Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, all fun loving and lovable creatures. But there are stereotypes that circulate the discourse around dogs that can be extremely damaging to the reputation of said dogs. Enough so that it makes them harder to adopt out from shelters.
I’m talking about the myths and stereotypes that permeate around large dogs. Lies regarding their temperament are more pervasive than you might think. That’s why today we are going to set the record straight!
Big dogs are more aggressive
Ok, so this is a big one. How many times have you heard someone say “oh I just couldn’t have a big dog. They’re much too aggressive!” I’m guessing more than a handful. Here’s the thing:
Big dogs are no more prone to aggressive behavior than any other dog.
Just as every human is different, every dog breed and individual dog has a different temperament. The environment in which a dog grows up in plays a huge role in how they behave toward people and other animals.
For instance, a dog that comes from an abusive household may act out aggressively to a human who is trying to pet them on the head. You and I know this action is not harmful to the dog, but the dog has been struck on the head so many times that the reaction to protect themselves is instinctual. I cannot stress enough that no dog is naturally aggressive.
I would also argue that small dogs like chihuahuas and yorkies are more likely to be aggressive than large dogs like Pitbulls and Boxers.
Imagine this: You walk into the room at your grandmother’s house and take a seat on the couch next to her Yorkie, Gigi. Gigi is just so cute that you go pet her little head. All of a sudden, Gigi growls and nips your hand. Maybe she draws a little blood, but nothing to see a doctor about. You laugh it off and continue your conversation with your grandmother.
Now imagine the same scenario, but with a pitbull. Again, you don’t need a doctor, but this time you’re not laughing it off. Why is that?
Because smaller dogs are smaller and have a less harmful bite, we tend to excuse and not correct bad behavior. On the flipside, when a large dog displays the same behavior, we can be quick to label the dog as aggressive. Large dogs also tend to get more training when they’re younger to curb such behaviors.
Again, no dog, large or small, is naturally aggressive. However, bad behavior that goes unchecked can lead to possessive and aggressive behavior from any dog.
Big dogs can’t live in apartments
This myth, if true, would make a lot of sense. A big dog living in a small confined space seems like a recipe for unhappiness. However, this just isn’t the case. As long as your dog gets the exercise they need, they will be happy living anywhere. There are even some large dogs who love to run and play and then lay around for the rest of the day. It’s important when deciding on what dog to adopt, you look at the amount of exercise the breed requires to be happy.
Big dogs can’t be around children
When it comes to dogs and children, the problem is less about size and more about personality and temperament. Big dogs can be the most loving, caring, and compassionate with children of all ages. Accidents like being knocked over during play can happen, which is why it’s important to teach both dogs and children safe play practices.
Big dogs are perfect guard dogs
While yes, large dogs can make fantastic guard dogs, you shouldn’t assume that due to a dog’s size or breed, that they will automatically act as a guard dog. Professional guard dogs go through extensive and rigorous training to learn commands and how to guard without losing control. The dogs that are chosen to participate in programs like this have personalities that work well with this kind of training, which means not every dog will be suited to life as a guard dog. You shouldn’t pick a dog based on the hope that it will be a guard dog.
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