What Are "Bonded Pair" Dogs?

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In the world of canine adoption, the term "bonded pair" indicates a duo of doggies that for whatever reason are strongly attached and need be adopted into the same home together. Separating a bonded pair is liable to lead to anxiety issues in one dog or both -- not good.

Bonded Pair Background

In animal rescue programs and adoption centers, "bonded pairs" are two dogs or cats that have a very close relationship, as the moniker expresses. When a pair of dogs this strongly connected is allowed to live together, the chances of them thriving and achieving happiness in a "forever home" setting may be exponentially higher. That means a lower likelihood of "acting out," whether through destructive chewing, potty accidents or even excessive whimpering and whining. After all, in being adopted as a duo, the little ones already have a piece of comforting familiarity in an otherwise totally brand new and quite daunting atmosphere.


Time Together

Any two dogs can be part of a "bonded pair" as long as they have spent significant amounts of time together, particularly from a tender, early and impressionable age. The "significant time" can be since birth to six months to five years. The time frame varies as all dogs are different, of course. Bonding tends to be tighter the younger the dog, although a five-year-old dog tightly bonding with a sprightly puppy after just a few months living in close proximity to each other is not unusual, particularly if the older dog lost a mate or had not had a peer prior.


Family Bond

Bonded pair dogs are very often canines from the same litter -- together since before birth, literally. Bonded pair doggies are often parent-and-offspring situations, as well. If a young pup wasn't adopted out at a particularly early age and has spent a lot of time with his mother from nursing and thereafter, for instance, their connection is probably going to be strong and hard to break -- for both parties. Although closely knit pairs are often related, any two pets can forge a lasting and indelible connection -- in other words, a "bond," regardless of blood relationship. Household or shelter circumstances might be just as reasonable a force behind bonding. Regardless of whether two pets are technically "family," keeping them together may be the most suitable option.


Separation and Grief

Dogs are no strangers to grief. If two dogs are very closely bonded and all of a sudden are split up into different homes, a grieving process is not only normal but expected. Dogs may individually mourn the absence of another by losing interest in prior beloved pastimes and activities, sleeping more, withdrawing from people, refusing to eat and staring off into space in a dazed manner. None of these things are even remotely the signs of a happy or healthy dog, of course. Always consult a vet when your dog shows signs of sickness or irregular, off-habit behavior.



Dogs that are bonded often depend on one another to handle new and uncertain situations. They can rely on each other as well for comfort in frightening circumstances -- think the drive from the adoption shelter to a new home, a trip to the veterinarian's office, or a thunderstorm. When around other pets, they can rely on each other to help out with social and interactive behavioral hints. Lastly, being together all of the time can provide nonstop entertainment -- a constant playtime companion of sorts.

By Naomi Millburn



Noah's Ark Bayou Sanctuary Animal Rescue: Bonded Pairs
Homeward Trails Animal Rescue: Bonded Pairs
ASPCA Professional: Increase Adoptions
Oregon Live: Bonded Pairs Can Bring Twice the Love Into Your Home
Longmont Humane Society: Adopting More Than One Dog

About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.