Small Dogs Officially More Aggressive Than Bigger Ones, Study Finds

by : Cameron Frew on : 05 May 2021 10:02
Small Dogs Officially More Aggressive Than Bigger Ones, Study FindsPA Images

Smaller dogs are officially more likely to be aggressive than bigger ones, a new study has found. 

Testifying the ‘small man syndrome’ theory about yappy pooches, small dogs are often seen as being more confrontational with other dogs, especially the larger ones in the park.


While there’s number of factors in how quarrelsome they are – age, upbringing, temperament, how comfortable they are with other animals – small dogs will be more inclined to start a fight with a passing pooch than a bigger one.

Miniature schnauzers (Pexels)Pexesl

Published in the Scientific Reports journal, researchers from the University of Helsinki looked at the behaviour of more than 9,000 dogs of a variety of breeds, analysing how often they’d bark and growl, as well as other displays of snappy behaviour.

Miniature poodles and schnauzers topped the list of testy, smaller dogs, with the likes of labrador retrievers, golden retrievers and Lapponian herders at the opposite end of the list. There was one exception: the rough collie, said to be the most aggressive of the lot. Sadly, they’re commonly quite fearful dogs.

Rough Collie at a New York dog show in 2016. (PA Images)PA Images

The study notes how fearfulness is associated with smaller dogs more often than bigger ones, making them ‘more vulnerable to behavioural problems in general.’ As small dogs don’t often get the same level of training as bigger breeds, this could also lead to more aggressive tendencies.

Professor Hannes Lohi, a co-author on the study from the University of Helsinki, told the MailOnline: ‘People who are considering getting a dog should familiarise themselves with the background and needs of the breed. As for breeders, they should also pay attention to the character of dam candidates, since both fearfulness and aggressive behaviour are inherited.’

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Animals, Dogs, Pets


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