Before you welcome any pooch into your home, you'll want to think about their needs. Take a look at this list of 10 high-maintenance dog breeds!

10 High-Maintenance Dog Breeds


Considering adding a new fur baby to your family? Before you welcome any pooch into your home, you’ll want to think about their unique needs. Sure — every dog requires fresh food, fresh water, adequate exercise, mental stimulation, comfortable bedding, medical care, etc. But some more high-maintenance dog breeds require a lot of extra time, attention, and energy.


What Kinds Of Dogs Could Be Considered High-Maintenance?

  • The fluffy puffy pooches that need lots of grooming can be very time consuming and high-maintenance.
  • Super intelligent dogs can require lots of mental stimulation so they don’t get bored. Without it, they tend to get themselves into mischief.
  • High energy dogs can require lots of daily exercising to relieve their excess energy needs. Otherwise, they can tend to become destructive.
  • Some breeds are known to suffer from separation anxiety and have a hard time being left alone. They don’t do well without their human present.
  • Not good with children or are aggressive. If you have kids at home, this is probably the most important behavior to be aware of. Better safe than sorry.

Note: This list is in alphabetical order, not in order of most high-maintenance.


1. Akita

Akitas are big, powerful dogs and they need an experienced strong owner. They reach heights of 24 – 28 inches to the shoulder and weigh between 70 – 130 pounds. Their life expectancy is 10 – 13 years.

Akitas are fearless, alert, loyal, protective, and bond well with their humans as long as they’ve been well trained and socialized. The Akita must be trained and socialized from the start to humans and other animals – especially other animals living in the household. They are known to be on guard with strangers and to dislike other animals. If you are thinking about bringing an Akita into your home as your new fur kid, start training immediately to get him on his road to being a loving new family member.

2. Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd ranges in height from 18 – 23 inches to the shoulder, with an average weight of 40 – 65 pounds. Life expectancy is between 12 – 15 years.

Aussies are super intelligent, energetic, hard-working dogs that were bred for herding. They need something to do or they will likely make their own job, like herding you and your kids. They are easily trained and must be trained early.

This breed does best with an experienced owner who will be able to take charge and guide them. They’re not couch potatoes, so if you’re looking for a canine companion who will hang out on the sofa with you and just watch tv — this guy’s not your match.

3. Border Collie

Border Collies range in height from 18 – 22 inches to the shoulder, with an average weight of 30 – 55 pounds. Life expectancy is between 12 – 15 years.

Loving, intelligent, often named the #1 smartest dog, energetic, and a hard worker. The Border Collie is part of the herding group and he needs a job to do. If this guy is not kept busy, he will find things to do. Like the Aussie, he may start herding you and your family or he may get into mischief trying to occupy himself. The Border Collie needs a take-charge owner who will have the time, energy, and know-how to keep this guy happy.

4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

These beauties range in height from 12 – 13 inches to the shoulder, with an average weight of 13 – 18 pounds. They are part of the Toy Group. Life expectancy for the Cavalier is 12 – 15 years.

Loving, loyal, affectionate, and elegant — these dogs will be your next very best friend. They were originally bred to be royal lap dogs and companions. They’ll be happy as long as they are with you, whether it be on the couch, in the car, at the park, wherever – as long as they are right by your side. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel also needs a lot of grooming to keep looking their best. They should be brushed at least every other day to keep them from getting matted.

5. Cocker Spaniel

The Cocker Spaniel ranges in height from 13.5 – 15.5 inches to the shoulder, with an average weight of 20 – 30 pounds. Life expectancy for the breed is 10 – 14 years.

Loving, loyal, and lively, the Cocker Spaniel gets very attached to his human. Separation anxiety is common. They make a great addition to the family and want their human companions nearby. The Cocker Spaniel will need grooming every few weeks to keep him at his best. As with any breed with long floppy ears, ear care is super important to avoid infections and his coat should be brushed daily to keep it from tangling and matting.


6. Irish Setter

The Irish Setter ranges in height from 25 – 27 inches to the shoulder, with an average weight between 60 – 70 pounds. Life expectancy for the breed is 12 – 15 years.

A few words to describe the Irish Setter: friendly, loving, loyal, agile, and graceful. This breed has a beautiful, lean, and graceful body with radiant long, flowing, silky red hair and floppy ears. To keep his hair in the best condition and to avoid tangles it should be brushed at least every other day and trimmed every couple of months. The Irish Setter has lots of energy and requires a good amount of exercise daily. It’s best if they have a fenced yard to help get their energy out. They are well suited for the agility course and will thrive on a good run or hike with their human. No bones about it – this pooch is not a couch potato.

7. Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell ranges in height from 13 – 14 inches to the shoulder, with an average weight between 13 – 17 pounds. Life expectancy for this breed is between 13 – 15 years.

If you ever watched the popular sitcom, Frasier, you’re likely familiar with Martin’s dog, Eddie, a Jack Russell Terrier. These pooches are intelligent, energetic, playful, and quick. They need to be trained early and their energy needs to be channeled. Jack Russell Terriers certainly aren’t dogs that can just be hanging around at home on autopilot. They don’t do well with idle time. As a matter of fact, if left on their own without a purpose they are likely to become destructive (of course, there are exceptions for very well trained pups). It’s not their fault, they were bred to be active and they need stimulation. They do well in sports activities, running, agility, hunting, etc. The bottom line here is, they are loving great dogs, but aren’t right for everyone.

8. Poodle

There are 3 sizes of Poodles – Toy, Minature, and Standard. The only difference in them is their size.

  •  Toy Poodle height is up to 10 inches at the shoulder.
  • Miniatures are up to 15 inches at the shoulder.
  • Standards are greater than 15 inches at the shoulder.

Poodles are affectionate, brilliant, beautiful, playful, and full of energy. Poodles make great family dogs. They are easily trained and should be trained early. Their grooming needs are definitely high maintenance, but well worth the trouble. Unless you can do it yourself, they’ll need professional grooming every 4 to 6 weeks.

Other than the obvious necessary haircut (including shaving their face, feet, and tail), the poodle will need ear care. They have long, floppy ears with hair growing on the inner flap and into the canal. So, that hair must be picked and cleaned out. Your groomer should automatically do this. At home, they need daily brushing so their hair doesn’t mat.

9. Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu ranges in height from 9 – 10.5 inches to the shoulder, with an average weight between 9 -16 pounds. Life expectancy for this breed is between 10 -18 years.

These cute little bundles of joy are loving, good-natured, loyal companions. They don’t require a great deal of exercise, but with their beautiful silky flowing hair, you can expect to be a regular at your local grooming shop. Daily hair brushing is a must so they don’t wind up with unmanageable mats. Also, after a meal or drink of water, you may need to wipe their face clean! The Shih Tzu is a wonderful family member and will happily spend his every moment with his humans.

10. Yorkshire Terrier 

The Yorkie ranges in height from 7 – 8 inches to the shoulder, with an average weight of around 7 pounds. Life expectancy for this breed is between 11 -15 years.

A member of the toy group, this little darling is courageous, loving, loyal, smart, and adores being the center of attention. Yorkies don’t require tons of exercise, but they’ll keep you on your toes in the grooming department. They’ll need groomer visits every few weeks. Also, daily brushing is best for their silky long hair so they don’t get tangled and matted.