13 Breeds That Really Need To Earn Your Trust Before You Let Them Off-leash

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

May 23, 2016

We totally get it, seeing your dog running off-leash being their truest self gives us all the feels. But some dogs who are bred to hunt tend to get sidetracked and not come when called, or are just too stubborn to come back. These breeds definitely need a little extra supervision if you ever take them off leash.

1. Beagle

Beagles are known for their strong sense of smell for tracking rabbits and other small game. Beagles are loyal, funny and almost always happy. But that nose of theirs can get them into trouble. When they go off-leash and catch a scent it’s almost impossible to steer them away. If your Beagle gets bored they will amuse themselves with digging, howling and adding escape artist to their resume. Retractable leashes are your best friend for this guy!

2. Alaskan Malamute

These dogs are strong, independent and very intelligent. When they aren’t pulling you on a sled or helping you build a snowman, they are probably digging their latest hole. Even in enclosed spaces, Alaskan Malamutes will dig their way out and indulge in their exploratory urges, so keep an eye on them!

3. Siberian Husky

Those blue eyes, their athleticism, and their Houdini act are just a few of the Husky’s traits. Fenced enclosures that are sunken into the ground will help thwart their magician escapes. Siberian Huskies have a very high prey drive and will chase after anything if they have the chance. No car or squirrel is safe. Off-leash is not recommended unless they’re supervised.


4. Weimaraner

Weimaraners, formerly known as the “Silver Ghost,” are native to Germany and were used to hunt big game like deer and bears. Since these guys were hunters and still are, anything is up for grabs. If not trained or highly stimulated, they will chase anything that moves and bring you back their trophy. And not the good kind for just participating.

5. Coonhound

There are different types of coonhounds but all of them share one trait – hunting. Though challenging to train, it is possible. Whether in a dog park, the backyard or out hiking, Coonhounds shouldn’t be let off-leash unless for hunting. If you do let them off-leash, at least you will be able to find them by listening for their infamously loud barking.

6. Greyhound

These high energy and extremely affectionate pups are built for speed, from their long and narrow face to the muscular legs that keep them going. Greyhounds can reach up to speeds of 40 or 45 miles per hour and if you’ve got them off-leash– well, we hope you brought your running shoes.

7. American Foxhound

These guys have a voice like an angel, and when we say angel we mean a combination of bays and howls that can heard miles away. Like most hounds, they are built for hunting are ready to rumble all the time. When they catch a whiff of anything, it’s hard to pull them away.

8. Basenji

Basenjis are the type of breed who may or may not listen to you. So when these guys are let off-leash, they may or may not come back if they smell something interesting. You can call after them but it might be too late, and that fence you thought would contain them? It’s actually a ladder.

9. Bedlington Terrier

Vermin hunter? Check. Sidekick to poacher’s back in the day? Check. Bedlington terriers are born hunters and bound to chase anything. They might come when they are called but if they are chasing something small, like a chipmunk, we hope you have a lot of treats.

10. Borzoi

Did you know borzoi means “swift” in Russian? Well Borzois are just that and then some. Don’t want a dog who will chase anything that moves? Borzoi probably isn’t the best idea. These guys were once known as the Russian Wolfhound because they hunted – you guessed it – wolves.

11. Toy Fox Terrier

They are cute, cuddly and the perfect lap dog. But they can be stubborn, and like most terriers, their natural instinct is to chase small animals. If they see something worth chasing and aren’t trained properly off-leash or when called, you’ll have to chase them.

12. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Dignified, lion hunters, independent and stubborn are just a few of their traits. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are strong-willed who need an owner that will be the pack leader. Since they were once lion hunters they are prone to roaming when given the chance. They might not find a lion to hunt but a squirrel is the runner-up.

13. Shar Pei

They might come when called. They might sit when you say “Sit,” or they might not do anything at all. Shar Peis are extremely stubborn and need a leader to show them the way. For one of the most stubborn breeds, they aren’t the best to let off-leash because they will decide when to come back or not at all.

Featured Image via @tmeanstrouble /Instagram

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Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

May 23, 2016


A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.


A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.