Does size matter? You’ve decided to get a dog and you may think you love all dogs. But sometimes your dog’s size may affect the happiness of your long-term relationship. This can be a crucial consideration.
What factors affect whether you should choose a large or small breed?
• The size and location of your home
Although large breeds can sometimes live in small spaces, an apartment located in the city may not be the best situation for a large breed that needs lots of room to run and be active.
In general, a fenced yard where your large dog can run freely is optimal. If you want a large breed but you can't take your big dog out for exercise every day, it's generally best to choose a smaller breed that doesn't need as much exercise.
Smaller dogs, even those with a high-energy metabolism, are suitable for smaller spaces because they can find plenty of room to run and play indoors, while the larger breed may not be able to do so.
• Energy level – both yours and your pets
Are you a high-energy person who would prefer a high-energy dog? While smaller dogs can be very energetic, they're generally easier to handle than larger dogs with lots of energy. If you are not a strong individual or are limited in your physical speed, a larger rambunctious dog may be too taxing to restrain on a leash in some instances, for example.
• Your health
If you have physical limitations or health problems, a smaller dog may be a better choice. However, larger dogs can be trained to act as very effective service dogs who can help you be more functional and to live independently. Research choices carefully in making your decision.
• Your need for protection
If one of the reasons you're getting a dog is to provide you or your family protection, you may want to consider a larger breed. That said, many dogs are very good watchdogs – smaller breeds as well – and a small dog can certainly warn you by barking when you fear an intruder is in your home, for example.
If, however, you want a dog who's also going to actually fend off someone who's trying to get into your home, a larger dog is probably a better choice. Smaller dogs, no matter how ferocious they sound, are usually no deterrent for unwelcome intruders.
• Preferences of family members
Does your family have a size preference in dogs? Some breeds are more patient with children and noise, for example, while others may prefer a single owner or a couple with a relatively quiet lifestyle. If you have small children, it may be best to get a puppy that can grow as your children grow or settle on a smaller breed so that your children aren't intimidated. Choose your pet based upon its adult size and temperament. Some large breeds are extremely sensitive to small children and remain gentle and patient at full size.
• Whether or not you'll be moving a lot
If you'll be moving a lot because of your job, for example, you may want to consider the breed you get based upon the fact that sometimes, you may end up in a smaller space. If, for example, in one place you have a small apartment but the next a large house, you may want to consider getting a small breed nonetheless. The smaller dog will be happy in an apartment or house, but a larger dog may not be happy in the apartment – and may not be as healthy, either, if it cannot receive its daily dose of exercise.
It is important to realize that you will have a serious responsibility of training your dog as it grows, so make sure that you can control the adult size dog you get. Larger dogs are going to be more physically challenging to you than smaller ones, especially if the breed you choose is more aggressive or protective.
If you find yourself intimidated by a larger breed, that's obviously not going to bode well for establishing a gently authoritarian or "Alpha dog" status with your pet, a factor which is extremely necessary in reinforcing best canine behavior.
It takes more effort to take care of a large dog than a smaller one. Larger dogs are harder to bathe, more difficult to groom, and cost a lot more to feed. If your budget is tight, you may want to consider a smaller breed.
• Final thoughts
Whenever you find yourself in doubt over which breed to pick, a smaller breed is generally best. Easier to control and take with you anywhere, a smaller breed can also be less expensive to take care of. In other words, a larger breed comes with a full range of considerations which you should weigh carefully before you take the plunge.
Choosing The Right Dog Breed.
RetrievedNovember 23, 2014.
Small Dogs vs Big Dogs.
Retrieved November 23, 2014.
Tips for Choosing Between a Small and Large Breed Dog.
Retrieved November 23, 2014.