I've Got a Small Dog -- In Stature Only!
I love all dogs: big ones, small ones, long-haired ones, short-haired ones, purebreds and mixed breeds. But when it came time for me to have my very own dog, I knew that a petit pooch would fit best with my lifestyle.
I ended up adopting the tiniest of four puppies. Pinch was the runt of the litter and an adorable Miniature Pinscher/Dachshund mix. From the very beginning, I knew my little dog had a big dog trapped inside his stubby-legged exterior. What he lacks in size, Pinch makes up for in a lot of other ways.
So what's so big about my small dog? Let's take a look:
1. He's got a big attitude
A lot of people think that small dogs suffer from an inferiority complex because of their compact size and that they compensate for it with a larger-than-life personality. I don't know if there's any proof behind this theory, but I do know that Pinch doesn't let his itty bitty body ever prevent him from being seen or heard. Pinch loves to bark (at anything and everything), and he also loves to make sure he's always the center of attention, which usually means him worming his sausage body between me and my husband on the couch or in our bed!
And while he may be small enough to easily carry around, Pinch really doesn't like being picked up. He prefers staying on the ground where he can protect his "Mommy" from all those scary plastic bags and hedgehogs we pass on our walks. Pinch is my big little guard dog; a role he takes very seriously.
But all that hard work keeping me safe can be tiring for this little guy ...
2. He's also got a big appetite
Some small dogs can be fussy, finicky eaters, but not my Pinch. He's got a Doberman-sized appetite in a Miniature Pinscher's body. If his food dish is empty, he'll go stand on his tiptoes to try and reach the cats' kibble. And like any self-respecting French dog, Pinch will never say no to a piece of cheese.
He's also a big-time mooch, but we are working on that.
3. He takes up a lot of space
How is it that the same small dog who can curl up so compactly on my lap can also take up half the sofa or the entire bed? Pinch loves to lounge, and those short, stocky legs of his seem 10 feet long when we are trying to share the space.
Between Pinch and my three cats, there's usually no place left for me to stretch out!
4. He likes to hang with the big boys
Pinch knows that friends come in all shapes and sizes, and some of his best canine companions have been a whole lot bigger than him. When we lived in the north of France, Pinch would regularly hang out with a Golden Retriever, Bruce. Now that we live more than 500 miles away in the Alps, Pinch has made a new friend, 150-pound Cooper the Leonberger. People always stop and laugh when the two of them are together, but I think that in Pinch's mind, he's just as big as Cooper.
When I left him for two weeks at a (really wonderful) kennel to go on holiday, I was told that Pinch would always choose to play with the bigger dogs over the smaller ones, and that he took a particular liking to a pretty female hound who towered over him. But then again, I'm only 5'2" and my husband is 6-foot, so who am I to judge?
5. He has big stamina
Pinch is a mix of two miniature breeds known for their maximized energy levels. I had thought that his lowrider status would mean he'd have trouble walking long distances, but boy was I wrong! He absolutely loves walking, running and just being outside (but don't ask him to swim), and he can easily keep up with dogs three times his size. I live in the mountains, and even though most people around here have Huskies, Border Collies or Saint Bernards, I've found the perfect hiking partner in tiny Pinch.
And all that exercise does a little body good. During Pinch's last checkup, the vet squeezed his meaty hind leg and exclaimed, "Wow! He's really quite muscular for such a small dog!"
With numerous mountain trails just minutes from where I live, it's great that little Pinch has the ability to accompany me on long hikes in the fresh air. He's never let his small size stop him from enjoying outings to a maximum, and he motivates me to keep going when my legs are getting tired. If a 15-pound dog can climb a mountain, so can I!
6. And most importantly, he's got a huge heart (and a great big smile)
My dog is my best friend. He's the most loving and loyal canine companion I could have asked for, and I hope only that he knows I love him as much as he loves me.
I look forward to seeing his little face light up in an ear-to-ear grin when I get home from work, and I can always count on him for big-time snuggles when I'm feeling down. He's been the only constant in my otherwise nomadic and unpredictable expat life these past eight years, and I couldn't have done it without him by my side.
I've got a small dog who has changed my life in a big way, and I hope we have many more amazing years together; a small dog who thinks he's big and his equally tiny human who loves him just the way he is.
Is there a big dog trapped inside your small dog's body? Tell us about her in the comments!
About Crystal Gibson: A child-sized Canadian expat in France who is fluent in French and sarcasm. Owned by a neurotic Doxie mix, a Garfield look-alike, and two needy Sphynx cats. An aspiring writer and pet photographer with a love of coffee and distaste for French administration, she can be found blogging over at Crystal Goes to Europe.