Let’s Talk About Dog Lipstick — a.k.a. The Dog Penis

Dog lipstick has a singular, and slightly ironic, ability to spoil the mood. Imagine meeting a happy-go-lucky, tail-wagging dog who rolls over onto his back for a belly rub from his new best friend (that’s you). When this particular dog exposes his abdomen, however, you get an eyeful, and it’s not just his belly that you see. Also on view is a moist, pink, fleshy, and — if you’re share the opinion of most people — disgusting protuberance, a.k.a. his dog penis. Again, if you’re like most people, you will lose the desire to give that dog a belly rub.

Dog Lipstick, Dog Red Rocket and Dog Penis — Are They All the Same Thing?

Black dog with lipstick and eyes covered up.

Photo illustration by Madeleine Weiss. Stafford Terrier image. Photography by Ksenia Raykova / Shutterstock.

That protuberance “in the area of the penis” goes by a number of names. “Lipstick” and “red rocket” are two common colloquialisms. But the actual, appropriate name for the protuberance is: dog penis.

To understand dog lipstick you must first know a bit about doggie anatomy. That benign, lightly hair-coated appendage on your dog’s underside that you may have thought was his dog penis is not, in fact, his penis. It’s his prepuce. The prepuce is a sheath that protects the dog penis from trauma on a day-to-day basis (it also protects our eyes from the sight of the penis). The penis itself is pink, moist and fleshy. Most people don’t like the sight of it. To add insult to injury, a small amount of nasty yellow fluid called smegma (the name of the fluid basically amounts to onomatopoeia) usually coats the penis itself.

Why, Then, Do Some Dogs But Not Others Frequently Show Off Their Dog Lipsticks?

A number of things can cause your dog’s red rocket to emerge from the prepuce. The first is arousal, and not just that type of arousal. In medicine, arousal refers to any form of excitement whatsoever, such as might occur when a dog meets a new person. Dogs experiencing general arousal may, in turn, develop just a little bit of the other type of arousal. In other words, excited dogs sometimes develop slight erections. Erections cause this dog lipstick to emerge. This phenomenon is more common in but is by no means limited to unneutered dogs.

Other dogs show their lipstick due to harmless (to the dog) anatomical anomalies. A size mismatch between penis and prepuce, or a dog penis that is prone to “sagging” out of the prepuce may lead to frequent dog lipstick sightings. I have known a few dogs whose penises never fully fit into their prepuces and were therefore perpetually on view. These dogs experienced chronically dry penises but came to no significant harm.

What Should You Do About a Dog Lipstick That’s Been Out for an Extended Amount of Time?

Beige puppy with lipstick and eyes covered up.

Photo illustration by Madeleine Weiss. Puppy portrait. Photography by otsphoto / Shutterstock.

Although most people don’t like dog lipstick sightings, most instances in which the dog penis is briefly visible are not harmful to the dog involved. There is, however, an exception. The exception is a condition called paraphimosis.

Paraphimosis is a pathological extrusion of the dog penis from the prepuce. If the penis becomes entrapped outside of the prepuce it may swell. Pain and tissue damage — potentially severe tissue damage — can result. Paraphimosis is a veterinary emergency.

Paraphimosis generally has an appearance that is more dramatic than mere “lipstick.” A large portion of the dog penis generally will be visible. It will likely appear visibly swollen, and may be purple rather than pink (these are signs of inadequate blood flow). The affected dog may appear uncomfortable and may attempt to groom himself “down there” excessively.

Paraphimosis most frequently occurs as a result of sexual activity. Misdirected sexual activity, such as “humping” a leg or an inanimate object, causes paraphimosis more commonly than true sexual activity. Because un-neutered dogs are more likely to engage in this behavior, they are more likely to suffer from paraphimosis. However, the syndrome is by no means limited to them.

Here is the scenario by which paraphimosis most frequently occurs. A dog engages in misdirected sexual activity, causing the penis to emerge from the prepuce. The prepuce generally has a thin coat of hair. The hair at the tip of the prepuce can clog the opening of the prepuce, preventing the penis from properly retracting after the activity is over. Swelling, pain and other symptoms then commence.

How to Treat Paraphimosis

Strong-stomached owners can attempt to treat paraphimosis at home. A water-based personal lubricant such as K-Y Jelly is applied to the penis, the hair at the tip of the prepuce is gently extracted from the opening, and the penis is re-inserted into the prepuce. Avoid using exotic personal lubricants that cause warm or tingling sensations.

Some dogs with paraphimosis will be in too much pain to tolerate home treatment. Others will suffer from paraphimosis that is too severe to be addressed at home. These dogs, or dogs owned by more squeamish people, should receive veterinary attention as soon as possible (although it is still a good idea to apply lubricant to the penis to prevent it from drying out). They generally require sedation or even general anesthesia for the penis to be replaced. After I treat paraphimosis I usually trim the hair from the tip of the prepuce to reduce the risk of recurrence; given the sensitive nature of the site, this is a task that only an experienced professional should attempt.

Dog lipstick is unsightly but usually harmless. Be aware, however, that in some instances dog lipstick sightings may be a sign of a serious problem.

Thumbnail: Photography by Kryder17/Thinkstock. 

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Sochi Dogs — Where Are They Now?

Prior to the 2014 Olympic games and the influx of international tourism in Sochi, Russia, the Russian government shocked the world by deciding the solution to the city’s stray dog problem was to mass slaughter the dogs. As the 2018 games in PyeongChang wind down, let’s return to Sochi and learn about what’s happened to some of the dogs saved during the 2014 Olympics. Sochi Dogs is a nonprofit organization founded “during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Sochi Dogs has been working to rescue stray and abandoned dogs through an active adoption program, spay/neuter initiative and educational campaigns.” Anna Umansky of Sochi Dogs shares the following stories of dogs saved from the streets during the 2014 games — and updates about where these pups are now:

Djonik, Polly and Stetson

Djonik and Sonya at the Sochi Dogs shelter.

Djonik and Sonya (see below) at the Sochi Dogs shelter. Photography courtesy Sochi Dogs.

These dogs were all living in a station in the center of Sochi. Rumors spread a week before the Olympics that exterminators would come through the city to kill the strays. The station would be the first place they would target, so rescuers set out to pick up as many dogs as they could.

Where Djonik Is Now

Djonik at the Sochi Dogs shelter.

Djonik at the Sochi Dogs shelter. Photography courtesy Sochi Dogs.

Djonik was the first dog to hop in the rescue car. He rode shot-gun the entire evening as rescuers continued to pick up dogs in the city. At the shelter, Djonik took matters into his own “paws” and spent his days greeting visitors and patrolling for squirrels until being adopted in 2015 by the Goodno family of Washington State, who had already adopted another Sochi Dog, Lola. Djonik loves his new family, taking rides in the car and hiking the Washington trails!

Where Polly Is Now

Polly at Christmas.

Polly at Christmas. Photography courtesy Robin Phillips.

Polly followed Djonik and now lives with her family in Ontario. “Polly is an amazing dog, and I am not at all surprised that the people at the Sochi Dog rescue had made hints in their posts about her being their ‘favorite,’” Polly’s family tells Redemption Dogs. “She is an absolute doll! What does surprise me is that she could have ever been left out on the street to begin with! She seems to live to please and has been very easy to train because she is both food and praise driven.”

Where Stetson Is Now

Stetson before and after.

Stetson at the Sochi Dogs shelter (left) and with his forever family (right). Photography courtesy Sochi Dogs; courtesy From Russia With Love Facebook.

Stetson had been sleeping at the time the rescuers came and reluctantly went along with them. He was the luckiest, because he was the first Sochi Dog to ever fly home from the shelter. Stetson now lives in Texas at the Blisswood Lodge with a few other Border Collies and his wonderful family.


Sonya before and after.

Sonya at the Sochi Dogs shelter (left) and with her forever family (right). Photography courtesy Sochi Dogs; courtesy Kashnikow Family.

Sonya got dropped off at the original Sochi Dogs shelter during the Olympics with the promise that her human would take her back in a couple of weeks, but after a year of waiting, Sonya’s human never came back. She was adopted by a family in New Jersey. Now, she spends her days cuddling up with their other Sochi Dog, Sochi, swimming in a lake and going on runs with her new loving forever family.



Billy is still waiting for his forever home. Photography courtesy Sochi Dogs.

Sweet Billy was found as a puppy shortly after the Olympics. He has been at the shelter his entire life and watched it evolve from a small makeshift rescue center built from recycled plywood to an established shelter. Billy has seen nearly 300 dogs find forever homes and hopes 2018 will be his year to find a loving family.

Molly, Gerda and Kali

Kali and Molly at Shelter; Kali in her forever home.

Kali and Molly at the Sochi Dogs shelter; Kali in her forever home. Photography courtesy Sochi Dogs; courtesy Claire Maxwell.

Molly, Gerda and Kali were three puppies found living off of scraps by a dumpster outside one of Sochi’s hospitals. After the pups were reported to the hospital, someone arranged an exterminator to kill them. But a nurse found out and contacted one of Sochi Dogs’ rescuers. She took the puppies to the Sochi Dogs shelter and all three found homes in 2015. Kali now lives in Scotland. Molly lives in New Jersey, where she welcomes foster dogs from the Sochi shelter every month.

Sochi Dogs Are Still Awaiting Adoption

You can apply to adopt Sochi Dogs like Billy.

You can apply to adopt Sochi Dogs like Billy. Photography courtesy Sochi Dogs.

Many Sochi dogs like Billy are still looking for their forever families. Interested in adopting one of these great dogs? Visit sochidogs.org/ourdogs/ to learn more about the dogs available for adoption and get information about the process of international adoption!

Dogs and the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics

Despite international attention, dogs are still being slaughtered for their meat in South Korea. News outlets are reporting that several restaurants near the PyeongChang Olympic games have not removed dog meat from their menus despite pressure to do so from the South Korean government, presumably to appease international attendees and to avoid media attention.

It remains legal for dog meat to be sold and consumed in South Korea. Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy, who made headlines for rescuing dogs while competing in Sochi, is competing at PyeongChang. “I’m going to focus on my sport, and while I’m there, I’d love to try and raise awareness for the dogs,” Kenworthy tells CNN. “…I would love to bring a dog back.”

Humane Society International, who leads international efforts against the dog meat trade, has a live petition to protect dogs and cats in South Korea. The petition states it is, “Calling on the South Korean government to identify all dogs and cats as companion animals under the law regardless of breed or place of birth, and to ban the slaughter of these animals for human consumption.”

Thumbnail: Sonya. Photography courtesy Kashnikow family.

Sassafras Lowrey is an award-winning author. Her novels have been honored by organizations ranging from the Lambda Literary Foundation to the American Library Association. Sassafras is a Certified Trick Dog Instructor, and assists with dog agility classes. Sassafras lives and writes in Brooklyn with her partner, a senior Chihuahua mix, a rescued Shepherd mix and a Newfoundland puppy, along with two bossy cats and a semi-feral kitten. Learn more at sassafraslowrey.com

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4 Ways To Make Your Cat Fall In Love With You

Cats can be pretty much like dogs when it comes to loving their human family members. A cat can show love, be clingy to its owner, and suffer separation anxiety if left without its favorite person for a long time.

Those who believe cats are aloof creatures are in for a big surprise! Felines can share a beautiful bond with their humans. They also tend to pick a favorite person in the household just like dogs. If you’ve just adopted a cute kitty and want to be its number one person you’ll definitely have to consider your cat’s needs & comfort. However to win the critter’s heart you need to go beyond just fulfilling its food requirements and cleaning the litter box. Even studies show that cats can be pretty much independent when it comes to meeting their very basic needs of food/survival; therefore winning its heart will require more than just a Cat Treat.

 Even studies show that cats can be pretty much independent when it comes to meeting their very basic needs of food/survival; therefore winning its heart will require more than just a Cat Treat. Image:www.vetstreet.com

Credit : vetstreet.com

Here’s how you can emerge as your cat’s favorite human companion.

1) Let the pet cat be in-control: Felines like to decide what they want or when they want something. They can be pretty moody! You have a better chance at winning a cat’s heart if you are able to comprehend its mood swings & act accordingly. According Marilyn Krieger, a certified cat behavior consultant, interacting with a cat without its permission is a big NO. A cat doesn’t like being cornered by humans trying to interact with it/pet it, especially when it isn’t ready for interaction. When dealing with a nervous kitty, you have to make it feel safe around you by letting it be in-charge of the situation.

Credit : http://time.com/4714823/cats-very-social-study/

Credit : time.com

To be in your cat’s good books let it come to you and invite you to pet it.  Marilyn also infers that a person can encourage the kitty to come to him/her by squatting down to the kitty’s level while maintaining a distance of a few feet from the feline. The person then needs to point his/her index finger to the cat at its nose level. If the cat wishes to interact it will reach this extended index finger and touch it first with its nose and later with the cheek. This is an invitation to pet it. The feline rubs its cheek to release pheromones from the scent glands. Also most cats don’t like being handled by complete strangers.

Credit :  https://yourfriendshouse.com

Credit : yourfriendshouse.com

2) Earning your cat’s trust is important: To be its chosen-one you have to build trust. Therefore this also points out to allowing the cat to be in-control of things and feel safe. Sometimes a rescue cat may not be able to bond properly with its new owner. It may link the new owner to a past abuser due to similarities in height, hair color, gender or age.

Credit : medium.com

Credit : medium.com

A cat will also remember a past action of yours that it didn’t appreciate. So if you forcefully cuddled or stroked her chances are it might not be able to trust you easily. Even violent handling that lacks gentleness will not go down well with the kitty.

3. Your personality must be in-sync with the cat’s temperament: A cat tends to naturally bend towards a person whose personality matches with its nature. If your pet cat is the nervous types it will seek solace around a family member that makes it feel safe & calms it down. Some felines are very energetic and playful then there are others who do not appreciate roughhousing. A kitty that is laid back and peace loving will be more comfortable with a quiet human. So a mouser after responsible observation will pick its favorite person giving much importance to his/her character.

4. Few Cat Breeds are naturally fussy, It’s genetics: Some breeds are one-person cats. Then there are cat breeds that are loyal to more than one person in the household. Scottish folds can get attached to one or more humans in the house. Turkish Angoras tend to choose one favorite person and often stay clingy towards and protective of this human. Cat behaviorists/Specialists claim that Himalayan, Bengal and Siamese cats have space for only one individual in their hearts. It’s not just pure-breds even a mixed breed kitty can be extremely close to only one human family member. A cat may derive enough satisfaction from this one relationship including its basic needs of survival & exercise/play and may not look elsewhere for companionship to form a similar bond.

Cats love to communicate with a person who lets them call the shots. Don’t feel dejected if you aren’t the preferred one! A cat might display favoritism but it will still regard other family members and may show affection towards them from time to time.

Image - bdcwire.com

Credit : bdcwire.com

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8 Social Media Tools You Can Use Blog Hop

Every profession has tools of the trade and pet bloggers and social media influencers are no different. For this week’s blog hop, here’s a go-to list of tools you can use right away for blog posts, social content, and more.


8 Social Media Tools You Can Use

  1. Let’s talk keyword research: How much time do you invest in doing it before a blog post? Here’s what you need to know and some tools to use for keyword research.
  2. Instagram: Brands with business profiles can now schedule organic posts. Here’s how to make Instagram easier.
  3. Lead Magnets: Do you use lead magnets in growing your email list? Part of my 2018 strategy is to take my email newsletter to the next level. If you want to join me, one of the first things you can do is learn about lead magnets here.
  4. Twitter Analytics: Measure engagement and learn how to make your Tweets more successful, so says Twitter. I look at Twitter analytics a few times a month and use social media schedulers to show me other analytics. Twitter analytics is free. Determine what is working and when. More Twitter Tips.
  5. Blogging Editorial Calendar: Trello is a free app that is available both online and with a syncs-in-real-time iOS app for your mobile device.  Trello is based on a system of boards, lists, cards, labels, and checklists so that your editorial calendar is sharp, clean, and organized.
  6. Social Media Landscaped Images: Landscape by Sprout Social makes sizing social media images so much easier. It is a free tool that is web based.
  7. What the Font: Sometimes you see a font and fall in love. Want to know what that font is? WhatTheFont works on both iOS and Android to help identify fonts!
  8. Instagram Stories: Fastory is like Canva for Stories!!! You can make the stories, share them easily, in three simple steps. Free version means the Fastory watermark will be on your end result.

SEO tips

Learn from the Pros

Go face to face with social media experts this year at the BlogPaws 10th Anniversary Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, April 18-20. We’re a 3-day conference jam-packed with educational sessions led by top professionals, networking with influencers, a busy exhibit hall, exciting brand events, more influencers, and lots of pets. Get your tickets for BlogPaws 2018.

The Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop

BlogPaws offers year-round interaction, activity, community and more to learn, earn, and connect. Visit and leave comments on other blogs to make some new buddies and maybe some new followers. You can add the button to your post and/or to your blog sidebar, either by cutting and pasting the image or using the HTML code below. Need help? Here it is:

How to Join a Blog Hop – BlogPaws Tutorial Video: Step by step help to get you started:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHBXxIwwgGE]


Image:  By golubovystock/ Shutterstock

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Does Your Dog Make The List of The Dumbest Dog Breeds?

The Border Collie is widely considered to be the world’s smartest dog breed (with the Poodle coming in close second). If some dog breeds are the smartest, it only makes sense that some dog breeds are the dumbest, right? An internet search for dumbest dog breeds will turn up numerous lists of those breeds people think are less intelligent in some ways.

First, what determines the smartest and dumbest dog breeds?

Chow Chows.

What determines whether dogs are labeled as “dumb” or “smart”? Photography by Waldemar Dabrowski / Shutterstock.

So, just what makes a dog smart or not? Is it simply how trainable he is? His ability to remember things? Sense of direction? Energy level? Something else?

In 1994, a psychologist named Stanley Coren, PhD., DSc., FRSC, wrote a book called The Intelligence of Dogs (Atria Books). Dr. Coren ranked more than 100 dog breeds based on three specific types of intelligence

  1. Instinctive intelligence (ability to perform tasks it was bred to perform like herding or hunting)
  2. Adaptive intelligence (ability to independently problem solve and learn from previous experiences)
  3. Working and obedience intelligence (ability to learn when being taught by humans)

In The Intelligence of Dogs, Dr. Coren’s top 10 smartest breeds in order of intelligence were:

Border Collies top the list of smartest dog breeds. Photography by oneinchpunch / Shutterstock.

  1. Border Collie
  2. Poodle
  3. German Shepherd Dog
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Doberman Pinscher
  6. Shetland Sheepdog
  7. Labrador Retriever
  8. Papillon
  9. Rottweiler
  10. Australian Cattle Dog

The 10 lowest-ranking breeds according to the book were (in descending order):

A beagle lying down on a deep carpet.

Beagles make the list for dumbest dog breeds. Photography by alex_ugalek/Thinkstock.

  1. Basset Hound
  2. Mastiff
  3. Beagle
  4. Pekingese
  5. Bloodhound
  6. Borzoi
  7. Chow Chow
  8. Bulldog
  9. Basenji
  10. Afghan Hound

Does this mean these are the 10 dumbest breeds? Well, not necessarily.

Remember: all dogs have, and were bred for, different skills

“How smart you appear to be depends on the test,” says Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, Dipl. ACVB, professor emeritus and former section head and program director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. “Until quite recently, I had two dogs. One of them was hyper and the other dog would sort of lie around like a lump. You would say Jasper was not as smart as Rusty. But once you were out on a trail, Jasper lit up. He was doing the job that nature intended him to do because he was a coonhound, and he was using his super-intelligent nose. He was brilliant at his job, but not so good at some other things.”

It’s no secret that purebred dogs have very different skills depending on what they were bred to do. For instance, herding breeds like Border Collies, Australian Shepherds and Corgis are universally considered to be extremely intelligent. Due to the nature of their work, they are excellent at both making independent decisions and taking instructions from humans.

Why are hound dogs considered to be among the dumbest dog breeds?

“Pretty much all scenthounds are governed by their noses,” Dr. Dodman says. “They’re hard to train because they don’t really look up, they look down. They’re not really interested in listening or pleasing anybody, they’re just interested in tracking with their noses. The sighthounds want to chase anything that moves. For every dog breed there’s a purpose, and the mixed breeds are just a combination of the purebreds. I can see how it might be easy to superficially judge a dog who is kind of slow and not paying a lot of attention to what you say and really not that interested in performing tricks, but it doesn’t mean that they’re not smart, and in some ways, being very independent could be more intelligent than being obedient.”

Scenthounds like Basset Hounds, Beagles and Bloodhounds can sniff out almost anything. Sighthounds can spot their prey making the slightest movement and swiftly chase it down. A Border Collie is far more trainable than a Bloodhound, but a Bloodhound is far superior at tracking scents than a Border Collie. They each have different skills, but they excel in their own ways.

Determining the dumbest dog breeds presents the same issues as determining human intelligence

Dr. Dodman notes how gauging human intelligence can be a similar conundrum. “It just depends on how you grade people,” he explains. “Some people are good at math, some people are good at English. You can be good at some things and not so good at others.”

Considering the vast differences in skill sets among dogs, and taking into account the fact that dogs don’t speak our language, how can we accurately assess a dog’s intelligence? “It seems to be like multiple intelligences,” Dr. Dodman says. “Do you measure them as being particularly bright like Jasper, almost a savant, when it came to hunting? Or do you have to average out all the behaviors over 10 different types of behavior and give them an average score, which I imagine would come back to be pretty much the same for all dogs?”

Brian Hare, Ph.D., associate professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University in North Carolina, and founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center, studies dog psychology. “We play the same types of games that researchers play with young children,” he says. “We give dogs puzzles to solve, and the choices they make reveal how their minds work.”

According to Dr. Hare, dog intelligence is not black and white. “I don’t really think there is any such thing as ‘smart’ dogs and ‘dumb’ dogs,” he states. “That is just a throwback to a linear version of intelligence, as though intelligence is a cup of coffee that is more or less full. Different dogs are good at different things. And all of them are geniuses in their own way.”

In fact, some of the research on dumbest dogs might not be accurate

As it turns out, some of the research done to determine the most- or least-intelligent dog breeds might not be entirely accurate. “The scientific work on breeds has not really held up,” Dr. Hare states. “Most breeds are only 150 years old, so there is very little to distinguish them. To scientifically prove the smartest breed, you would need to compare at least 30 dogs from each breed. They would have to be puppies raised and tested in a similar manner to control for the effect to rearing history and age on performance. If you took the AKC breeds or all breeds worldwide, you would need between 6,000 to 12,000 puppies, decades of work, millions of dollars and about a thousand graduate students. It is no wonder no one has done it.”

In fact, in his own research, Dr. Hare has seen as much variation within a breed as between them. “For example, Labradors bred for the military are the same breed as Labradors bred to be assistance dogs — and you have never seen two more different dogs in your life,” he explains.

Humans categorizing certain breeds as “dumb” is less about truly measuring their intelligence and more about not understanding the breed’s particular skillset.

“No individual dog or an entire breed should be considered ‘dumb,’” says Gina DiNardo, executive secretary for the American Kennel Club. “Ease of training is not an accurate way to assess a dog’s intelligence. What we humans may perceive as an animal being ‘dumb’ may be independence, stubbornness or aloofness, which are common characteristics in many breeds. Training takes time and patience, and every dog is different. Learn different training techniques available, and if you are having problems, seek out a trainer who can give you the skills that you need to teach your dog.”

So, what is it about certain breeds that caused them to end up at the bottom of the smarts list in Dr. Coren’s book The Intelligence of Dogs? Let’s take a look at each of the supposed dumbest dog breeds.

The 10 Dumbest Dog Breeds and Why They’ve Been Characterized as “Dumb”

1. Afghan Hound

Afghan Hound.

The Afghan Hound is the “dumbest” dog. Photography by Olga_i / Shutterstock.

The Afghan Hound is the “dumbest” breed according to The Intelligence of Dogs, but Afghan lovers surely disagree. Afghans are sighthounds, which means they were bred to hunt using their extraordinary speed and eyesight. Like many sighthounds, Afghans can be aloof, which means they can be a little standoffish and reserved, especially with strangers. They can also be stubborn and independent. Due to these traits, Afghans are not easy to train, but that doesn’t mean they’re dumb. They simply prefer to think for themselves and do things on their own terms. You might have to be more creative when training an Afghan, but their elegance, regal air and devotion to their humans makes them special companions.

2. Basenji

Basenjis also make the list of dogs that aren’t that intelligent. Photography by krushelss / Shutterstock.

The Basenji is another sighthound known for his independence and aloofness. Some people describe this breed as having feline qualities, and in fact, many Basenjis will groom themselves like cats. The breed has earned a reputation for being “untrainable,” but again, ease of training is not always an accurate indicator of intelligence. Quite the contrary, Basenjis are intelligent, curious and playful. Like inquisitive toddlers, they are smart enough to get into trouble if you don’t watch them carefully. Raising a Basenji can sometimes feel like taming a wild animal. They are watchful and wary, and although most bond with their owners, they may or may not like your friends. Bottom line: Basenjis are stubborn so they aren’t consistently obedient, but they can be trained. Positive methods are best.

3. Bulldog

A dog sleeping with his tongue out.

Bulldogs are known for their stubbornness. Photography ©Lindsay_Helms | Thinkstock.

Another breed known for stubbornness is the Bulldog. The term “bullheaded” fits the Bulldog to a T. For this reason, Bulldogs can be difficult to train, but dumb? You only have to look to one of the famous skateboarding or surfing Bulldogs to see that they are definitely capable of learning. Bulldogs are also labeled as lazy, but clearly some enjoy more vigorous activities than lying on the couch.

4. Chow Chow

A Chow Chow dog.

Chow Chows can also be difficult to train. Photography by Sergieiev/Shutterstock.

Chow Chows might look like adorable teddy bears, but they are not always the cuddly type. Originally bred to be watchdogs, Chows are serious, independent and aloof. They are strong-willed and stubborn, and therefore more difficult to train. Chows are intelligent — they just have minds of their own. If not trained correctly, Chows might challenge their humans for authority, which can become problematic. For these reasons, Chows require firm but fair training and extensive socialization starting from an early age. When raised properly, Chows are noble, loyal and devoted companions.

5. Borzoi


Borzois are sighthounds and may be a bit stubborn. Photography ©volofin | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

Yet another sighthound, the Borzoi is an independent freethinker. They can also be stubborn, so training a Borzoi is an exercise in patience. Borzois seem to do best with frequent, short training sessions rather than hour-long classes. In the house, they are generally very well-mannered, calm, clean and quite affectionate, especially with their special people.

6. Bloodhound


Bloodhound. Photography ©alkir | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

If you have ever witnessed the aurora borealis, the colorful northern lights display that transforming the night sky into a brilliant sight to behold, you might be able to understand how a scenthound like the Bloodhound “sees” the world with his sensitive nose. Bloodhounds are hard to train because they are so distracted by all the glorious scents just waiting to be investigated. They also have a ton of energy, are stubborn and independent, and are absolutely relentless when on a scent trail. Combined together, the Bloodhound’s unique skills can sometimes make these dogs challenging to live with, but enter a Bloodhound in a tracking event and watch his special talents shine.

7. Pekingese

Pekingese are somewhat slow and sloth-like. Show Pekingese Malachy. Photography by by Debby Wong / Shutterstock.

One reason people might think Pekingese are a little slow is the fact that they are somewhat sloth-like. At home, they enjoy lounging about and surveying their domain. This could be due to their physical build or partly held over from their history as sacred pets of the Tang Dynasty in 8th-century China. In fact, Pekingese were called “sleeve dogs” because members of the Imperial household carried their cherished companions around snugly nestled in their voluminous sleeves. Can you blame the Peke for enjoying the easy life? Pekingese are also stubborn and difficult to housebreak. This doesn’t make them dumb, but it does make for some training challenges. Start training early and be consistent.

8. Beagle

A Beagle’s keen sense of smell often causes people to label him as “dumb.” Photography ©Halfpoint | Thinkstock.

Like Bloodhounds, Beagles like to follow their noses, which can sometimes get them into trouble. The Beagle’s sweet, affectionate nature, combined with his happy-go-lucky outlook might lead you to think he’s empty headed, but this breed is far from dumb. It’s best to keep Beagles on a leash. They can’t resist the urge to explore, smell the world and chase small critters.

9. Mastiff


Mastiff. Photography ©Photology1971 | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

The large, laid-back Mastiff is a very chill dog. So chill, in fact, that you might thing he’s a little dense. They are also a bit stubborn and might be more challenging to train than some breeds. Again, activity level and ease of training aren’t necessarily good indicators of intelligence. Mastiffs are actually quite bright. Due to their size and natural wariness of strangers, it’s essential for owners to start training and socialization early in puppyhood so Mastiffs develop into well-behaved and discerning companions.

10. Basset Hound

Basset Hound by momente / Shutterstock.

Basset Hounds, like Beagles and Bloodhounds, are very guided by their sense of smell. Photography by momente / Shutterstock.

Like the Pekingese, Basset Hounds can be a bit lazy. This could be in part to their long and low bodies or their laid-back personalities. Bassets can be a little stubborn, and like their scenthound cousins the Bloodhounds and the Beagles, Bassets might have trouble ignoring the amazing scents around them long enough to concentrate on learning. However, Bassets want to please their people and are very food motivated, so they do respond well to training. Don’t mistake the Basset’s easy-going personality for lack of intelligence, though. They are bright and affectionate dogs.

The bottom line on the dumbest dog breeds

It’s not fair to label any breed or individual dog dumb. Yes, some dogs are brighter than others, but most dogs are good at something — you just have to figure out what.

“Some dogs do some things better than others, and they have different behaviors.,” Dr. Dodman says. “Police dogs and army dogs tend to be the German Shepherd Dog and Malinois types because they’re easily trainable. Does that mean they’re smart? Or does it mean they’re not so smart because they always follow other people’s directions and don’t think independently? You can argue it both ways.”

Thumbnail: Photography ©dimarik | Thinkstock.

Why read breed profiles?

Dog breed profiles help everyone, whether you have a mixed breed or purebred dog, to better understand and improve the quality of your dog’s life. If you have a mixed breed dog, read up on all of the breed profiles that make up your dog. Not sure what breed your dog is? There are a number of easy DNA tests out there to help your find out.

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