A long time ago, before I began blogging, I read an article or book by an evolutionary biologist that said that dogs and wolves had evolved to have rules in their packs that gave the smallest members a great amount of latitude and that the bigger members of the pack would not be rough with them. This results in what appears to be the smaller animals ‘bullying’ the larger ones with impunity.
I have tried to find that study again but failed but have noticed that in households of pets where one of them is a big dog, they tend to be remarkably tolerant of the little ones. This does not necessarily apply in situations where the animals are strangers to one another where the rules of the pack may not hold.
Via reader Norm I got this great clip of a kitten playing with a Doberman that provides a nice example of this.