Are Small Dogs More Stubborn? Myths and Realities

When it comes to the world of canine companionship, dogs come in all shapes and sizes, each with their unique personalities and traits. 

While many small dog owners adore their pint-sized pals for their charm and cuteness, there’s a common stereotype that small dogs are more stubborn compared to their larger counterparts. 

In this article, we’ll delve into the intriguing world of canine behavior and determine whether small dogs are truly more stubborn or if this notion is simply a misconception.

Understanding Dog Behavior

To address the question of whether small dogs are more stubborn, it’s essential to begin by understanding dog behavior as a whole. 

Dogs are incredibly diverse creatures, and their behavior can vary greatly depending on factors like breed, upbringing, and training.

Breed Differences

Firstly, it’s crucial to acknowledge that different dog breeds possess distinct personality traits and tendencies. Some breeds are naturally more independent and strong-willed, which might be misconstrued as stubbornness. 

For example, the Chihuahua, known for its tiny stature, is often perceived as stubborn due to its confident demeanor.

Training and Socialization

The way a dog is raised and trained plays a significant role in their behavior. Dogs that receive proper training and socialization from an early age are more likely to exhibit well-mannered behavior, regardless of their size. 

Therefore, any perceived stubbornness in small dogs might actually be a result of inadequate training or socialization.

Individual Variation

Just like humans, dogs have their unique personalities. While breed tendencies can provide a general idea of a dog’s behavior, each dog is an individual with its own quirks and temperament. 

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Some small dogs may indeed be more stubborn than others, but this should not be generalized to all small dog breeds.

The Stubbornness Stereotype

Now that we’ve established a foundation for understanding dog behavior, let’s tackle the stubbornness stereotype surrounding small dogs.

Size and Stereotypes

One of the main reasons small dogs are often labeled as stubborn is due to their size. People tend to underestimate the capabilities of small dogs, assuming they are less trainable or less intelligent than their larger counterparts. 

This stereotype can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy, as small dog owners may not invest as much time and effort into training, believing their dogs are inherently stubborn.

Small Dog Syndrome

Another factor contributing to the stubbornness stereotype is what’s known as “small dog syndrome.” This occurs when owners treat their small dogs differently than they would larger breeds. 

Small dogs may be allowed to get away with undesirable behavior simply because they’re cute and tiny. Over time, this inconsistent discipline can lead to perceived stubbornness in small dogs.

Debunking the Myth

Now that we’ve explored the reasons behind the stubbornness stereotype, it’s time to debunk the myth that small dogs are inherently more stubborn.

Training Matters

The key to well-behaved dogs, regardless of their size, is consistent and positive reinforcement-based training. Small dogs can be just as obedient and well-mannered as larger ones when provided with proper training and socialization.

 In fact, small dogs often excel in activities like agility and obedience competitions, proving that they are not inherently stubborn.

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Understanding Small Dog Behavior

Small dogs have unique behaviors and characteristics that may be misinterpreted as stubbornness. For instance, they can be more cautious or wary in unfamiliar situations due to their size. This cautiousness can be mistaken for stubbornness, but it’s simply a survival instinct.

Individual Variability

As mentioned earlier, each dog is an individual with its own personality. Stubbornness, like any other trait, varies from dog to dog. 

While some small dogs may exhibit stubborn behavior, the same can be said for larger breeds. It’s essential not to make sweeping generalizations based on size alone.


In conclusion, the belief that small dogs are more stubborn is a misconception rooted in stereotypes and misinterpretations of canine behavior. 

While some small dogs may appear stubborn, it is not an inherent trait of all small breeds. Factors such as breed tendencies, training, and individual personality play a more significant role in determining a dog’s behavior.

If you have a small dog or are considering adopting one, remember that with proper training, socialization, and understanding, your furry friend can be just as obedient and well-behaved as any larger breed. 

The key is to treat all dogs, regardless of their size, with love, patience, and consistency to foster a harmonious and loving relationship between you and your four-legged companion.