Hardest Dogs to TrainHardest Dogs to Train

Hardest Dogs to Train

The term “hardest dogs to train” refers to dog breeds that are considered challenging to train due to their independent nature, strong will, stubbornness, high energy levels, prey drive, protective instincts, sensitivity, distractions, short attention span and resistance to obedience.

These breeds may require more time, effort, and creative training methods to overcome their natural tendencies and promote good behavior. It’s important to remember that every dog is unique, and individual personalities can vary even within breeds.

Most Hardest Dogs to Train

Not every dog is suitable for every owner, and first-time dog owners might find certain breeds more challenging than others. Here are some of the hardest dogs to train for first-time owners:

1. Afghan Hound

Afghan Hounds are among the hardest dogs to train for several reasons. Firstly, they are reserved and aloof dogs who form close bonds with their owners but may not pay much attention to anyone else, including the trainer.

They are individualistic to the point of stubbornness and can sometimes be very aloof, making it difficult to capture and maintain their attention. This makes training, which requires the dog’s willingness and undivided attention, a challenge.

Another reason Afghans are not the easiest to train is their high prey drive. Although not impossible, training them can be extremely challenging due to their instinct to chase. Additionally, because they are agile and incredibly fast (comparable to a racehorse in speed!), you need more than a firm voice to control them; quick reactions and a strong grip are essential.

2. Bulldog

Adorable, relaxed, and gentle, Bulldogs are far from what their name suggests. That said, they share some traits with bulls – they can be the hardest dogs to train, extraordinarily stubborn and won’t budge if they’re not interested in what you want them to do.

Even if their stubbornness doesn’t get in the way, they are slow learners. They are not the smartest dogs around and have a low work ethic. Patience and repetition of Bulldogs are the hardest dogs to train.

Bulldogs can also be very territorial and highly protective of their families. While this trait makes them loyal companions and ideal guard dogs, training them can take more time and dedication compared to other breeds.

3. Basenji

A clever hunting dog originating from Congo, the Basenji is a unique breed with a sharp intellect.

Basenjis are independent working dogs who wear their independence like a badge of honor. They can be loving and fantastic companions but come with a list of challenges.

Basenjis are high-energy working dogs, meaning they need plenty of running and stimulation daily.

Moreover, being so independent and free-thinking, training doesn’t sit well with Basenjis, and they can be very hard to teach commands.

These dogs don’t bark but sing and yodel. Since barking is not in their repertoire, they are also the hardest dogs to train because Basenjis can produce lots of noise through yodeling and whining, which means they can be quite loud.

4. Chow Chow

Chow Chows have a distinct resemblance to fluffy, lovable teddy bears but can be anything but affectionate.

They are also known as the hardest dogs to train because these dogs are known for being highly independent and not very sociable. They have limited patience with children and other dogs, requiring extensive socialization and training from an early age to curb these tendencies.

They may become overly protective of their owner or territory, which can result in aggressive behavior.

New owners sometimes make the mistake of adopting a dog based purely on looks without fully understanding the characteristics of the chosen breed.

5. Saint Bernard

A breed confirmed by numerous studies to be the hardest dogs to train is the Saint Bernard. Though the exact origins of Saint Bernards are sketchy, we know that monks of the Saint Bernard Pass used them as guard dogs and rescue dogs.

For centuries, Saints have been bred to perform many tasks, such as the ones mentioned and farm hand duties.

They could perform these tasks with little to no supervision. This demands a high level of intelligence and independent thinking.

Apparently, this independent thinking (and their temperament) makes Saint Bernards one of the most difficult dogs to train. They always believe their way of doing things is better.

6. Greyhound

Greyhounds, a famous racing breed, are also becoming popular as family pets. However, they are among the hardest dogs to train.

Greyhounds are sighthounds, and although the racing industry has bred out much of their aggression and other undesirable traits, their prey drive remains high.

Combined with their ability to jump over fences lower than 6 feet, this means they need proper training to avoid chasing cars, squirrels, and other pets.

They are also quite sensitive and require a gentle hand in training. If the training is too harsh, they can become timid, fearful, and scared.

7. Borzoi

Another breed researched in multiple studies and found the hardest dogs to train is the Borzoi, also known as the Russian Wolfhound, popular among Russian nobility until the late 19th century.

Another sighthound, these dogs are fast and will chase anything that moves. Like the Greyhound, they are sensitive, and care must be taken during training.

This breed is wary of children and strangers, so the person training this canine must be able to assert themselves as the pack leader, provide socialization, and conduct obedience training.

However, while they are among the most challenging breeds to train, they are intelligent, and someone who invests the time and knowledge will be rewarded with great results.

8. Bloodhound

These sweet, gentle dogs are friendly to everyone. Aggression is not an issue with this breed. However, they are the hardest dogs to train because they are very independent.

This independence is what places them on the list of hard-to-train dogs. These furry babies can easily injure a child or pet just by playing too roughly.

They need a human who will be consistent, look past their adorable faces, and teach them proper manners and obedience.

If these canines catch a scent, they will want to follow it at any cost. You need to teach them, starting from puppyhood, that you are the boss.

9. Siberian Husky

Siberian Huskies were bred for independent thinking, which makes them less responsive to traditional training methods. To make matters worse, this sled dog is prone to excessive barking, digging, and running away if not properly exercised.

Executive director of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, Bradley Phifer says, “Huskies are dishonorably independent and intentional, making them resistant to the hardest dogs to train that other breeds respond well to.” He adds that they are one of the most intelligent dog breeds and have a strong sense of self, making them socially selective and easily irritated.

10. Beagle

Beagles are among the best family dogs, considering their cheerfulness and good nature. However, they are the hardest dogs to train. The main reason is a common hound problem—getting distracted by scents around them and wanting to trace their source. This tendency makes training quite a challenge with distractions. They can also be stubborn and want to do things their way.

The good news is that Beagles are incredibly food-motivated, so having high-value treats on hand during training can be very helpful!


While some dogs are the hardest dogs to train due to their independence, high energy levels, or nature strength, it’s important to remember that with patience, consistency, and the right approach, even the hardest dogs to train can become well-behaved companions. Understanding the unique characteristics of each breed and improving training methods to suit their needs can make a significant difference. Eventually, every dog, regardless of breed, can produce with proper care, training, and love.