No, father dogs do not recognize their puppies. However, it is a complicated question that is difficult to answer because we can’t ask a dog and must instead observe their behaviour.

It is common knowledge that mother dogs love and recognize their puppies. Most of the time, a mother dog assumes the role of mother as soon as her puppies are born.

She feeds, tends to, and protects them until they are ready to leave the nest and go to their permanent homes.

However, whether father dogs know their puppies is a common question among breeders. If so, might they even be aware of the bitch’s pregnancy? Or is this a result of hormones?

The short answer to this complicated subject is that male dogs do not recognize their puppies. However, it isn’t easy to reach a definite conclusion. Male dogs can acknowledge that a litter has joined the household and can also tell when a litter belongs to a specific female.

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It is reasonable to believe that most adult male dogs understand that they are puppies, not fully grown dogs, and will treat them with far more care and patience. There is, however, no concrete evidence that a male dog will recognize his offspring.

Do Father Dogs Have Paternal Instincts? Do They Recognize Their Puppies?

recognize their puppies
Father Dog and Pup – Needpix

Domesticated dogs do not have father instincts towards their puppies. Grey wolves, which have a more widespread paternal drive, are the ancestors of today’s dogs. Male wolves will defend their cubs and teach them crucial life skills like hunting and playing.

Our dogs have lost certain instincts as a result of domestication. One of these instances is paternal instincts. Wild wolves would have to nurture their young, teaching them to hunt, play, and behave. Dogs no longer feel the impulse to care for puppies since they depend entirely on their human counterparts.

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Humans are entirely involved when dogs breed, and the male dog is no longer required for the birth to guard the mother or teach the pups how to hunt. As a result, their paternal impulses have all but vanished.

While father dogs can interact with puppies and teach them social skills. However, they should be kept away from puppies from birth until they are about 20 days old. They should be introduced only if the male dog is kind and mild-tempered. Even if he has pure intentions, a huge dog can easily hurt or kill a puppy.

Do dog siblings recognize each other?

recognize their puppies
Pup siblings – Maxpixel

According to research, dogs can recognize their siblings and parents later in life if they spend the first 16 weeks together. Intuitively, the less time pups spend with their families, the less likely they will recognize a family member later.

How Do Father Dogs React to Their Puppies?

You cannot predict without assessing your dog’s breed and personality. Each male dog will be different, from aggression to affection, so you must be cautious during their first meeting. From jealousy to care, your dog’s projected features and current behaviour may help determine their behaviour toward their litter.

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Jealousy Because They Can’t Recognize Their Puppies

Some dogs are jealous of new puppies because of the attention they receive from their owners. Even the mother is frequently showered with greater love (after all, she just gave birth or is actively nursing). This might result in a male displaying direct or indirect aggression toward the mother and pups.

In the best-case situation, envy manifests as avoidance. Father dogs may withdraw from the situation or avoid associating with the puppies entirely. If he’s pouting, ensure he knows he’s still a cherished family member by showing him love and attention.

Some dogs show jealousy by physically interfering with their relationships with the puppies. This conduct might be harmful. They can hurt the puppies by treading on them even if they don’t mean to. Mother dogs fiercely protect their young and will not hesitate to attack any approaching dogs. Puppies can be easily killed or gravely injured by older dogs.

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Father Dogs Show Indifference When They Can’t Recognize Their Puppies

Many father dogs are indifferent to their puppies because they lack parental instincts and either ignore them or have no desire to interact with them.

While this may appear cruel to us, it is the most frequent behaviour for father dogs and does not endanger the puppies.


While unusual, some father dogs react affectionately to their puppies and aid in their care.

They can be spotted loving, cleaning, or even gently carrying their puppies around in their mouths. Owners who have witnessed this activity frequently interpret it as proof that father dogs remember their puppies, although this is not always the case.

Naturally more affectionate and caring dogs may perceive the puppies’ vulnerability and respond accordingly. It’s usually the product of a sympathetic dog rather than parental impulses.


Father dogs are unable to recognize their puppies. They may be friendly and sympathetic to the puppies, but this is not due to paternal instincts.

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Father dogs have a variety of behaviours toward little puppies, which is natural, but male dogs should be introduced to puppies with caution and supervision.

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