Dumbest dog breeds: What is the stupidest breed of dog?

There are a few front-runners in the race to be the dumbest dog, but how do you even define such a thing? What is the stupidest dog breed in the world, and why is it such a doofus?

There are many dumb dogs out there, but which one takes the stupid ticket?
There are many dumb dogs out there, but which one takes the stupid ticket?  © Unsplash / Arve Kern

Some doggos are truly a few beers short of a six-pack, and a couple of fries short of a happy meal, but which dog truly takes the ticket for being the dumbest? Is it the Afghan hound, famous for being brainless, or perhaps the humble bulldog? What about the Shih Tzu?

In this dog guide, TAG24 takes a look at the dumbest dog breed in canine companion history. Which dog breeds are more stupid than all the rest, and how can you even define such a thing?

What is the stupidest breed of dog in the world?

The stupidest dog breed in the world is also one of the cutest: the Afghan hound. Often badly behaved, unable to understand commands and rules, and not particularly deep thinkers, these doggos lack brain power but excel in stubbornness. In 1994, they won the title of dumbest dog in Professor Stanley Coren's book, The Intelligence of Dogs.

With a thick and silky coat, the Afghan hound was bred in the mountains of Afghanistan back in the 17th or 18th century. They generally weigh around 50 pounds and are a medium-sized pooch, with an average height of about 25 inches. They were commonly owned by aristocracy, and their looks speak to this.

Afghan hounds' stupidity is a little bit overblown, though, as it has earned this title due to its aloofness and inability to take on the lessons of its training. This doesn't necessarily mean that it is stupid. In a 2016 book on dog intelligence, animal behaviorist Frans de Waal even went so far as to say that Afghan hounds "are perhaps more like cats ... not beholden to anyone."

Ultimately, the way that we define "dumbness" in dogs is deeply flawed. Is a cat stupid because it isn't interested in what you have to say? Likely not, right? The Afghan hound might be the stupidest dog in the world, but is that really fair?

What are the dumbest dog breeds: Top 10

In Coren's definitive guide to dog dumbness that we previously mentioned, he did more than just define the number one stupidest dog breed. He also listed a bunch of other not-so-bright canines. With this ranking he determined which doggos follow the Afghan hound, producing a top ten stupidest dogs list that is much worth presenting you with!

Here are the top ten dumbest dog breeds in the world:

  • Basenji
  • Bulldog
  • Chow Chow
  • Borzoi
  • Bloodhound
  • Pekingese
  • Beagle
  • Mastiff
  • Basset Hound
  • Shih Tzu

Interestingly, Basenjis are not only the second-stupidest dog breed in the world, but also a hunting dog. They can be extraordinarily aggressive when left alone, destroying homes and ruining furniture. It does seem somewhat odd that a dog known to struggle with obedience is such a popular hunting dog!

The answer, though, isn't that difficult to understand. While Basenjis are extraordinarily stupid and incredibly hard to train (leading to misbehavior and aggression), they are also remarkably courageous and adaptable. In a way, hunting isn't solely about smarts, is it? It's also about physical prowess and a lot of persistence...

Afghan hounds really are unparalleled in terms of lack of trainability.
Afghan hounds really are unparalleled in terms of lack of trainability.  © Mladen Šćekić / Unsplash

How is the dumbest dog breed determined?

So how do we actually define dog stupidity? Well, we generally measure a dog's smartness based on "working intelligence," not knowledge. Dogs don't know a lot, but can be trained and given tasks. As we established in our article on the smartest dog breeds in the world, this is the metric by which we generally measure whether a dog is smart or dumb.

There are a number of questions to help you understand how dog intelligence is measured. They go something like this: How easily do they learn commands? Are they capable of following instructions and completing complex tasks? Are they obedient? How emotionally intelligent are they?

Of course, this isn't a complete list of queries, but will hopefully drill home the fact that dog intelligence is more about their ability to be trained than their raw knowledge. An Afghan hound is defined as stupid, for better or for worse, because it is extremely hard to train and has limited "working intelligence."

Are dogs stupid?

Whether your darling doggo is intelligent or not, it always has the potential to dump the dumb. It is extremely important to train your dog from a very young age, keep it mentally active through things like puzzle games, and give it every possible chance to get ahead in life.

Research from Exeter University, which reviewed 300 studies on dog intelligence, found in 2018 that there's no evidence to suggest that dogs are particularly smart. Indeed, most dogs sit at around the same level of intelligence as most other animals.

In other words, dogs are not particularly smart nor are they particularly stupid. They can, however, become quite stubborn if they aren't trained, so show them some love and get those brain games going!

Cover photo: Unsplash / Arve Kern

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