8 “Dumbest” Dog Breeds You Might Not Know

When the term “dumb dogs” comes up in conversation, it’s met with mixed emotions. Pet enthusiasts and experts argue that labeling a dog breed as dumb is unfair and inaccurate.

The notion usually sprouts from misunderstandings about a dog’s behavior or trainability. Yet, these breeds often possess unique traits and intelligence that standard obedience tests might not measure.

Let’s examine the reasons certain dog breeds are tagged with this unflattering label and shed some light on what truly makes them special. This could change how you view these misunderstood pooches, revealing their true capabilities and the distinctive qualities they bring to a home.

1. Afghan Hound

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Afghan Hounds carry an air of aristocracy that often translates into an independent nature. Critics say they can’t be trained easily, pointing to their cold demeanor. However, these dogs weren’t crafted for performing tricks or following commands.

What sets Afghan Hounds apart is their remarkable hunting skills, renowned for their speed and exceptional eyesight. They were bred to think independently, and their coldness is merely a sign of their self-reliance.

While training might be challenging, it’s not an accurate gauge of their intelligence or potential.

2. Basenji

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The Basenji dog is wrapped in a mystery, often perceived as stubborn. Owners may find these canines turning a deaf ear to training commands. But are Basenjis genuinely hardheaded, or are they just misunderstood?

Considered smart and curious, Basenjis possesses a cleverness that might not align with traditional training. They have their own thoughts on how things should be done, which can make training seem like an uphill battle.

But with patience and an understanding of their nature, Basenjis can show off their intelligence differently.

3. Bulldog

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“Bullheaded” is a term often associated with Bulldogs. A breed exhibiting a certain stubbornness when it comes to training. But does this truly reflect a lack of smarts?

Bulldogs are creatures of will, requiring more persuasive tactics to engage in training. Though they might resist traditional training methods, they are not devoid of intellect.

They have a charming personality and can learn commands on their own terms. They can show us that intelligence is about obedience, personality, and persistence.

4. Chow Chow

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Chow Chows are known for their dignified and somewhat cold disposition. Some may mistake this for stubbornness or lack of intelligence because these canine comrades are particular about following commands.

However, to call a Chow Chow “dumb” would be to overlook its ambitious nature. These dogs are independent thinkers, a trait that requires a unique approach to training. They might decide which commands are worth their time, indicating not a lack of intelligence but a strong-willed character.

It’s about understanding their individuality and working with, not against, their nature.

5. Borzoi

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The graceful Borzoi may seem disobedient or indifferent to training. This is because they were bred for hunting, which means they have an independent streak necessary for the chase.

Their seeming noncompliance is often just a byproduct of their breeding. They’re hardwired to decide on the fly rather than wait for instructions. These sighthounds showcase a different type of smart—instinctual and independent.

6. Bloodhound

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Bloodhounds have one of the most exquisite scent-tracking abilities in the canine world. This impressive trait, however, comes with a condition—sometimes, their nose takes precedence over training.

Their single-minded pursuit can often be mistaken for disobedience or lack of training focus. But to see a Bloodhound on the scent trail is to watch a master at work. Their intelligence is specialized, perfectly designed for tracking, not necessarily for performing tricks or following commands.

7. Pekingese

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Pekingese pups carry themselves with an imperial aura, often showing a stubborn streak when it comes to training. This stubbornness, however, is sometimes a display of intelligence, as they can cleverly manipulate situations to their favor.

Despite their independent nature, Pekingese can form strong bonds with their owners. They may not be the first to follow a sit command, but they excel in companionship, and yes, they can be trained—with a pinch of patience and a lot of love.

8. Beagle

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The Beagle’s nose is a double-edged sword. While it’s its most powerful tool, it’s also why it’s often labeled as easily distracted. With one whiff of an interesting scent, its training can go out the window.

But what they lack in attention during obedience, they more than makeup for their sensory capabilities. Beagles are brilliant scent hounds, used in various important roles, from detecting banned agricultural imports to helping with search and rescue operations. Their intelligence is in their nose, which they’ve been bred to use.

When judging a dog’s intelligence, it’s important to look beyond the surface. What might appear as “dumbness” is often just a misinterpretation of a breed’s specialized traits or independent nature.

Each breed shines in its own way and, with the proper training approach, can display levels of intelligence that defy the stereotypes.

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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.