“Any dog under 50 pounds is a cat, and cats are pointless.” – Ron Swanson
Normally, I adore everything that comes out of the mouth of Nick Offerman‘s character on Parks & Recreation. This, not so much. But it wasn’t too long ago that I also fell into the camp of “small dogs are annoying/pointless/etc.”
About two years ago, I decided it was time to adopt my own dog. I was looking at spaniel mixes, pit mixes, and a myriad of other dogs whose weights don’t traditionally dip under 35 or so pounds. I found a dog from a rescue, a pointer mix, I fell in love and went to go visit the dog on the foundation’s adoption day.
I felt like I had been catfished. Not only was this dog not the pup described on the website, but she wasn’t cat-friendly either, which isn’t something my calico would appreciate. I stood around dumbly, not sure what to do with myself.
“This little girl is great with cats,” a volunteer said. She introduced me to my dog Betty, a terrified chihuahua-terrier mix that is nine pound dripping wet.
The volunteer saw the apprehension in my face and insisted that I hold her. She looked at me with her big eyes, terrified by all of the commotion around her. She nuzzled her face into my armpit to hide. Before I knew it, I was filling out adoption papers, ready to welcome this little “pointless” animal into my life. Needless to say, she has been anything but pointless. She’s amazing.
I feel like sometimes small dogs get a bad rap, they are stereotyped as yappy, guarding, and not as affectionate as big breeds like labradors. I’m here to prove that those stereotypes could not be farther from the truth. Here are five reasons why if you are thinking about getting a dog, a small one could be your best bet.
1. They are truly affectionate.
Before I had a small dog, I always thought of them more as “accessory pets” than anything. I live in Los Angeles and have seen my fair share of tea cup designer pups sitting in $3,000 handbags on the arm of a socialite. There is something that seems cold about a dog whose feet don’t even touch the ground.
Wrong! Small dogs can be INSANELY affectionate, especially if the owner showers them with love and encouragement. They can be scared and nervous (after all – everything else in the world is a LOT bigger than them), but there truly is nothing more rewarding than a little pup knowing that your lap is their sanctuary.
2. They are more adaptable to living situations.
I live in an apartment, so it wouldn’t be fair to a Great Dane if I decided to adopt him over my little pup. Small dogs are pretty great everywhere – they can be as rugged of outdoorsmen as Retrievers but can still travel with you on an air plane. They do well in small apartments but love being taken on long walks. With a small dog, it really is like getting the best of everything.
3. They live longer!
A wonderful thing about small dogs is that they are going to be your companion for a looong time. Smaller breeds tend to live longer than larger ones, and if you are lucky enough to get a mixed little pup such as myself, they may not have the health ailments that come with some traditional purebreds. My dog is three and I am 25 – the thought of this pup being around until I am in my late 30s/early 40s is kind of awesome.
4. I swear they’re not that yappy.
Ever notice how in high concept comedies, there is always a little dog that manages to hump or yap at the main character incessantly? Smaller dogs will often bark or growl at strangers because they are potentially taking away a food source – you! They are resource guarding. With some positive reinforcement training, however, this is a behavior that can be eradicated.
Smaller dogs can get yappy if they are not receiving enough attention or feel threatened. If you shower your small dog with affection and positive reinforcement, you could have a pup who doesn’t have a “yap” in their vocabulary.
5. They are just as active, if not more, than their bigger counterparts.
One of the first questions people ask when they meet my dog (and she gets over her initial shyness) is, “Is she on speed?” This little dog runs around, plays with other dogs and my cat, and jumps around like a mountain goat. If you are looking for a running or hiking companion, small dogs are just as wonderful as larger breeds!
They are also easier to carry down large hiking trails after they have decided to run way too quickly up it in the first place. I have seen men with giant pit bulls on their back on the way down from a hot hike after the dog decided he was done walking for the day. Trust me, they didn’t look happy.
By no means am I saying that small dogs are superior to larger breeds; a small dog is just perfect in my life right now, and it could be in yours too if you don’t let negative stereotypes get in the way.
Where are all my small dog parent peeps?
I’d love to hear about your amazing little wonderdog.