The 10 most misunderstood dog breeds

Some dogs have unfair reputations when really they're just as kind, loyal and loving as any other breed.

The most often misunderstood dogs

There are some dog breeds whose perception is some way different to their real life personalities. Whether it be those that look tough and strong, but in reality are big softies! Or those with a soft and fluffy exterior, but scratch beneath the surface and they’re highly intelligent and fiercely loyal.

Whilst each breed has their own traits and characteristics, like us, dogs are influenced by their experience and circumstances. Trained and look after well then there’s no reason why they can’t start to change the reputation that precedes them.

We rounded up 10 most misunderstood dog breeds that are often unfairly labelled by dog owners and the wider public.

German Shepherd

Their use as police dogs and guard dogs is the main reason behind their fierce reputation. They have a very authoritative. But there’s obviously a reason why the police choose to use German Shepherds to work with. They are strong and hard working, plus they are among the most intelligent breeds around. Taken out of the police situation and into the home, if you train and look after them well they’ll be a loyal companion for years and years.


Much like the Rottweiler, Doberman Pinchers are dogs that some owners have made changes to their appearance to make them appear tougher and more threatening by cropping their ears. This has given Doberman’s a bad reputation, and one that has potentially been exacerbated by their common roles as police dogs in the ’80s and ’90s. However, despite the tough exterior Dobermans are very sensitive dogs, even to the point that they are particularly susceptible to separation anxiety when left at home alone. Separation anxiety can lead to more serious behavioural problems, so make sure that you can spend the time Dobermans need when choosing to bring this breed into your lives. If you can spend the time and train them well then you’ll be rewarded with a gentle, kind and loving dog.


Like many of the breeds on this list their reputation is predicated on their size and build. As such it is a breed that has a very dangerous reputation. Without proper training they can become aggressive and territorial but train them well and you’ll find that they are an obedient and devoted pet, who’ll protect you no matter what.

Pit Bulls

Mention Pit Bulls to most people and they’ll probably think dangerous and unpredictable rather than kind and loving. Stories about Pit Bulls tend to be overwhelmingly negative and generally add to their reputation as being the most dangerous dog breed. Pit Bulls is a generic term for 5 breeds which are the American Bully, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Bulldog Known for their stocky, muscular build their reputation of being dangerous was gained due to their use in dog fighting rings. In fact, Pit Bulls are normally highly loyal, gentle and loving dogs. They love to play and please their family and are particularly good around children within the family. Like all dogs, proper and thorough socialisation is key for Pit Bulls to ensure that they are familiar and used to strangers.


Their huge size tend to be the basis of their reputation as a scary dog breed, but in contrast to their look they really are gentle giants. Their history goes back to Roman times where ultimately they were used to protect livestock. Given their background if they need to protect then they will, ultimately that’s what they were bred to do. However, if trained and socialised well then these gentle, loyal dogs make for excellent family members.


The reputation of Boxers being aggressive probably isn’t helped by their name, but as easy it is to make that association Boxers aren’t dogs that seek fights, and they aren’t related to Pit Bulls either – another common misconception of this breed. The truth is that Boxers are kind-hearted dogs with endless amounts of energy, and a little bit of cheekiness thrown in for good measure. It’s sometimes these traits that people mistake for aggression but really they just want to have fun. Boxers, like Border Collies, are highly intelligent dogs and react best to positive reinforcement during training. Reward them for good behaviour, rather than punishing them for negative traits and you’ll have a friend for life.

Border Collie

Border Collies are commonly known as the most intelligent dog breed, so you’d think how can they be misunderstood. The confusion with Border Collies comes with the amount of attention they require. They need a lot of mental stimulation to ensure that bad behaviours do not take hold or they become destructive. Their intelligence and their very cute look attracts a lot of people to the breed, but sadly many Border Collies end up in rescue centres as owners often underestimate quite how much of your time and effort they demand.


You might be surprised to see Chihuahuas on this list, but despite their small size they have massive personalities. They are very protective dogs and won’t think twice about jumping to their owner’s defence if they feel they are in danger. If ever there was a dog breed that needs strong training then it’s this small, fiery breed.

Chow Chow

Despite being a dog that was bred to protect, the Chow Chow is not deserving of the aggressive label it sometimes gets. While they can be wary of stranger and will jump to their owners defence it is purely a characteristic that has been bred into them over many years, and is often mistaken for aggression. They are very independent dogs, that require a high degree of training through positive reinforcement, but if done correctly they make for wonderful companions.


At the opposite end of the scale we have Poodles. Because of the way they look with their fluffy, prim and proper look about them, people don’t necessarily expect them to be one of the smartest dog breeds there are. Because of their intelligence they make an ideal dog for someone looking for lower maintenance 4-legged friend. Easy to train and socialise they make the perfect pet for first time owners looking to bring a dog into their family.

Make sure you do your research

In summary, it is worth remembering that no dog is inherently bad. Negative behaviour and traits are borne out of poor training and misinformed owners and breeders. Every dog can be trained, and as responsible dog owners it’s our responsibility to ensure that they get the support, training and attention they need to become well adjusted dogs.

Chihuahuas, Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Dobermans and Rottweilers are some of the most misunderstood dog breeds out there, and can lead to them sadly being avoided and less adopted.

If you’re considering bringing any dog into your family, do your research. Read up on their temperament, history and personality from reputable sources and try not to rely purely on what other people say.

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