Making the decision to add to your pet family is definitely a big one. You may have already considered many aspects of this decision, including your current pet’s disposition and therefore the necessary disposition of the new pet, the increased responsibility and cost, and much more. While this is all important, you also need to consider the pet gender–not as a simple matter of personal preference, but as a matter of what will work with your current pet.

Why Pet Gender Matters When Expanding Your Family

While there have certainly been plenty of exceptions, many pet experts agree that the best rule of thumb when adding to your pet family is to adopt an animal of the opposite sex to your current pet. The primary reason for this is that your current pet undoubtedly feels like the dominant pet in your household, and threats to this can disrupt the harmonious balance in the household. You may feel that this is utterly impossible, as your current pet is the sweetest, calmest animal around. But while they may seem perfectly sweet, gentle and loving with you, your children and even other pets met on walks, this can change dramatically when they feel that their place in the household has changed. Remember, you cannot simply sit down and explain to them what is happening and why, so they will rely on their instincts to guide them.

In some cases, individuals have adopted a new pet that is the same sex as their current pet and have assumed that all is well when there is no immediate fighting. However, a lack of immediate conflict doesn’t mean that there will never be a future conflict. It may take six months, a year, two years or even longer, but an eventual conflict is possible among two same-sex pets that have not been raised together from an early age. This conflict can be spurred on by any manner of things, including a fight over a toy, food, their human’s affection, and there’s simply no telling when it may happen. Even after the conflict has come to an end and a decision has been made, the experience may have an undesirable effect on both pets’ personalities, such as one becoming aggressively dominant and the other becoming depressingly submissive. It’s better to be safe, and adopt the opposite sex so that household harmony is maintained, and perhaps even improved.