I have small dogs. Four of them. We used to have one, then two. Then a puppy arrived and the ‘middle’ dog died, leaving me with an ancient rescue oldie and a newbie. Since then we have added another two rescue dogs, all roughly the same age. To offset this, and always needing at least one trained dog for my work, we added another puppy to the mix.
As we don’t have a big garden, even though I am used to working with large dogs every day, I decided little dogs would be my choice. Ironically I know, since I can handle even the heftiest Saint Bernard, but I quite like coming home to fit all my dogs onto the one lap.
I get told that little dogs are ‘yappy’, ‘small dog syndrome’, ‘rats on leads’ (how insulting), with one lady spelling out the word ‘R-U-N-T’ as I passed her at a dog show one day! Even so, little dogs have their advantages and we will always have one.
I love larger dogs too. We regularly share our home with our friends’ Hungarian Viszla, a big soppy girl who thinks the tiny bed under my office desk is the perfect size for her (she gets into it as well, and snuggles right down).
I regularly get my ‘collie fix’ from dogs at work, their bright, intelligent faces trying to work out the quickest way to get their own way (collie owners will know what I mean by this)!
Let’s not forget the Retrievers, Spaniels, Boxers, Dobermans and German Shepherds that all have their cute moments as well as their big paws that keep us all busy. Even these are rendered tiny by the Leonbergers, Newfoundlands and Great Danes I am lucky enough to work with, too.
So which is best?
Size doesn’t need to be a problem. A hair-trigger terrier can be more of a challenge from moment to moment than the largest of Rottweilers who are often softer than a sponge pudding. The traits people say are typical of smaller, or larger dogs can be seen in all dogs.
If you choose a temperament and type of dog that suits your lifestyle, size is secondary.
However, if you just choose a breed or size of dog because you think image is more important, you are setting yourself up for failure. Small house, small garden, lots of kids? A big dog might be disaster for the dog’s chances. Small nervous dog or large nervous dog? The large one is more likely to be a problem.
So forget the tape measure when it comes to dog choices. Pick a good LOCAL breeder, visit often, see good dog parents, unstressed, living in a home and well raised before they even get to you. Now that is what I call a bigger decision!