10 Most High-Maintenance Dog Breeds You Should Know

High Maintenance Dog Breeds

America’s love for dogs is undeniable! These furry friends enrich our lives as loyal companions, hardworking coworkers, and cherished members of our families. Every dog, from the tiny lapdog to the most robust working breed, brings joy, laughter, and sometimes a little chaos into our homes.

Caring for a dog goes beyond the basics of feeding and walking. Puppies require patience and training to grow into well-mannered adults, while high-energy breeds need plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy. And yes, owning a dog means vet visits, grooming appointments, and unexpected expenses, but the unconditional love they offer in return makes every effort worth it!

A survey by OnePoll revealed that 67% of American pet parents put their pets’ needs before their own, highlighting the deep bond between dogs and their owners.

Our guide to the most high-maintenance dog breeds shines a light on those pups that might need a little extra care, training, or exercise than others. Yet, every single one remains irresistibly lovable, proving that the most rewarding relationships might just require a bit more work.

High Maintenance Dog Breeds

1. Belgian Malinois

high maintenance dog breeds

The Belgian Malinois is a medium-sized dog known for its intelligence, loyalty, and playful nature. These dogs make wonderful companions for active owners who enjoy spending quality time with their pets.

However, the Belgian Malinois is considered a high-maintenance dog breed because they need lots of attention every day without fail. They love being active outdoors and do really well with intense training sessions. This breed has a strong instinct to protect and defend, which is why they’re often chosen for military and police work.

Since Malinois are naturally protective, it’s important to train and socialize them from a young age. This breed’s high energy level can be challenging for owners who aren’t as active, as they need lots of daily exercise to stay happy and healthy. Their smart nature means they can get bored easily, and they might start chewing or biting things they shouldn’t. This tendency to bite makes them less suitable for families with young children, though they’re excellent as guard dogs.

On the bright side, Belgian Malinois are generally healthy dogs. PetMD says that issues like hip and elbow dysplasia can occur, especially in very active dogs, but these are mainly due to genetics. Watching their weight and diet can help manage these risks.

2. Afghan Hound 

high maintenance dogs

The Afghan Hound is often seen as the aristocrat of the dog world, embodying dignity and an air of aloofness. Though they are labeled as high-maintenance, Afghan Hounds possess a playful and almost comedic side. They enjoy fun and games yet maintain a reserved demeanor, especially around new faces.

Their independence and sensitivity mean they’re not the most outwardly affectionate dogs, and they’ve been known to express boredom or loneliness through a bit of household mischief. Smart and quick learners, Afghan Hounds require an environment that keeps their keen minds engaged.

Grooming is a significant part of caring for an Afghan Hound. Their luxurious long coats demand daily brushing to avoid mats and knots, and a bath is a must before each grooming session. For show dogs, this routine intensifies to baths twice weekly, followed by blow-drying and meticulous brushing.

Grooming Mistakes for High Maintenance Dogs

Physical exercise is as important as mental stimulation for Afghan Hounds. They relish quick sprints and the joy of zooming around open spaces. Prospective owners should be aware of health issues like hip dysplasia, juvenile cataracts, and autoimmune thyroiditis, emphasizing the importance of choosing a reputable breeder.

3. French Bulldog

are french bulldogs high maintenance

French Bulldogs, affectionately known as Frenchies, are celebrated for their intelligence, sociability, and unique snorts. Their popularity has soared, particularly among urban residents, thanks to their delightful personalities, attractive appearance, and suitability for apartment living. Their compact size, minimal exercise requirements, and quiet demeanor make them ideal companions for city life, often seen enjoying a leisurely walk or relaxing at sidewalk cafes.

However, owning a Frenchie comes with a significant financial commitment. They are among the priciest dog breeds to purchase and maintain. Despite their playful nature, French Bulldogs face many health challenges, necessitating a loving and attentive home to care for them. While they are relatively low maintenance in terms of exercise, their need for human interaction is high, stemming from their origins as companion dogs.

The financial implications of owning a French Bulldog extend beyond their initial cost. Their distinct physical traits, such as a short neck, brachycephalic face, and small stature, contribute to higher insurance costs. Owners must be proactive in managing their health, including regular vet check-ups, keeping their skin folds clean to prevent infections, and being cautious about heat exposure.

4. Siberian Husky

what is the most high maintenance dog

The Siberian Husky, a medium-sized, energetic sled dog from the Spitz family, is celebrated for its striking appearance, marked by unique patterns, upright triangular ears, and a lush double coat. This breed thrives on social interaction, embodying loyalty and a strong pack mentality. Huskies are known for their vocalizations, including howls and whimpers, which are their way of “talking” with their human family.

Their friendly disposition and lack of aggression make them great companions for families with children. However, Huskies cherish their independence and have a strong instinct to explore, often leading them to attempt escapes if they’re not securely contained. Thus, a secure, high-fenced environment is essential for keeping them safe.

Prepare for a home filled with fur, as Huskies shed heavily, especially during seasonal changes. They also require regular, vigorous exercise to manage their abundant energy. Huskies are generally healthy, but they can be prone to certain health issues. These include eye conditions like cataracts, corneal dystrophy, and progressive retinal atrophy. Responsible breeders screen for these to minimize their occurrence in future generations. Huskies may also experience Von Willebrand’s Disease and hip dysplasia.

Unique to Huskies is a tendency towards zinc deficiency, necessitating dietary supplements for some. Owning a Siberian Husky is a rewarding experience that demands attention to their physical and health needs, ensuring a happy and fulfilling life for this majestic breed.

5. Beagle 

high-maintenance dogs

Beagles, with their compact size, easy-care coat, and friendly nature, are often seen as ideal family pets. Their soulful eyes can melt hearts, making them a favorite choice for many. Originally bred for hunting, Beagles possess a high energy level and require more exercise than they often receive, leading to the common sight of overweight Beagles.

These dogs are perfect for active families or individuals who can provide them with the physical activity and engagement they crave. However, their strong instinct to follow scents can lead them into trouble, meaning they should not be left outside unsupervised. Their tendency to wander, combined with skills in climbing and digging, makes them talented escape artists, potentially leading to issues if left in a yard without adequate fencing.

Beagles are not the easiest breed to train, as their independent nature and desire for food can complicate training efforts. They may be slow to housebreak and can be stubborn about learning new commands. Despite these challenges, food can be a powerful training aid, although it’s important to manage treats to avoid weight gain.

Despite their short hair, Beagles shed considerably and have a noticeable doggy smell, characteristics potential owners should be prepared for. Additionally, while Beagles are generally healthy, they are susceptible to a variety of health issues that require attentive care from their owners.

6. Akita

pets with high needs

The Akita, originating from the northern mountains of Japan, is a distinguished and large breed known for its loyalty, protective nature, and guarding capabilities. These dogs thrive when they receive early socialization and training, becoming fearless, alert, and devoted protectors of their families.

Akitas require daily long walks and a substantial amount of food to maintain their health and energy levels. Training and socializing Akita from a young age is crucial for ensuring they can coexist peacefully with humans and other animals. They tend to be wary around strangers and may not get along well with other pets, making them a better fit for larger families rather than small households.

Adopting an Akita means committing to understanding their unique temperament and dedicating time to their training, helping them become an integral part of the family. Despite their protective and somewhat introverted nature, Akitas are deeply affectionate towards their loved ones but remain vigilant guardians of their home.

Akitas are heavy shedders, so be prepared for a house filled with fur and allocate time for grooming, although they are surprisingly self-maintaining in terms of cleanliness. A well-balanced diet appropriate for their age and activity level is essential. A few genetic disorders are also common due to their size, making weight and diet management crucial. Immune system and skin disorders are additional concerns that require veterinary attention.

7. Pekingese

which dogs need the most exercise

The Pekingese, a toy breed esteemed for its historical significance in ancient China, is often chosen by those seeking a noble and affectionate companion. Despite their small size and fluffy appearance, Pekingese are surprisingly dense and muscular beneath their fur.

This breed’s majestic lion-like mane is not just for show; it adds to their regal demeanor, demanding regular grooming to maintain its splendor. The Pekingese are known for their independent streak, which can make training a challenge, requiring patience and consistency from their owners.

Their appetite for food is notable, and without proper exercise, they are prone to gaining weight, which can exacerbate health issues inherent to the breed. Pekingese may face hereditary health challenges, including eye or heart conditions and breathing difficulties related to their distinctive flat faces.

Despite their stubborn nature, Pekingese develop deep, loving bonds with their owners, striking a balance between loyalty and independence. This combination of traits makes them an appealing choice for a first-time dog owner looking for a devoted yet self-assured companion.

8. Chow Chow

are chow chow high maintenance

The Chow Chow, hailing from northern China, is a distinctive spitz breed known for its appearance and unique personality. With a robust build, a square head, and small, triangular ears, this breed carries a noble stature. The Chow Chow’s double coat, which can be either smooth or rough, adds to its majestic look, requiring regular grooming to maintain its dense fur.

Often described as the “cats of the dog world,” Chow Chows possess a reserved and somewhat aloof demeanor. They tend to be shy around strangers and may show aggression towards other dogs, underscoring the importance of early socialization with people and other pets. Despite their reserve, once comfortable in their home environment, they display unwavering loyalty to their family.

Chow Chows might suit older families better due to their less playful and patient nature, making them less ideal for households with young children or those seeking a cuddly companion for the sofa. AKC warns that their strong-willed and sometimes stubborn character can pose challenges, especially for first-time dog owners.

Health-wise, Chow Chows are prone to a variety of issues. They often develop allergies that can lead to itchy skin, particularly around their paws, muzzle, skin folds, and ears. Regular veterinary care is essential to manage these conditions.

9. Jack Russell Terrier

most hyperactive dog breeds

Jack Russell Terriers pack a big personality into a small package, embodying a vibrant and joyful spirit. Originating from England around 300 years ago for fox hunting, their boundless energy and agility might challenge even the most active owners.

These terriers are the epitome of loyalty, always eager to make new human friends. Their innate desire to work, combined with their vocal nature, makes them excellent watchdogs. True to their hunting heritage, Jack Russells have a penchant for digging.

As quintessential terriers, Jack Russells possess an unstoppable zest for life, curiosity, and a love for exploration. They are the ideal match for active individuals who are constantly ready for adventure and play. However, those seeking a quiet lap dog breed may find Jack Russells more than they bargained for. Their strong will requires a confident owner who can establish leadership, making them less suited for first-time pet owners.

Despite their energy, Jack Russell Terriers can adapt well to apartment living, provided they receive adequate exercise and mental stimulation.

10. Hungarian Kuvasz

high maintenance animals

The Kuvasz, a majestic breed known for its formidable protection abilities, can confront threats as severe as mountain lions, making it a breed admired for its courage. However, their protective nature can sometimes manifest as aggression, making them less ideal for typical family settings. Without sufficient interaction or mental engagement, Kuvaszok may resort to undesirable behaviors such as excessive barking and digging.

Managing a Kuvasz requires a careful balance—ensuring their exercise and enrichment needs are met without compromising the safety of both the dog and those around it. This task is substantial, demanding more than just casual ownership, and is not recommended for those with a less secluded lifestyle.

The Kuvasz shares this demanding nature with other guardian breeds, originally bred for remote livestock or property protection, necessitating their ability to independently discern and deal with perceived threats.

As large, active working dogs, Kuvaszok need regular exercise to maintain their health and fitness, with a securely fenced yard being almost a necessity. Training a Kuvasz can be challenging, emphasizing the need for an owner with considerable experience in dog handling. These dogs are remarkably in tune with feedback, responding best to positive reinforcement and gentle guidance, as harsh training methods will not yield the desired results.

Conclusion 

As you’ve noted, most high-maintenance dogs require attentive care, exercise, and mental stimulation. Breeds like the Border Collie, Australian Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, and German Shorthaired Pointer exemplify high-maintenance dog breeds that thrive with active engagement and participation in dog sports.

These breeds are known for their intelligence and energy, but this can also lead to challenges such as separation anxiety if their needs are not adequately met. Border Collies, in particular, stand out for their need for constant activity and mental engagement, making them one of the most high-maintenance breeds.

Prospective owners should be prepared for the commitment required to care for these energetic and intelligent dogs, ensuring a happy and healthy life for their furry companions.

Mahvash Kazmi
Mahvash Kazmi, with a rich academic background in English Literature and Journalism, is not just a master of words but also a passionate advocate for the voiceless. Her vast experience, from teaching to insightful content creation, is underpinned by a profound love for animals and an unwavering commitment to conservation. An ardent animal lover, she often finds solace in nature's tales and the gentle purrs of her beloved Persian cat, Gracie. Her dedication to the environment and the written word combine to create truly compelling writing. With a heart that beats for the wild and the written word, she crafts compelling stories on animal issues, urging readers to coalesce for a cause.

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