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9 High Maintenance Dog Breeds

We asked trainers, day cares, vet clinics, and groomers which dogs require the most maintenance from the owners.

High maintenance = dogs that require the most amount of time, training, grooming, and care from their owners.

Working, herding, and arctic breeds were consistently at the top of the list. Along with a few other dogs that may surprise you.

If you’re thinking of adopting a dog, or you’re a first time owner, take heed of this list. Or check out the list of low maintenance dogs for the first time owner.

Why are these dogs high maintenance?

  • Excessive energy
  • Destructive when bored
  • Stubborn / Difficult to train
  • Lots of shedding or grooming involved

1. German Shepherd

Black and Cream German Shepherd

The German Shepherd can be easy to care for in some instances (obedience, training, walking), however they are high maintenance in other regards.

First off, shedding. This is a double coated breed with a thick coat. You can expect to be brushing this dog weekly to have some semblance of control over shedding.

Secondly, these are very intelligent and driven dogs. Without proper exercise, socialization, and training they can quickly overwhelm you.

Lastly, despite being fearless the outside, German Shepherds can be quite emotional. They’re prone to anxiety while left alone or being in uncomfortable situations. Training and socialization can help keep them calm and content.

2. Dutch Shepherd

standing Dutch Shepherd

You may not have heard of the Dutch Shepherd before.

This is a highly athletic herding dog that takes their job seriously. Excellent for livestock workers, not great for city home owners.

If you were to combine the temperament of a German Shepherd and mix it with the intelligence and energy of a Border Collie – you’d get a Dutch Shepherd.

They’re designed to run all day and remain alert to their surroundings. They’re incredibility intelligent and quick learners. But they come with a high list of demands that the average owner would find challenging.

3. Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois at the park

Like most of the dogs on this list, the Belgian Malinois is a working breed. But with a level of intensity unseen by other dogs.

These are muscular dogs with a sole desire to work for their human.

It’s not uncommon to the Belgian Malinois work in military or police outfits. Without a job, things can get out of hand.

Daily strenuous exercise and mental stimulation are required. Otherwise your Belgian will occupy their time by running, barking, digging, and destroying your home.

4. Husky

Arctic breeds, like the Husky, are common among high maintenance dogs.

They’re a working breed meant to pull sleds in snowy conditions. Therefore, they have a lot of energy, shed like crazy, and will pull you everywhere.

What’s more is the Husky is very talkative. They’ll howl and bark whenever they’re upset about something. Or simply to pass the time.

5. Malamute


Like the Husky, the Malamute is also an arctic breed meant for pulling heavy loads through the snow. Malamutes just have a lot more muscle and are a lot more stubborn.

Unfortunately, Malamutes are ​often re-homed or end up at adoption shelters simply because most families cannot handle this dog.

They often require strong and patient leadership, or they’ll take the role for themselves.

6. Australian Shepherd

australian shepherd

Aussies are the life of the party – they’re always ready for a good time. Whether it’s running, chasing, or playing fetch, they’re always ready to go. Which may be a problem.

If you’re unable to accommodate their active lifestyle, they’ll find other means to pass the time. That usually means running through the house, barking, chewing, and general destruction.

Not to mention their coat. Aussies coats are thick and require plenty of grooming and maintenance.

7. Border Collie


Amazing if you live out on an acreage or farm. Destructive if you live in an urban home. That’s the shortest way to put it.

These dogs are brilliant. Their intelligence combined with their seemingly endless energy and loyalty, and you now have a super athlete. It’s no wonder they excel at agility and herding competitions.

These dogs have such a strong working drive that they’ll run until their paws bleed (if you don’t monitor them). They’ll attempt to herd children or other pets. And chase anything that looks interesting.

If you don’t keep their active minds occupied, they’ll resort to being destructive and overly needy.

8. Beagle


The Beagle can be a low maintenance dog. However, it depends on a few things. Namely, do you have the patience to get past the early training stage?

Beagles have a tendency to dig, bark, and chew for the first years of their life. And it’s a big reason Beagles are re-homed.

They have a very loud and incessant bark. And they shed a lot for a small dog.

If you can get past the early hurdles, then you’ll have an amazing companion with a big heart.

9. Jack Russel Terrier

The Jack Russel were originally bred to hunt foxes, and that drive is still hard-wired into them.

They’re independent and energetic. Not to mention, they needed to use speed and wit to outsmart the clever fox.

As an owner, you’ll need to give them time, energy, and training to keep them content (and from destorying your home).

Why isn’t Chow Chow on this list?


You may have seen the Chow Chow featured on plenty of other high maintenance lists. I disagree. I think the Chow Chow is one of the easiest dogs to care for, despite being very challenging. Let me explain.

The Chow Chow is more like a cat. They’re independent and would rather spend their time just quietly sitting in the presence of their owner. And they certainly have no issue with being alone.

They look cute, cuddly, and just like a teddy bear. But that’s where the cuteness ends. Chow Chows are a proud breed that is fiercely loyal to their owner. They’ll often be unkind towards strangers and other pets.

While this is considered one of the most difficult dogs to train, they also require very little input from humans. Therefore, they don’t make this list.

About Working and Herding Breeds

Working dogs are excellent companions, but require a job. Their sole desire to work may be too much to handle for the average owner.

If you have a working breed you’ll need to get them a daily outlet.

Strenuous daily exercise and mental stimulation keeps them content. But you can combine the two for even greater effect.

Games like agility, fetch, or nose work are great for tiring them out while keeping them happy.

Photo of author

Liam J. Barnes

Liam is a dog trainer, owner, and lover with over 20 years experience. You can find him working with vet clinics, grooming facilities, training centres, and food/toy brands in order to grow their business. His passion for dogs and business make him uniquely suited to help move the world forward with canines and humans.

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