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Top 10 High Strung Dog Breeds – Energy to Burn!
Is your dog anxious? Nervous? Hyper? Or dare we ask—neurotic?
Well, if your “best friend furever” reminds you of a character from “Seinfeld,” he or she just might be one of the canines on our list of the most high-strung dog breeds. Check out our list to see if your best friend is an Elaine, George, Kramer, or Jerry.
It’s cute, perky, so FLUFFY—and can be quite a handful. The Pomeranian is an alert toy breed that will bounce, bark, or boss its way around the house like a certain little French emperor who shall remain nameless…
Inquisitive and alert, Pomeranians investigate everything around them and then let you know how they feel about it, typically with fervent barking or activity. They make great watchdogs, as they tend to be rather wary of strangers. Early socialization is paramount to keeping your Pom’s barking in check so that it doesn’t become incessant or too shrill.
Poms are typically friendly with other pets, but since they are unaware of their relative size, they can get cocky and may attempt to bully larger dogs. Furthermore, they don’t respond well to rough handling, so they may not be the best choice for a family with small children.
The Schnauzer is a loyal, intelligent dog with a high-brow look—and a high-strung personality.
Schnauzers tend to carry themselves in a dignified manner…that is, until they see someone, something…ok anything that is unfamiliar approaching their territory. Then all bets are off.
This working breed is extremely alert and makes a fantastic watchdog if you can handle frequent, full-throated barking and live in a house. If you live in an apartment, a Schnauzer is probably not the best pet for you.
Schnauzers are also headstrong, crafty, and are not above using your weaknesses to get what they want, so they require consistent and unyielding guidance.
Is your dog a “master manipulator?” And if so, how do you deal with this behavior?
The Border Collie is a fun-loving dog that was originally bred to do one thing—work. Of course today, there is far less herding to be done, so they tend to do well on farms or in homes with large yards where they can romp and play.
Border Collies need at least 30 minutes to an hour of vigorous, and I mean very vigorous activity, daily . If you don’t give them something to do, they are likely to become anxious and find something to do—and you probably won’t like it.
This breed was not meant to be kept indoors so if you keep your Border confined, he or she could end up on anxiety medication.
7. Blue Heeler
The Australian Cattle Dog, better known as the Blue Heeler, is another working breed that needs a job to be happy. Like Border Collies, Heelers thrive when they have lots of space for exercise and exploration.
Heelers that are kept inside are likely to develop neurotic behaviors like paw pad chewing—which is equivalent to nail biting amongst humans. They can also be very aggressive with strangers, and will protect their family by any means necessary…even if they lose their lives in the process.
6. Shiba Inu
The Shiba Inu not only looks like a fox, but could also be referred to as “crazy like a fox.”
Shibas exhibit several quirky, dare we say, cat-like behaviors including the need to constantly groom themselves—and sometimes their buddies. Though it may be annoying to some, their obsession with cleanliness makes housebreaking them easy-peasy.
And if you want someone to snuggle with regularly, you might want to swipe left. Shibas are aloof and independent, preferring to have their humans in their immediate area, but not too close as to invade their personal space.
Unlike most high-strung breeds, Shibas are not noisy and do not bark…unless they have a reason to. They are an exceptionally intelligent breed that will notice the slightest inconsistency in their surroundings, then let you know with a high-pitched howl known as the “Shiba scream.”
And Shibas are bold and strong willed, to boot. When faced with a threat—be it real or perceived, over territory or food, they will not back down.
If there were a dog breed yearbook, the Chihuahua would be a shoe-in to win the title of “most likely to be high-strung.”
Are Chihuahuas are yippy, snippy, down right trippy? Damn skippy. Do they have trouble adapting to new environments? Damn right. Are they friendly to strangers? Hell no. But with proper socialization and exposure to different surroundings, their behavior can be adjusted.
This breed has a reputation for being bratty…with anyone besides their owners, most of whom find it hard to convince others that the tiny terror barking them into a corner is usually a precious, petite, bundle of joy.
But they can’t help who they are—it’s in the genes. Scientists have identified genetic markers for excitability in Chihuahuas. To keep your Chihuahua from becoming timid or brash when he or she is not in your arms, let them walk on the ground as often as possible. Letting others handle your little prince or princess in the first months of their life is also essential to their socialization.
What problematic behaviors does your dog have that are a product of genetics? What undesirable behaviors were caused by something that you did?
4. Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherd—the name says it all. Like previously mentioned breeds, this is a dog that was born to herd, so if you don’t give it something to do…well, you know the rest.
Aussies also crave constant attention from the ones they love and can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods. On the other hand, they tend to be reserved with unfamiliar people. And though they’re not heavy barkers, they will sound a hearty “woof” to alert you when someone they don’t know approaches.
What’s more challenging than a neurotic dog? …A big neurotic dog.
The Siberian Husky is a large, undeniably intelligent canine that, when it has nothing to do, can act out like a kid that is bored in school. A Husky looking for a way to break up the monotony of home life can usually end up breaking more expensive things. Help your Husky burn off energy by going cycling, for a run, hike, or brisk walk, or if you live in an area where it snows regularly, join a sled racing group.
Huskies tend to get anxious around unfamiliar people, which, (given their size and jaw strength) can be very dangerous. So it is imperative that you keep a firm grip on their leash in public places, or when introducing them to someone new.
The German Shepherd is among America’s most popular dog breeds, due in part to its versatility. In addition to their original job of herding, German Shepherds make fantastic service, police, military, watch and guard dogs because they are high energy, highly intelligent, and highly suspicious…the same reasons they are also considered high-strung.
Since they are born-herders, this breed can get a little stir-crazy if they don’t have a job to do and thanks to their size, strength, and powerful bite, they can be quite destructive when anxious.
If you have never owned a German Shepherd before, it is very important to know what you are getting into before you take one home.
First and foremost, since they are a standoffish, “alpha type” dog, you should have a confident, firm personality, and getting your puppy into obedience training as soon as possible is a must. Not only will they learn to follow commands, but they’ll also get used to being around other people and pups. Second, they must be kept busy. Shepherds need both physical and mental exercise every day, and most of it should take place in a large front or backyard. And third, Shepherds are unshakably loyal. If left alone for long periods of time, they are likely to suffer from separation anxiety and may resort to barking, chewing, or other undesirable behaviors.
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The Jack Russell Terrier is a cute little combination of all the qualities dog people love. They’re lively, charming, affectionate, sharp, independent, and would be the perfect pup for you—if you don’t mind a pinch of ADD thrown into the mix.
Jack Russells are always raring to go…and go…and go…and they go fast! If you don’t have the time or energy to take a Russell for numerous walks, jogging, swimming, to play fetch or other games on a daily basis, then it is not the dog for you. A bored Jack Russell is a mischievous Jack Russell—and you wouldn’t want that.
This breed is among the hardest to train. Although they are exceptionally intelligent, they have minds of their own and short attention spans. They are also fearless, which is admirable, but it can also put them in dangerous situations.
When not being entertained, Russells will create their own diversions like barking, digging, destroying shoes and clothing, and chasing small animals. They are also expert escape artists who will either dig under, jump over, or climb fencing to get to said animals, and they should always be kept on a leash when not in a fenced area. To make matters even more complicated, Russells are a very “bouncy” breed. They love to jump on people and things, and are capable of jumping higher than five feet—so you might want to ditch the white picket fence for a taller one.
What behaviors are “deal breakers” for you when choosing a pet?
While any of the dogs on our list would be a great companion for an experienced owner, these breeds are not recommended for first-time owners.