Dog Breeds With Better Things to Do Than Learn a Trick

One of the most wonderful things about being a dog lover is that you learn to appreciate different breeds for their individual characteristics and quirks. It's impossible not to admire the Border Collie's incredible intelligence or the Doberman's devotion to his family, right?

Then again, some traits can be misinterpreted, as is often the case with the breeds below. We definitely wouldn't call these dogs lazy, but when we surveyed 274 veterinary professionals (including vets, techs and office managers) about which breeds are known for having priorities that sometimes trump learning a new trick, these were the breeds they named. These breeds aren't zoned out, and they certainly can be taught when the mood strikes them (or when they're provided with the proper motivation) — they're just pacing themselves.

Do you agree with their answers?

Dog Breeds Most Likely to Fall Asleep in Obedience Class

Great Dane Lying on Floor

Karin Newstrom, Animal Photography

No. 10: Great Dane

Despite his massive size, the Great Dane is surprisingly snuggly and inclined to be low-energy. He might be interested in learning that trick, but he might be more interested in curling up next to you and napping.

Shih Tzu Smiling at Camera

Barbara O'Brien, Animal Photography

No. 8 (tied): Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is a true love bug who was not bred to work or do fancy tricks but, rather, to love, be loved and get spoiled. At these things, she is a pro.

Lemon Beagle Smiling at Camera

Leesia Teh, Animal Photography

No. 8 (tied): Beagle

The charming Beagle lives to use his nose, which means that if an interesting smell gets in the way of learning something new, that something new will have to wait almost every time.


Sam Clark, Animal Photography

No. 7: Newfoundland

Another gentle giant, the Newfoundland generally has a docile temperament and high level of intelligence, but when there's no work that really needs to be done, she's happy to share the couch with her people and veg.

Close up of smiling senior Golden Retriever

Barbara O'Brien, Animal Photography

No. 6: Golden Retriever

This is one breed nobody would call lazy. The exuberant Golden tends to be eager to please, but his high energy level means that if he hasn't gotten enough activity, he can have trouble focusing on what exactly it is you want him to — SQUIRREL!

Saint Bernard Standing in Grass

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

No. 5: Saint Bernard

The Saint Bernard is another working breed that is great at doing her job — which was once rescuing stranded travelers in the Swiss Alps (sans brandy keg collar, by the way) — but her exercise needs are usually modest, and she's likely to be content keeping her people company or taking a nap.

Bloodhound Puppy

Julie Poole, Animal Photography

No. 4: Bloodhound

The sad-faced Bloodhound might have a sensitive and affectionate nature, but he's also known to be strong-willed, making some Bloodhounds difficult for inexperienced owners to train. Lazy, they are not — many can follow a trail for hours without tiring — but they're also great at chilling out with the family and a movie.

Mastiff dog breed

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

No. 3: Mastiff

Gentle and loving but sometimes stubborn, the massive Mastiff is a great protector by nature, although even her biggest fans acknowledge she can appear to be selectively deaf to certain commands. And at over 200 pounds, good luck persuading her to do something that doesn't interest her!


Barbara O'Brien, Animal Photography

No. 2: Bulldog

The good-natured Bulldog is a favorite of many, partly for his loyalty and determination, but often for his amusing personality. He's not typically too difficult to train; however, not only does he not require much exercise, but he really shouldn't work too hard due to his breathing difficulty and intolerance of being overheated.

Basset Hound

Nick Ridley, Animal Photography

No. 1: Basset Hound

The Basset Hound has a reputation for laziness, but many of these hunting dogs do enjoy walks of the long, meandering variety. When it comes to training, though, he shares the Mastiff's selective hearing and can even remain (or appear to remain, at least) deeply asleep and unable to hear a human calling him from inches away.

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