The 16 Breeds that are the Hardest to Potty-Train and Why!

Housetraining a Pekingese

Not every dog owner agrees that a dog should be trained to fetch a stick, shake hands or roll over. However, there is one thing every dog owner can agree on and that is that every dog should be potty trained!

Training the average dog to go outside for their business takes consistency, confidence and a great deal of patience. Unfortunately, for some reason, there are dogs that just don’t want to be trained.

If you are struggling to potty train your pooch, he may be one of many the dogs on our list of the 16 dog breeds that are the hardest to potty train. You may be surprised as to why your stubborn pup just won’t go out.

16. Pug

Pug Sleeping on Couch

The clownish, big eyed and tiny features of the Pug make it difficult for owners to discipline this dog. He is just too cute to scold! Pugs are stubborn by nature and can easily manipulate owners, making them even harder to potty train.

A tasty treat reward is proven highly effective in potty training, but don’t let those big puppy eyes convince you to dish out treats for just anything. Not only will your potty training method fail, you will end up with a tubby pup on your hands.

15. Dalmatian

Dalmatian on Green Hill

The Dalmatian is a working dog breed, capable of learning to do just about anything. From helping out the local fire department to starring in a Hollywood premier, the Dalmatian is known for its intelligence and versatility.

Unfortunately, owners underestimate the confidence it takes to train this independent thinker of a dog. Consistent commands and expectations are required when potty training this canine. Dominant, obstinate, willful and even manipulative, the Dalmatian takes the title of top dog in a rule-free household.

14. Whippet

Whippet on a Chair

The Whippet is a shy, timid dog whose natural standoffish nature makes potty training a rather slow and cautious process. This sighthound is likely to run off when let outside into an open yard or without the accompaniment of their owner.

Like any sighthound, the Whippet is independent and does not particularly care about doing what you would like him to do. Teaching the Whippet to respect you and showing this dog that you will keep him safe, are the building blocks to training this skittish hound.

13. Afghan Hound

Afghan Hound Standing Proudly

Unlike other dog breeds that live to please their owners, the Afghan Hound could care less and will only do something if there is something in it for him.

Although it may be tempting to push this stubborn hound, the Afghan is a very sensitive dog. This dog often becomes frozen with fear, bracing his legs and refusing to move when forced to do something.

Patience is a virtue when housebreaking the Afghan hound and a persuasive treat couldn’t hurt either.

12. Dachshund

Dachshund with Blue Collar

My way or the highway, that is the classic mindset of the Dachshund. Just like the Jack Russell Terrier, the Dachshund’s stubbornness makes housebreaking a challenge. Clever and bright, this dog puts up his wall of defensive snapping and growling when pushed to do something.

The Dachshund responds best to praise and a rewarding treat when being trained. Whether you own a short-haired or long-haired Dachshund, neither of these dogs like to go outdoors in less than perfect weather. Consider a small, covered portion of the yard for them to go outside.

11. Maltese

Maltese Yawning

Don’t give in to the helpless baby routine of the Maltese. If you do, your Maltese will end up yappy, bratty, insecure and overly dependent on you. Treating your Maltese like a big dog will make potty training a much smoother process.

Like most small dogs, the Maltese does not enjoy going out in wet or cold weather. Consider a covered yard to go potty or a litter box inside the home.

10. Pomeranian

Pomeranian Looking up at Camera

The Pomeranian is the upper-class of the dog breeds, or at least that’s what these small dogs think. This hot shot of a dog is not about to take orders from anyone he sees as less important than him.

The American Kennel Club describes the Pomeranian as “lively, bold, and inquisitive.” This is definitely a dog full of personality.

In general, Pomeranians love to please their owners, but they are known for their moodiness, fearfulness, sharpness and overall nastiness. Not only does their temperament make them difficult to potty train, the breed’s tiny internal plumbing is not always strong enough to “hold it.”

9. Pekingese

Pekingese Looking up at Camera

Strong-willed and supremely confident, the Pekingese is one of the most stubborn dogs of the toy breeds. The Pekingese is self-absorbed and resents being scolded or told what to do. This dog definitely has a mind of his own and won’t meekly submit to half-hearted training.

The Pekingese only responds to a confident owner, who sticks to consistent training.

8. Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky Hiding in Pillow

Huskies want to be the boss. This clever, intelligent and independent dog breed will try to manipulate his trainer. The Husky is a dominant dog that does what he wants, when he wants. You say, “I am going to make you,” and your Husky says, “prove it.”

You must show the Husky that you mean exactly what you say, or this dog breed will be the boss of the household.

7. Havanese

Havanese with Green Toy in Mouth

The Havanese shares a similar potty training problem as the Husky. Manipulative, stubborn and a complete mind of their own, the Havanese will test his trainer to see if he truly means what he says.

A doggie door is beneficial for most, but an owner of this dog breed must know how to put their foot down and show this dog who is running things around here.

6. Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel with Ball in Mouth, Ready to Play

Smallest of the sporting breeds, the Cocker Spaniel is a gentle, playful and sweet-natured dog. However, the Spaniel’s unpredictable temperament and defensive attitude can make him difficult to house train. When asked to do something he doesn’t want to do, the Cocker Spaniel will let his trainer know by growling or snapping defensively.

The Cocker is a rather sensitive Spaniel, which means a harsh approach to training, such as, using your hands, can cause an outbreak of aggression or submissive urination, as the dog may tinkle on the floor nervously.

5. Chihuahua

Sleeping Chihuahua in Bed

The Chihuahua is such a popular breed that people treat this tiny pooch more like a baby than a dog. A babied Chihuahua will become high strung, shrill and suspicious of everything around them.

This spoiled dog will relieve himself anywhere he pleases because he knows he won’t be disciplined for it. This Mexico native is not very fond of cold weather and an indoor litter pan may be beneficial when potty training.  

4. West Highland White Terrier

West Highland Terrier Wearing Sweater in Kitchen

The West Highland white terrier is clever, demanding and stubborn. This dog will often pout or throw a ‘terrier’ tantrum if he does not get his way.

Although this breed will test your patience, the West Highland Terrier responds well to consistent training. As long as there is a treat reward in it for him, this dog will obey your every command.

3. Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier Face Close Up on Beach

The Jack Russell is the toughest terrier breed to potty train. This dog thinks the world revolves around him and it is difficult to train-out that tough, vermin killing trait that the breed was originally used for.

The biggest challenge Jack Russell owners come to deal with is the frustration of getting him to learn he must do what you say, when you say, regardless if he feels like it or not.

In order to avoid this annoying terrier trait, the Jack Russell must begin training early into his puppy years before the little dog has time to work in those bad habits.

2. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkie in the bathtub with hair net on

The Yorkshire terrier comes in second place in our list of toughest potty trainers. The opinionated and often spoiled, Yorkshire Terrier is notoriously difficult to make go outside in wet or cold weather.

Yorkshires who are babied often deemed with high strung temperaments, shrillness and become suspicious of new things around them. These dogs also do not do well when taken outside on a leash.

The Yorkshire’s tiny bladder doesn’t hold for long and the constant need to be let outside can be tedious for a new owner. Most owners consider an inside litter pan or a doggie door leading to a cover yard to potty.

1. Bichon Frise

Two Bichon Frise in Window

The number one reason this dog is given up for adoption is due to potty training issues, putting the Bichon Frise at the top of our list of hardest breeds to potty train. The Frise has a strong streak of independence, and harsh training only makes the pup spiteful. Constant training is mandatory when working with the breed.

A doggie door is recommended but won’t always help unless the yard is covered. Bichon’s don’t like the cold or rain, and won’t go out.

Toy breed dogs are the hardest dogs to potty train. Due to their tiny size, it is oh-so easy for them to hide behind the couch, do their business and leave it to you to find what they have done hours later. Terrier and working dog breeds are not as sneaky as the toy breeds, but they don’t care if you catch them in the act or not.

No matter the breed, the hardest dogs to potty train are those that do not respect their owner. Every member of the household should conduct the same level of training with your four-legged friend. It is easy for your pooch to pick out the “softy” of the family and get away with bad behavior.

If you are at a loss with training your problematic potty trainer, take the advice from veterinarians Foster and Smith from Pet’s Education. They map out different techniques that have been proven beneficial with stubborn dog breeds. Don’t have the time to house train? Consider a professional dog potty-trainer like the ones found at Absolute K9 training in San Diego, California. Hiring a professional does have a price, but if your patience is worn thin, it is definitely worth every penny!


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