|Barked: Thu Aug 23, '12 7:25am PST |
|I've handled numerous large sighthounds (including several wolfhounds, so not all have been track dogs) and many large terriers. It's all about prey drive. A small furry runs and they often give chase. period. It's in every bit of their DNA to do so. They are only doing exactly what wild canids do, further distilled by human manipulation in breeding and sometimes even further enhanced by individual training. Small dogs happen to be small furries. Just like cats and pet hamsters happen to be small furries. Dogs aren't born knowing what critters are 'off limits'.
What happens after the chase depends on many variables that have already been mentioned like how strong the dog's hunt instinct and prey drive are, socialization or lack thereof, how far away the small dog was initially, how long the chase was, the people responding, if any...I've seen a large dog stop and switch into 'play mode' once they realize the quarry is a small dog several times. Not every dog is capable of doing that, though, for a variety of reasons.
I've seen wolfies happily playing with small fox terriers many times, even puppies with such gentleness I could hardly believe it. I've also known some that couldn't resist giving chase and shaking no matter what kind of animal was running. From the same litter, raised the same way; so as usual, a lot comes down to knowing thy dog.
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