All dog lovers can appreciate the feisty and overly energetic small dog that acts as though it’s going to eat you up. In fact, my first dog nip came from a seemingly harmless little Shih Tzu!
Like humans, dogs have unique personalities and traits that make them different from one another. Some people believe that certain aspects of their personalities may depend on some physical traits. For instance, smaller dogs seem to be more active and lively than big dogs, but is this true?
Smaller dogs are more energetic than big dogs. They are also more anxious and less likely to obey your commands. Their small bodies contribute to this energy because they allow easier movement and maneuvering around the house. The added anxiety can also cause higher energy levels.
In this article, I’ll explain why small dogs are more energetic than big dogs and cover additional aspects that are different in dogs of different sizes. Let’s get started!
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Why Are Smaller Dogs Considered To Be More Energetic Than Big Dogs?
There are certain stereotypes regarding dog types, breeds, and sizes. Small dogs are generally known to be more aggressive and have higher energy than bigger dogs, but you may also have heard the opposite from some people based on their experience. Every dog has a distinct personality, so it’s hard to make generalizations without conducting actual research.
Thankfully, there are plenty of observations and studies conducted by several institutions and clinics, which provide some clarity on the real differences between small and big dogs. According to these studies, smaller dogs are indeed more energetic, hyperactive, and anxious than bigger dogs.
Observations also show that small dogs find it harder to socialize with other dogs or humans and are less likely to learn to respond to your commands. There are several reasons why smaller dogs are so energetic and active and sometimes more standoffish and aggressive:
- Smaller dogs feel more vulnerable. Because they are so small, they are always looking at humans, animals, and objects that are probably bigger than them, which inherently makes them feel uneasy. This uneasiness is sometimes translated into excess energy.
- The smaller body helps their movement. Their small stature allows these dogs to move faster and more freely. Bigger dogs with a matching temperament may be just as willing to move excitedly, but their size does not allow them.
- A significant percentage of small dogs are terrier descendants. Terriers are known for being highly energetic, so this quality might be hereditary for a lot of small dogs. Some scientists believe that the excitement of small dogs is mostly genetic.
- The extra energy might also come as a result of the owner’s behavior. The small size makes these dogs seem like puppies even when they grow up, leading to owners not knowing how to treat or socialize them with other dogs. As a result, small dogs don’t know how to behave and become more anxious, which can translate to a higher energy level.
Other Differences Between Big and Small Dogs
Other than the size and energy level, small and big dogs have a few other differences. You should keep these differences in mind if you’re wondering what type of dog to get because different traits translate to various needs for each kind of dog.
Here are some of the most significant differences between small and big dogs:
- Smaller dogs live longer on average. This difference in lifespans may be linked to a particular molecule larger dogs have in higher numbers than smaller dogs.
- Smaller dogs eat less than large dogs. Understandably, the small body of a chihuahua needs less sustenance than a Great Dane.
- Big dogs are easier to train. The excess energy and anxiousness may be crucial factors in this case, keeping smaller dogs from concentrating enough to learn tricks or commands.
- Smaller dogs are more affected by toxic substances. A smaller body mass may translate into a more vulnerable organism against toxic foods like onions, chocolate, or even dog food additives and preservatives.
- Big dogs tend to suffer from orthopedic illnesses. This is because they are heavier and support a much bigger mass.
- Big dogs have an overall calmer and more laid-back personality. As mentioned above, smaller dogs are genetically more anxious and excited, which makes them more likely to be aggressive and jumpy.
How To Keep Your Small Dog Happy and Healthy
If you have a small dog or are planning to have one, you should adapt your behavior to their needs and energy level. By understanding their issues and strengths, you can change certain habits to keep them happy and healthy. Here are some tips for keeping your small dog happy:
- Take some time to train them and preferably take them to a trainer to help them overcome their anxiety.
- Make sure they socialize with plenty of people and other dogs to release some of that energy.
- Find pooch playmates that are other energetic small dogs; dog parks can help with this.
- Teach other people how to behave with your small dog so that they don’t do anything to frighten it.
- Consider your small dog’s protein needs; Taste of the Wild and other dog food companies suggest giving small breed dogs higher protein and fat dog foods.
- Set boundaries and teach your dog to respect people; don’t be afraid to discipline your dog, but try to avoid punishment.
- A dog behaviorist can address specific issues regarding your small dog’s high energy issues.
- Make sure you keep your dog active by taking it on frequent walks to help expend its energy.
- Provide stimulating toys so your dog doesn’t get bored.
- Consider a dog trainer that specializes in small dog breeds if you have problems with your pooch’s high energy.
Be understanding with your small dog; they are very active if not overly assertive for good reasons. Small dogs are typically more energetic and aggressive than bigger dogs. Their small size makes them anxious and wary of the surrounding environment, causing them to be more active. Their small body also helps them move better and faster.
To keep your small dog happy and healthy, you should help them socialize with other dogs and humans. However, you should also teach your loved ones how to behave with them.
And if you own dogs of varying sizes, remember the energy level of your small dog may warrant different rules than that of your larger dog.