Dogs from hell


There are various tests to asses a dog’s suitability to be a family dog, a service dog, a therapy dog. The tests can be adapted to be used to create a personal check list and decide if a particular dog suits your personality.


According to most of them I have ‘dogs from hell’ (Prof. Stanley Coren has first come up with this name, I think). Very high to high energy levels, high to medium intelligence (a.k.a trainability), very low to low sociability, very high fearfulness, high emotional intelligence (yes, I know it sounds great but it means they are ‘slightly’ neurotic).


As you can probably guess I am extremely happy with my dogs from hell. I am hyperactive, quite intelligent (thus easily bored) and slightly neurotic. I consider it perfectly normal to walk the dogs for a few hours every day, play with them and have daily training sessions. I’m often weary of strangers and I don’t try to socialise unless the other party expresses a clear wish to do so. I have been dealing with anger management issues most of my life and I’m only really calm when there’s an animal around (or a small baby).


So: dogs from hell and a human from hell. A match made in heaven…




For those of you who wonder how to test your dog, some links with examples etc:

ThisΒ is one of my favourites, but it might be too weird for most dogs owners πŸ™‚ It even uses ghosts! Naturally, all my dogs fail miserably…Β  Β you need to sign in for this, but first few tests are free

typical characteristics of common breedsΒ 



43 thoughts on “Dogs from hell

  1. One of my three is a ‘dog from hell’ and I just adore him…. he’s bullish with others but a darling with me… like a one man dog.. he only listens to me. It breaks my heart if I have to go out of station leaving him behind with my son and husband. They often tell me that he becomes a recluse after I leave….

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  2. I too have a very hyper sensitive dog. I love her but she is a chore sometimes. The other is over protective so they can make a fearsome pair at times! What many don’t understand is they are my family. We have all the same loyalties and tolerances as we would for children.

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    1. I love your comment! That’s how I feel about my dogs, too – even if it’s my decision to adopt dogs ‘with issues’ I get upset sometimes (things do go wrong no matter how hard we try). But I’d never swap them for a mentally stable, low energy, confident dog. Because the day they enter the house they become family. And you stick by your family πŸ™‚

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    1. Sorry to hear that 😦 They do need special attention…definitely NOT for everyone (most of my dogs were ‘not suitable for adoption’ because they do need a lot of work to be able to trust them). If a dog bites like that, there’s something wrong with his/her training, too. All dogs can bite, but most don’t. They do lots of warning first. So, if the biting comes with no warning the dog must have stopped believing it makes any difference -and that’s bad training. Well, I hope you are fine and that it won’t leave any mental bruises, either…

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      1. I’ve been with dogs all my life, so it’s not really a problem. More of a shock / surprise than anything and totally unexpected. She had smelled me, sniffed me all over, turned away and then back she came and “snap!” Through my coat sleeve luckily, so no contact between dog teeth and me and more bruising than bite.

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      2. So, perhaps you carried a scent that reminded her of some trauma/ unpleasant experience. Sorry, I know I go on about it too long-it fascinates me, I record dogs or just watch them if I haven’t got the camera (everyone needs to be obsessed about something, I guess). I rarely see an unprovoked attack, so it’s rather interesting for me (sorry again). Anyway, good to know you don’t hold a grudge πŸ™‚


  3. I may have provoked it. I think I might have turned away from the dog back to the car (on my left) and if I did my right arm could have entered that fear-biting space. I’m not sure about this. It was all pretty quick. I’d blame myself before the dog and definitely no grudges. Mind you, I told the cat she could maul the dog next time she visited! Princess Squiffy just opened her eyes wide and blinked. I think she was amused.

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  4. Lovely post-having kids and cats I’ve never had a hell dog..met a couple, including one unnervingly called Cujo…your dogs are great πŸ™‚ characterful and loving, every day a different challenge that you meet with empathy and understanding :)x

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    1. I think I just like ‘difficult’ dogs. And people. I used to teach young people who were socially disadvantaged ( with high risk of committing a crime, because it was often the only way they knew) – it was the best thing that could happen to me. And I loved my difficult, unruly, rebellious, swearing students…

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      1. Fascinating..I am pleased they had someone like you to learn from and benefit them. I needed a dog that could be trusted from the start, because of the cat and young children…my little dog was an angel πŸ™‚ good as gold. When I brought Alex home my partner was horrified because I laid him on the floor between her paws so she could meet him properly πŸ™‚


    1. I love this test: I did the best ‘proper’ one in Norway with Ardbeg, he lasted quite long, but he was excluded from the gun shots part (he had been shot three times before he got to the shelter). I do a version of it with my friends – we look like idiots and it’s fun! Though we do our best to be ‘professional’…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Years ago I did a workshop at a conference at MIT. As a part of it, I had one of the deans of that illustrious institution climb under the table and play a caveman. I wish I had a photo of that but they didn’t allow photographing.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I can’t imagine why boobs will be offensive, but before the advent of PPT I used to draw and explain everything through cartoon animals – mostly cats, but other animals as well. They don’t have boobs.


  5. I have a pair of huskies, hyper, dig up my yard, rough house with me and each other, occasionally decide not to recognize their names, I call them my pair of 3 year olds that need a nap. Love them can not imagine my house without them. Do not leave them with anyone.

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  6. It’s so important that there are good people like you willing to take the difficult dogs, who are generally so hard to place. My mother ended up with three difficult rescue cats: one was a binge eater requiring special measures to ensure he didn’t eat the food of the other two cats and then throw it up all over the bed; the second was a Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde surprise scratcher/biter that visiting children were instructed to steer clear of; and the third was terrified of humans and hid under the furniture when anyone other than my mother was in the house. What would the fate of these cats from hell have been had my mother not taken them in, accommodated their special needs and given them a safe place to live? Best wishes to you from the mother of the 12-year-old who blogs about her cats at .

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