So a few days ago I saw this link posted on Facebook, about the 3 most aggressive dog breeds, and how it may surprise me. Of course I clicked it, to find out if indeed I would be surprised. I really wasn’t surprised, at all. What a let down.
(Also, if you aren’t already, follow The Driven Dog on Facebook, duh!)
Number 1 on the list is the dachshund. Number 2 is the chihuahua. And number 3 is the jack russell terrier. All small dogs. So what is it about small dogs, really? Why are they yappy and nippy and so aggressive sometimes?
I want to make this short and sweet by only looking at the three top breeds listed by the study, but in general, this does pertain to most other problematic small dog breeds, like yorkshire terriers, miniature pinschers, and pomeranians.
The dachshund, jack russell terrier and breeds like the yorkie and min pin, have the same issue. They are chosen these days because of their size and cuteness, but their genetics are completely ignored and overlooked. These dogs were originally bred to hunt. The standard size dachshund went after badger, their mini versions went after rats. Jack russell terriers went after foxes, and yorkie and min pins went after vermin as well.
So what’s the big deal? Think about it! Sure rats and badgers don’t sound nearly as menacing or bad ass as wild boars or bears, like some larger breeds were bred to take down. But these little guys are still going after nasty animals that are THEIR size. Rats have huge teeth and fight back! Ever see an aggressive rat?
Nope. I’m not messing with him.
What this means, is your cute little wiener dog is actually a cold blooded hunter. Ever wonder why your dachshund loves to be wrapped up in a blanket, making himself into a wiener burrito? Because they were bred for thousands of years to not only accept and be comfortable with, but love small den spaces. So he can run head first into the dark tunnels to get whatever is waiting in there. Totally fearless. So with that sort of instinct and DNA, how can we expect them to be content with no job, no structure, no work? They go nuts! Literally. The boredom means they bark excessively, and make up jobs to give themselves, like protecting the everything against the anything.
Jack russell terriers have the same issue plus some. They were bred to go on fox hunts, which means they had to run along the hunter, often on horseback, so their energy level and endurance are incredibly high in order to keep up with the horses, and then be fast and agile enough to chase foxes too. So a lot of people assume that a jack russell might make good apartment dogs, because of their size. But their activity requirement is really high! Not providing enough work and activity for this breed is going to make for one hyperactive, pent up monster.
This video has nothing to do with anything, except that it’s adorable and I like foxes.
So what about little dogs not bred as hunters, like the chihuahua and pomeranian? Usually, it’s a combo of their owners and Napoleon complex, for sure. Many small dogs understand they are smaller, and so in order to preemptively protect themselves from being barreled over, or getting a head sized paw to the face, they will bark and try to ward off larger dogs/people. Breeds like the pomeranian or american eskimo, commonly have boredom issues, since they are spitz type dogs and were originally bred to be work dogs (sled pulling, typically) but bred down in size over time because they are so darn cute.
The bigger issue is owner mentality. I have seen this in about 90% of my aggressive small dog clients. Owners believe that their tiny new dog is just incredibly fragile and incompetent. An animal that just cannot take care of itself, defend itself, speak for itself, act on itself – it is just impossible!
Small dog owners – STOP BABYING YOUR DOGS!
When I adopted my 4 pound chihuahua, she was 2 years old. The yappiest of ankle biters, pretty “typical” of the breed stereotype. Shook like a leaf, barked at every stranger, noise, et cetera. I slapped a micro mini prong collar on her and treated her like a dog. I didn’t care that she was 4 pounds, I cared that she was a Canis lupus familiaris and communicated and behaved like a one (albeit, spoiled, at the time). I expected the same from her, as my 60 pound malinois. Sits, downs, stays, respect. And I got it. I never made an excuse for her because of her size. And she is the best companion dog because of it.
Bottomline? Same as it always is with me! Train your dog. Find a professional that is familiar with the breed and doesn’t make, or let you make, excuses for your pup. Own up to what you decided to bring into your life, respect that your dog is a dog, and ask for respect as a dog owner in return.
Remember. Our beloved dogs are animal first, then dog, then family member.
Interested in the micromini prong? First, find a trainer to show you how to properly use one. Then, purchase here on amazon: