Or rather: ‘musings on size related matters’
I’ve been thinking about Coren’s article in ‘Psychology Today‘ with some of the data indicating very small and very large dogs do less well in intelligence tests.
The thing is, even if they do, it doesn’t matter that much. Most people can’t cope with highly intelligent breeds anyway. They can make wonderful family members, but they are less of a ‘pet’ and more of a ‘mischievous kid’. You have to train them, you have to keep them occupied, boredom will cost you dearly. They learn how to sit/stay/roll over and so on in seconds, true. But they learn equally fast how to open cupboards, when it’s safe to steal food or rummage through your things, or how far to push you before you explode. They often outsmart their owners and you see the sad, tired humans, following the super-smart dogs with an expression of painful resignation on their sleep-deprived faces. Because highly intelligent dogs are often highly energetic.
So, as much as I disagree with breeding for the looks only, the size of the dog has never bothered me. Nor the intelligence (however we define it). My dogs have never paid any attention to the size, either. Tiny terriers and giant Caucasian Shepherds: they are all equally fun if they are fun, or equally boring if they are boring.
There are ‘size related matters’ that do matter, though. The size can determine health ( giant breeds, toy breeds) and life expectancy. The breed itself can influence behaviour. Giant breeds are more expensive to keep and they might be accepted in fewer places (pubs, hotels). But when you fall in love with the tiniest of Chihuahuas or the massive English Mastiff -they will be intelligent enough. In fact, you’ll find they are not only the smartest, but also the most beautiful dogs in the world. Love makes us blind-and utterly happy.