I attended an agility class recently with my dog, Dusty, a Schnauzer, and we both had the opportunity to spend time with all sorts of dogs. There were Standard Poodles, Peekapoos, Boston Terriers, Saint Bernards, and even a fun loving “Heinz 57” mix. It was great to see them all interact with each other and go through the agility training. As I interacted with each dog, I also met their human companions.
There didn’t seem to be any obvious reason as to why a person had fallen in love with their specific dog. It wasn’t that the smaller dogs were teamed with the more petite people, or large dogs with bigger people, or either of the opposites. Maybe it was the personality of the dog matching their human’s personality, but I didn’t have enough time to get to know everyone on a personal level. This made me wonder whether some people prefer big dogs and some people prefer small dogs, and why that might be.
Looking back on my life, I’ve always had small dogs. The biggest dog I ever had was a 40-pound Collie mix named Bandit. Bandit spent all of his time outside and rarely ever came inside. That might be because our family of five being raised in a 675-square-foot home. There wasn’t much room for the humans, let alone a dog. Besides, my dad was very “old school” and wouldn’t allow a dog inside the house, at least until all the kids moved away and he got a Pomeranian who would sit on his lap in his recliner.
My wife, Kim, was accustomed to having small dogs in her family growing up. So, she was never really exposed to big dogs. After we were married, a small dog seemed perfect because we moved often and spent our early years in apartments and townhomes. Our first house had a nice fenced backyard and was large enough for a big dog. But, instead we choose two smaller Pomeranians instead of a big dog. Currently, we have a larger home with an even larger fenced backyard. But we still choose to have small dogs so we can carry them upstairs when they’ve gotten older and can’t climb the stairs on their own.
We have friends and neighbors who would only consider a big dog for their familis. Most of them grew up with big dogs and felt a natural connection with them. They also have sizable homes and yards that are perfect for big dogs. They also like to be outdoors hiking, walking, running and exploring the wilderness. They believe a big dog is perfect for the trails and provides a degree of protection for them if they encounter wildlife.
When our big dog friends come for a visit they always want to hold our small dogs. However, when the dogs start to squirm or bark in their high-pitched tones, they quickly put them back on the floor. Maybe it’s the ear-piercing noise they just encountered, or maybe they’re worried that they just broke our small dog. Either way, they remember why they chose to have big dogs.
For me, I love all dogs and enjoy being with the various types and sizes whenever we have a training class. However, for my lifestyle, a small dog is the way to go. (Sorry to let you down all my big-dog-loving friends.)
What’s your preference and why? Do you find that certain sizes and breeds fit your living arrangements or schedule better? Maybe it’s purely aesthetic or behavioral? Maybe it’s personality, or protection? Let us know in the comments below.
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