Can you Breed Brother and Sister Dogs from a Different Litter

Puppy got pregnant!  Congratulations are on the way! But it may not be as simple as it seems. Inbreeding is very common between puppies of the same litter and puppies from a different litter. Our main concern in the topic will be”can you breed a brother and sister dogs from a different litter?”.

The topic may sound incestuous and we fully realize that it may be uncomfortable for some people to go through it. So Let’s keep our approach scientific and to the point as we realize the sensitivity of the topic.

Can you Breed Brother and Sister Dogs from a Different Litter

Can you breed brother and sister dogs from a different litter

Yes, you can!  But you should not!. The careful crossing is important and you have all the right to select “quality” breeding for your dog. But which dogs can be crossed?  If breeding passes on certain traits can you breed brother and sister dogs from a different litter? When they belong to the same parents and will pass on the genes,  then why not?

Well,  scientifically speaking,  we recommend NO.  You must not breed brother and sister dogs from a different litter. They are technically siblings.  And crossing the siblings is the worst decision as also proved by science because

There is no guarantee!

The purpose of breeding brother and sister dogs from different litters could be getting the best traits from both. Science says that being a living being when you belong to a certain group,  you carry all the good and bad traits of that group. So there is no guarantee that you will get the desired outcome. You may end up having more trouble than expected.

It can raise health concerns

The DNA holds more information than just traits. It holds every single detail including faults too. So this practice can result in passing different illnesses and diseases too. When pet siblings are crossed together to pass certain traits, we can’t control what information DNA will pass. This could result in inbred dogs problems like genetic illnesses that are passed in the next generation and can be fatal to dogs.

The defective gene

Most important,  only breeding puppies from the same parents can pass on these genetic disorders. Sometimes,  breeding between siblings can result in making recessive genes more prominent. This means many illnesses that were hidden in past generations,  may come out in the next one. Many diseases that can pass through dog generations are

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • hip dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • heart diseases
  • skin allergies
  • elbow dysplasia
  • volvulus
  • Hereditary bleeding disorder
  • Drug sensitivity
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Deafness
  • Glycogenolysis

There is a list of hereditary diseases and when you cross sister dogs with their brothers,  either from the same or different litter you just increase the risk.

The morality of it!

This practice may be disliked by many. Today science has given its logic to disapprove it. This is against nature and Nature has always been of benefit to its residents. This type of breeding has never come up with good long-term results.

Even if you don’t believe in any “moral ground”, you must be sane enough to choose what is right?  Just opposing something because it has a sentimental attachment to an idea, is not a wise choice.

So now you know that it is a big NO for crossing brother and sister dogs from different litters. Before this, you must know about breeding and why it is done?

What is dog breeding?

People have been breeding dogs for decades to develop certain traits in them. These traits pass through genes and as result, dogs develop the habits of their ancestors. Have you ever thought about why dogs still have canine instincts?.  Why they are natural predators?. And why evolution has not made dogs vegetarian-only?  Because this all is encoded in their genes which pass through generations.

Breeding dogs means crossing dogs cleverly so that certain habits or traits of one breed can pass in the litter. Breeding in dogs is purely to pass the “legacy” of ancestors to offspring.

How does breeding affect litter?

It is for breeding that breeders know about litter and can anticipate which puppy will behave in what way?  For example, when you want to know how to adopt a Golden retriever puppy from a litter, you go to an entrusted breeder. He will advise you according to your requirements because he knows the dog’s parents and their parents and maybe generations of the dog. Even if he only has a family tree, an experienced breeder can anticipate how offspring would be.

The purpose of breeding

Simply to pass on the preferred characteristics to the next generation. To futher filter the good genes and make sure that the probability of getting them in the next generation is higher. This might be the purpose that may force a breeder into thinking about can you breed a brother and sister dogs from different litter safely. The purpose maybe noble but shouldn’t the means be noble as well.

Now tell us, doesn’t your pet deserves to have healthy and efficient pups. Breeding brothers and sister dogs from the different or same litter will only bring problems so you must avoid it.

How dogs are Inbred to achieve certain traits?

What are those traits that can be passed on through selective reproduction?

Dogs can inherit almost anything from their parents. With careful choices, the breeder crosses the dogs to get those genes out. Dogs can get many things from their parents whether it be their looks,  their preying skills, or their ability to help mankind. The main reason for almost all selective breeding is to produce a more efficient and effective litter.

Some people are breeding dogs for decades and have developed puppies who have a much higher skill set and ability to get trained than other dogs. For example, when we want to choose between Nova Scotia vs Golden retriever, we know Golden retriever is more efficient in assisting humans than Nova scotia. Similarly, we know Golden Retrievers are very friendly as compared to Greyhound or Hungarian vizslas which are comparatively aggressive.

Are Breeders Breeding puppies from the same parents but different litters

Yes.  Breeders sometimes do it. This is called line breeding which is slightly different from Inbreeding. People can inbreed dogs from the same litter and dogs who are brother and sister from a different litter. In-breeding has its advantages and disadvantages.


The main purpose of inbreeding is to combine the good traits of both puppies. This needs very careful supervision. Even experienced breeders think this is risky. You are likely to combine both the good and bad characteristics of puppies and this is like tossing a coin. You don’t know which side you will get. It can result in a lower immune system,  genetic illnesses, smaller size,  distorted looks, and negative traits.

When crossing puppies from the same parents,  you have very limited genetic choices. Genetic diversity is important while breeding.


Linebreeding is different from inbreeding. It is mating dogs who are not direct siblings or parents but are either very close relatives or half brother or sister to dogs. This is a very selective approach. It is done to take good traits from parents and refrain from negative ones to transfer in a litter. So if you breed dogs from the same litter,  this is inbreeding. When you chose inbreeding with cousin dogs or from another litter from the same parents,  this is line breeding.

Here is a summary of the difference between both types of breeding

In BreedingLinebreeding
Dogs are direct siblingsDogs are relatives but do not have a direct close relation
Inbreeding has three approaches which include breeding with parents, grandparents, and direct or half brothers and sistersLinebreeding is a subcategory of inbreeding
The intense approach of  breedingA milder form of breeding
Increased risk of genetic mutationHigher chances of recessive genes
Not recommended at allVery close supervision required

Is breeding brother and sister dogs” Purpose breeding?”

When people breed dogs to develop a specific trait,  this is called purpose breeding.  Purpose breeding is done so that the resulting puppy may be able to perform a specific task based on a skill set inherited from parents.  For example, breeders breed dogs to hunt or herd or even to be an assistant to less-abled people. Purpose bred dogs are carefully bred to meet certain expectations and with training their behavior can be adjusted to handle different situations.

Some dogs are pro in assisting mankind and breeders may cross them internally. So if done deliberately, maybe breeding sister and brother dogs can be categorized under purpose breeding.

Is breeding with first litter siblings safer than breeding with second litter?

No! Breeding within any litter is not safe. It’s just the degree to which there is an increased chance of genetic disorders. The direct siblings from first litters have more chances to carry mutated genes. The second litter would be more concentrated and will further increase the chances of genetic deformities and disabilities in the next litters.

If parents of different litters come from diverse genetic pools, is it safe?

Yes! Recommended. Genetic diversity is important to avoid genetic illnesses from passing through generations. One should cross dogs with diverse genetic backgrounds.

So the probability of getting crippled litter is less when you know that the parents have come from lineage that is quite different. But still, it can be dangerous as it inbreeding may give opportunity for recessive genes to become dominant in the next litter.

How to take care of brothers and sisters of different litter?

Whether the breeding was done with intention or dogs inbred themselves as soon as the litter is born you should monitor all the pups.

It is better to inform your vet about the parents so they can immediately look for pups health indicator specialty any visible deformities. It is better to put down a pup few days old then to allow it to grow into a miserable health.

Can people sell inbred puppies? 

Well,  yes they do!  Mistakes happen when people try to combine the best traits of both puppies in the first place. Apart from trying to keep the bloodline pure,  they may try to bring out the best of both parents for commercial reasons. Also sometimes,  you get accidental inbred puppies where a sister dog gets pregnant by her brother.

However, there are many ethical concerns here. First, the buyer must be told that puppies are inbred. Usually, people who have accidentally inbred puppies,  try to hide the facts. So that the buyer may not raise questions over health concerns or moral obligations etc.

As we have already been told,  there is quite a chance that it will result in birth defects or genetic disorders. A litter can have a disease that may show later on in the third or fourth generation of dogs. Taking the positive side,  the pup could be as healthy as any normal dog.

In general,  try to refrain sibling dogs from mating or get them neutered!

If you are still persistent!

Well, People do this.  If you are willing to take the risk despite the social,  religious, and factual evidence,  consult a very experienced breeder. You must analyze at least three generations of puppies to see if any recessive gene has a chance to pop up. Any illness that is not present now but ancestors had it, can show up in litters.

We still suggest breeding unrelated healthy dogs. Breeding siblings is wrong on so many grounds and you might need to consider this…

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