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10 Dog Breeds That’re Super-Cute, but Notoriously Hard to Train

We’d all love to adopt a puppy who comes automatically potty trained and is perfectly obedient from the get-go. A super-cute dog that sits, stays and doesn’t pee all over the floor sounds like a dream come true, right? Obviously, it’s not always that easy. Puppies and dogs take work. However, with a little effort, you can usually train a dog to mind you and behave reasonably well at all times. But when it comes to being trainable, not all dogs are created equal.

The breeds we listed here are without a doubt totally adorable — but they’re also known to be troublemakers. If you’re looking to get a dog that obeys commands every single time, you might want to avoid adopting one of these guys.


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Sadie Girl #pekignese #dogphotography

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The Pekingese, although a kind and intelligent companion, has a stubborn side and requires a stable environment and an owner who can adapt themselves to fit its high maintenance needs. If not, the Pekingese can be difficult to house train. In addition, without a confident owner, it is also known to get into mischief.

More: 15 Dog Breeds That Don’t Bark Excessively and Will Keep Your Neighbors Happy

2. Bloodhound

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Pre-shoot day run with sweet T. #VSCO #bloodhound

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The sweet and gentle bloodhound is more likely to lick you than obey you. Known as a working dog, it needs a firm owner who is OK with its imperfections. A loyal breed, the bloodhound is a great dog but not the most obedient as it loves a good smell to follow.

3. Afghan hound

The Afghan hound is an excellent breed and very intelligent; however, it is also known for its catlike personality. And if you’re at all aware of cat behavior, you know Afghan hounds like to do what they want. So, although it may be easy to train, it’s getting the training to stick that could be the potential problem with the Afghan hound.

4. Dalmatian
The Dalmatian is a very high-strung, high-energy and active breed. It enjoys playing and a lot of attention, and it needs plenty of it in the training process. All things considered, it takes a strong owner who is devoted to giving it both mental and physical exercise. Without these, the Dalmatian will become disruptive and disobedient.

5. Pug

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Boo is a star! #pug #puglife #party

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Like the Dalmatian, the pug is a wild and energetic breed. Smart, it can become bored easily while in the training process. Without a good variety or a confident instructor or owner, training can easily fall to the wayside. A sensitive and loving dog, the pug needs an owner who can both love and lead it.

More: 10 Small Dog Breeds That Are Great With Children

6. Basenji

Image: Magdalena Sobczyk / Getty Images

Although there is no problem training the basenji, it does display behavior problems if not given the leadership the breed requires. Rambunctious, it enjoys play and other behaviors, and if not given, it is likely to act out. Requiring an owner that is both firm and consistent, if the basenji does not have a strict set of rules, it won’t follow any at all.

7. Basset hound

Not only is house breaking difficult with the basset hound, it also doesn’t seem to care too much for order. A lovable hound, it requires a sweet-tempered owner who will provide it with cuddles and positive reinforcement. Related to the bloodhound, the basset hound enjoys play and getting treats as a reward for good behavior.

8. Chow chow

The chow chow likes to be in charge but will become subordinate if it has a dominant master. If that becomes questionable, the chow chow will think it is the leader. This can become a problem when training as it needs both consistency and solid leadership. If not, the chow chow may display behavioral problems and aggressive behaviors.

9. Beagle

Like most of the breeds on this list, the beagle is overly affectionate. Enjoying to do as it pleases, training may prove difficult. Without sturdy authority, it is likely to disregard instruction. In addition, the beagle is a curious creature and is known to follow its nose if not given the appropriate leadership to do otherwise.

10. Mastiff
The mighty, mighty mastiff, although large, is a soft and gentle giant. If it isn’t given the firm but tender training it requires, it is unlikely to respond well. Yearning to achieve dominance, it may be difficult to teach obedience if it does not understand its role as the dog with the human. A genuine people pleaser, the Mastiff is likely to do as needed with an owner it respects greatly.

Originally posted October 2014. Updated September 2017.

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