The 10 Naughtiest Dog Breeds

Well-behaved dogs rarely make history. That’s the saying, right? The chances your dog appears in the Guinness Book of World Records as a mischief maker are higher if you own one of the naughtiest dog breeds. Of course, behavior depends on a lot of factors like socialization and training techniques. But the folks over at Protect My Paws, a research-based website that helps pet parents compare insurance plans, wanted to hear it straight from the human’s mouth. They looked at hordes of Instagram posts with behavior and breed hashtags to see which dog breeds were the naughtiest. Then, they ranked the results. Gotta say, the number-one naughtiest dog breed surprised us!

What makes a naughty dog?

Protect My Paws counted posts containing both a specific breed and a behavior tag. Some popular hashtags include #gooddog, #cleverdog, #baddog, #naughtypuppy, #cheekydog and #muddydog. They weighed the number of “naughty” tags against the number of “nice” tags to see how each breed fared.

Now, to some people, a #muddydog isn’t a bad dog. Good and bad are definitely subjective. For instance, the naughtiest breed (is the suspense killing you?) is a real criminal when it comes to invading your space and being kind of needy. Not necessarily bad, but certainly annoying enough to warrant a post letting everyone know how obnoxious the dog is. Plus, the number one offender’s share of naughty tags was substantially higher than the rest of the bunch.

This article isn’t about aggression in dogs, which is a different story. If your dog gets aggressive with other animals, people or family members (or you!), definitely close your Insta app and scurry to a vet or professional behaviorist who can diagnose your pup. Reasons for aggression vary, but it’s typically the result of fear, anxiety or confusion.

How important is breed when it comes to behavior?

One 2019 study on thousands of canines found that a dog’s genes are responsible for 60 to 70 percent of certain traits. The traits most influenced by genetics (aka, their breed or breeds) are trainability, aggression towards strangers, prey drive and the need for attention. This is why it’s important to really study a breed before adopting or buying a dog! While breed cannot predict everything, it can give you clues as to what to expect. Knowing your dog is likely to be wary of strangers definitely helps when you train commands, especially if you live in a social neighborhood with lots of kids.

Where do the naughtiest dogs live?

Protect My Paws also geotagged the Instagram posts they studied. According to the research, just over 87 percent of Instagram dog posts from South Africa were about naughty pups, making it the worst-behaved canine population in the world. At least South African dogs have a sense of humor about it. Sophia and Olly, two bulldogs in Stellenbosch, east of Cape Town, played dead to avoid punishment after they chewed up their humans’ furniture.

If you want to visit a high concentration of wicked tail-waggers, head to Canberra, Australia. It’s the city with the highest rate of naughty dog breeds at 99.74 percent! Something tells us this may have more to do with the humans behind the training than the animals, but Australia is known for its high-energy, hard-working breeds. You may notice many dogs on our list are probably naughty because they grew bored or anxious without something to do.

If international travel isn’t your thing but you want to see some naughty dogs in action, head to North Carolina or Kansas. Those are the U.S. states with the most mischievous dog populations.

Training and naughty dogs

Every dog is different and requires a training regimen tailored to its past, its genes and its personality. Reward-based training is generally the best method. Start early and be consistent. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a licensed trainer!

Remember, dogs “misbehave” to communicate with you. More often than not, there’s a deeper issue at play. A little investigation goes a long way.

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naughtiest dog breeds english springer spaniel
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10. English Springer Spaniel

Height: 19 - 20 inches

Weight: 40 - 50 pounds

Personality: Dedicated, Friendly

Activity Level: Moderate

Shedding Factor: Moderate

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Naughtiness Factor: 72.83%

Surprisingly, the English Springer Spaniel made the naughty list! We think this could be because they make such popular family pets. These dogs are bound to get into something, whether it’s your kid’s toy box or a hole in the backyard. Since they were bred to hunt birds, English Springer Spaniels’ high prey drives could get them into hot water every now and then—especially if they’re on a walk and decide to follow their noses, instead of their humans.

naughtiest dog breeds keeshond
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9. Keeshond

Height: 17-18 inches

Weight: 35-45 pounds

Personality: Lively, smart

Activity Level: Moderate to High

Shedding Factor: Moderate

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Naughtiness Factor: 73.08%

Many destructive or petulant dog breeds are brainiacs! That’s certainly the case for Keeshonds who are intelligent, fluffy creatures. Boy oh boy, do these dogs love a meet ‘n greet. It’s possible their affinity for all people and animals turns their lively personality into more of a rambunctious nuisance. In some cases, this is great. Be sure to train commands like “down” and “sit” so your Keeshond doesn’t make any enemies.

naughtiest dog breeds welsh terrier
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8. Welsh Terrier

Height: 13-15.5 inches

Weight: 20-22 pounds

Personality: Playful, Energetic

Activity Level: High

Shedding Factor: Low to Moderate

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Naughtiness Factor: 74.29%

Bred to hunt small animals like foxes and badgers in the north of Wales, Welsh Terriers have been around for about 300 years. These balls of energy love meeting new people but aren’t afraid to guard their homestead. Again, this is a breed that will let you know (by way of ripped couch cushions and scratched floors) they don’t appreciate much down time. A Welsh Terrier’s ideal playtime is the two of you (or the whole fam!) tossing a ball around in the yard.

naughtiest dog breeds poochon
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7. Poochon

Height: 9-15 inches

Weight: 6-17 pounds

Personality: Friendly, Clingy

Activity Level: Moderate

Shedding Factor: Low

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Naughtiness Factor: 75.81%

Crate training and socialization are key to a happy, healthy Poochon. A mixed breed developed by breeding toy poodles and Bichon Frises, Poochons develop separation anxiety easily. They are incredibly affectionate and get along well with all kinds of people and pets. Poochons simply hate being by themselves. The good news is they have that Poodle intelligence; training should come easily and the earlier you start, the better. Other than their need for company, Poochons adapt well to a variety of households and environments.

naughtiest dog breeds chug
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6. Chug

Height: 10-14 inches

Weight: 10-20 pounds

Personality: Feisty, Alert

Activity Level: Moderate to High

Shedding Factor: Moderate

Life Expectancy: 10-13 years

Naughtiness Factor: 76%

What do you get when you add the stubborn attitude of a chihuahua with the friendly energy of a pug? A Chug, of course! Talk about a big dog personality crammed into a small frame. Chugs are definitely in charge and have been known to be very territorial. Training against resource guarding is a good idea. If the pug personality dominates your Chug, get ready for a goofy—albeit noisy—companion for life.

naughtiest dog breeds wirehaired vizsla
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5. Wirehaired Vizsla

Height: 21-25 inches

Weight: 45-65 pounds

Personality: Intelligent, Affectionate

Activity Level: High

Shedding Factor: Moderate

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Naughtiness Factor: 76.19%

Perhaps wirehaired Vizslas act out to distinguish themselves from their smooth-coated Vizsla cousins. In the 1930s, Hungarian hunters combined Vizslas and German wirehaired pointers to create a dog better-suited for cold, wet weather. Today, these dogs are smarties with energy to burn. Boredom comes easily, but they do enjoy learning commands and thrive with a routine. We think it’ll be pretty easy to forgive wirehaired Vizslas who exhibit naughty behavior, especially when they snuggle up to you at the end of a busy day.

naughtiest dog breeds cockapoo
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4. Cockapoo

Height: 10-15 inches

Weight: 6-19 pounds

Personality: Playful, Smart

Activity Level: Moderate to High

Shedding Factor: Low

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Naughtiness Factor: 76.55%

The Cockapoo is considered a designer breed that first emerged in the 1960s when breeders combined Cocker Spaniels and poodles. The idea was to make a friendly, people-oriented pup with a sweet disposition. Honestly, they did good. Like, too good. Cockapoos will not leave you alone and have been known to follow you literally everywhere. Sensitive and playful, they take criticism personally. If your Cockapoo suddenly disappears from sight, chances are they’re taking their revenge by chewing on your sneakers.

naughtiest dog breeds mudi
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3. Mudi

Height: 15-19 inches

Weight: 18-29 pounds

Personality: Energetic, Intelligent

Activity Level: High

Shedding Factor: Low

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Naughtiness Factor: 77.27%

Maybe that #muddydog hashtag comes from Mudis who can’t get enough of the outdoors! Actually, their name is pronounced “moodie,” and they are fairly rare, which makes it all the more impressive that they broke the naughty list’s top ten. These loyal dogs were bred to herd farm animals in Hungary, which means running and control are their passions. Mudis need tons of exercise, so agility and course training are great ways to challenge their bodies and minds.

naughtiest dog breeds shichon

2. Shichon

Height: 9-12 inches

Weight: 9-15 pounds

Personality: Gentle, Social

Activity Level: Moderate to High

Shedding Factor: Low

Life Expectancy: 12-18 years

Naughtiness Factor: 78.38%

Shichons are mixed breed dogs, bred by combining Shih Tzus and Bichon Frises. The result is a remarkably sweet, albeit energetic and extroverted, dog who enjoys being the apple of your eye (and the only apple of your eye). Shichons are prone to separation anxiety and stubbornness, which is likely where their naughty streak comes in. Leaving them alone without company or regular playtime could mean they’ll act out and chew everything in sight. While intelligent, they may require extra coaxing when it comes to obedience training.

naughtiest dog breeds japanese spitz
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1. Japanese Spitz

Height: 12-15 inches

Weight: 10-25 pounds

Temperament: Playful, Intelligent

Shedding Factor: Seasonal

Activity Level: Moderate

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Naughtiness Factor: 86.67%

Ta-da! The number-one naughtiest dog breed is the Japanese Spitz. Sure, it looks like they’re smiling all the time, but they’ve got tricks up their sleeves. Bred from the German Spitz to be Japanese companion dogs in the 1920s, these pups consider themselves an extension of you. Leaving them home alone too long will definitely result in some destruction. One good behavior quality they have is an eagerness to please, so training usually comes easily to them. (Well, they learn easily. Whether or not they follow through is another story.) Of all the posts on Instagram tagged #japanesespitz, 86.67 percent of them reported naughty behavior, earning them Protect My Paws’ title “Public Enemy Number One.”

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Sarah Ashley

Freelance Writer

Sarah Ashley is a Chicago-based freelance journalist. She has covered pets for PureWow for six years and tackles everything from dog training tips to the best litter boxes. Her...
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