Can Dogs Recognize Their Siblings After Being Separated For Years?

Dogs have an amazing ability to remember their siblings and recognize them, even after long periods of separation. This surprising ability has been studied by scientists who have found that when a litter of puppies is separated, they can remember and recognize each other months or even years later. The fact that dogs can recognize their siblings after long periods of separation is a testament to how strong their bond is with each other and how deeply loyal they are.

Studies have shown that dogs can remember their siblings for up to 5 years, regardless of the amount of time they have been apart. This amazing capacity to remember family members, even after separation, has been documented in several studies. 

Dogs are able to remember their siblings through various cues such as sight, smell, and sound. Even without these cues, dogs can still remember their siblings even if separated for many years.

How Are Dogs So Emotionally Intelligent?

For eons, dogs and humans have lived side-by-side. Our bond is so old that we still aren’t sure exactly where, or under what circumstances, dogs and humans started their collective adventure. What we do know, however, is that this symbiotic relationship has left a lasting impact on both of these species. 

Early canines found it easy to move into human settlements as both of these species are extremely social, intelligent, and skilled at hunting. Combining their strengths gave them an evolutionary advantage that not even these hunters themselves could imagine. 

Fast forward to today and we see that every region in the world has its own native breed of dogs, specialized to serve as a companion in that region. Some were bred for their speed, some strength, and some for dexterity, but all of them have one skill in common: their emotions – the thing which makes them so loyal to us in the first place. 

Dogs find it easy to trust humans – and vice versa – because we have evolved alongside each other to see the other as part of the same pack. 

Emotional Trauma in Dogs

Usually, in a litter of puppies, you will notice right away that some of them are more energetic while others are lazy, and some prefer different forms of play than others. As they grow up, the personalities of puppies also develop much like humans. Puppies can often tell their siblings and parents apart from other dogs based on their smell and their voice. 

See also  Is Baby Powder Safe for Dogs?

If dogs are capable of emotions to the degree of forming lifelong bonds, one must wonder what happens when such a bond is broken. Although researching this is very hard due to the barrier in communication, evidence of animals being distressed is abundant.

We know that dogs can show symptoms of PTSD such as anxiety and aggression when in certain situations. Emotional trauma in pets is a very real thing and it can be caused by a number of different factors, ranging from improper treatment in their infancy to being separated from their siblings.

Dogs Perceive Separation 

All of us can describe a situation that distressed us so much emotionally that even after years, thinking about it is uncomfortable…

Dogs are similar in that sense. One of the most common causes of long-term trauma in animals is being abandoned in the wild, losing a caregiver, or being exposed to war. Since their perception of the world is mostly limited to their immediate surroundings, and when there is a sudden or unpleasant change in that world, it can take a lifetime for some dogs to adjust to it. 

When a puppy is separated from its litter early on, it can cause a number of problems for its development and health. Research suggests that puppies separated from their mother at an early age don’t grow as big as puppies who spent their first few developmental months with their parents. 

The effect of being separated shows up as different behaviors. Some dogs develop anxiety and experience discomfort sleeping, while others might even lash out and destroy things around the house. 

What The Experts Say

Research surrounding the emotional mechanics of dogs is scarce, and what little we have comes from a human lens, so there is no way to conclusively say what the dogs are feeling – until they tell us themselves, of course. 

Most experts will tell you that dogs that have stayed with their parents and siblings for the first sixteen weeks of their life will most likely remember them for the rest of their life. However, the likelihood of them remembering each other goes down exponentially if they haven’t spent as much time with their parents. 

See also  My Dog Ate a Rubber Band - Should I Be Worried?

We can also say that this separation is not always stressful for the puppy, but we can’t say for sure how old the puppy must be for it to not affect its development. So, even if they don’t remember their siblings or parents, they might be just as comfortable around them as any other dog. 

Dogs & Social Recognition

Social recognition is the ability to recognize and respond to other dogs, humans, or objects in the environment. It is a key behavior that develops in the early weeks of a puppy’s life, and the early socialization period is critical for developing proper skills. Social recognition helps a dog identify familiar people and animals from strangers, allowing it to form relationships and socialize. Time with their siblings fosters the development of this skill.

It also helps in preventing a dog from getting too aggressive or fearful of others. Training and frequent exposure to new people and animals can help nurture social recognition skills in dogs.

Dogs use a variety of cues to recognize each other, such as body language, facial expressions, and scents. This intelligence allows them to distinguish between members of their own and other species, as well as recognize old and new acquaintances. 

Understanding social recognition is important for providing them with effective training and creating positive relationships between them and other pets. It is important for providing them with effective training and creating positive relationships. With some lessons, owners can better anticipate their pets’ behaviors and ensure they are meeting their needs. 


Dogs are versatile animals with an amazing memory and other cognitive skills. They do have the ability to recognize their siblings, given they have spent their developmental months around them. Their bonds may vary depending on how long they spent together as puppies and how long they were separated for. So the next time you’re out for a walk with your furry friend, be on the look-out for any long-lost siblings!

Photo of author

Susan Dorling

I am a pet expert with years of experience working with a variety of animals. From dogs and cats to birds and exotics, I have a deep understanding of their unique needs and behaviors. I am dedicated to helping pet owners provide the best care for their furry friend.

Leave a Comment