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7 Reasons Why Big Dogs Are Nicer Than Small Dogs (2023)

Why Are Big Dogs Nicer

Looks can be deceiving.

Between a Great Dane and a Chihuahua…

Most people will be intimidated by the former.

But in the end, they’ll be surprised that the bigger dog turns out to be friendlier.

Now, why is that?

Keep reading to learn:

  • Why small canines tend to be aggressive.
  • 7 real reasons why big dogs are nicer than small dogs.
  • The ‘Napeleon Complex’ in canines and its usual signs.
  • Whether body size affects a dog’s personality and intelligence.
  • And many more…

Are big dogs actually nicer?

Big dogs are nicer than smaller ones. The former are mostly gentler and calmer due to their genes. But, it may also be because small dogs are less threatening and treated as ‘babies.’ So their bad behaviors are ignored. While big dogs are trained more as they can inflict the most damage on someone.

Why big dogs are nicer – 7 reasons

#1: They’re gentle as a lamb

Contrary to their huge size…

Giant dogs are usually one of the sweetest Fidos you’ll ever meet.

This is why they were given the name ‘gentle giants.’

And some of these breeds are:

  • Mastiffs.
  • Leonbergers.
  • Saint Bernards.
  • Newfoundlands.
  • Anatolian Shepherds.
  • Scottish Deerhounds.
  • Great Pyrenees dogs.
  • Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs.


“Why are big dogs so much nicer?”

First, a big dog’s gentle nature might have something to do with their original purpose.

“What do you mean?”

Humans bred most giant canines for less harmful activities. 

So this may have contributed to their tender temperament.

I’ll give a few examples.

Saint Bernards

This breed was initially used in saving avalanche victims in the mountains.

The Saint Bernard rescuers look for buried travelers. Then they dig through the snow. 

And to save them from freezing, they lie on top of them to provide warmth.

Trivia: Have you heard of the famous Saint Bernard rescuer dog? His name was ‘Barry.’ And according to records, he rescued more than 40 travelers in Swiss Alps from 1800 to 1812.


These dogs used to pull carts to help fishermen in Newfoundland.

But due to their webbed feet, water-resistant fur, and swimming skills…

They also helped in saving drowning people on the island.

On the other hand…

Most small dogs were bred to hunt and attack

Most Dogs Were Bred To Hunt And Attack

The best examples of this are Dachshunds and Terriers.

Both breeds were used for killing badgers and vermin.

And although they’re now bred for a friendlier temperament…

This instinct may still be in some pooches. So they can be more aggressive than the gentle giants.

But this reason alone can’t be the only answer as to why small dogs are so fierce.

So let’s continue.

#2: They’re even-tempered

In a recent survey among 16,792 dog parents in different countries…

Most said that they prefer large to giant breeds over small ones.

“Why’s that?”

Those who voted in favor of big Fidos are men and younger people. And they said it’s because of the dogs’ mellow behavior.

Usually, large Fidos are even-tempered.

So even if there’s a small yappy pooch in front of them…

Large dogs won’t be easily annoyed. And they’ll ignore them.

“What causes them to act like that?

Are they more mature because of their size?”

Well, AKC says that larger dogs age faster than smaller ones.

But, this matter is more about self-control.

Big dogs are more patient. And they don’t feel the need to prove themselves to others.

On the other hand…

Small breeds tend to be more aggressive

“Why’s that?”

Let’s talk science first.

I found a study about whether a dog’s size affects their personality. And if there’s such a connection.

And the results?

As a dog’s height and weight decrease…

The more psychological problems they have.

It’s not saying that all small dogs are ‘neurotic.’

But rather, they have a higher tendency to be one than bigger Fidos.

And this might be further explained by the…

Napoleon Complex

It’s an inferiority complex in humans.

It got its name from emperor Napoleon who was mocked for his short height.

And famous folklore says he made up for it by seeking power.

But in canines, it’s known as the ‘small dog syndrome.’

Since, well, it’s common in tiny Fidos.

“What are its signs?”

Small dogs become frantic when they see anyone bigger than them. May it be another Fido or a human.

They feel inferior and scared due to their small stature.

So what will they do?

Tiny dogs will be aggressive to larger Fidos and strangers. Hoping it’ll be enough to intimidate them.

But as I said earlier…

The ‘small dog attitude’ can also be due to how they’re treated

Think about it.

Most people see big dogs as normal Fidos.

And because they can inflict big damage…

They’re more trained than smaller dogs.


Toy breeds are often treated like human babies.

So they lack socialization. And this can reinforce the ‘small dog syndrome.’  

Plus, when they misbehave…

They’re often ignored or laughed at. 

And this is because people know they’re not much of a threat due to their cute size.

You might also like: Why does my dog bark at certain dogs?

#3: They’re usually quieter

Next, because of the easygoing nature of most big dogs…

They bark less than smaller Fidos.

When we compare the two…

Tinier dogs are more excitable and fearful than larger ones.

So the former reacts to almost anything. And this is why Chihuahuas bark a lot.

Now, small dogs bark because they’re anxious.

It’s like they’re telling a big fellow to “Go away and leave them alone.”

But it’s only a front. And they’re actually scared.

I have a friend who has 3 dogs of different sizes. And she says that the smallest one is the loudest.

The tiniest pooch always barks and pursues cyclists and joggers…even if they’re meters away. 

While her 2 bigger brothers are just chilling.

#4: They’re ‘homebodies’

They're Homebodies

Another reason why big dogs are nicer is that they tend to be ‘lazier.’

Okay. I’m not talking about large working breeds here. Such as Labradors and German Shepherds.

I’m referring mostly to the ‘gentle giants.’


“Why are bigger dogs lazier?”

Due to their huge bodies and mellow behavior…

Giant Fidos are less energetic than lighter dogs.

And the best examples of this are:

  • Mastiffs.
  • Great Danes.
  • Burmese Mountain Dogs.

Big Fidos are usually active in their younger years.

But as they grow old…

They become big couch potatoes.

And this is a good thing if you also enjoy doing nothing at home.


Note: This doesn’t mean they don’t need any exercise. Giant dogs still need moderate daily walks. And this is to stay fit and healthy.

Reading tip: 7 Reasons Why Your Dog Is So Lazy + 3 Dangers & 5 Tips

#5: They’re fantastic with kids

Giant dogs can also beat teddy bears in ‘huggability.’

And because of their gentle nature…

Most big Fidos are also great with kids.


Let’s take a look at the Newfoundland’s case.

These fluffy giants are gentle and don’t play rough at all. 

So Newfies won’t mind if a baby climbs all over them or plays with their ears. 

And this is why people call them the best ‘nanny dogs.’

Here’s a short clip of Newfies playing with babies that’ll surely melt your heart:

On the other hand…

Tinier dogs like Chihuahuas and Pomeranians may snap at smaller kids when startled. 

And this is because they’re anxious and in defense mode.

But even though giant Fidos are better with kids…

Note: It’s still unsafe to leave any big dog alone with a baby. Large Fidos can knock over tiny kids by accident during play.

So it’s best if you teach the big dog and kids how to interact properly first. And never leave them unattended.

#6: They’re more obedient

Are you looking for dogs who are easier to train?

If so, then big Fidos might be compatible for you.

In a study, 1,276 dog parents answered a survey. And their Fidos were divided according to size – large and small.

Parents were asked if their dogs obey basic commands. Such as “down,” “come,” and “sit.”

And people also shared about their Fidos’ attentiveness and obedience.


“What did they find out?”

The study says that smaller breeds are less obedient than bigger Fidos.


Since larger dogs are often even-tempered…

They pay closer attention to their humans. Compared to edgy small Fidos who are easily distracted.

So as a result, bigger dogs learn faster than tinier ones.


Some large breeds can also be stubborn, like Huskies.

#7: They’re smarter

“Wait. If bigger dogs have larger brains than smaller Fidos…

Does it mean the former is more intelligent?”

A 2019 study says so.

Based on it, large dogs performed better than tinier ones. And this can be linked to them having a bigger brain.

But it doesn’t end there.

The study says that big dogs have better short-term memory than small pooches.

“How did they find this out?”

Parents hid treats under plastic cups. And they did this in front of the dogs.

And the results?

Smaller Fidos had a hard time guessing than larger dogs.


The researchers found that big dogs are better in ‘executive function.’

Meaning, large Fidos have more self-control than smaller ones. While the latter tend to become stubborn. 

And that’s why Chihuahuas rank low in intelligence. (But don’t underestimate these small fellows!)

So this proved our point earlier – that big dogs are more patient and calmer.