Little dogs and Big dogs- The common misconceptions

13 Jan

Before choosing a certain breed to bring into your home, the chances are you will decide whether you want a big dog or a little dog first. People have their own opinions about different breeds and use these opinions when choosing a dog. However, there are a lot of very common misconceptions about there (about little dogs and big dogs), and these can sometimes cause people to make the wrong decision.

Small dogs:

1. Small dogs don’t need to be trained. Of course they do. Just because it is small doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to learn manners and what is acceptable. So, unless you want a little dog chewing up your brand new shoes or peeing all over the house, you will want to be providing the proper training. The same goes for socialization, and classes can be a good way to overcome both training problems and early socialization with other dogs and people.

2. People don’t mind when small dogs misbehave for attention. Whether it is jumping up at, nipping at a persons ankles or barking incessantly, it is unacceptable behavior. Any size of dog needs to be taught proper manners and learn how to socialize with both other dogs and humans with respect. Just as people don’t appreciate when my 20kg Labrador puppy jumps up at them to say hello (something that we are continuing to work on), i don’t appreciate a tiny pug hovering around my ankles, licking me.

3. Small dogs need less exercise. All dogs need exercise, and the walk in particular is a very important aspect of their lives. Whilst it may be that a smaller dog is able to make better use of smaller spaces i.e. a garden, it still needs to be exercised. I would recommend that small dogs still get two walks a day, even if these walks are only 15 minutes long each. In addition, you should remember that different dogs have different energy levels, and whilst the size and breed of dog can give some indication of how much exercise your dog needs, you should also take its individual energy levels into consideration.

4. Small dogs are only for women. Its all about personal preference. If a small breed of dog is more suited to your own personality and what you can provide for it, then by all means, get a small dog and feel happy about it. Not all men want big dogs, just as not all women want small dogs. Take me for example, a 5ft 5, 21 year old women who would never chose a small dog. Its not that i don’t like them, i would just never want to own one (at least not now).

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5. Small dogs are better with children. It makes no difference whether you have a 3 pound dog or a 100 pound dog. Whatever size dog you have, it needs to be introduced to children carefully with supervision. You should be sure that the dog has proper obedience and be well aware of the animals disposition before considering introducing it to children. I grew up with a big bouncy Golden retriever, who was the perfect guardian for me as a baby and toddler. My sister grew up both with the golden retriever Toby and then our black labrador Clay. Any breed and any size of dog has the ability to injure. Although larger breeds are often in the news for attacks, i would like to point out that recently in the UK there was a very unfortunate and devastating incident where a Jack Russel (i believe i have this correct) killed a new born baby.

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Big dogs:

1. Big dogs are the bullies. Whilst all breeds have certain character traits which can affect their behavior, the owners handling, socialization, and other factors effect the behavior of a dog. Size does not mean that a dog is more likely to make attempts at dominating either other animals or people. Take for instance when packs for in the wild. It is not always the biggest dog that becomes the pack leader. Although dogs might have more power behind them and could potentially cause more damage, little dogs are just as likely to bite.

2. Big dogs take more effort to look after. This all really depends on what you consider to be effort and the breed of the dog. If you are talking about how much time you need to spend with the dog training, or simply socializing with, that really depends on the individual dog rather than breed or size. All dogs need to spend time with their owners, and all dogs need some form of training. When it comes to grooming, it varies more due to coat type, environment and even activity level rather than the size of the dog. A Labrador for example, requires very little grooming; the occasional nail clipping, ear cleaning or a bath when they have rolled in something they shouldn’t. Something small like a Shih Tzu however, will require much more frequent grooming, with lots of brushing, baths, keeping the face clean and even trimming their fur.

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3. Big dogs cannot live in apartments. While in many cases this might be true, apartments are generally not very suitable for big dogs, there are breeds that are very happy living an apartment life. Providing they get there daily walks and enough exercise, many large breeds are happy snuggling up on the sofa and sleeping the day away. A prime example would be the greyhound which needs a few short spurts of energy release (two short walks and a good run around a field) and then a good day of resting.

4. Big dogs have higher energy levels than little dogs: Not true. There are many large dog breeds as mentioned before that are happy to sleep away their day. There are also many small dogs which can remind you of the energizer bunny, constantly on the move.

5. Big dogs are not as good with other small pets: This is completely untrue. As a matter of fact it is a number of the smaller breeds, the terriers that are least likely to be able to live with other small animals. They were bred to hunt and have a high prey drive. However, as with children, proper introductions are important and a dog of any breed or size is more likely to get on well with smaller animals if it has been around them since it was a young pup.

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Of course, these are just a few of the most common misconceptions, there are many more out there, including breed specific, or gender specific ideas. Often people will hear a story, or read a story in the news paper and that notion becomes ingrained in their mind, helping them to make their own judgments. Other people will grow up around a certain type of dog and come to prefer them.

The point is, that when deciding what dog you want, there are a number of things to consider, size being one of the less important factors. Whilst you should take note of the breed and that breeds general traits, the main thing you should be looking at is the individual dog and its “personality”.

Note: None of the above pictures are mine, but were found off google images

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