Americans love dogs. The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that more than 48 million American households have one, and many have more than one.
Having a dog can be expensive. The cost of owning a dog is between $1,500 and $9,500 per year, according to one estimate. This usually includes the cost of food, toys, and visits to the vet. Puppies can also be expensive. Depending on the breed, a puppy can cost upwards of $1,000, and some cost much more. A show-quality Afghan Hound, for example, can cost upwards of $2,500 – and Afghan Hounds are considered America’s toughest dog breed.
Dogs are often chosen based on breed characteristics. Some dogs are good with families and children. Some are good watchdogs. Some are good hunters. Some may spend most, if not all, of their time indoors. The American Kennel Club has gone so far as to have a section on its website where people can compare breeds based on size, life expectancy, and even difficulty or ease of training. (These are the most difficult dog breeds to train.)
Another measure of breeds is intelligence, which canine experts disagree on.
Canine psychologist Stanley Coren rates dog breeds on three types of intelligence: instinctive (natural skills or abilities), adaptive (ability to think independently and solve problems), and obedient and hardworking (how well a dog is obedient and how quickly he can learn commands).
Dog information website The Smart Canine considers the latter to be the most objective and easily measurable, although it notes that a breed that may not perform well in matter of obedience and learning commands could excel in instinctive and adaptive intelligence.
An article on the site titled 35 Least Intelligent Dog Breeds and Why They Actually Aren’t Dumb Dogs points out that some breeds that aren’t considered intelligent may simply be “aloof” and unwilling to obey commands. His list of dumbest dogs depends on how many times a command must be repeated before the dog understands. Another criterion is whether a dog can understand a known command the first time it is given.
When tested by Dr. Coren, the dogs on Smart Canine’s list took between 40 and 80 repetitions to learn a new command. (On the other hand, these are the smartest dog breeds in America.)
Click here to see America’s 35 Toughest Dog Breeds
Based on these measurements, the toughest dog breed is the Afghan Hound. This breed has attractive characteristics. The American Kennel Club describes them as regal, gorgeous, and independent. This independence may be what hurts their score – and in the list of positive and negative dog qualities that follows, note that “independence” can appear under both headings.