It seems very popular to equate small dogs with “rats” (huh?) and deny that they’re “real” dogs (come on, we’ve heard it a million times). Even people who identify themselves as dog lovers, will still disapprove of the “small ratty dogs”. I have only met a handful of people who aren’t disgusted by chihuahuas, for example.
I’m a dog lover and I love dogs of all sizes. I have a small mutt and he’s just awesome. So what is it behind this small-dog-hate? Is it because it’s cool and macho to hate on them? Is it because of the kinds of owners small dogs are associated with (Paris Hilton types)? What the hell is it?
On one hand, I think a lot of it is rooted in the fact that people sometimes don’t properly train little dogs, because poor behavior is more tolerable. You get more small dogs that bark, jump up on you, won’t heel, try to lick your face, play alpha dog, etc. And while those behaviors are not as big of a deal in a small dog, they are still a PITA and unattractive. Many small dogs are not like this of course.
On the other hand, I do think for some people it’s macho bullshit where a “real” dog has to be some big, potentially dangerous mutt. This leads to people sometimes getting dogs that don’t really suit their lifestyles or personalities, resulting in a poorly trained or simply neglected big dog.
I guess what I am saying is that while I understand the annoyance with small, poorly trained dogs, I find it almost unbearable when it’s being expressed–or worse, generalized to all small dogs–by someone with a large poorly trained dog or a neglected big dog.
Small dogs are seen by many as unfit for any “real” purpose (like hunting, protection, exercise) and therefore “useless”. (Many need pseudo-rational reasons to own a dog). Also, I’ve heard people regard small dogs as over-bred, man-made aberrations that wouldn’t survive a day in the natural world, unlike a German Shepherd or a Husky supposedly would.
Basically this. Generally, they are not very likable to anyone other than their owners. Large dogs tend to be more confident and come across as more pleasant. Insecure, loud, whiny people aren’t all that fun to be around either!
But these are just generalizations. I’ve met small dogs that were great and large dogs that were a pain in the ass, so I try to judge each dog individually.
Seriously, I think that the main problem many people have with small dogs is that the owners don’t train and control them. Many small dog owners tend to treat the dogs as toys or accessories, not as dogs, and so the dogs are quite undisciplined. Also, a lot of small dog breeds have a lot of very bad breeders, who will breed just for profit, not to improve the breed.
Small dogs can be wonderful companions. My parents had three Maltese, which can be described as dustmops with eyes. But my parents bought the dogs from a reputable breeder, and trained the dogs, and had them fixed, and worked with them every day. The dogs were spoiled, but overall, they were a pleasure to be around. However, my parents expected the dogs to be dogs, not things to be played with when they were in the mood and otherwise shut up or confined to the yard. A lot of people seem to expect dogs to just hold their urine and feces until it’s convenient for the owners to walk them, for instance. Well, dogs have to go on a regular basis, and unless the human can commit to letting the dog in and out when it needs to go, or is willing to provide a doggy door, then the human shouldn’t have a dog. And I think that this is why a lot of small dogs have mental problems…they are expected to act like toys or accessories, rather than dogs.
I have been working very hard to get over my prejudice against small dogs. However, where it exists it’s because I associate them with vacuous young women who buy them because they “look cute” and who have absolutely no concept of dog care.
I remember a convo I had this christmas with someone who had “ordered” a small dog of a certain color from a local breeder (she had specified the color coat she wanted and expected the breeder to make a dog of that color, like she was mixing paint). Anyways, she had no idea how to take care of a dog, at all.
From the same family that spontaneously bought a puppy from a pet store the year before (without asking the parents), and then returned it the next day when the parents decided they didn’t like it
This is one of the dog related misconceptions that makes me the angriest. I have 3 small dogs- 2 Papillons (which, as a breed are ranked the 8th most intelligent breed, by the way) and a Rat Terrier. They are all sweet tempered, intelligent, well trained and a joy to be around.
For anyone to judge a dog by its size alone is doing nothing but showing that person’s ignorance.
Small dog owners seem to feel that it is A-OK to just let their dogs do whatever they want, all the time. So the dogs get the idea that barking and biting are OK. There are at least a dozen small dogs along the route of my regular walk with my dog. Those dog run out into the road, nip at my dog (who could eat them whole) and their owners either stand in their yards and blandly call for them to come back, with no results, or they run around like Rocky chasing a chicken, asking me to help them recover their dog. If a big dog or, God forbid, a pit bill was that ill trained and running around the neighhood it would be on the local news.
I agree that a lot of them are poorly trained because behavior that’s dangerous in a large dog is merely annoying in a small one. I also think people get a smaller dog thinking it’s less of an impact on their lifestyle, so they’re somewhat more likely to be single dogs (meaning they really need more owner attention, not less) and relatively untrained. It sucks. They’re probably being driven crazy more than they are starting that way. Add in breeding practices that produce, say, “teacup” dogs, and the problem gets even worse.
I’ve never understood why it seems like people either go really small or really large with dogs, when I’ve had by far the best luck with medium-sized dogs. They are big enough that you don’t have to worry about stepping on them, but small enough that they aren’t hard to control and can be carried fairly easily if something goes wrong.
Part of it is that many small dog owners treat there tiny dogs like child-substitutes. A dog isn’t a child, it’s a dog. I have 6 dogs, no children (I never wanted kids). I love my dogs, but I recognize and appreciate the “dog-ness” of them. I don’t babytalk to them, I don’t infantalize them. They’re dogs. They need to behave like dogs. This is more an owner issue than a breed issue, however some breeds tend to attract certain owner-types.
I also just like big dogs. Many people have breed and group preferences. I like large working or herding or hunting dogs. I think they’re more trainable and more settled. I also like thoroughbreds and warmbloods better than quarter horses and paints. To me they’re more attractive. That doesn’t mean paints and quarter horses shouldn’t have people who love them and ride them.
As a kid, I’ve had both dogs and cats and I’ve enjoyed them both. But I’ve come to notice that people are usually more exclusive; either one to the definite exclusion of the other. After examination, I find that if I had to choose, I’d keep a cat over a dog.
As a guess, I’d have to say that’s the underlying premise about small dogs. Some are so small, I’ve even made the joke, myself, “Huh! A cat shaped like a dog!” But I prefer smaller dogs to larger ones. Mainly because I don’t have acres of land like Timmy did with Lassie to roam about. I’m not fond of keeping miniature horses inside my home, no matter how much I like them.
But, from talking with other people, dogs are “supposed” to be big and, if they’re not, then they’re not “real” dogs. (I know, I admitted joking about small dogs, but I’m talking about the ones SO small that the cats are bigger. Remember Snoopy and the “stupid cat next door”?)
Word. And on top of the lack of training/ getting a dog for all the wrong reasons, a lot of morons can’t see bad behavior in small dogs for what it is.
For example if you have a German shepherd that barks its head off at anyone who comes in the house, jumps up on people, nips ankles, and humps legs, people freak out and scream “By Krom that dog’s a monster it’s gonna hurt someone what kind of dog owner are you why don’t you have it trained!!!”
If you have a Pomeranian that does the same things, it’s somehow “Awww how cute look at the lil’ guy trying to act like a big dog!”
I see… well, for what it’s worth - I’ve only ever had the opposite experience. :dubious:
All the dogs that I had problems with, who physically attacked me or annoyed me were very large dogs. I’ve never had a problem with a small one.
Over here it’s very common for douchebags to acquire very large breeds in order to look cooler and more intimidating - and the result is usually a douchebag dog.
So from my experience the small-dog-hate is totally not justified
But I still see every dog as an individual and can’t conclude too much from their size.
Well, yeah. Ignorance is lack of information, and is often reflected as a prejudice based on overwhelming previous experience. Heck, even people I know who profess to hate blacks have at least a couple of black friends.
As said upthread, they’re typically noisy and obnoxious. For their size, they strike me as inferior to cats which are usually at least quiet(er), soft to pet, use the litter box and don’t leave your hand with dog-stink. I know there’s annoying cats but every small dog I come across seems to fit into the “noisy & obnoxious” mold.
I also like to consider my pets as capable of performing a job even if they don’t need to perform it at that moment. While small dogs may have been raised to catch rodents, I’ll keep a cat around if my goals tend towards muricide. For my usual “dog goals”, I’d rather have a mid to large size dog to fit my protection and caveman companionship needs.
and because they are small it’s okay to take them into the grocery store and restaurants and sit them by my feet on an airplane. Small dogs are so cute that they should be shared with everyone all the time, regardless of the situation.