Shelter Dog Meal Donation Count:

Learn More

12 Intelligent (But Stubborn!) Dog Breeds

Written by: Ejay Camposano
A college graduate with a degree in Electrical Engineering, Ejay has a diverse background that combines technical expertise with a passion for pets and is now one of the content writers at IHD. Read more
| Published on June 7, 2024

Dogs are often admired for their intelligence and ability to learn new tasks, but intelligence can sometimes come with a stubborn streak. Certain breeds are known not only for their sharp minds but also for their independent and headstrong nature. These dogs can be more challenging to train due to their strong will, but their cleverness and unique personalities make them fascinating companions. This article explores 12 intelligent but stubborn dog breeds, highlighting what makes each breed particularly smart yet willful. From well-known breeds to lesser-known gems, these dogs exemplify the balance between intelligence and independence.

12. Afghan Hound

Afghan Hounds are known for their elegant appearance and aloof demeanor, but they are also incredibly intelligent and independent. Originally bred for hunting in the rugged terrain of Afghanistan, these dogs are highly alert and capable of making their own decisions. Their intelligence means they can quickly learn commands, but their independent nature often leads to stubbornness. Afghan Hounds are known to be selective listeners, obeying commands when they feel like it. Training an Afghan Hound requires patience and consistency, as traditional training methods do not easily motivate them. Despite their stubbornness, their unique personality and loyalty make them cherished companions for those who appreciate their regal and independent spirit.

11. Basenji

Basenjis, often called the “barkless dogs,” are known for their intelligence and independence. These small to medium-sized dogs are incredibly curious and desire to explore their surroundings. Basenjis are highly intelligent and can learn commands quickly, but their independent nature makes them prone to stubbornness. They have a mind of their own and are not easily motivated by traditional training methods. Basenjis are also known for their high energy levels and need for mental stimulation, which can sometimes lead to mischievous behavior if they become bored. Despite their stubborn streak, Basenjis are affectionate and loyal to their families, making them endearing companions for those who can appreciate their unique personalities.

10. Shiba Inu

Shiba Inus are small to medium-sized dogs known for their spirited and independent nature. These dogs are incredibly alert and can be very cautious around new people and environments. Shiba Inus are very intelligent and can learn commands quickly, but their natural suspicion of strangers and independent streak can make them stubborn. They quickly react to perceived threats and can be vocal in their warnings. Shiba Inus are also known for their intelligence and can be very trainable, but their independent nature means they need a firm and consistent hand. Despite their stubbornness, their blend of affection and wariness makes them both endearing and watchful companions.

9. Dachshund

Dachshunds are small but bold dogs known for their distinctive long bodies and lively personalities. Originally bred for hunting, Dachshunds have a strong sense of alertness and can be suspicious of strangers. They are loyal and affectionate with their families, often forming strong bonds with their owners. However, their natural wariness can sometimes lead to nervous behavior, especially around new people or environments. Dachshunds are also known for their loud and persistent bark, which they use to alert their owners to potential threats. Their combination of affection and vigilance makes them both endearing and protective companions.

8. Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terriers are small dogs with a big personality and an incredible sense of alertness. Bred for hunting, these dogs are naturally vigilant and can be very suspicious of strangers. Jack Russells are loyal and affectionate with their families, often forming strong bonds with their owners. Their high energy levels and intelligence mean they are always looking for something to investigate, which can sometimes lead to nervous or anxious behavior. They are quick to bark at perceived threats, making them excellent watchdogs. Despite their sometimes-paranoid tendencies, their playful and loving nature makes them delightful companions for active families.

7. Scottish Terrier

Scottish Terriers, or Scotties, are small dogs known for their distinctive beard, eyebrows, and independent nature. These dogs are highly intelligent and were originally bred for hunting and digging. Scotties are quick learners but have a strong-willed and stubborn streak. They often prefer to do things their own way and can be resistant to traditional training methods. Scottish Terriers are also very loyal and form strong bonds with their families, making them excellent companions despite their stubbornness. Their intelligence and determination make them both a challenge and a joy to train, requiring patience and creativity from their owners.

6. Beagle

Beagles are small hounds known for their friendly and outgoing nature but also have a stubborn streak. These dogs are incredibly social and get along well with people, children, and other animals. Originally bred for hunting, Beagles have a keen sense of smell and are always eager to explore their surroundings. Their intelligence makes them quick learners, but their strong sense of smell can lead them to be distracted and stubborn during training sessions. Beagles require patience and consistency in training, as they are easily tempted by scents and food. Despite their stubbornness, their affectionate and playful nature makes them excellent family pets.

5. Akita

Akitas are large, powerful dogs known for their strength, loyalty, and independence. These dogs were originally bred for hunting and guarding in Japan and possess a strong-willed nature. Akitas are incredibly intelligent and can learn commands quickly, but their independent streak often leads to stubbornness. They are not easily motivated by traditional training methods and require a firm and consistent hand. Akitas are also very loyal and protective of their families, making them excellent guardians despite their stubbornness. Their intelligence and independence make them both a challenge and a rewarding companion for experienced dog owners.

4. Siberian Husky

Siberian Huskies are known for their striking appearance and high energy levels but are also incredibly intelligent and stubborn. Originally bred for pulling sleds in harsh Arctic conditions, Huskies are strong, independent, and highly active. Their intelligence makes them quick learners, but their independence often leads to stubbornness. Huskies are known for their escape artist tendencies and can be quite challenging to train, as they are easily bored and require constant mental and physical stimulation. Despite their stubbornness, their friendly and outgoing nature makes them excellent companions for active individuals and families who can provide the necessary exercise and engagement.

3. Border Collie

Border Collies are often regarded as one of the most intelligent dog breeds, known for their incredible work ethic and dedication. Originally bred for herding sheep, Border Collies have a natural instinct to quickly observe and respond to their environment and commands. Their high energy levels and eagerness to work make them exceptionally responsive to training and capable of performing complex tasks. Border Collies thrive in environments where they have jobs and are frequently used in competitive sports such as agility, obedience, and herding trials. Their unparalleled attentiveness and intelligence make them ideal for various roles, including search and rescue operations and therapy work. However, their intelligence also means they can be quite stubborn and willful, requiring patience and consistency from their handlers. The Border Collie’s dedication to their tasks and their strong bond with their handlers exemplify their dutiful nature, despite their occasional stubborn streak.

2. Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dogs are known for their high energy levels, intelligence, and strong work ethic. Bred for herding cattle, these dogs are incredibly alert and capable of making quick decisions. Their intelligence means they can learn commands rapidly, but their independent and headstrong nature can lead to stubbornness. Australian Cattle Dogs require a firm and consistent hand in training and plenty of mental and physical stimulation to keep them engaged. Despite their stubborn streak, their loyalty and dedication to their tasks make them excellent working dogs and companions for active owners who can meet their needs.

1. Chow Chow

Chow Chows are medium to large-sized dogs known for their lion-like mane and independent nature. These dogs are incredibly intelligent and stubborn, often preferring to do things their way. Chow Chows are known for their aloof demeanor and can be quite reserved around strangers. Their intelligence makes them quick learners, but their strong-willed nature requires a firm and consistent hand in training. Chow Chows are also very loyal to their families and can be protective, making them excellent guardians. Despite their stubbornness, their unique appearance and regal demeanor make them fascinating companions for those who appreciate their independence and intelligence.

In the realm of canine companionship, these twelve breeds stand out for their exceptional blend of intelligence and stubbornness. Their keen minds and independent spirits make them both a challenge and a joy to train, requiring patience, consistency, and creativity from their owners. Despite their sometimes headstrong nature, their loyalty, affection, and unique personalities make them remarkable companions.