What Do Big Dogs Think of Small Dogs? Explained

The world of dogs is a fascinating one, filled with diverse breeds that come in all shapes and sizes. From the towering Great Dane to the pint-sized Chihuahua, the canine world is a testament to nature’s creativity. 

In this article, we delve into the intriguing question of what big dogs think of small dogs. Are these giant canines just towering behemoths who look down on their tiny counterparts, or do they have a more nuanced perspective? 

Join us as we explore the world of canine dynamics, seeking insights into the minds of our furry friends.

Understanding the Canine Hierarchy

Before we dive into the minds of big dogs and their thoughts about small dogs, it’s important to understand the hierarchy that exists within the canine world. 

Dogs, like humans, have their own social structures and ways of interacting. This hierarchy is not solely based on size; it’s a complex interplay of behavior, temperament, and individual personalities.

In a group of dogs, there is often an alpha or dominant dog. This alpha dog takes on the role of a leader and sets the tone for the group’s dynamics. 

However, being the alpha doesn’t necessarily mean being the biggest. It’s more about confidence and assertiveness. So, a small dog can be the alpha in a group of larger dogs.

Big Dogs and Their Perception of Small Dogs

Now, let’s get into the minds of big dogs and see how they perceive their smaller counterparts. Here are some common sentiments that big dogs may have towards small dogs:

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Big dogs often exhibit curiosity when they encounter smaller dogs. They may approach with caution and a sense of wonder, trying to understand what this pint-sized creature is. It’s like a gentle giant meeting a tiny, intriguing puzzle piece.

Protective Instincts

Contrary to the stereotype of big dogs being bullies, many of them display protective instincts towards smaller dogs. It’s almost as if they recognize the vulnerability of their tiny friends and take it upon themselves to keep them safe.


Large dogs can be surprisingly gentle when playing with small dogs. They adapt their play style, using softer movements and being careful not to accidentally hurt their smaller playmates. This adaptability shows a level of understanding and consideration.


Not all big dogs pay much attention to small dogs. Some simply coexist peacefully without any particular fascination. In such cases, it’s likely that the size difference doesn’t matter to them at all; they see their fellow canine as just another member of the pack.

Small Dogs’ Perspective

Now, let’s flip the perspective and consider how small dogs might view their larger counterparts:


Small dogs can be surprisingly confident around big dogs. They don’t seem to be aware of their size disadvantage and may even try to assert themselves as if they were much larger. This confidence can lead to amusing interactions.


On the flip side, some small dogs may be intimidated by larger breeds. They might perceive them as potential threats and react defensively. This fear can vary from dog to dog and depends on their individual temperament and past experiences.

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For many small dogs, big dogs are not intimidating giants but potential companions. They often seek friendship and playmates among the larger breeds. This desire for companionship transcends size differences.

The Role of Socialization

The way big and small dogs interact often depends on their early socialization experiences. Dogs that have been exposed to various sizes and breeds during puppyhood tend to be more open-minded and adaptable when it comes to interacting with dogs of different sizes.

How to Ensure Positive Interactions

Whether you have a big dog, a small dog, or both, ensuring positive interactions between them is essential for their well-being and your peace of mind. Here are some tips:

  1. Socialization: Start early and expose your dog to a variety of sizes and breeds during puppyhood.
  2. Supervision: Always supervise interactions between big and small dogs, especially if there’s a significant size difference.
  3. Training: Invest time in training your dog to ensure they respond to commands and can be controlled in different situations.
  4. Respect Individual Temperaments: Remember that each dog is unique. Respect their individual temperaments and preferences when it comes to socializing.


In the world of dogs, size isn’t everything. Big dogs may have a range of reactions when encountering smaller dogs, from curiosity to protectiveness, while small dogs can be confident, fearful, or simply seeking companionship. 

Understanding these dynamics and ensuring positive interactions between big and small dogs is essential for fostering a harmonious canine community. 

Remember, at the end of the day, it’s not about size but about the love and companionship our furry friends provide, regardless of their dimensions.