Is it true that some dog breeds take longer to house train than others?

Is it true that some dog breeds take longer to house train than others?

Education & Training

House training a new puppy can be a challenge, and most pups will have a few slip ups along the way before they begin toileting outside with reliability, rather than toileting inside of the house when they need the loo.

Whilst many dogs take to house training quickly and may even come to you as a puppy with fairly reliable toileting habits, this is not true for all dogs – and in some cases, house training can take weeks or even months to achieve reliably.

How you tackle house training, how you respond to your dog’s successes and failures and how you manage the whole process – such as when you feed your dog and how long you leave them before offering them the chance to go outside – all have an impact, which can help or hinder your endeavours. All dogs are different too, and what is effective in house training one dog might not work for another, which can be confusing and frustrating for dog owners who aren’t sure what is going wrong or how to fix it.

A number of different dog breeds have also earned something of a reputation for being harder to house train than others too – which is something worth bearing in mind and planning for if you are considering buying or adopting a dog of one of these breeds. Knowing what to expect when you house train a dog and understanding the unique challenges that it can bring will help you to speed up the process, manage training effectively, and work with your own dog’s core traits and needs.

In this article, we will look at some of the dog breeds that can be more challenging than others to house train, and explore why this is. Read on to learn more.


The Chihuahua is a tiny toy dog breed, and one that will often be chosen by an owner that spends the large part of their time with their dog and treats them almost as they would a baby. Getting the balance right when it comes to caring for a toy dog properly whilst still treating them like a dog and nurturing their natural traits can be hard, and this is something that can even hamper your dog’s house training progress.

Chihuahuas are reasonably intelligent little dogs, but they need to learn and be taught things rather than having everything done for them – and this includes house training. If your dog is always in your lap or being carried around, they won’t get used to living at dog level or act in the same ways as a dog who is used to doing things for themselves – like going to the door when they need to toilet.

Ensure that you start as you mean to go on with your new Chihuahua, and treat them as a dog and not a doll, and you will likely find that house training becomes easier.

Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus can be quite independent and are towards the moderate to low end of the canine intelligence spectrum, two traits which can add up to make house training a challenge. Like the Chihuahua, Shih Tzus are another small dog breed whose cute-appeal can easily lead to a blurring of the boundaries between dog and pampered baby, which can make house training and training in general harder.

If you don’t make and enforce rules and routines for your dog and proactively train them for acceptable behaviour, they won’t learn this on their own – and house training is one of the more challenging and potentially most lengthy training processes to undertake.

Routine, repetition, boundaries and consistent rewards and correction when needed are the keys to successfully housetraining a Shih Tzu.

Beagles and other hounds

Some dogs from the hound grouping can be challenging to house train too, and it has really only been over the course of the last couple of decades that dogs like Beagles and other hound breeds with such a strong and modern working history began to become popular as pets.

Beagles are highly active, energetic and excitable dogs with a great sense of smell, high energy levels and short attention spans, all of which means that they can find it hard to learn things that you teach them in a formal setting, and if they get bored or find something more interesting, they will lose track of what they were doing, which can lead to accidents.

Repetition and consistency are vital when house training a beagle, as is reinforcing successful toileting outside with a reward and praise.

English bulldogs

English bulldogs are really popular in the UK, but they are also right down towards the bottom of the list in terms of canine intelligence. English bulldogs tend to be fairly slow learners, although they should still be able to learn and execute a few key commands reliably when properly trained.

Provide plenty of toileting opportunities for your dog, and always praise and reward them when they ask to go out or toilet outside. Ignore accidents in the house without punishing your dog, and take them outside immediately, even if they have just toileted – use plenty of rewards too, and this should help your dog to build up memory associations with toileting in the right place and at the right time!

Afghan hounds

Finally, the Afghan hound is another dog that has something of a disadvantage compared to most breeds, again because their capacity to learn is fairly limited. The Afghan hound is actually the lowest ranked dog breed in terms of canine intelligence, and like the English bulldog, it can take a long time to house train one successfully.

Plenty of toileting opportunities, a set routine and getting to know when your dog usually needs to toilet and taking them out are vital, as is once again consistency and repetition.



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