Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

Least obedient dog breeds

  • Least obedient dog breeds

    When it comes to obedience, a variety of factors can affect a dog's disposition. Training quality and duration, environmental factors, and the individual puppy personalities are all major contributors—but how much can a dog's breed and genetic makeup come into play?

    In 1994, neuropsychological researcher Stanley Coren sought to compile the definitive resource for understanding the inner workings of our canine companions, captured within his book, “The Intelligence of Dogs.” Coren's research was based on extensive surveys of 208 obedience judges from the American and Canadian Kennel Clubs, representing half of all judges in North America. According to Coren, 51% of a dog's intelligence stems from its genes while 49% is based on environmental circumstances. Coren ultimately collected statistically significant data for 140 recognized dog breeds, ranking them by their working and obedience intelligence. This form of canine intelligence represents a breed's ability to learn and respond to commands and training, described by Coren as a "measure of what the dog can do for humans."

    Drawing from Coren's research, Stacker has compiled the breeds that ranked in the lowest half of working and obedience intelligence. Each breed is broken down by their estimated understanding of new commands and ability to obey a known command the first time while adding in details on their trainability and history as a breed. Coren's research evaluated the animal's problem-solving capabilities, obedience, memory, social training, and powers of observation.

    Read on to see why not all retrievers are created equal in trainability, and why you can’t write off lapdogs when it comes to their guard dog abilities.

    You may also like: Dog breeds gaining popularity

  • #40. Soft coated Wheaten terrier (tie)

    - Understanding of new commands: 25 to 40 repetitions
    - Obey first command: 50% of the time or better

    Originally bred as an Irish hunting dog, the soft coated Wheaten terrier has been described as “an iron fist in a velvet glove” for their muscular body sheathed in a soft coat.

  • #40. Bedlington terrier (tie)

    - Understanding of new commands: 25 to 40 repetitions
    - Obey first command: 50% of the time or better

    Bedlington terriers, named for a small town in Northern England, share both the general physical makeup and the temperament of a sheep. They boast a thick white coat and their bodily structure makes them capable of galloping at exceptionally fast speeds.

  • #40. Smooth fox terrier (tie)

    - Understanding of new commands: 25 to 40 repetitions
    - Obey first command: 50% of the time or better

    Fox terriers are easily distinguishable from the stark contrast between the colorful coats, which cover their head, and the white coats that typically cover most of the rest of their bodies. Unlike their close relatives in the wire fox terrier, this breed has more of an angular, V-shaped head.

  • #39. Curly coated retriever (tie)

    - Understanding of new commands: 25 to 40 repetitions
    - Obey first command: 50% of the time or better

    The curly coated retriever was originally bred in England for fetching waterfowl. It is important for owners of this breed to incorporate fun into the training process to keep the dog’s attention.

  • #39. Irish wolfhound (tie)

    - Understanding of new commands: 25 to 40 repetitions
    - Obey first command: 50% of the time or better

    The Irish wolfhound is the tallest of all breeds officially recognized by the American Kennel Club, and while they stand 30 inches at a minimum, they are gentle giants. The Irish wolfhound is known to be one of the most caring and faithful dog breeds.

    You may also like: New dog breeds recognized the year you were born

  • #38. Kuvasz (tie)

    - Understanding of new commands: 25 to 40 repetitions
    - Obey first command: 50% of the time or better

    Hungary’s beautiful Kuvasz breed resembles American favorites such as the Labrador retriever and golden retriever, though the working dog distinguishes itself through a unique snow-white coat. During his reign in the mid-15th century, King Matthias I of Hungary trusted his "Kuvs" more than his actual palace guards, which speaks to their loyal nature.

  • #38. Australian shepherd (tie)

    - Understanding of new commands: 25 to 40 repetitions
    - Obey first command: 50% of the time or better

    The Australian shepherd is a high-energy breed with a relatively unknown origin story prior to its appearance in the U.S. Known for its territorial and protective nature, this breed requires careful and active training.

  • #37. Saluki (tie)

    - Understanding of new commands: 25 to 40 repetitions
    - Obey first command: 50% of the time or better

    With origins in the Middle East, Salukis resemble greyhounds and are the second-fastest dog breeds in the world.

  • #37. Finnish spitz (tie)

    - Understanding of new commands: 25 to 40 repetitions
    - Obey first command: 50% of the time or better

    Finnish spitzs, also known affectionately as Finkies, are amongst the loudest, most vocal canines around the world, and while this may be unfavorable to the casual dog lover, fanatics take great pride in these dogs’ noises. In Finland, owners congregate to determine whose Finkie is to be anointed “King Barker,” the dog responsible for the best yodeling.

  • #37. Pointer (tie)

    - Understanding of new commands: 25 to 40 repetitions
    - Obey first command: 50% of the time or better

    The etymology of the “pointer” is fairly self-evident. These runners’ companions assume a directional standing position, which is especially useful for hunters looking to locate game birds.

    You may also like: Biggest dog breeds