21 Not-So-Intelligent Dog Breeds

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When you think about it, why do you need an intelligent dog, anyway? Well, it all depends on what you want to get out of your dog.
If you want a pet, the more silly the dog is, the more likely you are to love them. On the other hand, if you are a hunter, you need a smart, hunting breed.

According to some studies, some breeds are smarter than others. However, we can’t exactly talk about their levels of intelligence; instead, we can determine whether the dog is obedient, able to solve problems, learn, and be trained. Researchers have as much difficulty agreeing on a method for testing canine intelligence as they do for human intelligence.

These are said to be the least intelligent dog breeds. Let’s not call them stupid. Let’s just say they’re not so smart.

1. Afghan Hound

This is a very old breed. In fact, it is so old that it predates written history.
It was developed in some of the most remote regions on Earth. So, we know nothing about their beginnings. What we do know is that for centuries they were rugged, very fast hunting companions and status symbols for the rich and royal, tribal chieftains, and aristocrats of Asia’s kingdoms.

Owning an Afghan almost guarantees that your companion will be one of the most beautiful animals at the dog park. And the breed’s lovers swear by its faithfulness and wonderful personality. However, they come with certain conditions.
These conditions include grooming them, running with then, worrying about their exceptionally high prey drive, and training them.

It’s a special breed for very special people. An Afghan expert once said, “It is not the breed for all would-be dog owners, but where the dog and owner combination is right, no animal can equal the Afghan Hound as a pet.”

Referred to as an aristocrat, the Afghan Hound’s appearance is one of dignity. Well covered with thick, silky hair, fine in texture, the Afghan hound’s coat is a sort found among animals native to high altitudes. They can come in all colors, and while the breed is excellent for hunting, its popularity here comes from the fact that it is a spectacular show dog.

As for their intelligence, some say it’s their trainability that may be the issue. They advocate that Hounds are highly intelligent but not the same kind of intelligence as a dog from one of the “working” breeds, whose ancestors were selected for their ability to follow orders.
The Afghan Hound had to think for himself without human assistance or he would not have been successful as a working sighthound. They claim they learn fast and will learn from dogs or humans, but only if it works for them.

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  • That Trainer with the Flower

    I feel like this more of a list of difficult to train dogs, not dogs that are necessarily unintelligent.

  • Ted Hoo

    Difficult to train dog could also be stubborn and aloft. From the looks of some of these dogs, there is dumb written all over their face.

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  • Debbie Radziewicz

    Ridiculous. I have a female and a male and they are quite intelligent. Hard headed and loveable but very intelligent an I found them easy to train.

  • Meowhiss

    Basenjis are VERY intelligent they are just fiercely independent.

  • Oldilocks

    The picture with the mastiff entry is of two Dogues de Bordeux, not mastiffs.

  • JB-asdf

    Whoever wrote this has no idea what they’re talking about. Chows are “jealous and like to be at the center …” -100% false.

    Chows are one of the most intelligent breeds, they are too independent to take orders from strangers – like some guy in an obedience school. and unless you are one of the 2 or 3 people to which they are devoted; they would rather not even be touched by you.

  • reformed1

    English Bulldogs are intelligent by convenience but are easily distracted. The right treat gets quick results! Had bulldogs for years. Fav breed! Can see the wheels turning when these guys are thinking. I agree with “that trainer with the flower” stubborn does not equate to unintelligent, quite the opposite in this breeds case. Never seen a collie skate board.

  • Blind Squirrel

    “Not So Intelligent”?? The Beagle??

    Clearly the author needs to either pick up a dictionary, or actually work with the breeds they’re citing here, because either (a) the title doesn’t line up with the message or (b) they haven’t got a clue as to what they’re talking about, and likely have never worked with or trained a dog the right way.

  • Blind Squirrel

    Here’s another one: Incidentally, the dog in the Mastiff picture, while a type of Mastiff, is actually a Dogue de Bordeaux.

  • Blind Squirrel

    Be careful with that dissenting opinion. The author might get her panties in a bunch and delete your post like she did my initial ones.

  • gggreggg

    almost all dogs of the hound persuasion are independent-minded. dachshunds are hounds (badgerhound) and are easily distracted by any scent that they find interesting.
    (I, too, find these dog lists inaccurate.)

  • gggreggg

    I think it would have been useful to note traits that have been bred into these dogs that cause health problems—such as breathing difficulties that bull dogs and other dogs with “crunched up” noses.
    (I think some of these dogs should no longer be bred for the sake of the dog.)

  • Tamme Pompilio

    THANK YOU! Glad to see someone else besides myself knew that! I also agree that this list should be labeled as “Hard to train dogs” and not unintelligent. I have bred Chows and they are one of the only dogs that I know of that really doesn’t require potty training if they are around other potty trained dogs……they train themselves and do it quickly! I know my dogs and all the traits listed for each breed is accurate, but being categorized as unintelligent is NOT accurate (in fact they say that in each one)!!!

  • Yorkshire Rose

    I disagree with St. Bernards, I have Great Pyrenees who are the same size and have had them around my children from a very young age. They have been nothing but aware of their size and been very gentle. A trait the St. Bernard also has I believe. I would have added Border Collie, Bearded Collie and Old English Sheepdog to this list. The first two being herders with a tendancy to nip (I grew up with Bearded Collies in the household, and while ours lived in the house, they could nip when they wanted to), OES are natural guard dogs and not a breed I would have around children. All lovely but common sense has to prevail. I just wish alot of people would read up on breeds before they bought a puppy as so many end up in dog shelters for being what they were bred for.

  • Montana Crawford

    Hooch!

  • SarBear21

    Duh, if it’s Not-So-Intelligent dogs, why am I seeing the word intelligent in the descriptions??

  • Tamme Pompilio

    We had a Saint when I was very little and he was very protective of me, but very gentle at the same time. He was a big clown, but he let us do whatever we wanted to him. We would hang on his tail and he would slide us around the foyer and he loved it!! We hooked him up to our sled and he would would pull us in the park in the winter. He loved every minute of it and he NEVER knocked us over with size! He was so gentle that he actually wanted to play with our white mouse and he carried him around his mouth and never hurt it! My Aunts Irish Setter on the hand was an obnoxious dog that rammed his nose in your crotch and knocked you over all the time!! That breed should be listed as a clutz or obnoxious.

  • lily

    I have an oes and a child. They are great with children and people. You should be the one looking up breed standards before talking about a breed as a whole. They were bred as drover dogs, which is herding, which is why they are a part of the herding group.

  • Melanie Collins Pennock

    AKA French Mastiff…..a beautiful breed!

  • Melanie Collins Pennock

    What? What would THEY say about your face??

  • kulaid

    A mastiff at 135 lbs is a runt. Not sure what dog you’re talking about here.

  • Mary Scouten

    Being independent, and difficult to train does not equal stupid, on the contrary in my opinion the dumbest dog I ever met was our Black Lab, although he was easy to train, he did not learn from experience. He would chase and catch porcupines, and skunks repeatedly. No matter how often he got sprayed or quilled, we finally gave him to a relative in the city when he was blinded in one eye after the umpteenth time of getting quilled. He was only there for a short time when he tried to chase a snow plow that was backing up, he was hit and required a hip replacement and months of rehab, the result was that the following winter he was better, but bolted out the front door and got killed by the same snowplow doing the same thing the very next winter. Stupidity is NOT learning from experience.

  • Spiritof America

    On the Irish , they bred beauty in, brains out.

  • Melissa

    Basenjis are hard to train…they’re actually intelligent dogs. People who don’t take the time to be patient with basenjis are who you got your “facts” from. They are also independent dogs, but that doesn’t make them dumb. Please own a few basenjis and base your opinion on experience. Or rather, don’t — you don’t have the time to do real research, so why would you have the time to own a dog and actually give a crap about it?

  • KDN4

    I’m a proud basenji owner and I must say she is ultra smart, she learns quickly on anything new I teach her. Yes, she also trains me and holds a grudge when I discipline her, but that’s what happens when you raise a Khaleesi.

  • Tamme Pompilio

    One of my favorite movies!! That is when I came to love the Bordeaux! Oh and another movie that me love a dog was Rocky…..Butkus was an awesome and beautiful baby!

  • Tamme Pompilio

    Yes they did!! They succeeded at it too! LOL!

  • Angela

    This is a pretty ridiculous article….a lot of these dogs listed as “not intelligent” routinely end up on lists from much more reputable sources as very intelligent breeds. Having grown up with a Lhasa, and have four sleeping Shih tzus downstairs right now, I can say they are extremely intelligent…they’re actually regarded for their intelligence. Any dog that is let to run wild will do just that, but that doesn’t make them unintelligent.

    I’ve also only had one of my small guys ever nip…but I think I should mention that he came from an abusive home and I scared him when I came up from behind him and startled him as he was sleeping. He never even bared his teeth, but immediately knew he had done wrong and pawed at my shirt, whimpered and gave tons of face kisses to apologize. Doesn’t sound like a very unintelligent, only out for themselves dog, does it….

  • David Rudenstein

    U are exactly correct

  • Rosemary Tottoroto

    You call this list “Not So Intelligent Dog Breeds” then go on to say how intelligent the basenji breed is. We have owned basenjis for over 20 years and they are by far the most intelligent breed I have ever encountered. They ARE very independent and are aggressive hunters but they are also, as you mention, affectionate and eager to please. They do not bark but they do yodel when they are happy and when they greet people.

  • http://connectionsandconundrums.blogspot.com/ Laura

    Beagles can’t stand cats? That’s a laugh! My beagle and cat sleep all curled up together.

  • Steph

    I loved my great pyrenees. She had 0 interest in learning. The only thing she learned was to come when you called her. Sweet gentle dog that loved my children and watched over them. She would “tell” on them when she thought they were doing something dangerous. Climbing the toddler slide was a no no in her books. She would alert me every time one of the kids was on the slide lol. Wonderful family dog as long as you don’t expect to train them to do things. If you want a breed that take direction a German Shepherd is a better bet.

  • Steph

    I think the article is talking about sit, stay lay down roll over go fetch type of training. I had a Great Pyrenees and she was a wonderful part of my family. Best dog I’ve ever seen around toddlers. I had to call her my nanny dog because she watched everything they kids did, if they did something she didn’t approve of she’d come to me and tell me about it. Climbing the toddler slide was on her no no list. My autistic son could do anything he wanted to her(of course I didn’t let him hurt her) like pat her or even rub dirt on her fur she’d just lay down and let him. I have had a lot of experience with different breeds and this breed does not want to perform. They are fantastic family pets but they are not going to put on a show.

  • marinyx

    I am not going to write about all the dogs you list however, I do not agree with the Husky and Malamute category. I have had numerous huskies and mals and even a wolf-dog. My children and grand-children have grown up with them. They can be dangerous because of their size ratio to small children but, other than that there is nothing there that does not apply to any other dog breed. Training is necessary so they know who is boss (but don’t expect a huskis or mal to blindly obey…they DON’T…they obey out of love and loyalty…as you treat them, they treat you), you also need to train the CHILDREN, no tugging of tails, no falling on the animals…yes they are pretty big (especially the mals) but they can still be hurt. My grandchildren especially have loved my dogs over the years…have never been bitten, but have certainly been growled at when the kids pushed the wrong buttons. You have ANY dog breed…you need to train the animal, you need to train the children and you need to give the animal love and time. That being said…if you like a pristine garden and a house without ONE dog hair in it…don’t get a snow dog! If you don’t want to share love and play time, don’t get ANY dog!! You won’t be doing them any favors.♥♥

  • Ginger Thompson

    We assume the harder they are to train the less intelligent they are. Actually, a dog who is hard to train by human standards might be the most intelligent. Makes people upset that dogs are smarter than they and won’t cave to their “master” for a little treat. Doen’t make them unintelligent.

  • Weimeraner and bulldog momma

    Weimeraners are wonderful with kids. But they need a owner that is as stubborn as they can be. But I think that is true with most of the dogs on this list. They need firm masters that are the pack leader.

  • Big Al

    Snoopy is a Beagle.

  • Mary Ellen

    Being difficult to train has NOTHING to do with the dog’s smarts. I have had Pekingese for over 40 years and they are anything but unintelligent; they manage to get their owners to do whatever they wish so that is certainly NOT a sign of lack of intelligence in any way, shape or form. Some people consider “intelligence” tantamount to being easily manipulated or told what to do.

  • Sam Gold

    Just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s right or worth reading.

    Great Pyrenees: “They are courageous, very loyal and obedient.” A dog can’t be obedient and unintelligent. Obedience suggests adhering to what the owner wants and/or trained the dog to do: INTELLIGENCE!

  • nise

    Boy did they get the Beagle wrong. Smartest dog I every had. Hated to cuddle. VERY easy to train ( if I was holding a hot dog).

  • Makimaus

    Isn’t it funny how, when a dog is good at taking their own lead but bad at taking orders, they’re considered stupid, while with Humans it’s exactly the opposite?

  • azzy23

    The list is “21 not so intelligent dog breeds.” I’m up to item 4 on the list, and each one has very clearly stated these dogs are willful, not stupid.

    As a sighthound aficionado I can attest, Greyhounds (Afghan Hounds, Borzoi) aren’t stupid. They’re independent enough to want to be paid for their work. Why should they sit? What’s in it for them? When you develop a rapport with the dog, they blow your mind. For example, my Italian Greyhound totally ignores everything when he’s hunting a rat; you’d think he didn’t even know his name. If my husband calls to him in German, however, he stops what he’s doing and intensely focuses on the words. He knows this is a command he isn’t familiar with, so he instantly focuses to understand our ask. After he figures it out, and reliably performs it a few times? He’ll ignore it unless there’s food in our hand. If there’s food in our hand, he knows *all* the tricks.

  • forgot

    Actually, the Afghan hound is Very intelligent. But they are a breed made for Work. Like other older working breeds (think Pyrenees, Akita, Chow, Llasa, etc) This means they don’t care about “pleasing” people and are independent thinkers. They aren’t overly concerned over who is “pack leader”. It’s more of a case of “unintelligent” people who assume all dogs act like labs, or are just “automatically command oriented” that is the more issue……..

  • forgot

    Dogs “nip” to keep those they consider “underlings” in line from unwanted, undesirable behaviors. This is how they train their own pups. Anyone who gets “nipped” has not been paying attention to “dog etiquette”… These dogs will display other subtle signs of warning before the “nip” happens. So, yes, Common Sense MUST Prevail when you own ANY breed of dog.

  • Philp Yung

    Chihuahuas are stupid dogs??? WHAT!?

    That makes me so angry, I want to rage on this article. But I’m not going to.

    Just be aware, anybody reading this article, this stuff is NOT TRUE. This article is NOT TRUE. Chiuahuas are NOT STUPID. You can’t train them to sit, or roll over, etc. but they are not stupid dogs! God it makes me so mad! This article needs to be purged! It is wrong! YOU GO TO HELL! NO no I’m sorry I said that. I shouldn’t say that. Please delete this article from the internet. Please.

  • George Blair

    I’m thinking the only stupid one around here is the author of this article.

  • k9sue

    Dogs are rarely “stubborn”. They are either unmotivated or unsure what you want. Also, dog that have been trained iwth punishment and scolding freeze up. They are afraid to do anything or they will be hurt.

  • k9sue

    Great Pyrenees do not have the same basic temperament as the
    ST Bernard. Also, the ST. has been poorly bred for the pet market for years and their temperament has changed. Pyrs are not a Fad breed and are usually bred byresponsible breeders, so they are more true to type. I have owned Pyrs and as a trainer have worked with a number of Saints.

  • SassKatt

    Please, Beagles are extremely intelligent. The one we had growing up was trained to not leave the unfenced yard, no matter where us kids ran off to.
    Beagles do not like cats??? Mine slept with my cat every night. The were the best of buddies.
    Obviously the guy doing this article is simply regurgitating some crappy information he found somewhere. I notice there are no sources sited for any of his assertions.

  • RugosaB .

    Basenjis
    I have found with this breed, they are HIGHLY intelligent. My goal in breeding was to produce a dog that could survive if I threw it out back in the woods.
    That’s intelligent. Socialization, like the article said, is very important, at an early age (but not something necessary to survive in the African wilerness)
    When training a basenji, remember they are always thinking “What’s in it for ME?” (again, a very intelligent way to look at things)

    They need to be off this intelligence list and onto the ‘hard to train’ list.
    I never placed pups in homes that I did not think the humans were smart and could at least keep up with the dog’s intellignece.

    For instance, teraching a dog to fetch:
    Maybe 3 times a basenji will run, get, and bring back what is thrown. After that, they kind of get this look as if saying “If you want it, why do you keep throwing it? I’ll get it and run with it – you want it so bad, chas me!”

  • Didley Dale

    I take great offense that the CHIHUAHA is on this list….my Czarina (ZaaZaa) is smarter than most fifth graders. Loving and brilliant, rarely barks unless it is a burglar, the other night I wasn’t paying attention and thieves entered our gated site yard and stole my prized bicycle. I am sure that had she not barked they would have stolen my $800 kayak as well. Kudos to my ZaaZaa. Who in the world would rate a dogs intelligence…that shows how stupid humans are. If a dog is uncooperative, as many humans are (me included) does that lower their iq. How smart are sheep? LOL! No matter the breed, life without a dog is no life at all.

  • Rosey_the_Robot

    Shouldn’t this be titled 21 independent dog breeds. I happen to know many of these breeds are very intelligent. Maybe they are more intelligent than the average dog for not rolling over so someone can get their kicks!

  • Rosey_the_Robot

    My greyhound is super intelligent. Instead of waiting for ridiculous commands from me, he figures things out on his own. He does follow simple commands such as “wait”., but, seriously, he figures life and the order of the household out on is own. He has taught himself many words in the English language and we find ourselves spelling around him so he doesn’t know what we are saying sometimes.

  • Rosey_the_Robot

    Many breeds are absolutely stubborn. I can tell the difference when My dog is listening and trying to figure out what I want, or if he’s just ignoring me or doing what he wants. He is extremely stubborn (although a really good dog too).

  • Fairisfair

    I too would like to know how he made these assumptions.If you take 2 identical dogs (same sex same age etc) you will find one is easier to train. Why? because like any other animals each is different. Doesn’t mean one is stupid.

  • labrylao

    really i thought this was a list of those without intelligence… but #2 has this statement. Really??? “Beyond any doubt, the Basenji is an intelligent dog, but also they willing tend to use their intelligence to take care of their own will.”

  • k9sue

    A breed can’t be “stubborn”.No members of a “breed” are 100% like. They are individuals. To tell if your dog is ignoring requires you to read minds. If you can read dog’s minds you would be rich and famous.
    If you use punishment in training, it is more likely your dog hears, you but is afraid to do anything for fear of punishment. Very common in dogs. I know, I have trained 1,000s professionally and have studied dog behavior for 35 years.

  • Foster Mom to Bassets

    Basset Hounds Stupid? Articles like this are part of the reason so many end up being owner surrendered. They are difficult to train and require firm consistent but gentle training! I have had Bassets figure out how to get past my child proof locks!

  • emjayay

    Beagles do tend to be very food oriented and will easily gain weight because they often like to eat as much as possible.

  • John E

    Tell Charlie Brown that Snoopy is not intelligent. :)

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