Opposite Day: Small Breeds, The Barnyard Edition

Dawww! Tiny horse! What were we talking about?
Dawww! Tiny horse! What were we talking about?

Oh yeah, we were talking about small barnyard breeds! I thought it was about time to do another cute animal post, so I decided to do a pseudo-sequel to the small cat and dog breeds post from the original opposite day. Today we look at a selected assortment of tiny barnyard animals, starting with…

The Falabella Horse – Widely recognized as the smallest breed of horses in the world, the Falabella breed averages a paltry two and a half feet tall at the withers. While a direct comparison is hard to make due to the variety of breeds, this is approximately half the height of a typical riding-breed horse. Newborns can be as small as twelve inches tall at birth.

The breed has roots going back to Argentina in the 19th century. A formal breed registry wasn’t formed until the 1940s, however. These humble horses are intelligent and easily trainable. They are often used as guide animals and/or used to pull small carts.

Stampede!
Stampede!

Ouessant Sheep – These mini-sheep hail from the island of Ouessant (appropriately enough) off the coast of Brittany France. Even the boy sheep only average about 19 inches at the shoulder. So your crotch might be safe, but I’d worry about your kneecaps.

These cute little things are so small that its’ very rare for a female to carry more than one sheep at a time. The island where they originate from has sparse vegetation. Natural selection for smaller (therefore less hungry) sheep resulted in the mini-herds found on the island.

Not a baby cow.
Not a baby cow.

Dexter Cattle – While not strictly the smallest cows in the world, these diminutive bovines are among the smallest cattle breeds. Adult specimens come in at a squat three feet at the shoulder and weigh 600-700 pounds. In comparison, a Holstein (milking) cow averages around five feet at the shoulder and about 1,250 pounds.

Dexters were developed as a breed in Ireland and brought to England in 1882. They all but disappeared in Ireland, but were continued as a pure breed in England. Their numbers continue to grow with the breeds popularity.

The cows are considered a friendly, dual-purpose breed. They can be raised for beef or milk production and are usually bred in favor of one trait or the other. I suppose the ones raised to be beef probably aren’t as friendly as the ones that get their teats pulled on all the time, but I could see it going either way. Their meat tends to be marbled and darker than typical beef product, and their milk richer in flavor.

Maybe the beef and milk is richer because it’s… condensed? Yeah, I went there. Go pet a mini-cow already.

Cats and Dogs: Super-Sized Edition

Too big! TOO BIG!
Too big! TOO BIG!

For my inaugural Opposite Day I did the smallest cat and dog breeds. I thought it would be fun to do the opposite (get it?) and showcase the largest cat and dog breeds! 😀 Yeah, I’m going to go ahead and guess that the dogs are getting another game point.

That person is like six feet tall
Great Dane

Scooby-dooby-doo! The largest breed of dog is almost certainly the Great Dane. These massive pups average nearly three feet tall at the shoulder, but it’s not uncommon to see even taller examples. The tallest recorded being 3 feet, 8 inches at the shoulder.

They also regularly weigh as much as the average adult human male. Larger specimens tip the scale at upwards of 200 lbs. Their sheer size, and the fact that their dietary needs are as large as they are, may contribute to their relatively short lifespan. Danes typically only live 7 to 10 years.

By Loreal
Maine Coon Cat

Sorry cat lovers, the dogs do indeed win again(that’s 3-0 now!) Like the smallest cat breed, this matter is made a little complicated by what’s considered a breed. I’ll talk more on that later.

Officially, the Maine Coon is considered the largest domesticated cat breed. These mammoth mounds of fur can tip the scales at 20 lbs. The longest Maine Coon on record was just over four feet long!

Cat lovers take heart, because the biggest cat lives longer than the biggest dog. Maine Coons can live 12 to 16 years(3-1!) That’s the same lifespan as the Savannah, which is the Maine Coons’ contender for the crown. Not yet fully considered a domestic breed, this half-domestic, half-African Serval has been known to grow up to four and a half feet long and reach 17 inches at the shoulder.

Opposite Day!

Any excuse to show a kitty picture...
Any excuse to show a kitty picture…

I thought it would be fun to do the opposite of what I’ve been doing here. Therefore I will speak of things tiny and short instead of big and tall. I thought I’d start with the former for this inaugural OD post. So today we discuss small breeds!

singapura
singapura

Exactly what cat breed is the smallest is a bit of a murky mess. Officially, the smallest registered cat breed is the Singapura. The average weight for these cats is in the 5-8 lb range and can be as small as a foot in length, full grown.

If you go with unofficial breeds, things can get a lot cuter. So-called Teacup cats are about half the size of their normal breed counterparts. They typically top out at a mere nine inches fully grown.

Chihuahua
Chihuahua

The smallest breed of dog is surprisingly just what you’d expect it to be: the Chihuahua. While there are a handful of other breeds that fall into a similar weight range, Chihuahuas are consistently the smallest. In fact, they beat Singapura cats for being the smallest! That’s 2-0, dogs for those keeping track.

These tiny dogs with the big mouths can be as short as six inches tall and weight as little as two pounds. One website I referenced described them as “portable”.  Yeah, I bet!