First-time dog owners are often confused about choosing the right breed and size. Do you want a big or small dog?
One day you’re in love with a toy Goldendoodle, the next, you’re drooling over a German shepherd.
It’s an understandable dilemma. Choosing the right dog size and type can be challenging for anyone, let alone someone making that decision for the first time.
If you’re having trouble deciding the size, breed, and type of dog to adopt, you’ve come to the right place.
This post will provide the information you need to choose between a big or small dog.
Factors to consider when deciding on the right dog size for you
Consider the following factors to decide whether to choose a big or small dog breed.
Do you work from home and love the idea of cuddling your pet while working? If so, a small-sized dog may be perfect for you.
A medium-to-large dog may be your best bet if you love exercising because big dogs generally require more exercise.
Also, the bigger the dog, the more hair you’ll need to clean up based on size. But you also need to know some smaller dogs shed. If your lifestyle doesn’t afford you plenty of time to clean your house, you need to consider getting a low-maintenance dog with fewer grooming needs.
Ability to groom your dog
Pet grooming is one activity that takes a lot of time regardless of the dog’s size. Understand the grooming needs of the dog you’re considering.
Big dogs may take more effort to bathe, given their large size. Think about getting a larger dog into the bathtub.
But if your large dog has short, straight hair, that may be less time and expense than taking a small dog with curly hair to a groomer for regular haircuts.
If you know you won’t have the time or money to routinely groom your dog, choose a breed that’s easy for you to keep clean.
The dog’s lifespan
Small dogs typically live longer than large dogs.
But that’s not to say big dogs die prematurely, far from it.
You can prolong the life of your large dog and make him live longer than an average small dog by regularly scheduling sessions at the animal hospital near me. Remember, regular vet attention is vital to any pet’s lifespan.
Older people may not have the strength and stamina to handle the demands of a large dog. In that case, a small dog may be the best match.
In contrast, handling a big dog shouldn’t be challenging for more energetic folks like Gen Z and millennials.
Consider your home when deciding whether a big or small dog is the right choice for you.
While you can keep a big dog like a Labrador or Golden retriever in an apartment, typically, larger dogs need more space.
A smaller, lower-energy dog might be the best choice if you live in a smaller space.
Physical or emotional limitations
Any dog requires an investment of your time and emotions.
If you need a dog for comfort, choose a smaller, cuddly dog like a toy or mini Goldendoodle.
If you have difficulty walking, consider getting a lower-energy dog like a bulldog that needs less exercise.
People commonly misunderstand what causes an allergic reaction to dogs. Despite what you may have heard, it’s not based on the amount of hair the dog has. It’s based on how much the dog sheds.
People are allergic to a protein found in dog saliva and urine. When dogs lick themselves while grooming, they transfer that protein to their hair. When people with allergies pet the dog or touch loose hair while cleaning up, they react to that protein.
So, dogs that shed less cause fewer allergic reactions. Small dogs that don’t shed much include Cairn Terriers, Dachshunds, Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers, and Poodles.
Big dogs that don’t shed much include Afghan Hounds, Portuguese Waters, Airedale Terriers, and Irish Water Spaniels.
In general, big dogs cost more to maintain. That’s because they eat more, so you have to spend more to feed them.
You also need to remember other expenses. Whether you have a big or small dog, they need twice-yearly vet checkups, grooming, toys, and more. Food, grooming, vet visits, and training can cost several hundred dollars annually.
If you’re buying a dog from a breeder, you can spend up to several thousand dollars to get the dog. You’ll spend less if you adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue.
Reasons to choose a small dog
1. They’re usually cuter
Whether you’re considering a big or small dog, remember that puppies typically are cuter than their adult counterparts. Small dogs usually maintain their puppy looks and smaller size.
Examples of small dogs that stay tiny include toy Poodles, Pomeranians, Shih Tzus, and Chihuahuas.
2. Easier to handle
Small dogs are easier to pick up and put in the car. If they’re sick or injured, it’s also easier to take a small dog to the vet.
3. Generally cost less
Because small dogs eat less, you’ll spend less on food. But that’s not all. Their crates, toys, bowls, feed, leashes, and other pet products usually cost less because they also are smaller.
4. Need less exercise
In general, small dogs need less exercise. Those little legs can only walk so far, so they need shorter daily walks than big dogs.
Reasons not to get a small dog
1. Easily injured
Small dogs usually get injured more often because of their size.
2. Harder to detect problems
Because they’re so small, injuries and other issues may go unnoticed, leading to significant problems.
3. Difficult to train
Small dogs can be more obstinate and difficult to train. They also can be more mischievous, and because they are small, people let them get away with bad behavior like jumping.
Reasons to get a big dog
1. More fun and activity
If you’re active and want to spend time running or hiking, a big dog may be a better choice. Big dogs like Labrador and Golden Retrievers love to spend time with their people and need a lot of exercise.
2. Easier to train
While it’s not always true, bigger dogs tend to be more obedient. That makes them easier to train because they want to please you.
Big dogs with big barks can be intimidating. Big dogs typically get this task, although any dog can be a watchdog, and most will alert you to strangers.
Reasons not to get a big dog
As mentioned above, big dogs cost more to feed. Their toys and other supplies also are more expensive.
Big dogs need more room and can be unhappy when confined to small spaces.
3. Shorter lifespans
Losing a dog is always painful, and big dogs typically live 10 to 12 years, while smaller dogs can live for 15 years or more.
So, should you choose a big or small dog?
Ultimately the choice between a big or small dog is yours.
Weigh your time, energy, financial resources, and reasons why you want to get a dog.
Getting a dog is a commitment. You must provide love and care to this animal for the next 10 to 15 years.
Before you choose a breed, take time to do research and, if possible, spend some time with that type of dog. A dog that looks cute in photos might not be the right match for you.
Be honest about why you want to get a dog and make the right choice for you and your family.