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Old 02-19-2012, 10:51 AM
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JacksonsMom JacksonsMom is offline
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Default Big Breeds Good With Little Dogs

I know that almost any breed CAN be good with little dogs.

But in general, I guess I should ask, what breeds would you NOT want to live with a little dog?

I'm not gonna lie, I don't think I'd ever get a Pit Bull so long as I have a little dog, just from everything I've read about DA problems.

I <33 German Shepherds but since my uncle got his girl, even though they DO get along, I think I've changed my mind on wanting a GSD and Jackson at the same time, lol. It would be too much work for just me, as the GSD is too mouthy still and bats her paws constantly and is very slowly learning how to be gentle with Jackson, but yeah, it would just be too much work by myself - I can only do it when my uncle is here with her.

I don't know, in your experience, what larger breeds always tend to be pretty good with little dogs and aware of their size? I am in love with English mastiffs as of late and almost every one I've seen on youtube and in real life, is pretty gentle (even as pups for the most part) and often lays down to play with little ones.

Most Goldens I've seen have always been great with little ones, but most Labs I've met have NOT simply because they have sooo much energy.
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by JacksonsMom View Post
...But in general, I guess I should ask, what breeds would you NOT want to live with a little dog?..
Siberian Huskys, and any of the sight hounds come to mind. And, believe it or not, I'd also be hesitant about JRTs.

On the "clumsy, not knowing how big they are" side, I do worry about Caleb hurting smaller critters just by simply being too rough. The funny thing is, tho- he adjusts how rough he plays to be safe with whatever size dog he's playing with.
My Labrador Retriever Was Handler Impaired
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:10 AM
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I wonder how much of it is even breed tendency.... I mean, Juno is fantastic with little dogs, but I can very easily see how boxers in general could be really freaking rough if they aren't taught otherwise. But she was raised with a small dog and a cat so I think in our case, the key really was just training.

Great danes at the park always seem pretty gentle. Really, compared to a Dane, EVERY dog is a little dog.

I guess for me it's definitely an individual dog thing, and I wouldn't trust the two alone unless I knew the big one and felt that I could.

Juno CGC 2009 :: Sawyer 2015 :: Cajun CGC 2013 :: Lucy 2006
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:15 AM
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I have a pitbull and a chihuahua/dachshund mix. Molly is a pitbull and she is 9 months old, and Wiggles is the chihuahua/dachshund mix and he is 3 years old. There are no issues with dominance or aggression at all. When they play, Molly is very gentle with Wiggles, although they sound ferocious with all the play growling and snarling that they do. If Molly accidentally gets too rough and Wiggles lets out a yelp, she will immediately stop and will lick him in the face as if she is apologizing to him for hurting him. Then when they go back to playing she will lower herself to his level and let him "beat her up" for awhile. They get along very well together and are the best of friends. When we rescued Molly, it never even crossed my mind to be concerned about having a pitbull in the house with a small dog. This is the only time we've owned two dogs at the same time so I don't have any other experience with a big dog living with a small dog. Hopefully others can give you some insight on a few different bigger dogs living with a smaller dog.

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Old 02-19-2012, 11:21 AM
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I think most dogs CAN be good, but breeds with significant prey drive run the biggest risk of problems. I think of Danes as being generally gentle dogs, and in fact we have one at work who plays with dogs of all sizes, but as Keeva and I found out, sometimes that prey drive kicks in and... lol

How do you feel about LGDs? We have a Great Pyr mix at my work named Darcy who is one of my favorites and my god does she LOVE Keeva. Yesterday she was getting grumpy because she didn't like how the other dogs were playing with Keeva and Ellie (rat terrier). But she plays super careful with the little ones and just seems to adore them, and I know that's pretty common for the breed. I had a lady at an APDT trial tell me that the breeder her daughter's Pyr came from (who is some top breeder, won Westminster, impossible to get a hold of, blah blah) gives each Pyr its own cat to look after - LOL.

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Old 02-19-2012, 11:42 AM
PatchworkRobot PatchworkRobot is offline
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I know many people with dobermans and small dogs but I would not get a doberman puppy if I already had a small dog. They're all over the place, full of energy, and SUPER clumsy.

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Old 02-19-2012, 03:38 PM
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Well Scamp has somehow survived 2 labs, a springer, a GSD/BC mix, a Newfoundland and is currently tutoring 2 lab mix puppies in how to treat a small dog. On top of that he manages to terrorise the neighbourhoods population of dogs whenever possible. ( I swear that dog has more lives than a cat).

It really does depend on the dog though because Scamp is a very rough dog and more than capable of looking after himself. He views Tika jumping on top of him and dragging him backwards by the tail as play. All the dogs Scamp has played with have all seemed to moderate themselves except for the puppies. Puppies are naturally going to be quite rough and you just have to manage that. There's also the individual dogs to consider. Although if you're still set on a GSD perhaps an adult rescue would be better than a puppy?
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Old 02-19-2012, 03:48 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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I've never had a problem with Luna and Keegan. But then, collies are generally good with other animals, Keegan was 8 weeks old when I got him (though still larger than Luna, LOL), and Luna's VERY good at letting Keegan know when he's invading her personal space.

I do think it depends on the individual dog. There are so many factors that could make the relationship work or not.... If the large dog is not very body aware it might not work. If the large dog doesn't listen when the small dog tries to let him know he's being annoying - or if the small dog isn't good at communicating that he's uncomfortable - it might not work. Of course if DA or prey drive kicks in, that's almost beyond your control as well.

I'd suggest just ruling out dogs that are prone to DA, and then look at each one as an individual after that.
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Old 02-19-2012, 05:33 PM
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Leonberger. They win hands down. lol

A small-dog-safe sighthound is extra great with small dogs because sighthounds have excellent body awareness and are very aware of their size and strength, vs. some of the derps you get with other giant breeds.
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Old 02-19-2012, 05:40 PM
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Most retrievers (goldens, labs etc..) I've found to be good with little dogs. They develop soft mouths and prefer games of fetch to games of chase and other prey games.

Dobermans! especially when passed the crazy puppy age, I have never met a dobe that wasn't very sensitive and in-tune with their smaller companions. (Check out Ramsey and Pablo on youtube) Maybe it's a coincidence but I've noticed at the park and otherwise that dobermans always are good at self-handicapping (making themselves weaker to play with other dogs)

St.Brenards, danes.. other gentle giants.

I would stay away from most terriers/breeds that are bred to hunt small game/have a lot of prey drive.. that kind of thing.

Romeo is pretty small, love to run around and play keep away and frankly, is not much bigger than your average rabbit/squirrel. I have seen quite a few dogs terrier like dogs see him running around in the small breed area of the park and their eyes just lock on.

BUT I would say it also greatly depends on the little dog.
A young, active, hardy little dog I would say is a good fit for most. Romeo can stand playing, wrestling, is quite used to having giant paws swatting at him and other big puppy behaviors

but some low-key little dogs (especially older/more fragile).. I don't know if I would bring a boistrous large breed puppy of any breed and expect them to get along at first

Disclaimer: I work for Trupanion and love it/our policy! But I do not speak for the company or as the company.
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