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While all dogs are good dogs, some are better behaved than others.

Forbes Advisor decided to find the best and worst behaved dog breeds to help educate prospective owners on their furry friends. To do so, we surveyed 5,000 dog owners made up of 200 owners for each of the 25 most popular dog breeds, according to the American Kennel Club.

We ranked dog behavior in two categories: following commands and temperament.

Under the “following commands” category, we asked dog owners if and how often their dog barks at others, jumps up on people, begs for food, and how well they follow commands when off-leash in public.

Under the “temperament” category, we asked dog owners to rate their dog’s overall behavior, if/how often their dog tries to escape, if their dog’s health has ever been threatened due to its own behavior, and if they whine, destroy things or ingest foreign objects

Despite how well-behaved your dog may be, accidents can happen. It’s always a good idea to prepare for unexpected vet visits—and their subsequent costs— with pet insurance.

Key Takeaways:

  • The most behaved dog breed is the Labrador retriever, and the worst behaved dog breed is the Siberian husky.
  • When it comes to following commands, the cane corso ranked as the most behaved breed, while the dachshund ranked the worst.
  • When it comes to temperament, the shih tzu ranked as the best behaved breed, and the beagle ranked the worst.
  • Of those dog owners who said their dog exhibits “not good” or “terrible” behavior, a quarter (25%) said it’s because they never attempted to train their dogs.
  • Of those dog owners who said their dog has “okay”, “not good” or “terrible” behavior, 19% said they’ve tried professional training to try and improve the behavior.
  • Six of the 10 breeds that most commonly bark at others fall under the small breed category (with a maximum weight of no more than 32 pounds). The six breeds are: Havanese, miniature schnauzers, dachshunds, Pembroke Welsh corgis, Pomeranians and Yorkshire terriers.

Best Behaved Dog Breeds

1. Labrador Retriever

Labrador retriever score: 100 out of 100

Easy to train and eager to please, Labrador retrievers have a great temperament and can be an easy addition to a variety of households.

  • Labrador retrievers ranked in the top three in the following metrics:
    • The dog breed most likely to have excellent and pretty good behavior (79%, tying with cane corsos)
    • Second highest percentage of dogs whose health has never been threatened by their behavior (85%)
    • Second-least likely breed to ingest foreign objects (7%, tying with Boston terriers, Yorkshire terriers and Pomeranians)
    • Third-least likely dog breed to whine (21%)

2. Rottweiler

Rottweiler score: 92.49 out of 100

With a low propensity to destroy things or ingest foreign objects, the Rottweiler ranked as the second best behaved dog breed.

  • Rottweilers ranked in the top five in the following metrics:
    • The least likely dog breed to whine (18%)
    • The second-least likely dog breed that rarely and never follow commands when off-leash in public (5.5%)
    • No. 3 for the high percentage of dogs who always and often follow commands when off-leash in public (69.5%)
    • No. 4 for the relatively low percentage of dogs who beg for food (32%, tying with Doberman Pinschers)

3. Shih Tzu

Shih tzu’s score: 91.08 out of 100

The shih tzu is one of only three small breed dogs included in the top most behaved dog breeds in our analysis.

  • Shih tzus ranked No. 1 in the following metrics:
    • The breed least likely to jump on people (27%)
    • The breed least likely to destroy things (7%, tying with poodles and Yorkshire terriers).
    • The breed least likely to ingest foreign objects (4%)
    • Owners also reported a low percentage of shih tzus whose health has never been threatened by their behavior (87%)
  • The following rankings for shih tzus kept the breed from scoring better overall:
    • They ranked ninth worst for a high percentage of dogs who beg for food (41%, tying with boxers and Pomeranians)
    • They also are ninth worst due to the lower percentage of dogs who always and often follow commands when off-leash in public (55%)

4. Cane Corso

Cane Corso’s score: 89.07 out of 100

The cane corso is a notably well-behaved dog that follows commands while off-leash.

  • The cane corso ranked in the top 10 in the following metrics:
    • The breed with the highest percentage of dogs with excellent and pretty good behavior (79%, tying with labrador retrievers)
    • The breed with the highest percentage of dogs that always and often follow commands when off-leash in public (73%)
    • The second-lowest percentage of dogs with not good and terrible behavior (2.5%, tying with golden retrievers and Doberman pinschers)
    • The third lowest percentage of dogs who beg for food (31%)
    • The eighth lowest percentage of dogs who bark at others (41%, tying with rottweilers and Boston terriers)

5. Golden Retriever

Our analysis finds that the reputation of Golden retrievers as happy-go-lucky companions rings true; they ranked highly for having good behavior and not being disruptive with barking or whining.

Golden retriever’s score: 88.77 out of 100

  • The golden retriever ranked in the top 10 in the following metrics:
    • The breed with the second-highest percentage of dogs who rarely and never try to escape (79%)
    • The breed with the second lowest percentage of dogs with not good and terrible behavior (2.5%, tying with Doberman pinschers and cane corsos)
    • The breed with the third-lowest percentage of dogs who bark at others (37%)
    • The breed with the fourth-lowest percentage of dogs who whine (23%)

6. German Shepherd

German shepherds are known for being eager to please their owners, whether it’s through general good behavior or following commands.

German shepherd’s score: 74.65 out of 100

  • The German shepherd ranked in the top 10 in the following metrics:
    • The breed least likely to beg for food (26%)
    • The breed second-most likely to always and often follow commands when off-leash in public (70%)
    • The third-highest ranking breed for excellent and pretty good behavior (78.5%)
    • The sixth most-likely breed whose health has never been threatened by their own behavior (81%)

7. Boston Terrier

Boston terrier’s score: 62.90 out of 100

The Boston terrier is the second of three small breed dogs to land in the top 10 of well behaved dog breeds.

  • Boston terriers ranked in the top 10 in the following metrics:
    • The second-least likely breed to ingest foreign objects (7%, tying with Labrador retrievers, Yorkshire terriers and Pomeranians)
    • The breed with the fifth-lowest percentage of dogs who always and often try to escape (10.5%)
    • The breed with the seventh-lowest percentage of dogs who destroy things (12%)
    • The breed with the eighth-lowest percentage of dogs who bark at others (41%, tying with rottweilers and cane corsos)

8. Poodle

Poodle’s score: 60.97 out of 100

The poodle is the dog breed least likely to destroy things, which can mean fewer headaches for owners than other dogs on our list.

  • Poodles ranked in the top 10 in the following metrics:
    • The breed with the lowest percentage of dogs that destroy things (7%, tying with shih tzus and Yorkshire terriers)
    • The second-least likely breed that always and often tries to escape (8.5%)
    • The breed with the fifth-lowest percentage of dogs who whine (24%)
    • The breed with the sixth-lowest percentage of dogs whose health has been threatened by their own behavior (13%)

9. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire terrier’s score: 56.58 out of 100

Despite being small and considered “lap dogs,” Yorkshire terriers aren’t likely to jump on others or whine.

  • Yorkshire terriers ranked in the top 10 in the following metrics:
    • The breed with the lowest percentage of dogs that destroy things (7%, tying with shih tzus and poodles)
    • The breed with the third-lowest percentage of dogs who jump on others (35%, tying with Labrador retrievers)
    • The breed with the seventh-lowest percentage of dogs who rarely and never try to escape (72.5%)
    • The breed with the eight-lowest percentage of dogs who whine (26%)

10. American Bulldogs

American bulldog’s score: 55.32 out of 100

Rounding out the top 10 list of best behaved dog breeds, the American Bulldog landed at number 10.

  • American bulldogs ranked in the top 15 in the following metrics:
    • The breed with the second-lowest percentage of dogs who beg for food (28%)
    • The breed with the sixth-lowest percentage of dogs who whine (25%, tying with Great Danes)
    • The breed with the eighth-highest percentage of dogs who always and often follow commands when off-leash in public (64%)
    • The breed with the eleventh-lowest percentage of dogs who always and often try to escape (15%, tying with boxers)

Least Behaved Dog Breeds

1. Siberian Husky

Siberian husky’s score: 0 out of 100

The worst behaved dog on our list is the Siberian husky due to its inability to follow an owner’s commands.

  • Siberian huskies ranked in the bottom five in the following metrics:
    • The breed with the highest percentage of dogs with not good and terrible behavior (9.5%)
    • The breed with the second-highest percentage of dogs who jump on people (46%)
    • The breed with the third-highest percentage of dogs who destroy things (23%)
    • The breed with the third lowest-percentage of dogs who rarely and never try to escape (60.5%)

2. Beagle

Beagle’s score: 1.34 out of 100

Watch your food around the beagle, which owners report as a breed that often begs for food and doesn’t listen to commands.

  • Beagles ranked in the bottom five in the following metrics:
    • The breed with the lowest percentage of dogs with excellent and pretty good behavior (58.5%)
    • The breed with the second-highest percentage of dogs who rarely and never follow commands when off-leash in public (13%)
    • The breed with the second-highest percentage of dogs who beg for food (49%)
    • They have the second-lowest percentage of dogs who rarely and never try to escape (59%)

3. Havanese

Havanese’s score: 12.04 out of 100

If you’re sensitive to noise, the Havanese may not be the breed for you—dog owners report them frequently barking and whining.

  • Havanese ranked in the bottom five in the following metrics:
    • The breed with the highest percentage of dogs who bark at others (59%)
    • The breed with the second-highest percentage of dogs who whine (38%, tying with the dachshund)
    • The breed with the second-highest percentage of dogs who destroy things (25%)
    • The second-highest percentage of dogs whose health has been threatened by their own behavior (32%)

4. French Bulldog

French bulldog’s score: 17.32 out of 100

The French bulldog is one of four small breed dogs to land in the top five worst behaved dog breeds, according to our survey.

  • French Bulldogs ranked in the bottom 10 in the following metrics:
    • The breed with the fourth-lowest percentage of dogs with excellent and pretty good behavior (64%)
    • The breed with the sixth-highest percentage of dogs who rarely and never try to escape (63%, tying with Great Danes)
    • The breed with the seventh-highest percentage of dogs whose health has been threatened by their own behavior (23%)

5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles spaniel’s score: 20.89 out of 100

The fourth and final small breed to make it among the five worst behaved dog breeds is the Cavalier King Charles spaniel.

  • Cavalier King Charles spaniels ranked in the bottom 10 in the following metrics:
    • The breed with the third-highest percentages of dogs who beg for food (46%) and dogs who whine (35%)
    • The breed with the fourth-highest percentage of dogs who rarely and never follow commands when off-leash in public (11%)
    • The breed with the fifth-highest percentage of dogs who ingest foreign objects (13%)

Dog Behavior Trends

  • Roughly a third (31%) of the dog owners we surveyed said their dogs “often” follow commands when off-leash in public, while 19% said “sometimes.”
  • Most dog owners ranked their dog’s behavior as “pretty good” (44%), while roughly a quarter of dog owners ranked it as “excellent” (27%).
  • When asked about the type of negative behaviors their dogs exhibit most frequently, dog owners reported “barking at others” (44%) was the most common, followed by “jumping up on others” (39%).
  • Dog owners were most likely to report their dogs have never tried to escape (38%), while 16% reported their dog has tried to escape “often” and “always.”

Dog Training

  • Among dog owners who reported their dog’s behavior is less than ideal, the most common training methods they have tried are:
    • Trying to train their dog at home (74%)
    • Crate training (33%)
    • Socialization training (30%)
  • About a fifth (19%) of dog owners report trying professional training to improve their dog’s behavior.
    • Fifteen percent of dog owners who have tried professional training said their dog wasn’t receptive to it.
  • The majority of dog owners who report their dog’s behavior as “not good” or “terrible” said they believe their dog’s poor behavior is due to:
    • Their dog not being receptive to training at home (31%)
    • Their dog is currently in training (27%)
    • Never attempting to train their dog (25%)

Consider Pet Insurance

Many dog owners don’t know that the best pet insurance plans can cover behavioral therapy.

In addition to the more common coverage for accidents and injuries, as well as chronic and common illnesses, there are some pet insurance companies that will cover the costs associated with behavioral therapy for problems including:

  • Aggression
  • Destructive chewing
  • Excessive barking

Training your dog to have good behavior is important to its health, as some of the more common temperament issues can lead to greater health risks, such as complications from eating foreign objects or getting injured while trying to escape.

The average cost of treatment for dogs who have ingested a foreign object is $3,500. Pet insurance may be worth it to help offset major unexpected bills that reach into the thousands of dollars.

The average cost for pet insurance is $51 a month for dogs and $27 a month for cats for a policy with $5,000 in annual coverage, a $250 deductible, and 80% reimbursement level, according to a Forbes Advisor analysis.

While there are some companies that offer emergency pet insurance, and even pet insurance for pre-existing conditions, the best time to sign up for pet insurance is when you don’t need it.

Do your research and compare quotes to find the right insurance for you.

Find The Best Pet Insurance Companies Of 2024

Methodology

To uncover the most and least-behaved dog breeds, Forbes Advisor commissioned a survey conducted by Talker Research of 5,000 American dog owners (200 owners for each of the 25 most popular dog breeds, according to the American Kennel Club).

We analyzed data for each dog breed across the following 14 metrics:

Following Commands – Total Points: 35

  • The percentage of dogs who always and often follow commands when off-leash in public: 10% of the total score.
  • The percentage of dogs who jump on people: 7% of the total score.
  • The percentage of dogs who beg for food: 7% of the total score.
  • The percentage of dogs who bark at others: 6% of the total score.
  • The percentage of dogs who rarely and never follow commands when off-leash in public: 5% of the total score.

Temperament – Total Points: 65

  • The percentage of dogs with excellent and pretty good behavior: 10% of the total score.
  • The percentage of dogs with not good and terrible behavior: 10% of the total score.
  • The percentage of dogs who always and often try to escape: 8% of the total score.
  • The percentage of dogs whose health has been threatened by their own behavior: 8% of the total score.
  • The percentage of dogs who destroy things: 7% of the total score.
  • The percentage of dogs who ingest foreign objects: 7% of the total score.
  • The percentage of dogs who rarely and never try to escape: 5% of the total score.
  • The percentage of dogs whose health has never been threatened by their own behavior: 5% of the total score.
  • The percentage of dogs who whine: 5% of the total score.

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Pet Insurance,

Last Update: July 11, 2024

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