Tuesday, October 10, 2006

What's so bad about small dogs?

Dogs of all sizes have their charms, don't get me wrong. But it seems there's some strange cultural stigma about small ones which annoys me.

Large dogs are stereotyped as being drooly and dumb but always good-natured and friendly. Small dogs are stereotyped as being yappy and uptight and annoying, and are called "little rat dogs". Neither stereotype is particularly accurate.

Any purebred is likely to be uptight, regardless of size, compared to mutts which tend to be laid back and friendly by comparison. There are of course exceptions, but the rule of thumb works. Size, however, doesn't enter into it. One of the most uptight breeds of dog is the greyhound, because of how it's been bred for racing, and they're by no means small. Other large breeds known for being at least as uptight as any poodle include pit bulls and collies. Of course individual dogs of any breed, even purebred, might be laid back... but that applies just as well to poodles or cockers as larger breeds. Still, small dogs get all the bad rap without being any more likely to have the problem.

And mutt small dogs are just as drooly and just as friendly and good-natured as big dogs, except they can do it on your lap (without crushing you and your sofa). Plus they're a lot less likely to knock someone over in their enthusiasm to be friendly and hurt someone. But these traits are overlooked. Instead, little dogs are dismissed as "little rat dogs" summarily, and so unfairly.

People who appreciate smaller dogs are rarely prejudicial against the big dogs, but not vice versa. It's not fair. More power to cuddly, friendly little pooches everywhere!

1 comment:

litlfrog said...

I admit it: I'm one of the people who calls small dogs "little rat dogs." I know they don't all deserve it, but based on my experience, small dogs are more likely to be high-strung, loud, hard to train, and weak-bladdered. I know full well this isn't always the case, and when I meet a small dog who's well-behaved I love it unreservedly. I've just had better personal experiences with bigger dogs than with smaller. And while the big ones can't comfortably sit on your lap, you can hug them like people!