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Big Dogs vs Small Dogs – The Great Debate

Big Dogs vs Small Dogs – The Great Debate – Premier Pups
Published Thursday, December 16, 2021 by Madeline I

Dogs, the magnificent creatures we call our best friends, fur-babies, and companions, come in all shapes and sizes. Some are big and some are small. Some are giant couch potatoes and others are tiny hyperactive pooches. Some need a truck-sized crate, while others fit in a purse with room to spare. The world of dogs is vast and beautiful. And although we love them just the same regardless of their size and characteristics, some dogs might be a good fit for us while others may not.  

Looking into their personality types and skill sets, their size, features, and energy, we aim to answer the great debate of “which one is better – a small dog breed or a large dog breed”.  

Make Room for the Great Dane

Great Dane dog

Dogs are amazing beings. They can surprise you with their ability and willingness to adapt to any situation. You may think that a Great Dane can’t possibly adapt to apartment living. The truth is they can. But should they? Would a horse be happy in your living room? The short answer is: probably not. Well, not unless you have a hay couch. Although they can adapt for the sake of their owners, most large dog breeds need more room than city apartments can offer. Smaller dogs on the other hand, are an excellent fit for apartment life. Chihuahuas, Shelties, Dachshunds, and even medium-sized dogs like the Border Collie, Bulldog, and Mini Bernedoodle, fit wonderfully in small city apartments. Large dogs like the Great Dane or Saint Bernard would do better in a roomy home with a yard. Before you make your choice whether to get a big or small dog breed, take the time and consider what it would take to accommodate them.  

Dog Skills and Instincts

Since the dawn of their domestication, dogs have been attributed jobs. Poodles were trained to hunt truffles. Bichons were entertainers within the circus. Shepherd dogs acted as livestock herders. And some were enlisted as military dogs during war times. Today, the art of training has advanced to the point where dogs can be taught to do most anything. When it comes to their skills, the jury is still out on whether one is better than the other. Small dogs can be trained for therapy work, ratting, detecting diseases, and acting as alarm dogs, which makes them incredibly valuable. Large dogs can be trained to guide, guard, service, and save, which are also hard skills to beat. Although both big and small dogs can be trained for various jobs, bigger dogs generally have a wider range of fields in which they can be trained.  

Small white dog on grass

Although all dogs have instincts, the difference between the instincts of bigger dogs and those of smaller ones might be a game-changer for many. Chihuahuas and certain Terriers have feistiness well embedded in their DNA. Some small dogs are spoiled to the point of aggression. Pitbulls, German Shepherds, and other similar dogs have territorial instincts and a high prey drive. While some behaviors can be eliminated with training, the fact remains that larger dogs are generally seen as more unpredictable.  

Gentle Giant vs Tiny Firecracker  

Big and small dogs showcasing size difference

Because size doesn’t dictate what a dog is like, it’s important to take the time and learn everything there is to know about a breed before deciding to adopt a puppy. The myth about bigger dogs being more energetic than smaller ones is exactly that – a myth. The same goes for the myth that says smaller dogs are more energetic than larger ones. Take the Bernese Moutain Dog and the Chihuahua for example.

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a gentle giant, a teddy bear dog that loves to cuddle and relax from dusk ‘til dawn. The Chihuahua, on the other hand, is a busy little body up for anything at any time as long as it’s on the move. The Labrador Retriever and the French Bulldog bark at those myths in disapproval as well. The Labrador is an energetic adventure seeker, while the French Bulldog is a lazy-loving bundle of joy.  

Budget Talks

This is where things get tricky. Owning a bigger dog does come with bigger expenses. Large dogs cost more from the get-go. Raising them costs more because they need calcium and vitamins to help with their fast growth. Vet checks, grooming, travel expenses, and outfits for large dogs all pile up to bigger bills. Small dogs can be expensive too, especially if you’re looking for a rare Löwchen or a gray French Bulldog. When the time comes to decide on a big or small fur-baby, make sure to consider budget limitations and overall expenses.  

As we reach the end of our debate, we can safely say that all fur-babies are perfect regardless of their size. Some might be cuter and some might be better bodyguards. Small dogs might be better for apartment living while large dogs might train better. The thing that matters most is the one thing they all have in common - unconditional love for their humans. 

Scroll down to see FAQs about big vs small dogs!

Madeline I

About The Author

Madeline, a remarkable wordsmith and canine connoisseur at Premier Pups, possesses an exceptional understanding of dogs, setting her apart in the world of pet journalism. Her meticulous research skills and genuine affinity for her furry subjects culminate in articles that are both informative and captivating. Madeline's distinctive writing style brings the canine experience to life, making complex topics accessible and engaging for readers. As a trusted source of wisdom for dog enthusiasts, Madeline's unique contributions have become an essential component of the Premier Pups community, where her passion and expertise continue to inspire a deeper appreciation for the world of dogs.
Madeline I - Author Photo

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the differences between big dogs and small dogs? The differences between big dogs and small dogs can range from their size, energy levels, and instincts, to their adaptability to different living conditions and the costs associated with their care.

Can large dogs adapt to apartment living? While large dogs can adapt to apartment living, it may not always be the best environment for them. Large breeds like the Great Dane or Saint Bernard would typically do better in a roomy home with a yard.

Are there differences in the training capabilities of big dogs versus small dogs? Both big and small dogs can be trained for various jobs. However, bigger dogs generally have a wider range of fields in which they can be trained.

Are there differences in the energy levels of big dogs versus small dogs? The energy levels of dogs do not necessarily correlate with their size. For example, a Bernese Mountain Dog may be more relaxed, while a Chihuahua may be more active.

Are there differences in the costs of owning a big dog versus a small dog? Owning a bigger dog can come with bigger expenses, including initial costs, food, vet checks, grooming, travel expenses, and outfits. Small dogs can also be expensive, especially if they are a rare breed.