The bond between man and man’s best friend is a powerful one indeed. And there’s nothing that could ever change your mind in thinking your dog is the best there’s ever been — not even his intelligence or lack thereof.
While we wanted to highlight the flip side of the most intelligent dog breeds you’ll ever own, we’re really not trying to insult your pup, as we know just how much you love your canine. After all, he or she is an integral part of your family.
And before we dive right in, let’s clear one thing up: The term “dumbest dog breeds” is highly subjective, and it’s not all-encompassing. While each of these breeds made the list for one reason or another, some of these canines are considered smart in some aspects
So, without further ado, here are the less intelligent breeds and the reasons behind why they made the list.
1. Afghan hound
These dogs are best known for their long, silky coats. But often, hiding underneath those locks is a more complex canine. Afghans thrive on a high level of activity, and the American Kennel Club says they need plenty of fenced-in running space. While they make great hunting companions, Afghan hounds are sometimes considered a bit ditzy, and their sensitive yet independent nature can make training them a difficult task.
Next: This dog doesn’t have the best situational awareness.
2. Basset hound
The basset hound’s spot on this list just might be the most controversial, but he’s made the list for a reason. Google “dumbest dog breeds,” and you’ll find the basset hound on most lists. “The desire to smell things and search is so strong that the dog tends to get lost in the moment only to forget what was going on around,” WeLuvPuppies.com says. “This is a type of roaming that has many pet owners wondering what is going on in the dog’s mind when it wanders off in this manner.” Still, their droopy ears make them absolutely irresistible.
Next: This dog sometimes ignores his better judgment in search for something else.
Beagles are friendly, happy-go-lucky, and downright adorable pups. And while their lovable little faces will draw you in, it’s their working breed mentality that generally gains them recognition as an intelligent breed. However, beagles aren’t exactly the leader type, as they prefer to hunt in packs. And furthermore, the AKC says their inclination to always follow their nose can get them into “sticky situations,” landing them on our list.
Next: This dog comes off as more cat than canine.
The borzoi is an ideal canine for any cat-lover who wants to add a canine to their feline collection. Essentially, borzoi are probably the most cat-like dogs. They’re obsessed with cleanliness, and they make their owners prove their leadership (read: worthiness) to them before deciding to show their loyalty. The borzoi is a noble breed that’s very stately and highly dignified, but independent and hard to train.
Next: This dog’s not so bright, but he’s terribly affectionate.
The bulldog is undeniably lovable, and their amusing disposition makes them somewhat dopey yet kind creatures. They’ll never beg for exercise, and they’d rather sit in your lap than anywhere else in the house. However, because they are eager to please their companions, they do respond well to training, so that’s a plus. Although bulldogs aren’t terribly bright, they’re very affectionate.
Next: This dog’s best described as playful and clownish.
6. Bull terrier
“Playful and clownish, the Bull Terrier is best described as a three-year-old child in a dog suit,” the AKC says. If that’s not a ringing endorsement for a rather dopey breed, we don’t know what is. However, a super playful personality and exceedingly friendly disposition are what make the bull terrier such a sweet, fun-loving companion. Furthermore, this breed is popular in the obedience, agility, and show rings.
Next: What this dog lacks in smarts, it makes up for in its royal appearance.
7. Cavalier King Charles spaniel
These toy dogs are perfect purse pups, and they don’t try to be something they’re not. Originally known for being the beloved pet of choice for the royals — King Charles II in particular — the cavalier is gentle, graceful, and exhibits a happy temperament. But don’t let those wide eyes fool you, the cavalier isn’t exactly known for having too much going on upstairs. However, they are eager to please, which makes training them an easy chore.
Next: This dog’s tiny body is no match for its huge personality — and it’s one that needs to be put in its rightful place.
While the chihuahua might have gained its winning popularity as Taco Bell’s spokesanimal, this toy dog has been a go-to staple for people looking for a low-profile pup. Although the AKC says they’re intelligent and enthusiastic, a chihuahua does “need to be taught what is acceptable in human kingdoms.”
Next: This dog’s scowling, snobbish expression lets others know he wants to be leader of the animal kingdom.
9. Chow chow
Perhaps the chow chow’s distinct lion-like mane translates over into its less-than-lovable personality. Chow chows are serious, stubborn, and hardheaded in nature. According to Canine Journal, “Chow chows are very dominant dogs and without a firm handed and devoted owner they are next to impossible to control. If allowed, this breed will take the place as head of the pack and while it will always provide healthy companionship, it should not be allowed to dominate.”
Next: You’d probably recognize this dog from the show circuit.
10. Lhasa apso
You’d probably recognize the Lhasa apso if you’ve ever seen dog show photos, as they’re popular in the ring. However, their main lot in life isn’t to please their master. “These adorable furry guys are the closest things you can get to a real life Ewok,” Terribly Terrier writes. “Unfortunately, their intelligence level is more along the lines of a Tauntaun. Translation for non-Star Wars fans: They’re cute, but dumb.”
Next: This gentle giant is sometimes labeled as a “dumb ox.”
This massive breed is sometimes considered a “dumb ox.” However, the mastiff is alert, good-natured, and docile. Because his large stature might intimidate people upon first meet, mastiffs tend to be good guard dogs and family companions.
According to Canine Journal, “Mastiffs have the intelligence; however, their reluctance to listen to anyone they do not deem a firm and competent leader earns them the label of “unintelligent.” If this giant breed receives positive reinforcement training from a strong leader, and is trained in shorter class periods, they are less likely to be labeled as ‘dumb.'”
Next: This compact, but fluffy canine is one royally stubborn pup.
Having originated from China, Pekingese were only allowed to be owned by royalty. And perhaps that’s where they got their sense of dignity and regal manner. Pekes take pride in their independence and individuality. They’re bold in their disposition, and there’s no doubt these pups have a high sense of self-esteem. According to Dogster.com, “This breed is dumb and stubborn, a sometimes exasperating combination for the owner. These dogs also tend to think they’re in charge. But the Pekingese is also a loyal and excellent companion.”
Next: This dog is a pampered pooch.
13. Shih Tzu
With their long, gorgeous coats, Shih Tzus are accustomed to sitting for long lengths of time as their owners brush their silky locks. Shih Tzus are affectionate, playful, and charming, and they don’t require much brain power in their life’s calling. According to the AKC, the sole purpose of this pampered pooch is to act as companion and house pet, which is why they’re so friendly and trusting.
Next: This dog exemplifies power in a small package.
14. Scottish terrier
While the Scottie responds well to training, he’s not exactly known for his smarts. This stout yet sturdy little guy is confident and dignified, and his power comes in a small package. Also considered highly dignified, Scotties aren’t afraid to let their owners know how they feel or who they think is boss. Although they are usually rather easy to train, this dog is highly independent, which means he’s not necessarily concerned with what else is going on.
Next: Bonus: This dog’s dumb for a different reason.
Originally bred in Africa as a hunting dog, the basenji is a lesser-known breed here in the U.S. However, this canine makes the list for a unique reason.
More specifically, we’re going with the literal meaning of the word “dumb.” In animals, dumb refers to those who cannot speak, and that’s just what the basenji is most known for. Although they don’t bark, basenjis are very expressive and make other rather odd noises, which are often described as a sound between a chortle and a yodel. They can also be difficult to train.
Even if your pooch made the list, it’s nothing to get down about. We certainly find all these pups simply irresistible and undeniably lovable, too.
Read more: 15 of the Most Popular Dog Breeds in America