
My preference would be the former since Summit is 4 years old and has already gained most of the benefits from an ovary sparing spay.
Going from owning two to three Dachshunds feels a bit crazy to me but my heart says, “do it”.
There was an 8 year age difference between my first and second Dachshunds and a 9 year difference between my second and third.
I would like to close the age gap a bit and experience what it’s like to have two younger Dachshunds in the same house.
I think my 4 year old Dachshund would play with more if there was a younger one in the house.
Going from two to three dogs is a huge commitment though.
Owning three dogs is more expensive, demands more of my attention, is challenging for me to manage alone, will likely make traveling solo more difficult, etc.
But I believe my Dad – there is no perfect time – and have confidence in my ability as a dog owner to adapt to living with 3 dogs.
Also, back in 2012, I left the “rat race” and started my own business with the goal of being able to devote my life to my two Dachshunds.
So, now, I am in a very fortunate position. I can adjust my schedule to meet my dog’s need, whatever they may be and however demanding they may be.
So stay tuned for our new adventure of adding a third dog to the family!
About the Author
Hi, I’m Jessica. I’ve been studying the Dachshund breed since 2007, owned 3 of my own, and shared in the lives of thousands of others through their owner’s stories. When I’m not sharing what I know on this blog, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.
Happy New Year, Jessica!
Your descriptions of life with a female with ovary-saving spay are really interesting. I hadn’t thought about all those hormones still being expressed.
We (I, that is) have occasionally thought about adding a third dog to take 5 year old Rowan’s rowdy play pressure off 13 year old Obi. But – nope. We await your further thoughts/decision 🙂
Well, the jury is still out. Ha, ha. I admit I do miss Brodie’s energy a bit, and am sad Summit doesn’t have anyone to play with in a significant way anymore, but I also appreciate the calmness and routine. Since I dog sit, and have a local friend with a Dachshund, it’s not like I don’t get my third dog fix. The whole experience with Summit’s OSS, and “intactness”, has been interesting.
It was like reading a mystery novel–you had me going until the end (will she or won’t she?)
I wonder what difference it would make if you adopted a third dog who was an 8 week old puppy. After all, Brodie, while young, was not raised with you and your pups. On one hand, a tiny puppy is more annoying (for all of you). But they also learn right from the start about the boundaries of other dogs in the house.
Of course, you’re less likely to find a purebred dachshund in a rescue. So there are just more things to think about as well.
Oh, given our lifestyle and my desire to “create” a dog that seamlessly fits into it, if I got a third dog it would definitely be a puppy. I’m not against rescuing but, yes, it’s very difficult to find a purebred rescue and/or a very young puppy. But the advantage of being able to shape a dog from the beginning would be offset by having to deal with puppy energy for a year or so. My dream is to import a puppy from Germany but there are complications with that like the expense and the fact that (from what I can tell anyway) the puppy can’t fly to to the US until it’s 16+ weeks old… past the prime socialization window. The bottom line is, I’m still up in the air about getting a third dog 🙂