Big Dogs VS Small Dogs VS Medium Dogs

Big dogs vs small dogs? Everyone knows that big dogs are like big teddy bears and small dogs are snobby… Right? Ask this of a small dog owner and you’ll hear a different perspective of small dogs vs big dogs.  This just leaves medium dogs wondering where they fit in.

We’ll look high and low and in between to get all the details on big dogs vs small dogs and everything in between.  What size of a dog is best for you? Well, you are about to find out as we take a deep dive into the subject. We’ll also look at what you should ask yourself to help make the decision about which dog is best for you. If you’ve already got a dog and you want to know how it relates to other sizes, just skip ahead and watch for the headings.  Let’s jump right in.

Small, medium, large breed dog comparison chart
Small, Medium & Large Dog Breed Comparison Chart

First Time Getting A Dog?

7 Considerations When Choosing A Dog Breed

Size actually comes into play here quite a bit.  When you are considering whether to get a small dog or a large dog (or a medium dog), it’s good to consider a bunch of things first.  To make your decision easier, I’ve made a list of questions you should ask yourself:

  1. What is your lifestyle?
  2. Do you work full-time?
  3. Are there other pets in your home?
  4. Do you have kids?
  5. Is there a yard or are you in a pet-friendly neighborhood?
  6. Do you live in a condo, apartment or house?
  7. Do you rent or own where you live?

Lifestyle

This is a big one, which is why I put this first on the list.  Your lifestyle will have a HUGE effect on which dog would suit you best.  For example, maybe you are an avid runner and you run several miles every day.  Well, then maybe you’d want to consider a dog like a Husky. They love to run and run and run some more.  Or maybe you just like to relax, and that means a lot of crafts or time at home. This might mean a smaller ‘lapdog’ would be more suited to your lifestyle, like a Yorkshire terrier for example.

Work/Life Balance

If you work 16 hours a day, 6 days a week and you live alone, maybe a dog isn’t for you.  Actually, please don’t get one for the dog’s sake. And here lies our conundrum: Modern society deems we work our butts off.  At least here in Canada anyway. If you want to be successful, the consensus is that you work your butt off. Well, that doesn’t leave much time for a furry friend.

If you do work normal hours and the dog will be alone during the day, it is best to get a breed that is independent and will tolerate the solitude better.  However, in this circumstance, I truly think it is better to get two dogs. That way they can hang out together while you are at work. 

I don’t think to have a puppy alone at home all day is good for its emotional development so take heed and make sure if you do decide to get a puppy, get a friend to visit or something during the first few months at least.  This will give the dog a much better chance of being a well-balanced dog due to early socialization.  

Territory and Other Pets

If you have other pets, then you are looking at rolling the dice on introductions.  But you can limit the amount of aggression by doing a form of damage control. This really depends upon what type of other pets you have.  Fish, no problem, they could likely care less about a dog. Cats, well… here’s where there can be problems.  

Cats are typically territorial.  And a cat which has adopted you as its handler (oh yes, they pick you.  Did you think you pick them? Ha!) will not want to relinquish it’s kingdom ownership so easily.  When my wife and I got our dog Kiki the Wonder Dog (Yorkie), it took the better part of a year for my cat to be okay with the dog.  That’s a year to tolerate the dog I should have said.

If it’s another dog you have, the introductions can be just as challenging as dealing with the introduction to a cat.  Dogs are sucks but also territorial when it comes to the affections of their master. I say master rather than handler because I just feel like dogs give you that typical undying devotion, unlike a cat that pretends it could care less.

Depending on what type of pet or pets you already have will factor into how you introduce the new dog or puppy.  Because I can’t possibly go through all the pet possibilities in this article, I’ll leave this section with a recommendation:  take the introductions slowly and never try to rush two animals meeting each other. Oh, and keep all animals on leashes and controlled during the first few meetings.  This way if one becomes aggressive, you have control.

Some Peoples Children And Big dogs vs Small Dogs

Okay, so not other people’s kids.  But your kids. Assuming you have kids of course.  If you don’t then skip to the next section. If you do, then take heed.  Kids and puppies usually go hand in hand. Or paw in hand. Whatever. Kids love puppies.  They share a kinship of relative infinite energy.

Puppies need their sleep though.  Remember for the first while, they should be left alone when tired.  But when they are awake, they need lots and lots and lots of attention and love.  This is why getting a puppy when you have kids is great, it gives both of them the entertainment and companionship of the other.

I am not saying get a puppy so you don’t have to spend time with your kids.  That’s not what I’m saying even if most parents are thinking that right now. Remember Peter Pan?  Wasn’t the children’s nanny a large dog? I believe it was a Newfoundland if memory serves. As I said, dogs and kids go paw in hand.

The Great Outdoors

I’m sure you know already that dogs need to be walked.  Even better, they need you to throw a ball or frisbee for them.  Most dogs love to run and play. And they can’t do that on a busy street.

So, the consideration here is as follows.  Do you have a yard to walk the dog? How about a neighborhood with parks where you can walk the dog?  Your dog will need to go outside at least 2-3 times per day. My little Yorkie goes on 3 walks per day around the block.  This gives her the chance to communicate with other dogs through scenting. It also gives her exercise and gives her many locations to choose from to do her business.  

Now if you live in a city as I do, you’ll have to pick up after your dog.  You’ll need places close to home to walk the dog every day and multiple times a day.      

Condo, Apartment or House

The size of your place should have an effect on your decision on which breed of dog to get.  I think that if you live in a tiny highrise 1 bedroom apartment, then maybe an Irish Wolfhound is not a good idea.  Know what I mean? Personally, I’d stay away from big dogs if I lived in a condo or apartment. Unless it was a decent size of course.

Remember that dogs are highly intelligent.  And if they are home alone while you’re at work, they get bored.  And when dogs get bored, slippers, furniture, your favorite jeans, they could all be new chew toys. So, when we’re talking big dogs vs small dogs, the big dogs can do more damage.  

Your dog may associate an item of yours with you and want to be near it, like a shoe.  But then they get nervous from being alone and start chewing. Then you come home and they’ve wrecked your stuff.  You could get mad, but it’s really your fault. You’d go a bit stir crazy too if you have been locked up alone all day.  That’s why it’s a good idea to give the dog enough space to move around a bit and not go nutso.

Renter Or Owner

I really don’t like even adding this to the list, but I had a friend once who got evicted because she bought a dog.  She went to work and the dog would bark as it was home alone. She had no idea because she was gone at work. For some reason unknown, the alleged letters warning her of the noise complaints never made it to her door.  But the eviction notice did.

Renting a place can be troublesome when it comes to having a dog.  Especially if you have to find a new rental apartment and you have a dog.  This can make finding somewhere to live a lot more difficult than you might think.  That’s why it’s a good idea to take this into consideration. Think about what your plans for the next 10-15 years are because whatever your plans, they should include your dog as your dog will live that long and hopefully longer.

Dogs Personalities

Small Dogs

A puppy Pug.
A puppy Pug dog.

When talking big dogs vs small dogs, small dogs are usually characterized as being kind of snobby.  I don’t agree… completely. I like to think of small dogs as being aristocratic.  They almost act like spoiled children in some ways. I think of my little Yorkie as a little princess.  She does too I think.

Small dogs are very dependent.  They tend to follow you around and they tend to be quite needy.  At least, the small dogs I have had have been this way to some degree.  I think I understand why that is. I think that because small dogs are basically a chew toy to larger predators, they tend to need to feel the protection of their human.

Also, small dogs tend to be pampered more than larger dogs.  This gives the smaller dog a sense of entitlement which I believe is where their snobby, aristocratic natures are born and nurtured.  Don’t let this stop you from getting a small dog. I think it’s actually quite endearing. They are just the cutest little aristocrats, let me tell you.

Medium Dog Breeds

A medium-sized Dalmation dog..
A medium-sized Dalmation dog..

When I think of a medium dog, I think of an Australian Shepherd.  A lot of the medium dogs were bred as working dogs. Many are some of the smartest in the entire family of dog breeds.  From hunting dogs to tracking hounds, its the medium-sized dogs with all the ‘super dog powers’. It’s the medium dogs that earn their keep.  And it’s the medium dogs who have my utmost respect (don’t tell my Yorkie I said that).

Is it wrong of me to say that there shouldn’t be a competition between the big dog vs small dog or medium dog?

My experience with the medium-sized breeds is that they are friendly, loyal and generally more intelligent than small or large breeds.  This could be debated though, depending on how you classify the difference between small and large breed dogs.

Large Dog Breeds

Newfoundland Dog
Newfoundland Dog

It is of my opinion that any dog the size of say a German Shepherd or larger is a large breed.  Now, this is where the exception to my earlier statement about medium dogs being the smartest, goes right out the window.  German Shepherds are one of the most intelligent dog breeds on Earth. I said it, and I believe it to be true. They are a fine example of what a dog is capable of.  Just ask any police officer who works with a police dog.

Large breed dogs are generally quite affectionate.  Often times, they are like big teddy bears. But don’t let this get to your head.  It depends on how they were raised. A Rottweiler or a Boxer who was raised to be aggressive is not a dog I’d want to tangle with.  

Personality – Individuality Wins

Big dog vs small dog, you know, it really isn’t a competition. Or is it?

It is of my opinion, from my years of experience with dogs, cats, reptiles, fish, and birds, that there is more variation within a group than there is between the groups.  Let me explain what I mean here. You can generalize about dogs and say small dogs are snobby. But that is like saying all humans are cuddly.  

I’ve met large dogs that were snobby jerks.  I’ve met small dogs who were kind and compassionate.  I truly believe that just like people, it’s all up to the individual.  You can have tall nice people, and you can have tall snobby people. The same applies to dogs so don’t judge a book by its cover, or rather, don’t judge a dog by its size.

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