Top 10 Dumbest Dog Breeds

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Is it politically correct to call any critter “dumb”? Let’s call this list of dogs the “not-so-bright” pack! I mean let’s face it, not all pooches (or people) can land within the top IQ percentile and there’s nothing wrong with that… in fact according to author and psychologist Stanley Coren in his book The Intelligence of Dogs, we can’t just broad-brush a breed, we need to be looking at three types of intelligence when ranking our clever canines:

  1. The first is instinctive which means he can perform tasks that are part of his natural make-up such as hunting or herding. E.g. the family cat can expect to be corralled.
  2. The second is called adaptive and that means he learns to independently problem solve based on past experience with the issue. E.g. the cat scratches so he stops corralling the cat.
  3. The third is known as working and obedience intelligence and it means he’s able to learn when being taught by humans. E.g. he’s taught to (and actually does) leave the cat alone before he is scratched.

Of course, it should come as no surprise that cognitive studies exist and similar to those conducted on young children, they help determine which dogs are clever little guys and which are well, not so much…  So which breeds land at the very, very bottom of the super-smart list?

Basset Hound

In fairness, all scent hounds are a slave to their nose. They are so in tune with what they’re busily sniffing out that trying to get their attention to teach them anything is close to impossible. While this boy is a gentle and amazing family pet, he does have a rather large learning curve when it comes to housebreaking and all that sit, stay, give-a-paw stuff. (Photo credit: Ewa Studio/Shutterstock)


He’s not dumb, he just doesn’t want to do it. This headstrong pooch won’t take commands from anyone he deems unworthy and we’ll pretend that means he actually understands what you’re asking him to do, but has taken the position to refuse your request. The simple truth is, he needs a good strong pack leader he can respect… so it’s not him, it’s you. (Photo credit: Sheryl Lynch/Shutterstock)


Ahhh another scent hound who believes the nose knows and he’s stubborn to boot. This super easy-going pooch just does his own thing when and where he wants and he wears the badge of “difficult to train” proudly. He’s an ideal family addition but time and patience will be needed as this hound has a single purpose – tracking that scent versus pleasing you. (Photo credit: eAlisa/Shutterstock)


This little guy with the big personality can best be described as the inspiration for the phrase “small dog syndrome”. Dominating, disobedient, disorderly and loving it. While he gets a bum wrap because he doesn’t play by the rules, this independent thinker is capable of wrapping any human around his little, well, claw. So, who’s the dumb one now? (Photo credit: swapan banik/Shutterstock)


This mournful looking pooch with a face only a mother could love is far too focused on tracking down the bad guys to want to fetch a ball, roll over or offer tricks for treats. With more than 230 million scent receptors that can follow a trail for miles this mutt’s schnozzola is in constant overdrive. Now you want him to learn a new skill? Sheesh! (Photo credit: Kuznetsov Alexey/Shutterstock)

Chow Chow

This dog has no time to learn silly tricks, he’s too busy elbowing his way to the front of the pack. Yes, this alpha-dog-wannabe is not only headstrong but ambitious and if you aren’t a strong pack leader that he can respect and accept, he’s isn’t going to play nice or for that matter play at all. With a reputation for being stubborn, this purple-tongued pooch isn’t dumb, he’s just highly selective. (Photo credit: Bokstaz/Shutterstock)


He’s excessively clean and tidy and it’s suggested this handsome boy acts more like a cat in his fastidious approach to living, than a dog. So, no surprise that like a cat he refuses to fall into that people-pleasing mode that humans love so much. He doesn’t want you training him unless he feels you’re worthy and this can present as being unable to learn and brand him as not-so-smart. Would you ever imply this of a cat? I think not! (Photo credit: Kim Christensen/Shutterstock)


This loveable bully is just a good-natured plodder. He’ll never win awards for knowing how to herd and track a scent, and he’ll never be a contender in agility or learning how to dock-dive. But what he lacks in street smarts he makes up for in loyalty and a determination to make you happy. So, while it’s classed as “lifelong training”, what it really means is you’ll be revisiting lessons learned again and again and again…. (Photo credit: Ammit Jack/Shutterstock)


Do still waters really run deep? Just because this non-barking dog has nothing to say doesn’t mean he isn’t thinking all the time. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean he is. This energetic little guy is just another independent pooch that gets the not-too-clever brand because he’d rather look out the window than be trained and prefers to save his voice for only important matters. (Photo credit: Verbitskaya Juliya/Shutterstock)

Afghan Hound

She’s got both beauty and brains… unfortunately she’s also a diva which means she won’t be trained unless you talk real nice to her. Yes, this pooch is emotionally high maintenance and has even been described as neurotic. Add to this an independent nature and you’ve got the proverbial dog’s breakfast when it comes to how she learns best. Dumb, never! Just too many other things to worry about. (Photo credit: David Raihelgauz/Shutterstock)