What IS a dog?

As a chihuahua’s human I often get to hear things like “oh, a rat!”, “oh, he’s smaller than my cat” or “that’s not a proper dog”, and I get it. Because I thought so too before I decided to get a small dog  (also, I just loooove to fight against cliches 🤭 and which other dog is judged as much as the Chihuahua?).

It’s easy to see why people think he’s not a proper dog. He’s not big, he doesn’t dribble and most of the time he’s off leash and yet doesn’t kill anyone.

But then it got me thinking about our current perception of what a dog IS. Like, if you think of a horse as something you can ride on, the utilist point of view, then a tiny horse is not a “proper” horse for you. If you think of a horse as a creature who looks like, acts and feels like a horse, then it’s not going to shatter your deepest convictions to regard a tiny horse as that which it is: a tiny horse, but a horse.

So, what is our perception of A dog? That in fact is cultural and always evolving. Dogs used to be used, they were used for hunting and herding, they say. Yeah but how much of their time do hunting dogs hunt? Not even once every day. What ARE they the rest of the time?

We think of dogs as dangerous ferocious beasts that would bite or scare our children if they weren’t held back by a leash. (Why else would they have to be chained by law?). 

Not dog people see them as street and house and wall and generally pollutants. 

But a chihuahua? You cannot even find his 💩 when you look for it.

Plus, a lot of chihuahuas bark (that’s, bytheway, learnt behavior in contrast to some herding dogs who just bark by nature, chihuahuas aren’t strong barkers per sé), barking dogs don’t bite, everyone knows that. My chihuahua neither barks nor bites bytheway – just like all not stressed happy socialised respected normal dogs.

Maybe a dog has to look like a wolf. Some people even want a wolf-dog hybrid because that aspect is so important to them. They don’t care AT ALL about the personality. That is true for a lot of dog owners. The dog has to be attractive. Chihuahuas have short snoots and huge eyes and I can see why those people might think they’re just .. wrong 😅

Of course pugs and many many other breeds are “wrong” too in those peoples´eyes. So all these dogs are, consequently, no “proper” dogs.

Not long ago humans thought and some still think that tiny humans or humans that look different aren’t proper humans. Just a sidestep, won’t go into this any further cause actually, it’s not the same. There are evil humans. But there aren’t any evil dogs. Dogs put up with A LOT and can be made evil. But naturally, like if left on their own for instance, they aren’t. Makes one wonder if humans wouldn’t become aggressive if left on their own either.. Think of stray dogs in like Greece or Spain – ferocious beasts? Not at all. There are, bytheway, no reported incidents of a healthy wild living wolf attacking a human. None. Bears kill about 50 people a YEAR. Wolves aren’t aggressive animals. They’re too similar to us. They live in families, they hunt and gather, they care for their young, they cooperate, they are highly social and very intelligent. What other animal is so similar to us? It’s not a coincidence that dogs became human´s best friend.

Oh and then dogs are dirty. They stink, they lose lots of hair, they rub themselves in dirt and worse and they dribble and destroy stuff. A chihuahua doesn’t do any of that.

SO, a chihuahua is

  • not big
  • Not dangerous 
  • Not wolfy 
  • Not dirty
  • Not used as a working dog (poodles aren’t either, although they were bred for hunting, but they were so easy-going that they got popular – being popular is always detrimental for the reputation of a breed – look at Golden Retrievers, they were agile brown gold hunting dogs and now they’re fat white lying around soft toys that can’t walk in a straight line)
  • ?

So NO dog.

Now if people took a dog for how they feel and act, they’d see that a chihuahua 

  • likes sniffing and running
  • can learn tricks
  • knows your true feelings, always
  • loves chewing things
  • barks when he notices potential danger
  • loves sleeping and cuddling
  • does disgusting things like eating poo
  • marks the territory 
  • digs holes
  • steals shoes
  • loves working with you
  • doesn’t “listen” to you when you don’t ask politely
  • can retrieve a ball
  • hikes with you for hours, and hours
  • runs after other dogs, or away from them
  • wants to be with you all the time
  • makes funny noises in his sleep

Then, NO-ONE would ever say that’s not a proper dog. But we’re not there yet. I wonder why dogs have such a bad image if you think of all the things they do for us. They never betray us, they are loyal, they are loving, they save lives, they smell cancer, they detect drugs, they risk their lives. And we see a dribbling, stinky, maybe even aggressive beast that has to be on a leash AT ALL TIMES cause otherwise everyone would be at danger. WHY? IF a dog is not behaving normally then they aren’t or weren’t treated properly by humans. THOSE dogs aren’t „proper“ dogs and that’s got absolutely nothing to do with them being small or longhaired or tall or thin or black or white or whatever.