No doubt this is a topic that’s open to huge debate, but here’s a round-up of the top 10 dog breeds that make most of the high-maintenance lists most of the time.
While the reasons range from frequent grooming needs to high levels of energy, to soaring health costs and the need for constant attention, this is worth a read before you open up your heart and home (and wallet) to a dog. See if your current or future companions are on the list!
1. Australian Shepherd – Smart, focused, and highly energetic, the Australian Shepherd runs on extra-strength long-lasting batteries. Always up for a walk, a hike, a good chase or fetch, he’ll keep you going long after you’re ready to call it a day. Regular vigourous activity and creativity with tasks, training, and games to keep him occupied are the keys to keeping this breed happy.
2. Poodle – Grooming alert! Poodles do shed and they’re not hypoallergenic as we’re often told. That curly coat needs regular brushing to keep the loose hairs from getting stuck in the coat and causing mats. Even if you’re not taking the show poodle route with the hair designs and poufs, show ribbons and bows, you’ll need a standing appointment with the groomer every six to eight weeks to keep that coat in good shape.
3. German Shepherd – This breed has a slew of issues unique unto them. Health-wise, this breed is particularly prone to perianal fistulas, immuno- and pancreatic deficiencies, bacterial skin infections, pannus, degenerative myelopathy, and hip dysplasia. Behaviourally, they can get territorial and emotionally attached to their owners. More wary of strangers (human and canine), than other breeds, Shepherds are fiercely loyal to their owners, highly obedient, and eager to have a purpose.
4. Labrador Retriever – Marley anyone? Highly driven by their need to expel energy, Labs need teaching and activity to keep their boredom at bay and your house and belongings intact. Health-wise, this breed can be prone to weight gain (they like to eat!), dysplasia in the major joints (elbows, hips, knees) and can come with, or develop, a slew of seasonal and food allergies over their lifetime. But tolerant, gentle, and goofy, they’re highly trainable and typically at ease around new people and dogs, as well as active young children and the elderly.
5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – Cavaliers require a lot of human interaction. They were bred to be companion dogs, so expect a shadow if you bring this breed home with you. This breed is ideally suited to those who work from or spend much of their time at home.
6. Border Collie – Highly athletic and energetic, these dogs are limber and acrobatic, frequently competing in dog sports and trials to great success. Border collies are often proclaimed as the most intelligent of all dog breeds, learning words and commands that put their canine counterparts to shame. So, physical and mental stimulation are crucial for this breed. Also, watch for herding tendencies – this breed gets focused and can be motion-sensitive leading to bike- and car-chasing as well as herding cats, children, and other dogs.
7. English Bulldog – Generally docile, bulldogs don’t typically require a lot of exercise and are often described as friendly and patient. But joint, respiratory, and skin issues all plague this breed and hip dysplasia is higher in this breed than in any other.
8. Cocker Spaniel – Not well suited to being left alone, Cockers can develop severe separation anxiety which manifests as barking, whining, and destruction. The floppy ears can lead to ear infections, so keeping an eye out is a must and cleaning, usually weekly, is best. Cockers’ coats need brushing, trimming, and bathing to keep them looking their best. Many owners keep a standing grooming appointment for their Cocker Spaniel about every four to six weeks.
9. Boxer – Wonderfully active and happy, Boxers are unfortunately prone to developing tumours, both benign and malignant throughout the course of their lifetime. They’re also at risk for various heart conditions, hip dysplasia, thyroid and eye issues, epilepsy, intestinal issues like colitis and bloat, and allergies. So, be prepared to save for vet visits.
10. Jack Russell Terrier – Activity central. Jack Russells bark, dig, bury things, run, jump, the list goes on. But as with most breeds, with proper training, plenty of exercise, and a consistent schedule, the Jack Russell can just plain be a lot of fun to have around! As a breed, they’re also relatively free of health-related complaints and concerns.
What do you think?
Is your dog on the list? Tell us about him or her!