14 January

Video: The Little Dogs Can Hold Their Own

by Jon Katz

Many people wrote to me over the past few weeks to ask if I thought Bud realized how big Zinnia was going to get if it might affect how they play. I don’t know for sure, but I doubt it.

The bigger Zinnia gets, the savvier Bud gets. He is a hunter, she is a lover. She has no idea she is big, Bud has no idea he is small.

But the thing about these little dogs, these Boston Terriers and other small breeds is that nobody told them that they are small, and nature compensated for their size by giving them the ego and self-image of a dinosaur.

I saw a chihuahua recently chasing a huge German Shepherd off of his lawn and down the road.

Little dogs like Bud have a natural swagger built into their walk and they don’t have a gene for backing down. Bud terrifies the donkeys at times and has no trouble getting into the sheep’s faces and moving them.

Because they think they are big, they are big.  Zinnia is now three times bigger than she was when Bud first started playing with her, and he often finds himself at the bottom of the pile, at least at first. But not for long.

He can still flip her over when needs to.

But Bud, like most BT’s, is a scrapper and Labs are generally not tough and usually are not scrappers. Bud can handle himself and shows no signs of being rattled or weary when playing tug-of-war with a dog three times his size or stealing her toys and hiding them.

He also knows when to jump up on a sofa or hide under a chair when he’s had enough.


  1. My 10 year old Norwich Terrier can still hold his own with my 3 year old Airedale. He has never been hurt. He remains the Alpha dog. His confidence outweighs his judgement in many situations.

  2. My Doberman, Rainey, was best friends with a small Jack Russell terrier. I was able to take her to work as a puppy as another office mate. They would have play time in my office. Years later they were still best friends and would play with one another despite the fact that Rainey, was now 70 lbs as opposed to Baileys 15. Dogs do not have the concept of their size and terriers especially are tenacious and as a whole, do not back down. That is why, I believe, the terrier was used in the formation of many breeds.

  3. My father’s 3.5 pound Pomeranian stopped a milk truck (we had a state highway running past the house), and barked in OUTRAGE because the driver honked his horn at her before my mother ran out and scooped her up. The fence issue was solved the next day by 10 AM. Yes, the driver was obliged to make every attempt to stop in time, which is part of the deal with running truck highways right down Main Street. Yes, the Pom is a terrier, and no, she never gave up on anything.

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