Anyone who regularly reads my blogs will know that I don’t believe in breed generalisations, so why would I pick out small dog breeds as a subject for a blog?! Well there are some breed generalisations that are true; for example, typically chihuahua’s are small. Bernese Mountain Dogs, on the other hand are usually quite big. Staffies are muscular and have locking jaws. German shephards have long muzzles and can jump quite high… The point is that the breed of the dog affects what it is physically capable of doing. Big dogs, that have big teeth, strong muscles and can jump up high, tend to get treated with a bit more caution and respect than small dog breeds, that have small mouths and can only jump as high as your knee. Consequently we don’t tend to look to small dogs as being a potential source of injury for ourselves and those around us, and therefore don’t take them quite so seriously.
When a small dog pulls on the lead, it can still be held and walked. If it barks or jumps up, it’s not particularly frightening. If it jumps into your lap, you probably think ‘how cute’. However the small dog has the same mind set as the big dog. It needs to know who the pack leader is. It worries about dangers. It worries about who is in charge of what. When it’s comparatively mild behaviour is being ignored, because the size of the dog means the behaviour doesn’t affect the owners as much, the behaviour tends to get worse and worse. This is the main reason that small dog breeds get a bad name; because their behaviour gets left unresolved for longer! People with bigger dog breeds tend to start off with good intentions, so while they may not be getting everything right, the dog is usually getting more correct signals than a small dog.
So in answer to my question… what is it about small dog breeds? As far as their dog psychology is concerned…? Nothing! It’s the way we treat! For more information, have a read of The Dog Listener, by Jan Fennell. It certainly opened my eyes to the truth about dogs…
You may be interested in my other blogs on this subject: What are the good breeds of dog? And Your Chihuahua thinks it’s a wolf. If you need help with the behaviour of your small dog (or any other size for that matter) then I can help. I am based in Essex, and also travel to East London, and parts of Kent, Herts and Suffolk.