Are bigger dogs easier to train?

by Jonathan Weeks
Are big dogs easy to train?

If you own a well-behaved dog, it is probably one of the best feelings.

Besides behaving well, they follow commands easily.

These qualities are not instilled in them since birth, and they need proper training while growing from a pup to an adult.

People often argue that bigger dogs are easier to train as compared to the smaller ones.

But is it true? Let’s find out.

Although most large breeds are obedient.

But there is little evidence that suggests trainability is directly related to the size of a specific dog.

In small dogs, certain behaviors are easily forgiven as they are easy to move from a particular situation.

But this doesn’t mean that as a pet owner, you will ignore the important training sessions.

According to experts, mental and physical training is easy irrespective of their sizes.

This is because  it is possible to motivate these lovely creatures using different kinds of food, toys, and activities.

Therefore, motivation serves as the key element when training a particular breed.



Despite teaching techniques and consistency play an important role.

But there are considerable differences when training a larger breed as compared to the smaller ones.

According to a study released by Christine Arhant for the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, the following results were obtained:

  • Most small breed dogs were found to be reluctant to follow basic commands such as ‘sit’, ‘come’, or ‘down’.
  • Smaller breeds were more excitable and pugnacious, meaning that there was a tendency to bark and growl at other creatures or visitors at home. Such instances were much less in the case of the large breeds.
  • Bid dogs were less fearful and anxious as compared to the smaller counterparts. The latter got spooked quite easily in strange situations or when exposed to fireworks, loud noises or thunder.
Smaller Dogs – More Reluctant

The conclusion obtained through this study summarized that smaller dogs were more reluctant when it came to training or behaving properly.

They were seen to be less obedient, skitty, scrappy, and more excitable.

It thus makes the argument stronger, giving a clear indication of big dogs picking good habits much quicker when positive training methods were adopted.


So do these traits make bigger dogs smarter?

Not Really!

The perception is such that people often believe little dogs to be dumb than bigger ones.

Certain breed differences concerning specific abilities do exist mostly influenced by their physical-shapes.

All differences have resulted in developing perceptions that certain breeds are more intelligent than the other ones.

However, some researchers have suggested that medium-sized dogs are the ones who are more trainable as compared to both smaller and larger breeds.

Ease of trainability is certainly one of the important aspects that contribute to this revelation.

On the one hand, small breeds are hard to train, and big breeds are tough to handle gives medium-sized dogs an upper hand in making the most intelligent among all sizes.

However, this is a mere perception that has developed due to such situations.

One more reason for this perception is the space between the head and eyes of a dog.


Dog Intelligence

As per William Helton, who researched Dog intelligence. William Helton, stated that larger dog breeds were found to be better when it came to reading and executing human commands.

He concluded that when eyes were spaced apart, they offered different information about a thing.

But closer eyes tend to eliminate such advantages.

The study also states that the disadvantage of closely spaced eyes in small dogs can be compensated by increased ocular overlap or in situations where eyes more forward-facing.

But still, there is no conclusive evidence that convinces about such findings and gives a clear idea about a dog’s intelligence based on its size.

The size does make considerable differences concerning physical capacities and abilities often reflected when gauging intelligence.

This makes our observations biased towards a breed when compared to the other.

However, such cases of difference are primarily due to physical shape differences and not the cognitive or intelligent capacity of the dog.

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