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17 Most Independent Dog Breeds

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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Some dogs can become very attached to their owners, following them around and demanding attention and affection. To some dog lovers, this is a highly desirable trait. But others prefer a dog that is just as happy on his own as he is in the company of others. This independence does not mean that the dog loves his owner any less, just that he does not need constant attention to be happy.

Whether you work all day, are looking for a working dog that will accompany you on walks but retreat to its own space when you get home, or you simply like to have some of your own space in the evenings, the following 17 dogs are the most independent dog breeds that would make a great companion for you.

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The 17 Most Independent Dog Breeds:

1. Akita

two Akita Inu on the sofa
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

The Akita originates from Japan where he was originally used to protect VIPs. These independent dogs were also used for hunting and fending off large predators including bears. This activity not only shows his strength and courage but also that he is more than happy wandering fields on his own or standing beside his charge. Today, the Akita is not usually considered suitable for families with children, however, once he has bonded with his owner, he will be fiercely loyal and protective. Their independence means that the Akita can be a challenge to effectively train and you will need a lot of patience when educating this pup.

2. Afghan Hound

Portrait of two Afghan greyhounds_wildstrawberry_shutterstock
Image Credit: wildstrawberry, Shutterstock

The Afghan Hound has unmistakable hair and an incredibly aloof nature. He will not be overly concerned with pleasing his new family, and while he can be quite playful, he will be just as happy sitting in a corner of the garden or in his own space. Despite being an independent dog, the Afghan Hound is considered friendly and amiable, and he will usually get along with all family members. And while he does exhibit a lot of independence, he should not be left alone for too long otherwise he will make his own fun — which could mean bad news for anything breakable in your house.

3. Alaskan Malamute

alaskan malamute
Image Credit: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Shutterstock

The Alaskan Malamute looks like a wolf and has the incredible stamina to match. He can run and run all day long without the need for a break. Hailing from Alaska, he will struggle with too much heat, and while some owners claim the Malamute to be stupid because they are difficult to train, this is just a display of their independence. The Alaskan Malamute is another breed that is independent but should not be left alone for long or he will become bored and potentially destructive.

4. Chow Chow

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The Chow Chow is a relatively small dog with a very unique and unmistakable look. They can seem unapproachable and will not usually take to being hugged, which is especially unfortunate because they look like living, breathing teddy bears. Even when they have bonded with their owner, there is a very good chance that this breed will avoid hugs and affection. Originally bred as a working dog, the Chow Chow requires an experienced handler who isn’t necessarily looking for a dog to sit on their lap in the evening.

5. Cairn Terrier

Cairn Terriers
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The Cairn Terrier is a rat-catching terrier originally bred on the Island of Skye in Scotland. He is very brave, bold, and intelligent, and he rarely wants to sit still when he’s awake. It is far more likely that he will be off investigating something, somewhere. But when well trained and integrated into a family, these independent dogs can make great pets. He will get on especially well with children that are willing to throw a toy around and play. His ratting instinct is likely to still be very strong, though, so you should expect a Cairn Terrier to chase pretty much anything that is smaller than he is.

6. Greyhound

black italian greyhound
Image Credit: Akiko Campbell, Pixabay

The Greyhound can make an excellent family pet and, despite being bred for incredible speed and agility, he is far more likely to be found asleep in his bed or on the sofa than running around outside. The Greyhound is intelligent, but this doesn’t mean that he has any interest in pleasing you, so be prepared for a dog that is not only aloof but can appear plain ignorant to your commands and wishes.

7. Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier
Image Credit: jarobike, Shutterstock

The Airedale Terrier is the largest Terrier breed and originates from Yorkshire, England, where he was used to catch rats and other vermin. He is confident and very clever and still makes an exceptional working dog today. He is unlikely to be too concerned about pleasing you and his stubborn streak can be phenomenal. If he doesn’t want to do something, it is virtually impossible to convince him otherwise and this makes training the Airedale very difficult for all but the most experienced of handlers.

8. Shar-Pei

Image Credit: Andrés Carlo, Pixabay

The Shar-Pei is another dog of Chinese origin and he was first bred as a multipurpose dog that could hunt, herd, and fight. While a lot of the independent dogs on this list still require a lot of time in the rough vicinity of their human owners, the Shar-Pei is considered the one independent breed that will happily survive with minimal human interaction. He can live in an apartment, although he will keep to himself so you may forget you even own him. He is intelligent and can pick up commands quickly, but he will not always want to obey.

9. Siberian Husky

siberian husky lying on grass
Image Credit: Rob Wee, Pixabay

The Siberian Husky has grown in popularity considerably over the past few years. He has a wolf-like appearance and is another dog that can run for hours on end without missing a beat. He is very affectionate but won’t shadow you or cling to your leg. He does require a lot of patience when it comes to training, though, and if he is not trained properly, he can be difficult to manage and quite unruly. His independence means that the Husky loves to get out and about, and if you don’t have the fence or wall to stop him, he will be off to explore.

10. Jack Russell

jack russell terrier jump
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The Jack Russell is a popular pet because he is fun, energetic, and lively. Despite being small, he was originally used for fox hunting. As well as being very independent he is brave, can dig, and he can leap surprisingly high obstacles. He can be taught to perform a wide range of tricks but will only perform if he feels like it — which he rarely will. He does require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, otherwise, your home could suffer.

11. Basenji

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The Basenji is a hunting dog originally from Africa. He is usually a friendly dog and he has lots of energy so he’s is a great companion for just about any potential owner, except those that expect their dog to obey every command first time. The same goes for those that want a lap dog. He’s clever but independent and survives on his own intellect, rather than relying on his owner’s commands.

12. Korean Jindo

indo dog Korean lying in grass
Image Credit: jamongcreator, Shutterstock

The Korean Jindo is a friendly and affectionate dog while being highly independent and often choosing to ignore his owner’s commands. This means that he will be wagging his tail while he ignores whatever you want him to do. However, he will develop a strong bond with his owner, over time. Once this bond has developed, he will start to pay attention and listen, which makes him easier to train.

13. Manchester Terrier

Manchester Toy Terrier
Image Credit: Olga Aniven, Shutterstock

The Manchester Terrier was originally bred to hunt rabbits and vermin and hails from Manchester, England. Like many of the dogs on this list, independence does not mean that the Manchester Terrier likes to be left alone, and if you go out to work all day and leave him alone, you can expect to come home to noise complaints from the neighbors or even to some damaged property.

14. Bearded Collie

cute bearded collie
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The Bearded Collie is a herding dog by nature, and he has masses of energy and intelligence that are typical of this type of working dog. He does not do well when left alone, however, and expects to be included in all family activities. With that said, he is still independent and will prefer to walk behind you rather than immediately to your side. Sheepdogs are prized for their ability to make the right decisions themselves, and while this is an admirable trait in a herding dog, it can be difficult to manage in a family pet. Ensure you start training at a young age.

15. Beagle

beagle standing outdoor
Image Credit: Andrey_and_Lesya, Pixabay

Beagles are happy and playful. When you own one, you will always be greeted by a wagging tail at the door. However, they can also be very stubborn so you will need to put extra time and effort into training if you want to enjoy the best relationship with him. They are scent dogs, and this means that if they latch on to the smell of a small animal or even another dog, it is difficult to turn their heads away from that.

16. Whippet

Whippet jump
Image Credit: Skumer, Shutterstock

The Whippet makes an excellent family pet, not least because their relatively small size is matched by the fact that they very rarely bark. They are affectionate and calm, and, like the Greyhound, they will spend a lot of their day asleep on the sofa once they reach maturity. They are considered independent because they will want to be left to their own devices. in this case, their own devices include sleep and rest.

17. Scottish Terrier

Scottish Terrier standing on stones
Image Credit: Pavel Shlykov, Shutterstock

The Scottish Terrier is a working dog and is at his happiest when he has what he believes to be a meaningful task to complete. This means that you will need to provide training and offer plenty of mental stimulation, otherwise, he will devise what he believes to be a meaningful and worthwhile task. He can be affectionate, makes a good family pet, and has a surprisingly loud bark that will deter unwanted visitors.

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Independent Dogs: Final Thoughts

Independent dog breeds are ideal if you want a pet that doesn’t cling to your leg or demand cuddles and affection all day. Not all independent dogs do well when left alone for long periods of time, however, and they still like to be included in family activities, even if they do so from 10 feet away. Training is important and can be challenging, but once you have developed a bond with an independent dog, it should become easier to convince them to listen to your commands.

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