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Misconceptions About Big and Small Dogs

Do you yearn for a big dog? Will a toy breed make you smile? Individual preferences in dog breeds are as varied as society itself. People have firm opinions on the different types of dogs out there, including misconceptions about certain breeds and what the size of a dog says about the animal.

Many potential dog owners base their pooch-purchasing (or adoption) decisions on stereotypes about certain breeds without thoroughly researching the facts. They may end up with a certain dog for all the wrong reasons. Consider these common misconceptions about pooches -- big and small -- and see how the myths are debunked.

1. Small dogs don't need training. Unless you want a pint-sized pup chewing your favorite shoes or soiling behind the sofa, you should provide obedience training regardless of size.

2. Big breeds are mean. Every breed has specific character traits on which dog dispositions and behavior are loosely based. But owner handling, socialization, heredity, and other factors also go into the personality of a dog. Size alone will not dictate a dog's propensity to be dominant or submissive. And small dogs can bite just as well as larger breeds. Larger dogs just may have the power to inflict more damage bite per bite.

3. Small dogs are only for women. There's nothing emasculating about a gentleman having a small breed. Personal preference and space restraints may help dictate whether a yellow Lab or a Bichon Frise is the pet of choice. The opposite is true as well; women can certainly own and handle larger dogs.

4. Small dogs are better with children. No dog should be introduced into a family or trusted alone with a child until proper obedience has been established and the animal's disposition is well known. Any breed has the ability to injure, regardless of size, and larger dogs can be very affectionate.

5. Big dogs require more grooming. Size does not specifically indicate how much grooming will be necessary, but rather activity level, type of coat and environment. A small dog with a long coat may require much more grooming than a large dog with a short coat, and vice-versa.

6. Small dogs need less exercise. All dogs require exercise. A small dog needs exercise just as much as a large one, but it may be easier to come by simply because the pet's smaller stature enables a small dog to exercise where a big dog cannot.

7. Big dogs can't live in apartments. Some big dogs can be quite content living in an apartment setting or in the city, provided they get the exercise they need. A few large breeds are content to sleep the day away, and this is achieved whether in a cozy apartment or big home.

8. People don't mind small dogs jumping on them. A dog should be trained not to jump up on a person whether the breed is large or small. Not everyone shares a pet owner's enthusiasm to be licked, rubbed against or jumped on.

Any dog has the potential to be a great pet with the right training and the owner's understanding of what needs the dog may have. Very often bad dogs are not inherently bad dogs but become that way through poor training. Learning obedience is one of the key factors in a healthy relationship with a pet.