When people think of Assistance Dogs loving Golden Retrievers and goofy Labs are often the first dogs that come to mind, but not all Assistance Dogs are large breeds. For many of our clients a small Assistance Dog may be a better fit.
At PAWS we often use small dog breeds, such as Papillons, for Hearing Dogs. While the Papillons most notable feature may be their large ears (in fact that is how they got their name, Papillion means butterfly in French) those ears are not what makes them a strong Hearing Dog candidate. It is their small size that is beneficial.
Safety is one reason why a small dog may be preferable. PAWS wants to make sure that every client’s Assistance Dog is an asset to them rather than a challenge. Some applicants who apply for a Hearing Dog may experience balance and equilibrium issues so it may be easier for them to handle a small dog.
Another benefit of having a small breed Hearing Dog is that overall their maintenance is easier, although when you’re lint rolling your pants everyday before going out it may not feel that way. It is also often less expensive to care for a small dog.
Comfort is also a consideration. One sound that many Hearing Dogs alert their client to is the alarm clock. And while no one enjoys their morning alarm, many people also don’t relish the thought of a 70 pound dog jumping on their chest to wish them a good morning.
These are just a few of the reasons why small dogs can make wonderful Assistance Dogs. So don’t let their small stature fool you, they may be small, but they make a huge impact in the lives of their furever person.