Why Some People Say Horses Are Big Dogs

Photo by Kenny Webster on Unsplash

Why Some People Say Horses Are Big Dogs

You must have, at some point in your life, heard someone say that horses are like big dogs. The reason behind this saying could be related to many things. The basic—and rather superficial—features that they share, like having four legs and a tail, can be one of those. However, if you think about it a bit deeper, you’ll realize that they do indeed share more than just physical features, with both creatures having similarities in various aspects of their characters. For instance, both dogs and horses are loyal creatures that communicate with humans through their body language and form emotional bonds. 

Photo by Kenny Webster on Unsplash
Photo by Kenny Webster on Unsplash

Still, there are a number of differences between them, and we’ll start by taking a look at those. 

Examples of the Misconception

Even though dogs and horses share some similarities, they differ in a lot of ways. For starters, horses, unlike dogs, do not need to sleep next to you on your bed or in your room—luckily for horse owners! A horse is not necessarily attracted to a warm bed the same way a dog would be. They typically sleep in a stable, with each horse having their own stall. Even though horses are social herd animals, this sleeping pattern shows some sort of individuality in horses that dogs do not usually possess.

Another difference between the two animals is that in nature, one is prey, while the other is a predator. In the wild, horses do not hunt—they are herbivores. They eat plants and may at times find themselves at the mercy of a predator. On the other hand, dogs can survive by hunting and they eat, to a certain extent, foods that humans eat and enjoy. 

Main Similarities

These two creatures do have a number of similarities that make up for the endearing statement that horses are like big dogs. They are both considered to be sentient creatures that are capable of interpreting their surroundings and displaying emotional responses. They both feel affection toward humans that they’ve bonded with, though a dog’s way of showing affection can be perceived as a deeper connection. It is said that some horses may transcend their behavioural patterns and actually show as much love to humans as dogs would, without having any underlying motives like a reward—talk about unconditional love. 

These two animals will both show resilience when need be, and seeing as how they are both athletic animals, they can be destructive. However, this will only happen in situations where self-defense is called for. Another similarity can be found in their training methods. As you train a puppy, you will find yourself using treats—the same goes for a horse. They’re both known for loving their treats and are primarily motivated by them during training. Another thing you will use in either animal’s training is the secret ingredient; love. The team behind gapuppiesonline.com explains that puppies should be cared for like family. They handle each puppy’s case individually to make sure all of them find loving homes that are fit for their needs and personalities. You know what they say; “every dog deserves a home, but not every home deserves a dog”—and this may just apply to horses, as well!

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Similarities in Behavior

By nature, both animals thrive in a hierarchical society, where there are clear leaders and clear followers, which is similar to the alpha and beta system. You will also come across a number of different kinds of demeanours when dealing with each species. There is the kind that may need coaxing, and there are those that are sensitive and afraid. Both horses and dogs come with their own personalities and temperaments, which takes some patience and understanding to manage on the humans’ part.

Photo by Annika Treial on Unsplash
Photo by Annika Treial on Unsplash

With some persistence and discipline, you can actually train horses to behave like dogs, so much so that they could even start to play with balls! Both creatures will also demonstrate tremendous intelligence in everything they do. Horses are known to be so smart that they may choose not to perform at their full potential if the rider does not know any better, while dogs’ trickery is legendary among all fur-parents. 

All in all, the differences may seem to outnumber the similarities, but the similarities are great indeed. To say the least, they share the calming, loving energy they exude, and their presence is always blissful. Between the majestic creatures and man’s best friend, there is an abundance of love, loyalty, and intelligence that will soon have you join the people that say horses are big dogs.

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