The Pros and Cons of Being Pet Parents to Small Breed Dogs

Hugh Jackman’s French Bulldog, Dali, and Poodle Terrier Mix, Allegra. Ariana Grande’s Beagle-Chihuahua mix, Toulouse. Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner’s Alaskan Klee Kai, Waldo Picasso. Queen Elizabeth’s obsession with Corgis during her 64-year reign.

We observe that small dog breeds are popular both in Hollywood, in royalty, and many family households. Yet, various dog breeds have stereotypes that prevent their adoption.

Are all pit bulls vicious hunters and aggressive fighting dogs? Are all poodles jumpy and dim-witted? Are all small dogs loud, jealous, and mean to children? Below are going to confront these unfair bad reputations with small breed dogs with pros and cons to owning these breeds.

Lifespan and Health

PROS: Smaller dog breeds generally live longer life spans.

CONS: Even though they have a longer life span, they still are more susceptible to different health issues, such as sensitive stomachs (to food allergies to very specific ingredients like soy, corn, and wheat), fragile bones (such as fragile leg joints when they jump off furniture or hurt jaws when they eat regular food), and compressed airways that make it difficult to breathe. 

These all can lead to bigger issues such as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), Legg Calve Perthes disease (bone and joint issues), or brachycephalic airway syndrome (use a harness, not a collar).

Size

PROS: They are more popular than larger breeds, according to American Kennel Club (AKC), because their size doesn’t increase which makes them so cute! They remain puppy-size forever, and they can range from 4.5 lbs (chihuahua is the smallest of the small dog breeds) to 35 lbs. 

Note: Because of their smaller size, make sure to get them familiar to stair use off of furniture and to prevent injury, especially when they become higher in age and can experience bone breaks.

CONS: Unfortunately, the dogs’ smaller size causes them more injury by larger breeds of dogs at dog parks. Also, kids might cause them accidental injury, because they are mistaken for couch cushions or other small parts in the house. These examples show that small breed dogs tend to be less sociable than other larger dogs.

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Exercise Needs

PROS: They only need a good daily walk once a day for their exercise needs. 

CONS: However, when they are outside, they will get into another dog breeds’ faces and want to start a fight. Overcompensation, much?

Adaptability to a Home Environment

PROS: So because of this, smaller dog breeds spend more time at home and some can be litter-boxed trained!

CONS: Because they spend more time indoors, they can become more territorial indoors and also harder to train more than larger breeds who become more territorial outdoors.

‘Small’ Personalities?

PROS: “Though they may be little, they are fierce” (referring to Helena’s dialogue about Hermia in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 3 Scene 2), small dogs tend to demonstrate big personalities. 

From their playfulness, intelligence, and leadership (i.e. the dog is the pack leader in the house), their small size doesn’t always affect the bigness and richness of their personality. Their cuteness and lovability make them sweet companions. They will make self opponents to strangers and bigger dogs. Their bravery and fierce loyalty make them a wonderful pup to own. 

CONS: As said before in the pros, the small breed dogs “cuteness and lovability” can oversee the negative parts of their personalities and bad behaviors, such as jumping, growling, and biting.

In terms of many such behaviors, humans won't allow medium-size or larger size dogs to get away with these. However, small breed dogs tend to get away with anything, which can negatively affect them too.

It means that their training and disciplining bad behavior won’t be priorities. They have become too cute to train basic skills such as learning good manners, behavior towards strangers, or potty training in their house. Their common jealousy will force them to claim their human.

Their separation anxiety will make them skittish and might cause them to mark their territory (i.e. the house) all over so that you will be able to easily find their messes.

Their nervous trait will make it harder to win their trust more than other dogs. When you own a small breed dog, be patient and firm with their training, so that they can be normally disciplined dogs.  It’s for their benefit too!

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Energy Level

PROS: Small dog breeds can give us comfort when resting in our laps or laying protectively next to us. You might see them make a small sleeping space on your bed as well. 

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Also, it is usually hard for small breed dogs to take it easy and unwind. They tend to have higher, playful energy. Make sure to choose the right formula that can meet the higher energy needs. The Blue Basics lamb and potato dog food for small breeds can be a good pick.

CONS: However, smaller breed dogs have a naturally higher heart rate, and their hyperactivity can tire them out much more easily. For example, a daily walk can be seen as a difficult job for them, and you may find you carrying them after your journey.

Life in the City

PROS: Ideal city dwellers, since their smaller stature can be a better fit for urban life and small apartments. They will also spend more time with you indoors. Outside life will accelerate their heart rate and breathing, which could hurt them a lot if unchecked.

CONS: However, smaller dog breeds tend to overcompensate for their size with an annoying, “yappy” bark. This can continue to make them an ideal city dweller because city life tends to be loud and busy. 

The busy-ness that is happening outside of your apartment can give rise to more yappy barks from your dog, because how can they make sure that their bark can be heard in a big world?

For example, all dogs will communicate with the other dogs, a fire truck, police siren, the people yelling, or fighting below. So what is a small breed dog’s yappy bark - the chicken or the egg?

The Convenience Factor

PROS: Caring for smaller dog breeds can generally be cheaper. Their smaller stomachs can cause them to eat less so food costs less. Some veterinary costs can be cheaper, such as spaying and neutering. 

They love to stay on their leashes for their daily walk. They shed less, so household care is much less than larger breeds. They will make other grooming needs, such as teeth-cleaning or ear care, bearable. It is easier to travel with smaller dog breeds since they take up less space and they tend to be flight-friendly or even in-cabin.

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CONS: Small breed dogs can be snippy and aggressive to children. Larger breeds are known to be lovable and good with kids. Unfortunately, smaller dog breeds can be more aggressive when it comes to attention or competing with other dogs for food and/or territory. 

Their size can cause them to be babied, hazardous to their health, or to be mistaken for cushions of the couch, which can cause them to not take a liking to little humans.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, owning a small breed dog can be both advantageous and disadvantageous, and these can weigh about the same. Their size can make many celebrities, royalty, and family households find them adorable, so they are currently most popular.

Other reasons to own small breed dogs are their longer life spans, their care to cost less, ideal urban dwellers, to give us comfort and be our cuddly and loyal playmate, indoor training, and lesser exercise needs.

When you become an owner of a smaller dog breed, make choices that make life the best quality and personalized for them.  Whether big or small, you still have to be a responsible owner and put in the time and effort to make sure your dog has the best possible care.

NOTE FOR ANY DOG: Right now during quarantine, any breed of dog can read human energy, so that means your stress and fear will be felt, internalized, and can make them feel those feelings (they will also try to comfort you). 

Very important, there is now evidence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that humans can be toxic to household pets and can spread the COVID-19 virus to their four-pawed best friend. 

According to the CDC, humans with Covid-19 symptoms or with confirmed cases should not interact with their pets. They also strongly discourage your pets from socializing with other pets and humans if you have been infected.

The best way to tackle this problem is to take care of your dog’s health while remaining in isolation. It’s also a good idea to remain updated as new information becomes available. Find ways to keep your pet entertained. Order online pet products and food to avoid going out as well as ensure optimal health.

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