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If your dog does this routinely, they may well have ‘small dog syndrome’

Prima (UK) logo Prima (UK) 07/08/2018 Emma-Louise Pritchard

A new study has revealed that smaller dogs want to make themselves appear bigger to other breeds and they do so when out on their walks.: Does your dog have ‘small dog syndrome’? © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc Does your dog have ‘small dog syndrome’? We are all aware of the colloquial term ‘small man syndrome’, but does this same overcompensating behaviour also apply to our dogs? It appears so…

A new study has revealed that smaller dogs want to make themselves appear bigger to other breeds and they do so when out on their walks.

Any owner of a male dog will be well used to having to stop while their pet urinates against something along the away to mark their scent, perhaps a lamp post or gate. This scent marker lets other animals know information about their sex, age and health.

A study, led by Betty McGuire at Cornell University, concluded that this behaviour is a sign of ‘small dog syndrome’, as smaller breeds will try their best to lay their scent as high up the post as they can so that passing animals think they must be taller than they are.

Do you have a small dog? This is why they go on their tiptoes or angle themselves oddly when laying their scent. They want to cheat the system.

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The study

The research reads, in the Journal of Zoology: 'Small adult male dogs may place urine marks higher, relative to their own body size, than larger adult male dogs to exaggerate their competitive ability.'

During the study, the team videoed a number of different sized dogs whilst laying their scent. They then analysed and measured the height of the urine in comparison to the body, as well as the angle of the raised leg.

'Our findings support raised leg angle as a proxy for urine mark height and provide additional evidence that scent marking can be dishonest,' the study claims.

Why do they do it?

The scientists believe that smaller dogs are trying to avoid conflict with larger dogs by making themselves appear bigger and therefore more physically capable. They think it is also why smaller dogs lay scent markers more often so they can communicate without actual interaction with larger dogs.

So there we have it, another one of our beloved pets' quirky behaviours explained.

Related: 20 adorable dogs that will make you go “aww” (Provided by Espresso)

20 adorable dogs that will make you go "aww": Whether it’s stress, rainy days, or sad political news that has you down, the great grins of these 20 puppies are a delightful antidote to doom and gloom. 20 adorable dogs that will make you go “aww”
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