Top 10 most stubborn dog breeds

February 10, 2024 - 4 min read
stubborn dog breeds

Some dog breeds are known for their steadfast personalities and, sometimes, their selective hearing.

If you're curious about which breeds might have you repeating commands, or you're dying to test your patience and persistence, this roundup of the most stubborn dog breeds should have you covered.

Bulldog

A front-facing English Bulldog lying down, with a relaxed posture and a direct gaze. The dog has a fawn and white coat, distinctive facial wrinkles, and a lower canine tooth visible, against a white background.

  • Stubbornness Level: Sky-high

  • Originally bred for: Bull-baiting

  • Size: Medium

  • Maintenance: Moderate (regular cleaning of facial folds is a must)

  • Ideal for: Owners looking for a laid-back companion with a mind of its own

Bulldogs are the epitome of a stubborn breed, often choosing leisure over obedience. While their laid-back nature makes them excellent companions for less active households, their stubborn streak can prove challenging during training sessions. They're best suited for owners who can appreciate their unique personalities and are patient with their training needs.

Shiba Inu

A cheerful Shiba Inu dog with a bright orange and white coat sitting with a playful, twisted posture. The dog has a wide, open-mouthed smile and is looking slightly to the side, set against a clean white background.

  • Stubbornness Level: High

  • Originally bred for: Hunting

  • Size: Small to medium

  • Maintenance: Moderate (seasonal shedding requires regular grooming)

  • Ideal for: Experienced dog owners who enjoy a challenge

Shiba Inus are known for their bold and fiery personalities, often accompanied by a stubborn streak that can make training a test of wills. They're fiercely independent and intelligent, qualities that require consistent, patient training techniques. Perfect for those who admire their unique blend of loyalty and independence (they're not called the most cat-like of dog breeds for no reason).

Jack Russell Terrier

A Jack Russell Terrier on a leash joyfully running alongside its owner, who is partially visible to the left wearing black leggings and blue running shoes. The setting is a lush green park path.

  • Stubbornness Level: Very High

  • Originally bred for: Fox hunting

  • Size: Small

  • Maintenance: Low (minimal grooming needs)

  • Ideal for: Active individuals looking for a spirited and challenging companion

Don't let their size fool you; Jack Russell Terriers are bursting with energy and have a stubborn streak to match—part of the reason why they've made it onto our roundup of the best hiking dogs. Their intelligence and liveliness make them the perfect companion for athletic activities, but their determination can often lead to selective listening, especially if something more exciting catches their eye. When in doubt, leash up.

Chihuahua

A small tan and white Chihuahua with large ears and expressive eyes, sitting on a neutral beige background, looking slightly to the side with a head tilt.

  • Stubbornness Level: High

  • Originally bred for: Companionship

  • Size: Tiny

  • Maintenance: Low to moderate (depends on the coat type)

  • Ideal for: Owners looking for a small dog with a big personality

Chihuahuas may be small, but their personalities are gigantic. Known for their loyalty and strong-willed nature, they can be surprisingly stubborn, often believing they're the alpha in the household (read: quite barky). This breed requires a firm, gentle hand in training and thrives in environments where they can be the center of attention.

Siberian Husky

Close-up of a Siberian Husky with striking blue and brown eyes and a black, white, and grey coat, looking directly at the camera against a light beige background.

  • Stubbornness Level: High

  • Originally bred for: Pulling sleds

  • Size: Medium to large

  • Maintenance: High (frequent brushing, especially during shedding seasons)

  • Ideal for: Active individuals or families who appreciate a strong-minded and adventurous companion

Siberian huskies are not just known for their stunning looks and energy but also for their independence and stubbornness. The first huskies were bred to make independent decisions in the frigid Siberian wilderness, so their modern-day descendants aren't always eager to follow commands on the first (or second) try. But Siberian Huskies are ideal for those who love outdoor adventures and have the patience and energy for proper training.

Dachshund

A guilty-looking black and tan Dachshund puppy sitting amidst a mess of shredded white paper and a torn blue and white stuffed toy on a beige couch, with a piece of paper on its nose.

  • Stubbornness Level: High

  • Originally bred for: Hunting badgers

  • Size: Small

  • Maintenance: Low to moderate (depending on the coat type)

  • Ideal for: Those looking for a fearless companion with a stubborn streak

Dachshunds are brave and bold, often showing no fear despite their small size. This courage, combined with a strong sense of independence, can make them quite stubborn when it comes to training or obeying commands. They're best suited for owners who can match their determination with patience and consistency.

Beagle

A close-up of a Beagle with soulful brown eyes and a classic tri-color coat, looking pensively at the camera with a slight head tilt, set against a white background.

  • Stubbornness Level: High

  • Originally bred for: Hunting hare

  • Size: Small to medium

  • Maintenance: Low (easy grooming; occasional brushing is sufficient)

  • Ideal for: Families or individuals who enjoy the outdoors and can handle a dog with a mind of its own

Beagles are friendly, curious, and have a nose that always knows—often leading them on adventures that ignore recall commands. Fortunately, their stubbornness is matched by their charm. They're a beloved breed for owners who appreciate their independence and can provide patient, creative training.

Rottweiler

A full-body portrait of a Rottweiler standing proudly, with a shiny black and tan coat, its tongue out in a happy expression, looking to the side on a light beige background.

  • Stubbornness Level: High

  • Originally bred for: Herding livestock and guarding

  • Size: Large

  • Maintenance: Low (occasional brushing is sufficient)

  • Ideal for: Experienced dog owners looking for a loyal and protective companion

Rottweilers are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and protective instincts, qualities that can sometimes manifest as stubbornness, especially if they're not convinced of the reason behind a command. They thrive under consistent, firm training from an owner who respects their intelligence and strength. Ideal for those looking for a steadfast companion who's always ready to stand by their side.

Airedale Terrier

  • Stubbornness Level: High

  • Originally bred for: Hunting and farm work

  • Size: Medium to large

  • Maintenance: Moderate (requires regular grooming to maintain their wiry coat)

  • Ideal for: Active families or individuals who enjoy a spirited and independent dog

Airedale Terriers, the largest of the terrier breeds, are renowned for their intelligence, independence, and, yes, a notable stubborn streak. They're versatile dogs, excelling in various dog sports, but they require engaging training sessions to overcome their inclination to make their own decisions. Perfect for those who appreciate a dog with a zest for life and a (sometimes wayward) personality to match.

Adopting a stubborn mixed breed

A young girl with a yellow headband and blue sweater is sitting and lovingly hugging a brown puppy, looking thoughtfully to the side. They're in a wooden shelter with sunlight filtering through, creating a warm, serene atmosphere.

Mixed breeds bring a kaleidoscope of characteristics to the table, often inheriting the stubborn streaks of their purebred ancestors along with a mix of other endearing qualities (qualities which may make them more trainable).

Adopting from a shelter not only gives you the opportunity to bring home a dog with a blend of traits tailored to your lifestyle but also offers a chance to make a profound difference in the life of a dog in need.

The takeaway

Whether you choose a purebred with a known stubborn streak or opt for the adventure of bringing home a mixed breed, the key to a successful partnership lies in mutual respect, patience, and understanding.

Remember, every dog, regardless of breed or mix, has the potential to become a loving and loyal companion—it's all about finding the right match for your lifestyle and embracing the journey with an open heart.

And while you're on the (sometimes bumpy) journey of dog ownership, a great dog insurance policy can help reimburse you for unexpected accidents and illnesses.*

*pre-existing conditions excluded. See your policy for details.


Leanna Zeibak
Content Manager

Leanna Zeibak is a Content Manager at ManyPets. In her spare time, she paints pet portraits and bakes far too many chocolate chip cookies.