Are Small Dogs Cleaner Than Big Dogs? Explained

The eternal debate of small dogs versus big dogs has raged on for years, covering various aspects of their personalities, needs, and suitability as pets. One question that often comes up is, “Are small dogs cleaner than big dogs?” 

In this article, we’ll explore the cleanliness factor in both small and big dogs, debunk some common myths, and provide valuable insights into maintaining a clean and healthy living environment for your furry friend. But before we dive in, let’s clarify what we mean by “cleanliness” when it comes to dogs.

Understanding Canine Cleanliness

When we talk about the cleanliness of dogs, it’s important to differentiate between a dog’s natural cleanliness, its grooming needs, and the cleanliness of its living environment. 

These factors play a significant role in determining whether small dogs are, in fact, cleaner than their larger counterparts.

Natural Cleanliness:

  • Size doesn’t inherently make a dog cleaner. All dogs have a natural instinct to keep themselves clean to some extent.
  • Smaller dogs may have the advantage of being more agile and flexible, allowing them to reach certain areas for self-grooming that larger dogs might struggle with.

Grooming Needs:

  • Both small and big dogs require regular grooming, but the frequency and intensity may vary. Smaller dogs often have more delicate coats that need careful attention.
  • Big dogs may have coarser fur and might need less frequent grooming, but they can shed more, leading to a different cleanliness challenge.

Living Environment:

  • A dog’s living environment plays a crucial role in its overall cleanliness. Regular cleaning, proper waste disposal, and hygiene practices are essential for both small and big dogs.
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Now, let’s delve deeper into these aspects to understand whether small dogs are, indeed, cleaner than big dogs.

Natural Cleanliness

Small dogs, such as Chihuahuas or Dachshunds, are often perceived as cleaner due to their petite size. However, this notion is a misconception. The size of a dog does not dictate its natural cleanliness. 

All dogs instinctively groom themselves by licking their fur and paws. This behavior helps them remove dirt, debris, and even parasites from their bodies.

Smaller dogs may have an advantage when it comes to reaching certain areas for self-grooming, but this doesn’t necessarily make them cleaner. 

The cleanliness of a dog’s coat primarily depends on factors like genetics, breed-specific traits, and the dog’s overall health. Therefore, it’s unfair to label small dogs as inherently cleaner than big dogs based solely on their size.

Grooming Needs

The grooming needs of dogs can vary widely, and they are influenced by factors like coat type, breed, and individual differences. Smaller dogs often have finer and more delicate coats that require regular brushing and occasional baths. 

Their smaller size also means that they are more sensitive to temperature changes, making them prone to getting dirty faster.

On the other hand, larger dogs may have coarser fur that doesn’t mat as easily as the fine fur of smaller breeds. While they may not need as frequent grooming sessions, their shedding can be a significant cleanliness concern. 

Big dogs can shed copious amounts of fur throughout the year, and this can quickly accumulate around your home.

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To ensure the cleanliness of your dog, regardless of its size, it’s essential to establish a regular grooming routine that includes brushing, bathing, and nail trimming. 

Moreover, consulting with a professional groomer can help you determine the specific needs of your dog’s coat.

Living Environment

Perhaps the most critical factor in determining whether your dog is clean or not is the cleanliness of its living environment. 

Dogs of all sizes can create messes in your home if their living space is not adequately maintained. Here are some key tips for maintaining a clean living environment for your furry friend:

Regular Cleaning: Clean up after your dog promptly. This includes picking up waste during walks, cleaning up accidents indoors, and regularly washing their bedding and toys.

Proper Waste Disposal: Dispose of your dog’s waste properly, following local regulations. Neglecting this can not only affect your dog’s cleanliness but also pose health hazards to your family and community.

Hygiene Practices: Maintain good hygiene practices for your dog, such as cleaning their food and water bowls regularly. Also, ensure your dog has access to clean drinking water at all times.

Grooming Routine: Stick to a grooming routine that suits your dog’s specific needs. This will help prevent mats, odors, and excessive shedding.

Regular Vet Visits: Keep up with your dog’s veterinary appointments. A healthy dog is generally a cleaner dog, as illness can lead to hygiene issues.


In the age-old debate of small dogs vs. big dogs, it’s essential to debunk the myth that one is inherently cleaner than the other based on size alone. 

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Cleanliness in dogs is a multifaceted aspect that depends on various factors, including natural cleanliness, grooming needs, and the cleanliness of their living environment.

Ultimately, the cleanliness of your dog, regardless of its size, is your responsibility as a pet owner. By understanding your dog’s unique needs, implementing a regular grooming routine, and maintaining a clean living environment, you can ensure that your furry companion enjoys a healthy, happy, and clean life by your side. 

So, when choosing your next four-legged friend, remember that cleanliness isn’t about size; it’s about responsible pet ownership and love for your canine companion.