Paul W Dungey
Small dog syndrome!
We have all heard of the phrase "little man syndrome" , describing an opinionated, sometimes feisty smaller person. This is believed to have originated from Admiral Lord Nelson. He was a small man at only 5ft 4in tall, of slight build and a weak constitution due to many illnesses. But his character always pulled through and he became Britain's most inspiring naval leader winning many battles through tactics and raw ambition. He could have been a quiet man controlled by his size but he chose to be bigger in character than anyone around him, making him a leader and hero to his country. Its no surprise that this man has the biggest statue in this country standing in Trafalgar square, London.
I am the proud owner of 3 Yorkshire terriers. I have Dad, Mum and their first born son, Rocky, Stardust & Herbie. If I had a pound for every time a person on a walk has said to me "oh! little dog syndrome" I would be very wealthy!
I hadn't given it much thought before and always gave a fake laugh and smile at the comments, but whilst away on holiday a lovely elderly lady came up to us and made a fuss of my Rocky. Instead of coming out with the usual phrase, she looked at Rocky and said to him "I understand what it's like to be little, you have to go through the world with a very different approach don't you?, I see the world the way you do and it is so big sometimes!" This lady was probably about 4 feet something tall and she made me think with a whole new perspective when dealing with smaller dog breeds.
I am 6ft 4in tall so I see the world from a higher viewpoint to many but for yorkies and similar breeds they get a ground level perspective. Even in the car my Rocky has to climb up on something in order to see out the window!
So I started to think does this have an affect on their personalities?
When my 3 dogs are on a walk, they tend to take the high ground when they meet and greet other breeds of dog and human, Rocky will start with his head high, ears alert, tail stiff to attention and sometimes stalk approach, ready to pounce if need be. He is fully on standby for a perceived attack. Now I know he is a terrier and the breed dictates certain characteristics but now I look at it from his perspective, he is walking along, his eyes are about 4 inches from the ground, his nose will be working overtime with all the close by scents he is picking up on, suddenly a human and a huge dog approach. It must be daunting to see the world from such a low level, very intimidating. All 3 of my dogs are very friendly and after some barking and sniffing generally make friends with all they meet, but I now think the initial bravado is to make themselves bigger and stronger than anything that comes along, as with Lord Nelson, they have to make their mark on the world to be noticed, or they might just get trodden on!
The question remains though, "does a dog know how big it is?"
Are we just being anthropomorphic about our dogs to fit into our thought patterns?
Whatever the case, smaller dogs do seem to have a bigger personality than is needed sometimes. Scrappy-Doo always comes to mind as the small version of Scooby-Doo trying to take on the world with a fight!
So next time you are out and about walking, take a look at the smaller dogs and try and see the world from their perspective, respect their space and always adopt the "no talk, no touch, no eye contact" until they have sniffed and greeted you.
I haven't even got onto the amazing cuddles and lap dogs they are!!
until next time...