A Guide To Dumb Dog Breeds: What is the Dumbest Dog?
Stacy Reed
Author: Stacy Reed
Stacy is a freelance writer who has always shared her life with dogs, especially German Shepherds.
Published date: September 25, 2021
Updated date: February 27, 2022
This article was reviewed and fact checked If you have found any errors, please contact us!

A Guide To Dumb Dog Breeds: What is the Dumbest Dog?

Dogs really are man’s best friend. They are loving, caring, and loyal to a fault. They make the best companions, and can be easily trained to provide support and care for those in need.

We know that dogs are smart, every dog breed that exists is smart. And yet, these lovable creatures can also be pretty dull at times. 

The whole ‘dumb dog’ phrase has become something of a trend in recent years, and this is mainly because of the dumb and funny faces that these beautiful animals can sometimes pull.

But the ‘dumb dog’ phrase isn’t something that is exclusive to dogs that pull funny faces.

Some dog breeds are well-renowned as some of the smartest creatures on the planet, such as shepherding breeds, including the Border Collie and German Shepherd dog.

But, if some dogs are considered the ‘smartest’ breeds, you might find yourself wondering what is the ‘dumbest’ breed. 

In this guide, we’ll be taking a look, and giving you a list of some of the dumbest dogs on the planet. These dogs might not be all that bright, but we love them anyway.

So, let’s take a look at some of the dumbest dog breeds on the planet. 


What Makes A Dog Dumb?

In human beings, there are lots of ways that we measure intelligence. We base it on examination results, performance in interviews and IQ tests. But, it is a lot more difficult to measure intelligence in dogs.

All dogs are smart, and there’s no denying that.

These creatures do not speak the same language as us, yet they are able to be trained, and they listen, even though they don’t really understand what you are saying.

So what determines the difference between an intelligent dog and a dumb dog?

The main thing that determines intelligence levels in dogs is actually a book that was published back in 1994.

In this book called ‘The Intelligence of Dogs’ leading psychologist, Stanley Coren, ranked more than 100 dog breeds based on their instinctive, adaptive, and working intelligence.

But what do these categories mean? 

This is what he based the criteria on: 

  • Instinctive Intelligence – The ability to perform well in performance tasks such as hunting and herding. 
  • Adaptive Intelligence – The ability to solve problems independently, and to learn from previous experiences. 
  • Working/Obedience Intelligence – The ability to learn commands that are taught to them by humans. 

To rank the dogs, Coren tested them on these three categories and then placed them into an order based on their overall performance.

The dogs that performed best across all categories were considered smart, while those who performed poorly were labelled as dumb.

In Coren’s top 5 smartest dogs, you would find the Border Collie, Poodle, German Shepherd Dog, Golden Retriever, and Doberman Pinscher. But what about the dumbest dogs?

Let’s take a look at these rankings, and why these dogs are considered to be ‘dumb’.

The ‘Dumbest’ Dogs And Why

There has been much debate, since this controversial book was published in 1994, about the accuracy of Coren’s testing.

As dog-owners, we love our pets, and it can be difficult to see someone labelling your dog as dumb.

But despite this controversy, no other research study has been done to replace this one, and so the dogs that Coren classified as ‘dumb’ are still seen as this.

So, let’s take a look at these breeds, and why they have been given this label. 


If you are the owner of a Bulldog, then you probably won’t be surprised to find them on the ‘dumbest’ dogs list.

While these breeds of dog are not ‘dumb’, and are actually very smart, they have one key personality characteristic that will work against them in Cohen’s tests, and that is stubbornness.

When it comes to dog breeds, Bulldogs are definitely one of the most stubborn, and because of this they often do not listen to commands.

So Bulldogs aren’t considered ‘dumb’ because they lack intelligence, they are on this list because of their bullheaded behavior. 


Hounds (Greyhounds, Afghan Hounds, Bloodhounds, etc.)

One of the other breed categories that makes up quite a lot of the breeds on the lower end of the 100 smartest dog breeds is the Hound.

If you ask the owner of any Sighthound, they will advocate heavily for their dog’s intelligence, and that is because these dogs are very smart.

But these dogs have a few personality traits that cause them to perform badly in Cohen’s tests, and that is stubbornness, independence, and the fact that they listen heavily to their noses. 


Another notable breed that is considered to be one of the ‘dumbest’ is the Beagle. This might come as a surprise to lots of people because Beagles are one of the most popular dog breeds that exist.

But Beagles have ended up on this list for the same reason as most hound dogs, and that is because they listen to their nose above everything else.

For this reason, these dogs are often stubborn, which is why they performed badly on Cohen’s tests. 

What is the Dumbest Dog

Basset Hounds 

Next, we have a breed that is often confused with the beagle, and that is the Basset Hound. Basset Hounds make wonderful pets, and they are very loving dogs. But, they are also very lazy.

When it comes to dog breeds, Basset Hounds are one of the most laid back dog breeds that exist, and because of this they often don’t listen to their owners.

However, these dogs can be easily trained because they are very food-motivated. They are by no means dull, but they are very lazy. 


In short, in this guide we have taken a look at what causes a dog to be considered ‘dumb’, and compiled a list of some of the ‘dumbest’ dog breeds on the planet.

As we have said, these dogs have not been considered ‘dumb’ because they lack intelligence, instead they have been categorized as this because they have personality characteristics that caused them to perform poorly in tests that were undertaken for a research study in the 1990s.

So, if your dog is on this list, don’t be offended because your dog isn’t dumb, they have simply made it onto this list because they are either lazy or stubborn.

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