Dog Breeds Most Likely to Chew Something Up and Land in the ER

We think dogs of every breed have the capacity to be positively angelic. Some, however, tend to achieve that status only while sleeping, spending their waking hours testing the durability of shoes, chairs, remote controls and even doors with their teeth. Sure, all puppies explore the world a bit with their mouths, but certain breeds seem more likely than others to continue chewing into adulthood.

We surveyed 284 veterinary professionals (including vets, veterinary technicians and office staff) to see which breeds they felt were most likely to chew something they shouldn't and wind up in the veterinary emergency room, and we've listed the top five answers below. Do you agree with their opinions? Which breeds would you add to the list?

Breeds That Love to Chew

Jack Russell Terrier dog

Barbara O'Brien, Animal Photography

No. 4 (tie): Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier has boundless energy, which can make him an excellent choice for terrier races, Earthdog trials, agility competitions and more. That energy (along with a seemingly endless desire to dig, dig, dig) means that, if not given a job to do, he can easily become bored and destructive with both his jaws and his paws.

American Pit Bull

Tara Gregg, Animal Photography

No. 4 (tie): American Pit Bull Terrier

The Pit Bull is known for her powerful jaws, which were likely a factor in her earning a spot on this list — once she decides to chew on something, it doesn't stand much of a chance. As with any dog, though, sufficient exercise and training (along with common sense, like putting your favorite shoes where your pup can't reach them) will go a long way toward mitigating destructive chewing.

Golden Retriever

Karin Newstrom, Animal Photography

No. 3: Golden Retriever

Bred to be a working retriever, the Golden is another breed with a desire to do a job and be active — and a propensity to chew on whatever's handy if he becomes bored. Be sure to use positive reinforcement to direct him to appropriate chew toys from an early age to help curb destructive behavior.

Two Beagles

Sam Clark, Animal Photography

No. 2: Beagle

Ask most people what they know about the Beagle, and they'll list three things: They have a great sense of smell, they like to bay, and they really, really love to eat. When you take that tremendous love of food into account, it's not surprising that they occasionally end up chowing down on something they shouldn't, right?

Yellow Labrador Retriever Puppy

Leesia Teh, Animal Photography

No. 1: Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever grabbed the No. 1 spot with authority, earning more than six times the number of votes that No. 2 received. This breed seems to do everything with exuberance — fetching tennis balls, swimming, snuggling and, of course, chewing. His well-known appetites (for both food and destruction) don't't seem to keep his fans from adding him to the family, though. He has been the most popular dog breed in the United States for more than two decades, according to the American Kennel Club.

More on

Join the Conversation

Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!