In this study, we try to capture the degree of specialization or integration, and of intensification or extensification, of (peri-) urban livestock production, along with the factors that influence such decisions and their impact on natural resource uses. A total of 181 and 187 structured questionnaires were completed in livestock-keeping households in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and Tamale (Ghana). Categorical principal component and two-step cluster analysis were used to identify homogenous groups of livestock-keeping households. Cross tabulation and logistic regression analysis revealed factors that influence livestock husbandry, showing their impacts on resource use by livestock keepers in the two cities. A diversity of livestock species was kept, mostly integrated with crop farming. Yet, some households specialized in either sheep, pig or commercial milk production, and partly intensified their production. The decision to specialize and/or intensify livestock production is site-specific and influenced by the education level of the household head and security of land ownership. Higher inputs in livestock systems do not necessarily lead to higher outputs, and specialization inevitably leads to higher manure wastages. Therefore, links of livestock producers to crop farmers and markets for livestock manure must be strengthened to enable recycling of resources and limit negative externalities of specialized livestock production. Strategies need to be identified to improve livestock productivity by enhancing outputs as input use increases.