Top 10 Dumbest Dog Breeds

For many people, the term dog intelligence is an oxymoron. Dogs are known for being dumb, thanks in large part to unflattering portrayals in popular media (which I’ve long suspected of being controlled by cat people).

This stereotype is obviously unfair. Just because dogs run around in circles, slobber profusely, and drink out of the toilet on occasion doesn’t make them dumb.

Sloppy looking Bulldog having trouble staying awake
Duh, you tell ’em!

That said, we all know dogs who don’t do their species any favors. Sad to say, some pooches really are as dumb as rocks (rocks that they will probably try to eat when you’re not looking).

And, though it’s dangerous to suggest this, certain breeds are more prone to thick-headedness than others. While the methods used to measure dog intelligence are controversial to say the least, there’s some consensus about which breeds are at the bottom of the canine class.

Based on extensive research, here’s my list of the top 10 dumbest dog breeds on the planet. Apologies in advance to hound lovers.

10. Chihuahua. Does brain size matter? Based on the intelligence (or lack thereof) of the tiny Chihuahua, you’d have to say yes.

Chihuahua face
Chihuahua: Muy mudo

9. Beagle. Most of these dogs have trouble living up to Snoopy’s example (or Snoop Dogg’s example, for that matter). They might make a fun and devoted family pet, but beagles are consistently ranked among the least trainable dog breeds.

8. Lhasa Apso. These adorable furry guys are the closest things you can get to a real life Ewok. Unfortunately, their intelligence level is more along the lines of a Tauntaun. Translation for non-Star Wars fans: They’re cute, but dumb.

7. Mastiff. I wouldn’t call one of these dogs dumb to their face, but let’s just say that intelligence isn’t the standout trait for this breed. Mastiffs have brawn to spare, but somebody else will definitely have to supply the brains.

Mastiff face
Mastiff: Dumb dog (but don’t tell him I said so)

6. Pekingese. Unlike many breeds that started as working dogs and became companions later on, the Pekingese was bred from the start to be the ultimate lap dog. Intelligence has always taken a backseat to poofiness.

5. Bloodhound. Clearly, a lot of the brainpower of these scent hounds is reserved for processing the enormous amount of information they take in through their noses. When it comes to non-smelling-related tasks, they’re pretty much lost. Unfortunately, putting a doggy detective’s hat on them doesn’t seem to help much.

4. Afghan Hound. These dogs are the fashion models of the canine world – thin, stylish, and all too often, airheaded.

3. Chow Chow. A lot of the dumbest dogs are fun-loving and happy-go-lucky, but not the Chow Chow. These deeply suspicious guard dogs are downright intimidating – mostly because you have no idea what’s going on in their heads.

2. Basset Hound. Bassets are so sweet and goofy looking, I almost feel guilty putting them on this list. But I gotta, because they really are some of the most dimwitted pups you’ll ever meet.

Basset Hound sitting on grass, looking up
Basset Hound: Sweet, but dumb

1. Bulldog. Looks can be deceiving, but in this case they’re pretty much spot-on. These (literally) thick-headed dogs really are as dumb as they look. That doesn’t stop people from loving the breed though – in fact, it’s part of the charm.

Is Your Dog on the Dumb List?

If your dog is one of these breeds, don’t get mad at me! Instead, console yourself with one of the following points:

1. Maybe your dog is different

Even dogs of the same breed can have widely varying abilities. Maybe your dog is the exception that proves the rule. Or maybe you’re just a little biased – no one can blame you for that.

2. IQ tests for dogs are questionable at best, meaningless at worst

Tests used to quantify dog intelligence must answer two questions: a) exactly what is intelligence, and b) how do you measure it in an animal who can’t speak? You won’t find two experts who give the same answer to either of these questions. Many tests equate intelligence with trainability, but a lot of people (terrier lovers in particular) would strongly disagree with that.

3. It doesn’t matter anyway

Intelligence is just one trait in dogs. For most people, it’s not the most important one. For some, it’s not important at all. After all, dumb dogs can be just as cute, funny, and lovable as smart ones. If your dog is all those qualities, honestly, who cares if he’s dumber than dirt?