Why I Love Some Small in My Dogs

The late, great Buddy, showing off some of the stuff I love most about small dogs.


Small dogs vs. big. If you’re a dog person, you’ve been in one of these arguments, haven’t you? If you’re a big dog person, you’ve likely started one! (Come on, it’s true, it’s true! Big dog people just don’t get our passion for the ankle-biters.¬†Almost everyone I know who has (and loves) a small dog has said to me, “you know, I never used to like small dogs, until I got Tiny” (or Peanut or Pork Chop or whoever it was that changed, literally, our view of a dog’s size).

I’ve had big dogs, and I’ve loved them dearly. But no dogs have touched me like the smalls have. Stiggy, my Jack Russell; Lola, our Corgi mix and Buzz, some mishmash of all the best parts of a dozen different terriers; they’ve been the loves of my life. But Gracie, my mija, aka “the Brick”: ¬†She’s a perfect illustration of what I love most about my small dogs.

[FYI: it’s not coincidence that Gracie was nicknamed “the Brick.” She was the most unbendy dog I’ve ever had. Her body was solid; it was so dense (Mr. Susan called her the White Dwarf–that’s an astronomy joke; go Wiki it.]

One of my favorite small dogs, Gracie, aka the Brick, dancing for me.

Although she wasn’t graceful like Buzz, or super-bendy like Lola, Gracie was exactly the right size for snuggling. She’d crawl up onto my chest and let her legs fall to my sides, and she just fit there; just perfectly, like a sticky lego piece that once placed on top of another, just wasn’t going anywhere, and not anytime soon.

In my experience, the short legged dogs that weigh about 15-20 pounds are aces. Not too big; not soo small. When I get a small dog up onto my chest, I bury my face in its scruffy neck fur and I can smell everything it’s been into all day and I can hear that heart beat. Best of all, I can feel the warm breath on my neck as they drift off to sleep. These perfectly proportioned, snorgle-sized beasties are coincidentally perfectly equipped for daytime naps as well.

Lifting a small dog up and cradling it to my chest pushes that big red NOSTALGIA button. It takes me back to laying with my First Dog Ever, Hank. He was a mostly white, tack-sharp wire-haired terrier who let me spill endless tears in his fur after some of my most hard-fought days on the playground and let me rest my head on his pillow on long afternoons spent reading some Beezus & Ramona.

They say you shouldn’t let a small dog place his feet on your chest; it means he owns you, or at least it’s supposed to, in some kind of dog language I don’t care, I let T do it all the time. His little knees will eventually buckle and his chest will plop down onto mine. He’ll tuck his snout into the curve of my neck and, oh man, it’s heaven. It’s fucking heaven.

This is what I love about the small dogs. Well, this and that whole Napoleon complex which they all totally have and you know, the bitchier and bossier they are, the more I love them. [I used to say that if I were a dog, I’d be Gracie, and if she were a person, she’d be me. Totally true. Now I say the same thing about T, my devil-Pickle.]

I know that big dogs have their advantages, but I’m a snuggler, a snorgler, a “let’s get all the dogs on the bed” napper.

Besides, there’s one thing that we small dog lovers have to admit, even if it’s just to ourselves: If we let our big dogs get away with what our small dogs do, we’d all be toast and dogs would be ruling the world.

[Pfffft…as if they aren’t already.]
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  • March 24, 2013 - 2:25 am

    Angela Ward Brown - So, if you are coming to the UK, that means I can hire you to shoot my smalls, yeah?

    Which in England means underpants. So that’s funny, too.ReplyCancel

  • March 24, 2013 - 9:52 am

    susan sabo - Just like you Brits to muck it all up, isn’t it? You know “smalls” is my nickname, right? Just watch yourself, and if you really really want me to, I’ll shoot your smalls. But not Jams’.ReplyCancel

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