Are you thinking about getting a new pet for your family? Considering each dog's specific breed before bringing them into your home is important.
Every dog needs fresh food, water, exercise, mental stimulation, comfortable bedding, medical attention, and other necessities to ensure their overall happiness.
Some high-maintenance dog breeds require a significant amount of additional time, care, and energy over others. Certain breeds have common health issues to look out for which can also be a part of your decision making process.
Some breeds are ideal for a small family environment whereas some are not recommended with small children and require plenty of room to run around - all these factors are important when choosing what breed of family pet you are looking to have.
In this article we look at 10 High Maintenance Dog Breeds in more detail. These are breeds which are common family pets but do have tendencies to be highly active and as such can be high-maintenance. These canine breeds can be wonderful pets but understanding their breed is important before adopting one.
What traits are regarded as high-maintenance in dog breeds?
- Dogs with high energy levels may need to get a lot of exercise every day to get rid of their excess energy. If not, they might end up being destructive and become unhappy.
- It is known that some breeds have separation anxiety and have difficulty being left alone. They struggle without regular or continuous human interaction and are not ideal for families who are out of the house for most of the day.
- Some dog breeds with high intelligence levels may need a lot of mental stimulation to avoid becoming bored. They often show negative traits when they don't have the stimulation they crave which can lead to a plethora of problems.
- Fluffy dog breeds, dogs that need a lot of grooming, can require a lot of ongoing maintenance so are classified as high-maintenance as they require continuous grooming.
- And finally some dog breeds are extremely prone to a wide variety of health issues which can lead to extensive vet bills.
Which breeds of dogs are regarded as high-maintenance?
The Akita is a long-standing, large dog breed that comes from the mountains in the north of Japan. As long as they have received adequate training and socialisation, they are fearless, alert, loyal, and protective.
As a large (some extra-large) breed they require daily long walks and a lot of food to keep them in tip-top shape.
Originally a guard dog they continue to be known for their guarding abilities and with their strength comes a very high bite force.
The Akita must be socialised and trained from birth to interact with humans and other animals, especially household pets. They are known to be cautious around new people and to dislike other animals and pets and are not recommended with small families.
If you are considering adopting an Akita as your new pet, you will need to understand their temperament and start training them right away to help them become a devoted member of your family.
The Akita is devoted to and fond of his friends and family, but he is very protective of his home and is known to be quite an introvert.
They have a high shed-level meaning that your house will be full of hairs and extra grooming time over less hairy breeds but are surprisingly adept at keeping themselves well groomed and clean.
Akitas have a life expectancy of 10 to 13 years but the breed does have a few heath issues with you should keep a close eye on.
The breed requires a well balanced diet which is appropriate to their age and activity levels. It is also recommended that you do not exercise them too close to their mealtime or let them eat too quickly; Akitas can be at risk of Gastric Dilation and Volvulus (GDV) which happens when their stomach twists around itself after becoming full of gas. This is a medical emergency and requires immediate intervention. A good rule is to not feed them one hour before or after exercise.
Hip dysplasia is common in Akitas. This is mainly due to them being a large breed so they are prone to joint conditions and hip dysplasia. Managing their weight (and diet) is an important ongoing task.
Alongside common joint issues the breed are also more prone to Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), a serious eye disorder which can lead to the dog going blind. A genetic condition with unfortunately no cure.
Akitas are also more susceptible to Von Willebrand Disease - a blood clotting condition - which prevents the dogs blood from clotting. This can be tested by your vet and is important with this breed as if signs of the disease are found then you should avoid administering medicines such as aspirin and carry with you a wound glue.
Akitas are prone to several immune system disorders and skin-related immune disorders, which can lead to weakness and fatigue, hair loss and hair pigment changes. Again, immune disorders are something your veterinarian can test for and advised with this breed.
2) Border Collie
The Border Collie is a medium-sized herding dog recognised as one of the most intelligent dog species in the world. Because of this they are well adept at being working dogs whether herding sheep (which is in their blood) or as part of the Search-and-Rescue team.
They are a breed of dog that is affectionate, ultra-intelligent, energetic, and extremely hardworking.
Border collies will find things to do if they are not kept busy. They might start herding you and your family, just like the Aussie Shepherd will, or they might get into trouble to keep themselves occupied.
The Border Collie requires a responsible owner with the time, energy, and expertise to ensure their well-being.
They are great dogs for families because they like to be active a lot and are both a loyal and caring breed. They will need to be included in their activities if busy families don't want them to become destructive when bored so watch out for shoes and sofa legs!
Early training is necessary to teach Border Collies not to herd other pets or young children. The breed are the most decorated breed within dog agility indicating just how intelligent and committed they are. They are muscular and strong and have high-energy levels requiring long daily exercise.
Border Collies are robustly designed and as such have a healthy life expectancy which can go well into their teens. However, they do have some common health conditions which you and your vet should keep a close eye on.
Hip dysplasia, a painful condition which is where the ball of the hip socket becomes worn and doesn’t fit together properly - this can heavily reduce mobility levels and create significant pain. The majority of dysplasia cases can be treated with supplements, physical therapy and advanced magnetic dog collars - but in some severe cases surgery may be required.
Epilepsy can be seen in some border collies around the age of two and older. Seizures can range from mild to severe and in many cases anti-seizure medication will be administered by your vet. It is thought that epilepsy is inherited so it is important to understand their breeding history and whether their mum or dada suffered from epilepsy.
Collie Eye Abnormality (CEA) is a congenital eye problem passed down by the genes so some border collies are born with the condition. The disease can be diagnosed by your vet carrying out an eye exam when they are a puppy. This condition will lead to cloudy eyes and blindness. Although there is no cure there are concerted efforts to breed this out of the collie and prevent dogs with this gene from breeding.
Other common issues with border collies can be liver disease, cancer and noncancerous growths.
3) Cocker Spaniel
A small dog breed, Cocker Spaniels are little but fierce! Often looking fabulous with their flowing locks and long ears they are in fact more rough-and-tumble than you would first think.
Spaniels were originally bred for hunting (well collecting what was hunted) and are wonderfully agile and intelligent. They also have a good life expectancy of between 10 -14 years and although are a commonly highly energetic breed they do love a good cuddle and scratch behind the ears. They are gentle and loving and enjoy human company and attention.
The breed are ideal for lively homes and are great with small children, making them a very popular choice for young families. They are also great for apartments and small homes.
Grooming a cocker spaniel is a high-maintenance task which often requires weekly grooming time, they are also well known for liking to bark! Their flowing locks require regular attention including bathing and trimming, and as a breed they tend to shed more than other breeds. Many owners of the breed rely on regular visits to their groomer, sometimes as much as twice a month.
The breed love human interaction and as such dislike being left alone at home, often developing separation anxiety which can lead to excessive barking, whining and even destructive behaviour.
Ear infections are common with cocker spaniels as moisture is trapped within the ear canal leading to infection. Drying their ears after exercise can help but some cocker spaniels have oil glands which produce too much oil in their ears, further complicating their ear hygiene.
Cocker spaniels are also prone to eye conditions such as cataracts, inherited through their genes. In the US, registered cocker spaniels are required to have annual eye exams and a recent study showed that 11% of cocker spaniels registered with the American Spaniel Club (ASC) suffered from cataracts. In the majority of cases surgery is required to treat a cataract. The breed are also susceptible to Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) which there are no cures for.
Along with ear and ey conditions cocker spaniels can also be highly susceptible to hip dysplasia and other joint issues, as well as Patellar Luxation which is where the knee (patella) continually slips out of the groove at the base of the femur. These can lead to Canine arthritis.
4) Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois or Belgium Shepherd is a breed of medium-sized herding dog that comes from Belgium. They are extremely intelligent, trustworthy, fun-loving dogs that will be great companions for owners who want to spend time together.
They can handle any amount of outdoor activity and respond extremely well to high intensity training. They have strong instincts to guard and defend their territory and it is this reason that they are the most common breed now used by the military and police enforcement, replacing the German shepherd as ‘breed of choice’.
Because Malinois are naturally protective, they should be well-trained and socialised from a young age and will be happy to run about and play all day long.
The breed has a lot of energy, making it hard to manage for owners who aren't as active as they require extensive exercise on a daily basis. They have a high tendency to bite making them less appealing for a young family but wonderful for guard dogs.
Fortunately for the breed they are well known for being well bred and are generally a healthy breed. Hip and elbow dysplasia can be seen in very active dogs and are predominantly genetic in nature so it is important to carefully manage the dogs weight and daily diet.
Eye diseases are also found in the malinois breed in the way of cataracts, chronic superficial keratitis or pannus (which effects the cornea) and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) which can lead to blindness.
5) Siberian husky
The Siberian husky is a medium-sized breed of working sled dog. The Spitz family of genes includes the breed. It is easily identified by its distinctive markings, erect triangular ears, and a double coat of wonderfully thick fur.
It enjoys being with everyone and is a very social animal. A husky loves being part of a family because he is very loyal and focused on the pack. They are notorious for even ‘taking’ with their daily by way of howls, high pitched growls and whimpers.
A Husky's even temperament and lack of aggressive tendencies make him an excellent choice for families with young children.
Because they require independence and freedom, these dogs are not your typical lap dogs and have a high tendency to try and escape their surroundings. High walls and fencing are required!
They are a breed which shed extensively so be prepared for all your clothes to be covered in thick white hairs and as a breed they require long daily walks to keep their high energy levels in check.
Huskies are a well bred breed which have an average life span from between 12 to 14 years.
Common health conditions found in huskies include Ocular issues such as cataracts, corneal dystrophy and progressive retinal atrophy. As with other breeds, many breeders ow scan of these conditions and try to prevent breeding for future generations. Von Willebrand’s Disease (VWD) and Hip dysphasia are also commonly found in huskies.
A condition found in huskies and not many other breeds is zinc deficiency, although not clearly understood why many husky owners look to provide their husky with a regular zinc supplement.
An autoimmune skin disease called emphigus foliaceus is also found in huskies and normally develops around 4 years of age. This condition can lead to sore skin and sensitivity to sunlight so requires immediate attention if signs develop.
6) Chow Chow
The Chow Chow is a type of spitz dog that originated in northern China.
It is a sturdy dog breed with a square head, broad skull, and small triangular ears that are erect and have rounded tips. The breed is known for having a double coat that can be smooth or rough and is very dense.
They are typically shy, social dogs - often considered as the cats of the dog world!
They are usually reserved around new people and can be aggressive around other dogs. It is Important to give them early socialisation with other dogs, pets, and people. Once established within their own environment and family they are extremely loyal and will go to great lengths to look out for you.
It can be a good pet for an older family, but it isn't known for being playful or patient, so it's better for families with no loud kids or young children. If you are looking for cuddles and attention on the sofa at night then this is probably not the ideal breed for you.
Due to these behaviour traits chow chows are not the best choice for novice owners because, in addition to being physically strong, they can be quite strong-willed and stubborn.
Chow chows are reported as developing a range allergies and will commonly have itchy skin around their feet, smooch, skin folds and ears. This is well known its vets and as such regular treatments and creams will be diagnosed by your vet. They also suffer from high levels of dysplasia (both hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia) and Patellar Luxation issues.
They are also prone to skin cancers such as melanoma and endocrine conditions like hypothyroidism or alopecia X (an aggressive hair loss condition).
7) Puli (Hungarian Shepherd)
The long, corded coat of the Puli is a characteristic of this small-to-medium Hungarian Shepherd, bred originally as a herding and livestock guard dog. This breed circles a lot and is very active often nipping at their owners' heels, they frequently attempt to "herd" their family.
The puli are an excellent family member when given daily exercise and proper training. It serves as a herding dog and occasionally as a livestock guard dog. Because they are so protective of their masters and their territory, they make excellent guard dogs.
Pulis are fiercely family-oriented, devoted, and affectionate - a breed who thrives with an active and experienced pet parent. Their hair is hypoallergenic, meaning they can be suitable in households where someone has a hair allergy.
Although some Pulis can be timid or aggressive, the breed's vocal characteristics make it an excellent guard dog because it is wary of strangers. They are not a good choice for first-time dog owners due to their complicated nature.
A puli is recognised as a high-maintenance breed as its long corded coat requires ongoing and extensive grooming - in most cases they need grooming daily. Having double coats means they shed for large amounts of the year and everywhere! The breed also requires daily exercise needs greater than the majority of breeds.
A puli life expectancy can be 10 - 15 years and they are generally a healthy breed.
Common health conditions found in Puli’s are hip dysplasia, Patellar Luxation, and eye problems such as Cataracts.
8) Australian Shepherd
Australian shepherds are known as a medium breed and have a reputation for their beautiful coats (often blue or merle), gorgeous piercing blue eyes and their all-day energy levels.
Originally bred for herding (hence the shepherd) and still to this day widely used on farms and ranches to herd sheep or cattle. They were actually originally bred in California, USA in the 19th century.
The breed is extremely loyal and found across the world as ‘a working dog’ due to their strength, intelligence, ability to learn and work alongside a handler.
They are full on and will have high-energy levels throughout their life, often leading to them taking part in activities such as dog agility or disc-frisbee. They like to chew toys (or shoes!) so ensure they have access to plenty of toys and preferably long-lasting ones!
The Australian Shepherd makes for a good pet for high-energy families and requires plenty of room to run about and play. The breed are good with kids and have a playful demeanour but do have high barking tendencies and aren’t so great with cats in the family.
As a breed they are very resilient with injuries and are recognised as low maintenance breed when it comes to vets visits and healthcare; their high-maintenance label is solely originated on their high-energy levels.
Their paws will require regular inspection (as any highly active dog does) and they will require a high-calorie well balanced diet to provide them with all the nutritional values they need. Aussies shepherds may experience food allergies that can manifest as dry or itchy skin, pay attention to this when you first introduce them to any new foods.
Boxer dogs are an athletic medium sized breed who may look intimidating from a distance but are generally silly, outgoing and wonderfully fun dogs. A loyal and protective breed they make for ideal family pets and as they have short coats they shed less hair than hairy breeds of dog.
Training them from an early age is important as they can be extremely bouncy and like to jump up, so with any boxer it is important to give them plenty of exercise and space to do their zoomies!
As a breed they are known to be loving and sensitive animals and as such are widely used as service, assistance and therapy dogs. This on occasions can lead to complications with their behaviour around other dogs.
Boxer dogs have a ton of energy and are a very popular breed as a family pet, however, they do have a variety of serious health complications which can lead to extensive treatments and vet bills.
They are the most prone breed to developing different types of canine cancer, including hemangiosarcoma and lymphosarcoma, as well as tumors across the body.
Another common health issue with boxers are heart conditions. These are congenital heart defects which they are born with which often leads to a heart muscle disease called AVRC - arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, for which there is no cure. Aortic Stenosis is another heart condition they suffer from which is where the aortic valve narrows and eventually fails.
Degenerative Myelopathy is an incurable spine condition which spreads through the nervous system and can lead to your boxer being paralysed. If your boxer begins to rapidly slow down and show signs of reducing mobility then this can be an early sign of this nasty health condition - seek immediate help.
Ulcers are also commonly found in boxer dogs and particularly in their eyes. Symptoms of this include redness of the eye, sever watering of the eye and continuous squinting. You vet can treat this condition.
Finally, the boxer breed is also susceptible to dental issues which can lead to further complications down the road.
10) English Bulldog
This adorable breed is one of the most popular breeds in the UK as they are notoriously laid back and affectionate and great fun amongst young family. They love to give kisses (often sloppy ones!) and embody the spirt of “mans best friend”.
The breed are low-maintenance when it comes to walks and exercise and they don’t require huge volumes of space to stay happy - but with all these wonderful traits comes a variety of heart-wrenching health issues which can lead to extensive vet bills and trips to and from the clinic.
They have the highest level of hip dysplasia than any other breed, with 3 out of 4 boxers expected to develop hip dysplasia in their lifetime.
They are also commonly prone to allergies, eye sight issues and respiratory problems.
BOAS - Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome - is an inherited condition which almost all bulldogs have due to their short muzzles and squashed head. The conditions effects their breathing limiting the volume of oxygen intake. In some cases surgery is required to prevent suffocation entirely.
Alongside heart and breathing issues boxers are also prone to skin infections as they have wrinkly skin which requires an element of daily care. Owners are advised to clean and dry the wrinkles on their skin daily and if infection is found to apply topical medicated creams.
Finally, due to the shape of their heads and volume of litter boxer-mums go through extensive health issue when giving birth - more often than not boxer puppies are born via c-section and as such have lower immune systems when first born.
Caring for dogs is vital to their overall happiness.
There is a variety of canine breeds who can create high levels of maintenance and in this article we have touched on just a few. Sadly all breeds can experience a plethora of health conditions, injuries and diseases including canine arthritis which is seen across all breeds.
Further breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Jack Russell Terriers, Dalmations, Brussel Griffons and Pointers are also prone to specific health complications which can lead to high levels of ongoing maintenance and dreaded vet bills.
Understanding the bloodline of the dog can also play a vital part in understanding any genetic issues that may be present and why the price of pedigree dogs is far more expensive. The breeder and their reputation can also play a vital part, so do your research.
Whatever condition your dog may face, the majority of issues can be managed by your vet and clinical medication. Many look for more natural approaches alongside prescribed canine medications.
Products such as magnetic dog collars and a huge variety of homeopathy medications, natural supplements and supportive products such as magnetic beds provide dogs owners with a variety of natural and holistic approaches to managing their dogs wellbeing, mobility levels and ongoing heath.
If you are really unsure on breed would suit you and your family best then contact your local vet or rescue centre who will be happy to talk to you about what breed may suit you and your lifestyle best.
Whatever choice of breed you decide to make - your full love, care and attention are vital in providing them with a happy and fulfilled life. We hope this article helps.