Small dog or big dog? Do we really have to choose? Our world offers us so many choices, and sometimes we simply have to say, "Yes - I will have this one AND that one."
It isn't so uncommon to have a mixed set of pups: one big & one small, two big & two small, three big & one small - you get the picture. However you arrange them and how many you get is completely up to you.
Most people whom I've talked to started out preferring one size. Then through the magic of relationship compromise, or a chance encounter with a rescue dog in need of a new home, the other size shows up in the person's life. The adjustment may not be easy, but there are some wonderful things about having different sized pets.
1. There is something for everyone. All of your dog needs can be met when you have one of each. You can have the little guy to scoop up and carry, and you have the big one to stride confidently alongside you. When friends come over, folks will gravitate towards their preference: the little dog people will coo over your small pup while the big dog people will get big kisses from the dogs who stand up and put paws on your friends' shoulders. Dogs know who likes them and they will milk it for all that it's worth. There doesn't need to be any competition as everyone will get spoiled.
2. You will learn loads about your dogs. People often think that size determines the dynamic, that the bigger dogs will dominate the smaller ones. While this can happen, don't count the little ones out. Little dogs can have huge personalities and often they can show the big one who is the boss in the house. Being in charge doesn't have to mean being a bully - it's all about being confident. If there is snarling or snapping then you as the owner will have to step in and do some training. Anytime you get add a dog to your home, regardless of size, you'll have to stay fairly vigilant about how well they get along.
3. Your dogs will make adjustments for the other's size. When the dogs become best friends, you will see how they learn to trust one another. When the big one is in the way, the little one will scooch underneath without so much as a blink from the bigger one. When wrestling, the big one will develop enough gentleness to prevent hurting his buddy. They'll get excited about going on excursions together and will get into all sort of mischief, from jumping into creeks to chasing squirrels. And during snuggle time, the big one will gingerly curl around the little one.
In the end, no matter what size you get, no matter what combination of dogs you opt for, you are choosing a life filled with love when you add dogs to your family. Schnauzers, Rottweilers, Poodles, Spaniels - whatever breed and whatever mix - they all have that special quality that turns us to mush.
Special thanks to Kathy Reed and Krisan Davidson for images.