Most High-Maintenance Dogs: Top 5 Demanding Breeds, According To Experts

It is no joke that America loves dogs! They add so much to the lives of their owners: as companions, coworkers, and, of course, beloved family pets. Some breeds require more care and training as compared to the average mutt. Our list of the top five most high-maintenance dogs covers every breed that is a little bit more needy than most but still equally loveable.

Although we wouldn’t trade them for the world, owning a dog is a lot of work! A new survey finds the first year of dog ownership will see six pairs of chewed shoes, five emergency visits to the vet, and six mad dashes to freedom out the front door. So, when thinking of becoming a pet parent, remember that it is not all sunshine and rainbows.

Additionally, they are a financial commitment. The average pet owner has an annual budget of $3,500 for their pet, with about $300 a month set aside for them. Trips to the vet, toys, food, and many other supplies begin to add up. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth it. In fact, most people would rather spend money on their pet than their partner, per recent research.

Between advanced training, detailed grooming, and particular needs, high-maintenance dogs demand attention. Moreover, these breeds are not suited for first-time owners; and even experienced dog handlers can find them challenging. Our sources helped us sort out the leaders of the pack and rank the top five most high-maintenance dog breeds. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

The List: Most High Maintenance Dogs, Per Canine Experts

1. Akita

It may come as no surprise that the Akita would top our list. Those who have met an Akita can attest that these dogs are extremely intelligent and headstrong. “People say these dogs are loyal and protective of their family, but they can be rude and even mean to other dogs and people they don’t know. Akitas are high-maintenance dogs because they are strong-willed and assertive. They need experienced and determined owners who can handle their temperament and give them the right care,” asserts

American Akita dog out for a walk
Akita (Photo by Orientgold on Shutterstock)

Wag! raves, “Sure, these exotic looking pups are exuberant and a joy to be around. But Akita parents should know that these pups love to be in charge. Start training at an early age so your pupster knows who is boss. This breed can also be aggressive towards other dogs and children. Like training, early socialization is super impawtant. Daily exercise helps keep this breed in line.”

“Akitas are large dogs that can become aggressive with other people or dogs unless they are extremely well-socialized. They are prone to killing small animals and are unlikely to tolerate a child’s teasing. Akitas can be great, protective family dogs when they are well-trained, well-socialized, and receive enough exercise,” exclaims iHeart Dogs.

2. Afghan Hound

Afghan Hounds are gorgeous with long and luxurious locks. They require advanced grooming and skincare. Pure Wow says, “Their long coats need to be brushed daily to prevent tangles and snarls. The kicker? They need to be bathed before you can groom. Afghan Hounds who are show dogs are bathed at least twice per week before a blow dry and brush. Brushing a dirty coat can lead to painful mats, so be prepared to bathe these dogs often, with high-quality products to keep their skin healthy and hydrated.”

adult long-coated yellow dog
Afghan Hound (Photo by Arve Kern on Unsplash)

“The Afghan Hound is a high-maintenance dog due to their coat … Not only that, this is a breed that loves quick, crazy sprints and dog zoomies in the great outdoors. So, untangling, de-leafing, and leg-drying is going to be a daily and surprisingly time-consuming thing!” describes Purina.

“They need consistent and long walks or runs. They are an aloof and reserved breed that doesn’t welcome other pets or strangers. On top of that, they need high levels of grooming. They are really best for people who are very active themselves and are ready to dedicate a lot of time to taking care of them,” elaborates Hub Pages.

3. Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd is a great dog for the ranch. Outside of a working role they can be a handful. These dogs require strenuous activity to burn off their vast reserves of energy. “This breed does best with an experienced owner who will be able to take charge and guide them. They’re not couch potatoes, so if you’re looking for a canine companion who will hang out on the sofa with you and just watch tv — this guy’s not your match,” adds Proud Dog Mom.

Australian Shepherd playing frisbee
Australian Shepherd playing frisbee (Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash)

Yahoo! Life comments, “After he has brought in the morning newspaper, escorted the kids to the school bus, picked up their toys and dirty clothes from the floor and placed them in the appropriate receptacles, he’s ready to help you do yard work by fetching tools or digging out weeds in your garden. … You’ll wear out before he does unless you are equally active – and creative enough to keep him occupied.”

“If you’re unable to accommodate their active lifestyle, they’ll find other means to pass the time. That usually means running through the house, barking, chewing, and general destruction. Not to mention their coat. Aussies coats are thick and require plenty of grooming and maintenance,” details PlayBarkRun.

4. Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois dogs are another breed that requires hours of daily activity in order to use up their energy. Beyond that, they are exceptionally intelligent and can be destructive without adequate attention. The Spruce Pets explains, “A Mali requires a special type of home. If they aren’t given the opportunity to put their drive to use, they can become bored, stressed, mouthy, overexcitable, reactive, and overall, a big challenge. Dog sports are an ideal match for this canine’s energy and work ethic.”

brown and black german shepherd lying on white and gray area rug
Belgian Malinois puppy (Photo by Gerrie van der Walt on Unsplash)

“It’s not uncommon to the Belgian Malinois work in military or police outfits. Without a job, things can get out of hand. Daily strenuous exercise and mental stimulation are required. Otherwise your Belgian will occupy their time by running, barking, digging, and destroying your home,” offers PlayBarkRun.

“The Belgian Malinois may be the right dog for you if you want one that wants to be with you all the time, play games with you, and use up energy. But you can’t leave them at home for long because they could get separation anxiety,” states

5. Border Collie

As seen with some of the other dogs on our list, high intelligence can often factor into high-maintenance needs. Border Collies are a prime example of this. “Be warned, a bored, under-stimulated Border Collie is no fun at all to live with – and can become anything from hyperactive to noisy to destructive to aggressive. This is a dog for the real canine enthusiast whose life will revolve around their dog,” reviews Purina.

Brown and white Border Collie
Brown and white Border Collie (Photo by Pauline Loroy on Unsplash)

Y!life claims, “Often referred to as a canine Einstein, the Border Collie has a desire to work that borders on the obsessive. He will herd anything that comes his way – kids, cats, cars, even a bag of oranges that have spilled onto the floor… Be prepared to keep him busy with dog sports, activities around the house, regular training sessions and plenty of daily exercise.”

“Border Collies are extremely intelligent and are bred to run all day long. Often considered one of the smartest dog breeds, keeping a Border Collie entertained and exercised can be quite a chore for an owner who is not equally active. They do best when they are engaged in a dog sport such as agility or flyball to keep them learning, focused, and exercised,” relates iHeart Dogs.

You might also be interested in:


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.


  1. You totally forgot Shiba Inus.most think they are miniature Anita’s but they are one of the oldest breeds.
    They are cute as puppies resembling little tiny bears but they grow up and watch out.
    Not for first time owners or at least not with extensive research. They will mind if they so please but they do love to socialize with people and they love babies. But are aloof oraggressive with other dogs.

    I adore my 14 year old girl but Shibas are rarely trainable, they have a unique scream aka cry and some like mine decides to howl instead of bark.

  2. I have a Shepkita and he is the best dog I’ve ever had in every way. But I am a very experienced dog owner. I’ve had mainly German shepherds since I was 17 ,I’m now 53

  3. You probably aren’t familiar with the Klee Kai and why they are not on the list because they probably would be. Cute little dog but dang, they are high maintenance.

  4. Yep, Shiba Inus are adorable, charming, and cuddly looking dogs.
    Their behavior is quite another thing. We socialized and trained our SI from puppyhood, but he was aggressive with our existing (sweet as pie) Boston terrier, as well as every other dog he met, resource guarded, was stubborn, and defiantly pooped or peed despite extensive potty training. We called him the Raptor, because he would survey any space he was in and invariably found a way to escape. If he got caught, he would let loose with blood-curdling screams, as if he was being skinned alive. Took every change to eat my socks and underwear, eat the crotches out of pants, dirty diapers, or tea towels. He dumped weighted trash cans, climbed high to upset food containers and laundry baskets, and wanted alot of alone time. Generally an a@#hole. But we loved him, despite his numerous faults and foibles, and he calmed a bit after our Boston passed on. He needed to be an only dog. He did mellow with age, and was a content old man with a white face and uncurled tail, basking in the sun and snuggling up for company. We sent him to his final rest when he told us it was time (kidney failure) and we were heartbroken. His antics seem funny to us now, and we miss his charm and rare sweetness, but we will never, ever, ever have a Shiba, Akita, or any spitz-like breed again.

    1. To the owner with the Shiba…I have owned and trained many breeds but have found the Spitz types like the Akita or Malamute, and the Husky types can be fiercely independent and head strong. Once a bond is made they can make wonderful pets, but many do not do well around other breeds and have a high prey drive and need exercise. They can be very loyal however…I remember that movie with Richard Gere with the Akita who waited for him at the teain station day after day until the day he died..
      Even after Geres character had died on the train of a heart attack. It was based on a true story.

  5. You really missed a big high maintenance dog breed. It’s the Olde English Sheepdog. I know because I had three of them, Lady Pamela Wimbleton, Flanagan of Aramis, and Lady Alexandra the VI. Luckily, I also had four boys who enjoyed walking and playing and sleeping with them and also helped me on the weekends when when they were bathed. We did one dog each weekend and had the fourth weekend off, to do whatever we wanted. Because our dogs were part of our family, they were almost always included unless something really out of the ordinary happened. Olde English Sheepdogs may be high maintenance, but if you have the patience and time, and feed them good food (not just dry pellets) they are the most intelligent breed I’ve ever raised and I’ve had a female Border Collie, who I loved dearly and an Australian Shepard who I used to refer to as my “Little Lover” because he was quick and smart and loved to curl up right next to me, but the smartest were the Sheepdogs who not only knew the names of all of their toys, but could also count. But that’s for another time because I’m out of room.

Comments are closed.