Which Are the Most Stubborn Dogs?

Getting your dog to listen to you can be a tug of war, but it's not a game.
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Dogs are stubborn for the same reasons people are. Some are simply born headstrong, some are natural leaders and some have not been shown how to play well with others. With patience and proper training, however, even the most stubborn dog can become an indispensable lifelong friend and protector.

Headstrong Breeds

Some breeds are harder to train than others. Some, if not trained properly, can become aggressive, particularly toward other dogs. Among smaller breeds, Chihuahuas, dachshunds, Lhasa apsos, pugs and miniature pinschers are considered among the most stubborn. All types of terriers, from Parson Russell to pit bull, are legendarily headstrong, as are all types of hounds. Among larger breeds, work and protection dogs such as rottweilers, border collies, Doberman pinschers, Newfoundlands and golden retrievers can be difficult to train.

It May Not Be Stubbornness

Your dog might not be stubborn. He may simply feel as if he has no good reason to do what you're asking of him. Ask yourself what's in it for your dog to perform an action and provide a valuable payoff for him. For example, terriers are bred to hunt and kill, not to retrieve. If you want to play fetch with a terrier, give him a reason to return the ball to you.


Some dogs were bred to perform tasks away from people and need little praise from their owners. Sled dogs, hunting hounds and herding dogs, for example, couldn't do their jobs if they craved attention from people. In addition to hounds and terriers, most huskies and spaniels fall into this category. Always consider what your dog was bred to do. Training against the grain is possible, but it requires extra time, patience and practice.

Maybe It's You

Some dogs, particularly herding breeds such as collies and shepherds, are particularly sensitive to the emotions of their owner. Your mood may affect your dog's behavior and make her more difficult to train. The more frustrated you get, the more upset she gets. Also, what you perceive to be dominance in some dogs may just be them acting pushy and getting away with it, like children pushing their limits. A little discipline can go a long way.

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