Welcoming a new dog into your life is a huge commitment. If you're a busy family that's constantly on the go, you might want to make sure that any pup you bring home is OK with hanging out solo at times. Choosing an independent dog breed could increase the odds that your furry friend will be able to cope when you're not around.
Colleen Demling-Riley, a canine behaviorist at Pawtopia, tells Romper via email that independent dogs are good at keeping themselves entertained. "An independent dog tends to value his own opinion as much as the pet parent’s and is as happy being on his own as playing with his family," she says." That can sometimes make them seem a bit aloof and unattached to their owners, but Demling-Riley says that's not usually the case. "This aloofness shouldn’t be confused with a lack of bonding," she says. "Independent pups bond strongly with their family and need love and guidance in order to feel secure."
Demling-Riley also warns, however, that every dog is different. "The breed or breed mix of a dog is a very small part of the personality of a specific dog," she says, so even those known for a certain trait might not live up to the label. Generally speaking, though, these three breeds should have an independent streak.
1. Shiba Inu
Demling-Riley says the Shiba Inu has been used as a hunting dog in Japan for centuries, so this type of dog is used to doing things on its own. "Since they hunted without direct human guidance, they have an independent personality," she says. Independence can come with a cost, however. The American Kennel Club (AKC) warns that the Shiba Inu can be difficult to train.
2. Cairn Terrier
The Shiba Inu isn't the only hunting dog with an independent spirit, according to Demling-Riley. Little cairn terriers may look like the type of dog content to be carried around in a massive purse, but they actually have a fierce history. "The ancestors of the Cairn terrier spent many hours alone hunting and killing rats. This lead to an independent and strong willed breed that is likely to make autonomous decisions instead of looking for guidance from people."
The cairn terrier isn't so independent that it becomes stubborn, however — Vet Street noted that the breed is very trainable and intelligent. These little guys are also said to have lots of energy, so owners should be sure to schedule lots of play time.
3. Afghan Hound
The Afghan Hound looks a pampered pooch thanks to its luscious locks, but it's another dog used to thinking for itself. "The Afghan was originally used for all day hunting expeditions in the mountains and harsh climates," says Demling-Riley. The Afghan hound's ability to think fast, combined with their speed and vision, made them valuable to hunters, according to The Spruce Pets. While their independence may make them seem a bit distant, the AKC noted that they can also be very loving and extremely loyal to their owners.
These three breeds could make excellent choices for a doggy mom or dad looking for a pup that can fend for itself at times — but still be up for plenty of family playtime at others.