Which dogs spring to your mind when we ask, “which are the most stubborn dog breeds”? Are you a pet parent of a very stubborn dog? Dogs always respond to training–most of the time. Or is there such a thing as neurotic or moody dog breeds?
The responsiveness of a particular dog often has to do with the style of training. Plus, the amount of attention and time given to teaching your pup in the first place! There are other factors that pet owners should think about by teaching your dog the basics of obedience. Age, size, experience, and yes, the breed can all play a part in how easy (or difficult) it can be to train a stubborn pup. Several breeds seem to love presenting a challenge to their long-suffering owners.
Let’s examine 10 of the most stubborn dogs out there:
1. Afghan Hound
Studies have placed the Afghan Hound breed among those with the least genetic divergence from the wolf on some markers. This means it’s descended from some of the oldest dog types. Could this be the reason Afghans are challenging with obedience?
Bred for long-distance hunting, these long-haired, graceful dogs are aloof and independent to the extreme! Afghans had to rely on their judgment when hunting in their native areas, and this has created free-thinkers. They’re far from dumb, but you will not enjoy a calm time teaching your Afghan to obey your every whim. They’re more likely to do their own thing and throw you a stare of disdain.
With their distinct character traits, Basenjis can be some most endearing, yet frustrating breeds to own. Another ancient hunting breed that resembles a dingo.
The Basenji is a busy, inquisitive pup with a keen and clever intelligence. And one who often couldn’t care less about what his owner wants! Let them off the leash at your own risk!
Unless they feel motivated, they’ll be far more interested in chasing whatever catches their attention than returning to you, when called. Basenji owners soon learn that very consistent, positive reinforcement and strong leadership is a must.
Easy to fall in love with. Pugs are huge personalities in small, stubby bodies. Delighting with their big bulging dark brown eyes and comical faces. But you might find that a Pug’s personality isn’t quite what you expected.
They’re independent, naughty, and boast a penchant for getting into everything–if it’s edible! At least it’s good to know because of their enormous appetites, Pugs respond well to food rewards. Not so good to know is punishing or correcting your little snort-face isn’t effective–they don’t change their ways. These little dogs prefer to avoid any harsh elements.
Many refuse to step outside in rain, snow or colder weather, and will often prefer to potty indoors instead! Talk about stubborn dogs? You still must love them, though.
4. Chow Chow
A large and powerful breed originating from Imperial China. A Chow Chow doesn’t lack for intelligence. But like many other dogs on this list, own a strong will and a unique sense of independence. Which appears to make them act as if they are stubborn.
They don’t cherish that immense desire to please like some other breeds! Ahem, looking at you, Golden Retriever. For many Chow owners, this isn’t a bad thing. But can lead to some frustrating times for those new to the imperious, dignified, and suspicious nature of this proud breed.
They prefer to please themselves first. And don’t respond to below-par methods of training and motivation. Physical correction and punishment make them fearful or likely to lash out. Treat a Chow with respect. Use a variety of positive training styles that help to increase the bond and the level of response from a Chow.
You can guess why Bloodhounds make the list here–their selective hearing results from … you guessed it … their noses! These ponderous hounds are the best of the best in scent tracking. Even though they are gentle as adults, it’s difficult to redirect their attention, if they catch an odor of something more interesting.
Everybody knows the Bloodhound is an excellent tracker. Valued worldwide for many rescues or criminal searches. Bloodhounds often see their evidence accepted in a court of law in some countries.
Letting them alone off-leash – instinct will lead them to wander off and follow a scent in a flash.
Going back to 8th-century China, Pekingese were one breed prized in the emperor’s court. Because they sat on the laps of royalty, with a free rein of imperial palaces, they still adopt that entitled attitude!
Pekes are intelligent, dignified, and confident, and gain definite ideas about life. From their preference of petting to where they like to sleep. They suffer no qualms about expressing their opinions.
This breed thrives on attention, but on their terms. Therefore, firm boundaries are an essential need. Small as they are, they will grow to be protective and snappish. The right socialization and training of this little guy are crucial.
“What’s in it for me?” could be a common question that you would hear from Mastiffs–if they could talk. As a giant breed with a powerful frame of immense mass, they find it easy to remain immovable to our commands. Much to the angst of many owners!
They’re not quick to pick up the finer distinctions during training. So, more time, patience, and repetition will see you get through to a Mastiff. They also are gentle friends when they’re well-socialized. Rewards and games help them learn to be effective.
8. Airedale Terrier
As dog breeds go, Airedales are quite the characters. They excel at keeping you on your toes. What with their self-sufficiency and determination to investigate.
Members of the Terrier group are outgoing, determined, and curious. Airedales, in particular, are notorious diggers and counter-surfers. Offering the same enthusiasm for games as they would to chewing up your sofa or helping you ‘garden’. Airedales keep a low tolerance for boredom. So, the same old ‘sit, come, stay’ isn’t very appealing to them. They’ll find amusement elsewhere. They need plenty of variety in their mental and physical pursuits.
9. Basset Hound
The roly-poly version of a dog. A Basset is another breed that seems to discourage with stubbornness. They are owners of a calm demeanor. So you might think these low-key pups would be easy learners. Yet, they possess a stubborn streak and that wreaks havoc on their inclination to obey.
They are hunting dogs. And like many other scent hounds, your shouting and arm-waving will fall on deaf ears, if they pick up an interesting smell. “Come” is not a command that a Basset Hound is eager to obey!
As a general rule, they act with slow deliberation and often love to clown around instead of doing what you’ve asked. Consistent learning that includes food and praise is more likely to get your Bassett’s full attention.
10. Siberian Husky
A swift and tireless runner born to pull. Huskies excel at pulling laden sleds over many miles in sub-freezing temperatures, doing what they’re born for. But give them other tasks and it’s a different story. They are cunning and sneaky, with a prankster-like personality.
Their high energy level and instinct to run can make for trouble when they’re given their freedom off-leash. They can move out of earshot in minutes.
Huskies also exhibit a strong prey drive, so calling your pup off that squirrel at the other end of the park will not be a straightforward task!
There are, but, a few words of wisdom that frustrated dog owners should take to heart, regardless of the dog they’re trying to teach.
When considering the trainability of your pup, before labeling them disobedient and stubborn. Consider this–more often than not, a “difficult dog” is an intelligent pup who asks too many questions for the average trainer.
These dogs possess their own views and definitions of what makes up a meaningful and fun activity.
If you own one of these breeds in your home, don’t feel they’re a lost cause.
This list doesn’t imply that these dogs will always be stubborn.
The particular breeds we have listed will need extra patience. Trying different, positive reinforcement methods and when you find what works, repetition!
As a kid, I grew up with lots of dogs in my family. My earliest recollection was a Labrador mix called Bruce, and I must have only been about three years old.
When I was around seven, we began to move around frequently, so having a dog was very difficult until we adopted a baby long-haired Dachshund. I was thirteen by then. We called him Pepe; I have no idea why; all I can say was it wasn’t my idea. But he did seem to grow into the name.
I’ve personally been the parent of a Great Dane called Lady, a French Bulldog we called Spike. I have also had the privilege of being the parent of one of the gorgeous cats on the planet; a British Blue Shorthair called Ellie. Right now, we have an amazing little Havanese in our family; we call Biscuit; he’s four years old.
I pride myself on being the very best dog-parent I can be. I refuse to bring a dog into my life without investing as much time as possible to understand that dog’s particular needs. Every dog I have parented has been an experience, and they are all different with incredible personalities.
To understand dogs as much as possible, I have taken several courses regarding dog care and training. The most recent course is The Truth About Cats And Dogs, offered by The University Of Edinburgh.
My dogs and cat have been the funniest and most unique animals I have ever been privileged to spend my life with. They can teach human beings so much if we take the time to watch and listen to them. My ambition is to share what I have learned with other passionate dog lovers.
I am obsessed with writing and researching everything I can about dog health, care, psychology, and finding the best dog products available to help ensure a dog’s life is as happy and contented as possible.