Every dog will change your life and will need your input – dog exercise, training your pooch, indoor games, outdoor games, grooming at home or a salon, and, of course, your company and love. Some, however, take high maintenance to a whole new level! Whether it’s due to their coat, behaviour, or both, see our list of the most high maintenance dog breeds below.
1. Afghan Hound
The Afghan Hound is a high-maintenance dog due to their coat – and it needs daily brushing, bathing once a week, drying carefully with a blow dryer or blaster, oil treatments, careful wrapping, clipping up out of the way, and snoods at mealtimes. Not only that, this is a breed that loves quick, crazy sprints and dog zoomies in the great outdoors. So, untangling, de-leafing, and leg-drying is going to be a daily and surprisingly time-consuming thing!
Labradoodles are a bouncy, high-energy breed with time consuming training and exercise requirements. Few people realise just how active and full-on these cute, oversized, teddy-bear-looking dogs can be. But, it’s not just their exercise requirements that are high maintenance; depending on what kind of coat they have inherited from their parents, the Labradoodle could need daily down-to--the-skin grooming to avoid matting - even if clipped fairly short - and possibly a regular professional top-up. This goes for the Cockapoo too…
They can succeed in any of the dog sports – especially obedience, heelwork to music, agility, and anything active and on the go. But be warned, a bored, under-stimulated Border Collie is no fun at all to live with - and can become anything from hyperactive to noisy to destructive to aggressive. This is a dog for the real canine enthusiast whose life will revolve around their dog.
4. Belgian Malinois
The coat may be easier to look after but that’s the only thing about a Belgian Malinois that is easy. There is a reason they are known as Maligators – as they do enjoy biting and grabbing things with their teeth (hence why they make excellent security and forces’ dogs). They require hours of input, sensitive, expert training, and appropriate dog exercise every single day without fail. There are no days off with this breed for at least the first two years and even then, only if you’ve put due diligence into teaching them to relax and chill and fulfil their need to work, it does not come naturally. A dog for the experienced and dedicated owner whose life can revolve around their dog.
5. Hungarian Kuvasz
While this isn’t a dog who needs a huge amount of stomping across the countryside or hard-core daily grooming, the management required to keep the Hungarian Kuvasz safe from visitors, and visitors safe from this dog, while still meeting the dogs needs for exercise and enrichment, will be a considerable task for anyone living anything less than a hermit’s lifestyle! This isn’t unique to the Kuvasz however, and many of the guardian breeds who were developed to protect livestock or property remotely from their owners (and so make their own call on who is ‘a stranger’ (everyone!) and need dealing with appropriately) have the same requirements.
The Komondor’s unique coat may look easy to look after but don’t be fooled. It takes three years for that coat to reach full length and correct texture, with the mats needing to be split and rolled patiently throughout that time. A full dog bath will mean that they take a day or more to dry – and the mats will have a scent and texture that you really have to love to be able to live with! They’re definitely up there with the most high maintenance dog breeds.
7. French Bulldog
French Bulldogs might look cute but this short necked, short faced, dwarf legged breed is going to cost a lot to insure, and if not, vet bills may easily end up being in their thousands to mitigate conformation related problems, like BOAS in dogs. In addition, skincare and heat management are serious considerations due to their breathing issues and skin rolls.
Their short legs, flat nose, bulging eyes, short neck and extremely dense, profuse coat means Pekingese management is time consuming and expensive, particularly when it comes to vet bills and dog insurance. They’re also a high maintenance dog as keeping them cool will be an ongoing issue – so you’ll have to have cool spaces for them to lie and sleep, watch out for overly centrally heated houses – and make sure their coat is tangle-free to allow some air flow.
9. Chinese Crested (hairless)
The hairless Chinese Crested pooch looks very glamorous in photos and it’s easy to think having no hair means no maintenance but the amount of day-to-day work shaving, plucking and tweaking, plus the skin care regime needed to deal with all pimples, blackheads, avoiding sunburn or chills, is extensive! Plus, they might need a better wardrobe than you to stay warm in the winter!
10. Siberian Husky
The amount of exercise the Siberian Husky requires is astonishing, making them one of the most high maintenance dogs – but shouldn’t come as a surprise for a dog who is bred to pull a sledge for up to an incredible 100 miles a day. They will need an outlet for this athletic prowess though – and unless you live in the frozen north, the cost of the dry-land mushing rig will be eye-watering. Plus, there’s the cost of dog day-care, as they don’t cope well alone, or with new sofas and soft furnishings if you try to leave them home alone!). Along with this, there’s the number of vacuum cleaners you’ll go through cleaning up the endless shed hair!
FAQs on the most high maintenance dog breeds
Are labradoodles high maintenance?
Labradoodles are notorious for being high maintenance dogs. Their energy levels need to be cared for with proper exercise and they have coats that need good and regular grooming. They might not be an ideal dog for first time owners!
In some ways, like grooming, socialising with other dogs, and exercising, Golden Retrievers can be considered high maintenance. However, these pooches are also super adaptable, friendly with other people and dogs, and can be easily trained. They could be considered less high maintenance than a lot of other dog breeds.
Are Pugs high maintenance?
Pugs can be considered high maintenance as they’re a brachycephalic breed, known for having a lot of respiratory health issues. In terms of behaviour, they’re pretty mellow, sleep a lot and don’t bark too much. They are also a good dog breed if you live in an apartment.
If you’re looking for the opposite of a high maintenance dog breed, check out our low maintenance dog breed guide next!