Some dogs seem to be descendants of Houdini. Every time their owner thinks they have fixed the escape route, the pup just finds another one. While the capacity to escape captivity isn’t limited to breed alone, here are some escape artist dog breeds that are known to dislike being confined.
When you adopt a dog, you need to be sure that you have a way to keep him safely contained in your yard. While many owners choose to work with their dog on boundary training, some dogs just won't follow the rules. Dogs that are extremely curious or easily tempted to leave the confines of your yard will need to be confined in some way.
Whether you choose to fence in your yard, put up a dog run or use an electronic collar system, you'll have to find some way to keep your pet safe. Unfortunately, no matter what you do, some dogs will try their hardest to find a way out.
If you have adopted one of the breeds on this list, you'll need to take extra precautions. These dog breeds may scale fencing, dig under barriers or even break through the obstacles you put up to contain them.
Escape Artist Dog Breeds
25 breeds that don't like to be contained
Known as the Barkless Dog of Africa, these sleek fur-babies are independent. They do very well with alone time, and they use that time to figure out a way to escape their backyard.
This ancient breed was developed to hunt on the North African deserts. They have a long, graceful stride and do great in hot temperatures. While they are independent, they are still loving and affectionate and make great pets for a family that can give it exercise and play several times a day.
This hunting dog still retains a high prey drive. They will do anything to get out of any enclosure to follow its nose and chase little furry animals. They will climb over, dig under, and chew through anything.
The Beagle is finding its way into more and more homes to live as a family pet. They are loving and friendly, short-haired and easy to care for. With the love of the hunt still coursing through its veins, it loves to howl and bark.
3. Cairn Terrier
Unlike many small breeds, this canine is sturdy and can handle many different climate types. They retain their aggressive hunting instincts and need to be taught obedience and socialized as they can be a danger to others as well as themselves.
Small and fragile, a Chihuahua is not recommended for houses with small children that may try to pick up or play rough with the “Chi”. While these four-legged family members are escape artists, if you follow the rules, that won’t have a chance to escape. These tiny tots should always be supervised. The risk of injury from falls and attacks is too great.
5. Chinese Crested
These fur-babies come in two varieties, hairless and powderpuff. Both cannot tolerate cool temperatures and need sweaters . Affectionate and playful, they make a great pet for people who don’t get around much.
The “Weenie” dog was bred to be a fierce hunter of badger. They are brave, intelligent, and spunky. They will never ignore a chance to break out and terrorize the neighborhood with their floppy ears and short legs.
The “Doxie” loves to dig, bark, and play. While they are snuggly with their owners, they can be stand-offish to strangers. They like their home to be calm and may not take too well to smaller kids.
7. Jack Russel Terrier
These canines have a very loyal following. They are energetic, playful, and clever. This is not the pet for someone who wants to train an exercise on a part-time basis. If you have the time and ability, you will be rewarded with the devotion and love of this unique dog.
8. Miniature Pinscher
Known as “The King of Toys”, this is one small dog that has a large personality. It is an escape artist, but you don’t have to take anyone’s word for it. In 2014, one escaped in a dog show leaving its owner in tears. Luckily, it was quickly recovered.
Slender and graceful, the “Min Pin “looks athletic and is athletic. They have tons of energy but can be happy with vigorous indoor play and short walks. Curious and impetuous, these pups are never calm. They love being rowdy and getting into everything.
9. Norfolk Terrier
These terriers are tough. They don’t need A/C and sweaters like some small breeds. They can face almost any conditions. Independent and fearless, they also do better with alone time than many other dogs – big or small.
10. Shi Tzu
The name means “Lion”, and these royal dogs were raised to think they were the monarch of their domain. They are hard to train and unfortunately, that is because they are not very smart. If you own one of these four-legged friends, plan to spend time “dog-proofing” so you can keep it safe.
While these pooches are the poster child of lapdogs, they still retain a prey drive and will take any opportunity to chase something. Difficult to housebreak, you can plan on using puppy pads for the life of your dog.
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11. American Pitbull Terrier
What do you get when you combine intelligent with muscle? A dog that is an escape artist. This canine can muscle its way through and over almost anything.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is happy and friendly. It loves to play and goof around. A responsibly bred Pitbull is never aggressive. Make sure your pup comes from a reputable breeder and is properly trained and socialized.
12. Basset Hound
Although it has a sad face and droopy ears, this four-legged family member is loving and friendly. They are patient with everyone, even small children. If you are not looking for a dog that likes to snore, snort, dig, and drool, then this gentle breed may not be for you.
13. Belgian Malinois
Another herding dog, this canine is smart, independent, and brave. They are rugged enough to live outdoors, but they still need daily, meaningful time with their humans to avoid becoming aggressive and destructive.
14. Black and Tan Coonhound
This Coonhound is used to running night hunts and using its nose instead of its eyes. They have energy and determination and need “jobs” and exercise to keep it from trying to find a way to the great outdoors.
If this hound lives in the country without a fence, it will roam around for hours. For it to be confined to a yard, it needs lots of exercise and activity. They are great companions for hikers, runners, and joggers.
Jovial and exuberant, the Boxer lives almost its whole life as if it is a game. These pups are always looking for something to get into. This combined with their excellent hearing means that they can readily see reasons to escape the confines of fences and collars.
The physique of these muscular dogs may make people very wary, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Although they are descendent from dogs of war, you would be hard-pressed to find one now that has an aggressive bone in its body.
16. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
A true outdoors dog, the “Chessie” loves to dig holes, play in ponds, and chase anything that moves. They don’t like being penned in and will always try to escape. I grew up with one, and no combination of leash, chain, fence or collar could hold him for long.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a great hunting dog, but they are also wary of strangers which make him a good guard dog as well. With family, even kids, these four-legged friends are loving and patient. They need training to tolerate other animals.
17. Cocker Spaniel
While not too many people still use this dog as a hunting dog, they still love to roam around and chase small animals. They will take any opportunity to sneak out and wander around. A very famous cartoon portrays that well.
A well-bred Cocker Spaniel is playful, alert, and affectionate. The of this breed has led to unsafe breeding practices which have led to many nervous, timid, fearful pups. Always make sure you get your next fur-baby from a reputable breeder.
18. German Shepherd
Intelligent and fearlessness, the German Shepherd craves work and challenges. What better challenge than figuring out how to be an escape artist?
This working dog is serious and alert. Their ability to concentrate and ignore distractions has made them a coveted breed in search and rescue, police work, and competitions. To avoid behavioral problems, they need plenty of exercise and fun activities.
19. Golden Retriever
One of the top 3 dogs in the United States of America, the Golden Retriever is sweet and family-oriented. They are also agile and intelligent which means it doesn’t take them long to figure out an enclosure.
The “Golden” is great for families of all types, they love children, strangers, cats, and other dogs. Lifetime puppies, Golden Retrievers are always looking for something new to do and new games to play. These canines love digging holes and will dig itself right out of your yard.
A sight hound, this pooch will chase anything – joggers, cars, squirrels, cats, and other dogs. They can jump up to 5 feet high and a 6-foot fence is a must. They are also sleek and slim and can squeeze through really tight spaces.
The Greyhound is the sprinter of the dog world. They have lots of energy but can be kept happy with a few short bursts of activity a day and one good walk. Since these four-legged family members were bred to be around all kinds of different people and dogs, all traces of aggression were long since bred out.
21. Portuguese Podengos
In some ways, this is a breed that is great for people who want a companion that doesn’t need constant attention. Much like a cat, they play with toys by themselves, stalk shadows and lint, and keep an eye on the outdoors from a window.
22. Siberian Huskies
These beautiful creatures are very popular, even in hot, humid climates. Please know that these dogs are not made for heat and can easily become overheated. Everything about this canine makes it an escape artist. They are energetic, playful, and love to dig.
23. Anatolian Shepherd
This rugged breed can go for days in harsh climate and rugged terrain with only its sheep for company. An independent livestock guardian, no backyard fence is a match for this canine.
While these four-legged friends are loyal and devoted, they can be independent and stubborn. The breed was created to work for days at a time with no human contact. They are not meant to be household pets.
24. Catahoula Leopard Dog
These pups are serious-minded and not very playful; however, they can still be affectionate loving dogs. While they are tough enough to stay outside, they need to have quality time with their family daily to avoid becoming aggressive.
25. Great Dane
The “horses” of dogs, the Great Dane is tall, elegant, and slender. No simple backyard fence is enough to keep this giant in. They need leash training beginning in early puppyhood as well. If they want to take off, not many people are able to hold them back.
When people see large dogs, they think they will do fine being an “outside” dog. That isn’t always true, and it isn’t true with the Dane. These are loving, social animals. They need to be around their people for a few hours every day to avoid behavioral issues.