7 Most Stubborn Dog Breeds, Ranked

Stubborn dogs are famous for their willful behavior as well as higher-than-average intellect. This combination can be very frustrating for first-time or inexperienced pet owners. In fact, the dogs on our list of the top seven most stubborn breeds can be a handful even for experienced trainers. What these dogs may lack in obedience, they make up for with personality and charming behavior.

The most stubborn dogs can be whiney, headstrong, and in some cases, they can even seem judgmental of their humans. Researchers in Japan have found that female dogs in particular “judge” people after watching them make an error or act in an incompetent manner. While the team examined how both male and female dogs reacted to watching people either act competently or incompetently, results show females stare longer and approach humans who appear competent while opening a container of food. In these scenarios it can be easy to see how some dogs view themselves as leaders of the family pack.

Aggression and disobedience can sometimes go hand in hand for dogs that receive inadequate care. Scientists at The Ohio State University report that while shelter dogs indeed display more stranger aggression or training problems while researchers tracked them for six months at their new homes, owner satisfaction still remained high. In fact, 94 percent characterized their new pup’s behavior as either excellent or good. Sometimes, a stubborn pup is just due to their adjustment to their new home.

One caveat when learning about stubborn dog breeds is that the worst of their behaviors can be avoided with consistent positive reinforcement. Keeping a dog fully engaged and mentally stimulated can produce great results with many breeds, even those that our sources deem stubborn. We combed through 10 expert sources to compile this list of the most stubborn dog breeds that were mentioned most across the board. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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The List: Most Stubborn Dog Breeds, According to Pet Experts

1. Akita

black and white short coated dog
Akita (Photo by Charles Gaudreault on Unsplash)

Akitas are beautiful dogs from the far east. A highly intelligent breed, they need stimulation and socialization or risk exhibiting destructive behaviors. Akitas, as noted by Wide Open Spaces, are bred for obedience training and fiercely loyal to their owners, but that doesn’t mean they’ll bend to your every whim. They’re known for simply walking away during training sessions if they deem the activity unworthy of their time.

According to Spectrum Canine, the breed is “very stubborn” and can “easily challenge its owners, especially during training.” However, they do concede that “if you are committed to training, the Akita can be a very loyal family pet.” Experts do warn that Akitas can pose potential challenges with other pets and children in the household. While Wag! agrees that Akitas are gorgeous dogs, they also emphasize their stubbornness, citing dog owners and experts who consider them the “most stubborn” breed. They even mention the breed’s tendency to “just walk away when you are trying to train them.”

However, on a positive note, Wag! adds that “once you get them to trust you, they will be your loyal sidekick for life.” In summary, while owning an Akita can be a rewarding experience, their independent nature and potential challenges with training and cohabitation require experienced and committed owners who can earn their trust and respect.

2. Siberian Husky

black and white siberian husky
Siberian Husky (Photo by Megan Byers on Unsplash)

The gorgeous Siberian Husky is an intelligent and athletic dog breed. They also possess high intelligence and a strong pack mentality, and this can make things difficult when they view themselves as the leader. Siberian Huskies, as Dog Time enthusiastically points out that their smarts are often coupled with an equally strong will, resulting in infamous “epic temper tantrums.” You’ve likely seen online videos showcasing their impressive repertoire of whines, howls, and moans deployed when things don’t go their way.

This sentiment is echoed by Top Dog Tips, who calls them one of the “most stubborn dogs in the world.” Their short attention spans frequently lead to these dramatic displays. To counter this, experts recommends regular exercise and rewards. Hepper Blog further emphasizes the impact of a firm yet gentle approach, highlighting the breed’s independent and stubborn nature. They suggest providing jobs like cart or sled pulling as a positive outlet for their abundant energy, preventing destructive behaviors.

In essence, owning a Husky is an exciting adventure, but one that requires understanding their intelligence, strong will, and potential for theatrics.

3. Basset Hound

bassethound lying on sofa
Basset Hound (Photo by Apostolos Vamvouras on Unsplash)

Basset Hounds are tracking dogs that can easily get hyper-focused on a trail. This ability to concentrate also means that they often make their own decisions about what to do and when to do it. Hepper Blog warns not to be fooled by the Basset’s soulful eyes, as these dogs harbor a hidden talent for stubbornness. Despite their generally easygoing and friendly nature, convincing them to do something unfamiliar requires a firm yet patient hand. Their strong hunting instincts, combined with their independent streak, can lead them astray if an enticing scent crosses their path.

Claiming the crown for the most stubborn breed, according to Terrier Owner, is the Basset Hound. Their floppy ears and distinctive bay may paint a picture of lovable goofiness, but these charming hounds can be quite headstrong in their ways. Don’t be fooled by their seemingly low-energy demeanor; they prefer to do things their own way, even if it’s the most inconvenient route. While occasional treats might appease them, they’ll gladly hold out for bigger rewards if possible.

According to Your Dog Advisor, if you’ve ever shared your life with one, you know firsthand their resistance to the easy route. Be prepared for creative detours and unwavering determination when trying to guide a Basset Hound.

4. Dachshund

Dachshund dog
Dachshund (Photo by Clemens van Lay on Unsplash)

Wiener dogs may be adorable, but their pint-sized bodies hide a fierce attitude. Dachshunds require training and exercise, and even then, they can be a handful. Owning a Dachshund can be an exciting whirlwind, according to Your Dog Advisor, as their energetic personalities keep them constantly on the move, be it playful sprints around the house or enthusiastic toy chases. Keeping them mentally and physically stimulated is crucial, as boredom quickly leads to destructive behaviors.

Terrier Owner sheds light on their independent streak, highlighting their courage and self-assuredness, which often translate into a stubborn will. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself in constant negotiation with your Dachshund during training or command sessions, Terrier Owner warns. These “little pups” have their own agendas and aren’t easily swayed. Wag! agrees, emphasizing the Dachshund’s lively, independent nature, intelligence, and, of course, stubbornness. “Doxies like to do things their own way,” Wag! states, and you might find your furry friend digging holes, chewing on shoes, or playfully terrorizing other pets on a regular basis.

So, while owning a Dachshund promises endless entertainment, remember, their unique personality requires understanding and a commitment to keeping them active and engaged. After all, as Your Dog Advisor reminds us, a bored Dachshund is a mischievous Dachshund!

5. Dalmatians

pet food dog owner
A dog owner feeding their Dalmatian (Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels)

These spotted dogs are accustomed to work, and without it they can easily become bored. The key to a happy life with a Dalmatian is plenty of exercise. Owning a Dalmatian requires dedication and understanding, as their high energy and independent nature can be a double-edged sword. As AFB Pet Club points out, their boundless energy needs an outlet, or boredom can quickly turn destructive and lead to temperamental outbursts. Their independent streak also demands an “assertive and confident trainer.”

Consistency is key, reminding them who’s in charge and preventing them from taking the reins themselves. Dog Time reinforces this need for consistency, highlighting their intelligence and stubbornness. These clever canines easily grow bored and devise their own “unwanted bad habits” if not constantly stimulated and engaged. In essence, while Dalmatians bring joy and excitement, remember, they thrive on structure, engagement, and a firm yet loving hand.

6. Chinese Shar-Pei

brown puppy lying on carpet during daytime
Shar-Pei (Photo by Sophie Elvis on Unsplash)

Shar-Peis are willful dogs with unique wrinkly skin folds. If they feel like they know what’s best, Shar-Peis aren’t afraid to let their owners know. According to Pure Wow, these pooches possess an intelligence that can sometimes outwit their humans, leading to creative reinterpretations of familiar commands. Just like Basset Hounds, their playful spirit can take training sessions down unexpected paths. However, their protective nature shines through, with Pure Wow noting their boldness in deterring strangers. While wary of outsiders, within their families, Shar-Peis exhibit unwavering loyalty.

Wag! paints a similar picture, highlighting the adorable wrinkles that belie a mischievous mind. Training, they warn, might require more than just treats and patience due to their independent streak. Despite their 55-pound stature and inherent aptitude for hunting, tracking, and herding, getting them to fully cooperate can be a challenge.

Wide Open Spaces reminds us not to underestimate the independence lurking beneath those adorable wrinkles. This ancient breed‘s territorial instincts make them excellent guard dogs, but also means they cherish their personal space. However, with proper socialization from a young age, these enigmatic pups can become the most devoted companions, welcoming you into their inner circle.

7. English Bulldog

white and black short coated dog on green grass field
English bulldog (Photo by Kabo on Unsplash

English Bulldogs are loveable louts, but they are also very thick headed. Teaching a bulldog can feel like a balancing act between firm training and slobber covered. The English Bulldog is a fascinating paradox, as Hepper Blog highlights. Their easygoing and dependable nature can melt your heart, but their equally renowned tenacity can take you on an unexpected ride. Once they set their sights on something, be it a forbidden chew toy or a particularly enticing puddle, they’ll pursue it with unwavering determination. This trait can be positive when tackling a challenging task but potentially mischievous when their sights are set on something off-limits.

Their independent spirit doesn’t go unnoticed by Wide Open Spaces, who describes them as “compact little powerhouses fueled by their own strong wills.” Despite their pint-sized stature, these muscular charmers harbor a powerful intellect that allows them to selectively heed commands, often prioritizing their own whims over your instructions. Attempting to force their hand might be met with an impressive display of “selective deafness” as well.

Your Dog Advisor sheds light on their communication style, emphasizing that punishment or reprimands rarely yield desired results. When a Bulldog has made up its mind, they excel at the art of blissful ignorance, effectively tuning out your pleas and pursuing their chosen path. Remember, patience and understanding are key in navigating the world of the determined Bulldog.


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