The short answer: of course they can! Horses and ponies are basically the same animal, they're just different sizes. Ponies are equine animals that are less than 14.5 hands, while horses are equine animals that are 14.5 hands and over.
It's possible that dogs and ponies can get along even better than dogs and horses because they're usually a touch closer in size. Every dog (and horse or pony) is different, though, so it will depend largely on the personality and lifestyle of each animal.
Are you curious about the best ways to introduce your animals? Do you wonder how to tell if they're getting along? What signs should you look for to determine if the friendship will bloom or if its doomed from the start?
Check out our guide below with the best of the best advice on how to tell if your doggo and pony will get along!
Book First Walk Free!
Signs Your Dog and Pony Might Not Get Along
There are some special cases, however, that might imply your dog and your pony aren't meant to be forever friends. If you're worried that your animals aren't feeling the love, look out for signs of anxiety, nervousness, and fright.
If your dog is afraid of your pony, you're likely going to know it. They might lose control of their bowels, have accidents, put their tail between their legs, bark, growl, whimper, and cry. They might even pin their ears back to their head. If your dog is really afraid of being around your pony, don't be surprised when they try to nip, bite, bark, charge the horse, or even try to escape!
Your dog's pupils might dilate, or they might give you those giant whale-eyes that seem cute but mean trouble.
Overall, just look out for signs that your dog is uncomfortable and take note. Don't make them hang out with your pony if you know they're not happy or stress-free doing so.
- Pupils dilated
- Whale eye
- Trying to Escape
The History of Dogs Living with Ponies
Additionally, pups and ponies worked together in the past on historic foxhunts on Irish moors. But ponies and pups have worked together for more than just the spirit of the hunt. There are plenty of case studies of pup-and-pony friendships throughout history where each kept the other company both in captivity and in the wild.
Science of Dogs Living with Ponies
It's likely your two species will work well together and choose to spend time together. Your pony won't have a naturally-high prey drive and your pooch is smaller than the pony, likely leading them to view the pony as higher on the food chain. As long as you're training both animal to respect the other, you're likely to have a good chance of a internet-post-worthy animal friendship.
Training Your Dog and Pony to Live Together
A helpful way to encourage each animal to respond politely to the other is to reward them for good behavior. Do so in a way that doesn't suggest favoritism, though.
Introduce your two animals slowly and stay patient. Don't try to force them together right away. This process should take several days, even weeks, to be successful. Make sure that when you do introduce the animals face-to-face for the first time, they're each restrained - your dog on a leash and your horse tied up. This way, they can't run at each other and scare the other animal, or get hurt!
How to React If Your Dog and Pony Don't Get Along
Keep them on neutral grounds when they must interact.
Limit their time together and don't make them share space.
Don't give one more attention than the other.
Don't pressure your animals to get along.
Don't leave your animals alone.
Introduce them slowly.