Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I've heard a lot of varying stories from people with greyhounds about whether littermates recognized each other when they were reunited later. Some seem to recognize each other right away, and others seem to have no reaction at all. I think there are a lot of factors that play into it. How long they've been apart is one part of the equation and how attached they were to each other also is a factor. Most of the time, when greyhound puppies are weaned from their mother, they are kept together as they go away to schooling. They use their natural sibling rivalry to help train them to chase the lure. So, they're together with their siblings for quite a while, much longer than they're with their mother.
Blueberry and Lilac were retired at the same time, and they traveled here from Kansas on the same dog hauler. Blueberry had not been away from Lilac for a terribly long time is my guess. Lilac had just weaned her second litter of puppies before she left the farm. Blueberry had travelled to Florida, tried to be a racer, and failed making it out of her maiden race, so she'd been sent back to the farm. The night they arrived, I didn't see much indication that they knew each other, but it's very hectic during unloading time.
Lilac seems to have a strong maternal instinct and pull for younger dogs. Bunny has wanted to lay down beside her from the beginning. Lilac has corrected younger dogs who got out of line on several occasions. I don't know if dogs who have had puppies give off a certain smell or aura, but it would not surprise me in the least to learn that they do. She's incredibly sweet, but definitely very firm in her boundaries.
The way Lilac and Blueberry interact, I feel reasonably certain that they did recognize each other in some way. Now that Blueberry is the alpha dog here, Lilac doesn't bark at her, but Blueberry is careful and respectful of her. Bunny and Blueberry both used to try stealing Hawk's bed on occasion, and Bunny will steal Blue's once in a while, but they don't steal from Lilac. They easily could, but they don't.
Not only do the two of them seem to know each other, but they act alike. It's almost uncanny at times how much alike they can be. They are both masters at stealing things, although Lilac prefers to steal from the trash while Blue prefers to steal right off your plate. Both of them seem to be mostly reformed of the habit, though. They have quirky little mannerisms that they share as well.
It's been a lot of fun having them both here together. I keep hoping that we'll run into some of Bunny's littermates at our greyhound reunion so that we can compare notes on how they are and see how they act together. I do know that all of them are extremely sweet, just like she is. I just think it would be fun to see them together. You never know what the reaction could be!