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Articles > Dogs

Giant Dogs and Smaller Dogs - A Good Match

Topic: Giant Breeds

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Filed under Dogs
Tags: Exercise, Large Breed, Toy Breed, Feeding, Teacup

Miniature Bull Terriers



pacoima, CA

Miniature Bull Terrier

Some of the most famous teams in history have been matches between two very different types of individuals. Perhaps it is not surprising to find out that two very differently sized dogs often make some of the best companions, playing to each other's unique styles and character traits. It is, however, important for owners to take some time to consider how the general characteristics of the two or more breeds will interact with each other. It is also a great option to consider getting the two puppies at approximately the same time as this will allow for early bonding and socialization together. It does make it more challenging for issues such as obedience and housetraining, so this also needs to be taken into consideration, especially if only one person is taking on all the responsibility.

Exercise And Energy Requirements

Pairing a giant breed with a smaller breed can be very beneficial to both. The smaller breeds, even large dogs, tend to be more active than the giant breeds and will help in keeping the larger breed active in play. Very small, medium or large sized breeds that are considered highly active and require a great deal of daily exercise may not be a good match for several reasons.

The first consideration with a high energy smaller breed is that a giant puppy will need to be restricted in their intensive types of exercise, not encouraged. This is absolutely essential to the health of the giant breed puppy. If you are prepared to provide additional, separate exercise of the higher energy breed this can work, but it does double your commitment to providing activity and exercise, even if it is only to one dog. A giant breed puppy in the growing stages of up to one year should never be expected to jog, run or intensively exercise. This type of activity will lead to significant bone, joint, skeletal and muscular problems that can be both painful and debilitating to the puppy. The flip side of this issue is that the smaller breed dog absolutely needs that activity to be healthy and mentally calm.

Huge Size Differences In Puppies

Huge size differences in puppies becomes problematic when the giant breed puppy is so large compared to the other puppy that serious injury can occur in play. Typically this becomes less of an issue as the dog's mature and the giant breed becomes less likely to engage in rough types of play with the smaller dog. As puppies, however, the giant breed is just as playful and unaware of his or her large size as the other puppy is unaware of his or her small size. Toy and small sized puppies and giant breeds should never be considered as there is too much risk of injury to the toy or small sized puppy.

While very large and very small dogs can live together and be terrific companions, it is important that the owners carefully monitor the interactions. Until you are very confident that play won't get too rambunctious or aggressive it is recommended that the dogs be kept separate when there is no supervision. Since many of the smaller breed dogs can be easily crate trained compared to the larger breeds, this may be an option to keep both safe when you aren't home.

Feeding and General Care

Smaller and giant breed puppies and even adult dogs may have very different food requirements. In addition giant breeds often stay on puppy growth food for significantly longer than the smaller breeds. Owners may also choose different types of foods based on the individual dog's energy levels and activity, as well as their weight and health. Separate feeding is highly recommended for two very differently sized dogs to ensure that both are getting the quantity and quality of food they require.

Another common issue that owners of multiple dogs face is the option of free choice feeding. Free choice feeding means that the owners provide a daily ration of food for the dog's to access during the day or around the clock. In some situations this works very well for adult dogs although it is never recommended with giant breed puppies. Watch out for one dog, often the smaller breed, becoming territorial or protective of the food and not allowing the giant breed to the dish. The opposite may also happen with the giant breed preventing the other pooch from eating.

Always provide free choice water and monitor that both dogs have access to the water dish. Some owners provide two or more water dishes to avoid any possible problems.

Temperament And Traits

It is important to know what the temperament and traits of both the giant breed puppy or dog as well as the smaller breed are before considering the match. If you are considering two dominant types of dogs try to get one a male and one a female and then have them spayed or neutered early. This is often the best match although two neutered or spayed dominant breeds can also live together as great friends.

A better option may be to consider a more submissive or pack temperament dog and a dominant breed. It is not important as to which is the dominant and which is the more submissive dog as dogs don't seem to mind which size is the leader and which is the follower. In many situations the smaller breed will be the pack leader for the two or more dogs, resulting in a very good match.

Some breeds of dogs just seem to do better if they are kept with other dogs. Generally within the giant breeds the Irish Wolfhound and Scottish Deerhound are some of the more pack-oriented types. Smaller breeds such as the hunting group and the herding group can also tend to enjoy being with other dogs more than the independent working group. Pairing two very independent dogs can provide good results, however it will be challenging initially. If you are considering pairing two independent breeds it is essential to raise them together from puppies so the hierarchy can be determined between the dogs at an early stage.

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