Do dogs know who the “big dog” really is?

Truth or Myth Little Dogs Don’t Know They’re Little

A common comment made by chihuahua owners is, “My dog thinks he’s as big as your German Shepherd!” It’s a comment made by man small dog owners. But is it true?

In 2019, a fascinating study was published tackling this very issue. They experimented with different-sized dogs and different-sized openings (among other points of data collection). It was observed that dogs regularly looked at their options, but sought the one most akin to their size to pass through. The overall conclusion was that dogs do, in fact, have a level of body-size awareness.

While dogs may have body awareness when it comes to openings or passageways, that doesn’t mean they have body awareness when it comes to attitude. This shouldn’t surprise anyone since the same lack of awareness is true for many humans.

Ask yourself this: Do you know a person who is small but thinks they can take on anyone twice their size? This is about attitude. It’s about personality.

Dogs definitely have personalities linked to their breed (for example). But any dog owner will tell you our canine companions have unique personalities even beyond their breed. In this regard, the saying is more matter-of-fact than a myth. After all, chihuahuas may be one of the cutest creatures on earth, but no one wants to mess with them when they get worked up!


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