Can big dogs and small dogs live together?

Narrated from: General Info

You have to be careful if you wish to keep dogs of different sizes under one roof. In most cases though, there is no problem and smaller dogs become great buddies with their slower and much larger roommates.

Still, there are some dogs that just can’t live together. Sometimes there is a problem with aggressiveness, but too much friendliness is also bad - an energetic middle-sized dog could be just as dangerous as a grumpy St. Bernard. So, think carefully before you make a match, as you don’t want the little guy to get hurt!

The best way to avoid potential problems is to do your homework. Here are some tips that could be helpful to you:

-    Check the dog’s history with other animals - if you are introducing a small dog and a grown dog from a larger breed, it should already be evident if the big dog is tolerable to smaller animals.

-    Pick the right breed - if you are taking in a puppy and you are worried what it would do once it grows up to full size, just do some research. Any dog breed has different bloodlines, associated with different characteristics. German Shepherds for instance have “working lines”, which could generally pose a threat to a smaller dog – their prey drive is just too high. However, there are breeding lines of German Shepherds that produce a milder prey drive (WGR show lines and/or American CH lines). Also, when you are picking a puppy, ask about its parents – if they don’t have problems with smaller animals, then the puppy probably won’t either.

-    Growing up together - In the best case scenario, both dogs would be introduced to one another when they are young. If the dogs grow up together, then they usually become fast friends.

-    Choose an animal from the opposite sex - If the dogs are of different sexes (and spayed/neutered of course), this usually improves their relations.

-    Go slowly – when you introduce a new dog to the household, the other dog might feel threatened. It is important to introduce the new dog slowly and to give a lot of attention to your other dog as well – generally, you should act as if your child is getting used to a baby in the house!

-    Supervise – in the beginning , do not leave a smaller dog and a larger dog in the same room without supervision; leave the dogs to play roughly, since it is essential to establish who the “top dog” is, but be ready to break them up if they get carried away!

-    Be calm – if you are nervous, the dogs will feel it, and they will also get overexcited; that is when an accident might happen!

-    Do not underestimate the little guy – small dogs often tend to be more aggressive than their larger counterparts. It isn’t unusual for a toy dog to bully a much larger dog who won’t fight back – so do not assume that only the small dog can be a victim!
Of the above mentioned, the best you can do is to always be calm. If you are patient enough, prepare well and exert your authority in the house, small dogs and big dogs under the same roof will be no trouble at all!

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