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7 min read


Can Dogs Feel Arrogance?



7 min read


Can Dogs Feel Arrogance?


It’s hard to imagine the wee Chihuahua sitting in your lap could feel arrogance as they dominate the family members acting like a monarchical pooch. Dogs are our loyal companions and are members of our family clan. So how can a dog be full of self-importance when they come from a wild wolf? 

It’s a cause to giggle as they hold court on the sofa, demanding lots of pets from their royal subjects in the home. Your prince or princess might be calling all the shots, barking for treats on a daily basis while making sure their spot on the sofa is always reserved. It may sound humorous but an arrogant dog can be a bit rude - like a child who’s a little bit spoilt, always demanding attention and throwing tantrums when they can’t get what they want.


Signs a Dog Might Feel Arrogance

It’s fair to say your pooch has an attitude problem when they won’t play nice with the woofers at the park. If they growl when a pooch tries to sniff them and bowl over some of smaller pups in their way, your dog could be termed a naughty pup by the other owners that frequent the park. 

Dogs can be arrogant and think they are better than the rest. They might be pushy pooches who get jealous when their guardian pets another dog or could be Divas who are used to being pampered and treated like a Queen.

Dogs that are arrogant can be dominant towards other mutts. They can also assume ownership of their pet-mom or dad. You may find your lifestyle limited when your Corgi decides they are top dog and howls like a baby when it's time to go to work. Our dogs are super-perceptive and know their place in the home, but if there’s a throne with their name on it, you can guarantee your pooch will be King.

This pushiness in their behavior could magnify into an aggressive trait as they lunge and jump at visitors who stopped by for a coffee and a chat. Perhaps they think they’re a celebrity and deserve all the attention they get, but somewhere down the road, they might snap at a child in the house.

A pup with a superiority-complex assumes they’re the leader of their family pack and with the cognitive age of a 2-3-year-old child, their methods at retaining a position of authority could undermine a peaceful life.

Once a minxy mutt has the run of the house, they call the shots, chasing the cat out the window and taking charge of the humans. It sounds like a comedy movie but dogs are pretty intelligent and with no boundaries in place, will rule their guardians with arrogance.

It’s often not until the dog trainer is called that a cavalier canine will dictate who comes and goes and what side of the bed they want to sleep on. This was the scenario greeted by a trainer who was told by the dog he couldn't enter their castle. According to Dogg One Problems Jake, a Chow/Shepherd/Rat terrier mix was that pooch.

When the trainer arrived, Jake growled aggressively while lunging at the same time, and had to be restrained by his weary owners. Once the leash was on and Jake was taken out for a walk, he appeared to calm down. The moment they returned, Jakes body went into freeze mode as he resumed his leadership role. Somewhere in the mix, his owners had given him the right to rule and now it was necessary to let Jake know his aggression was out of control.

Jake may not have been socialized and never learned to be part of a team. His insecurity led to dominance which could no longer be tolerated at his home. Like kids need to be taught boundaries and how to interact with others in a respectful way, our woofers need direction from their guardians. They might not be as arrogant as politicians, but our dogs do a good job of mimicking, with their teeth bared and hackles raised on the back of their neck.

Body Language

Signs a dog is being arrogant include:<br/>

  • Growling
  • Jumping Up
  • Howling
  • Sniffing
  • Body Freezing
  • Back Hair On Edge
  • Exposed Teeth

Other Signs

More signs a pooch is acting arrogant are:<br/>

  • Being Dominant With Pooches In The Dog Park
  • Controling Their Family Pack
  • Getting Jealous When Their Owner Gives Affection Elsewhere
  • Loving To Be Pampered
  • Not Allowing Strangers In The Home
  • Lunging At Visitors
  • Aggressive Behavior

History of Arrogant Canines


How did we end up with arrogant or dominant dogs? Their granddaddy, the wolf, lives in a structured pack with mom, dad, and the kids living a harmonious life. That is, unless one of the pack members starts acting up. Heard of the lone wolf? That’s the guy who kicked up a fuss and was given their marching orders out of the pack. Apparently, it’s not cool to disrespect the alpha female or male.

In ancient times, our precious pups could be forgiven for feeling a touch of arrogance as many were revered as gods. The Greeks had strong ties with the afterlife and featured Kerberos, a three-headed dog whose mission was to guard Hades

An ancient Egyptian deity named Anubis was depicted as a human with a dog's head. This symbolism depicts the relationship old-world Egyptians had to dogs, not so much as pets, but as hunters and protectors from this world to the next.

According to The Telegraph, dogs were adored by nobility, with pups owned by Chinese Emperors receiving the royal treatment and servants to wait on them. It’s highly likely these woofers ate their kibble from gold food bowls and slept in pet-beds made of silk. Dogs in Europe were not considered companions until the 17th century, when it became fashionable to own a pooch.

It looks like our Poodles, Shih Tzus, and Pekineses once lived a privileged life and let’s not forget the Welsh Pembroke Corgi, an aristocratic favorite of Queen Elizabeth, reigning monarch of the United Kingdom. 

In this 21st century, there is a new style of stately dog that lives in a grandiose mansion and wears the latest designer doggy clothes. These pups are celebratory royal and are often seen with diamante collars and groomed to perfection. Our movie, music, and housewife celebrities love their pooches - who want for nothing.

Looking at the list of dog breeds considered arrogant, we find the wrinkly Shar-Pei high up on the list. According to Sharpei Rescue, this majestic mutt was once employed by ancient Chinese Emperors to guard their palaces. Perhaps it’s entrenched in their imperial genes as the Shar-Pei is considered by fans to be independent and, at times, arrogant. If you were one of the oldest dogs in the history of the world, you would surely fee entitled to hold your head high with pride as well.

The Weimaraner has ancestral ties to our beloved Bloodhound, whose sniffing powers are simply the best. Once again, we find a connection to royalty as the Weimaraner was familiar in the courts of the Grand Duke Karl August of Weimer in Germany. This illustrious dog breed has mixed and mingled with European nobility so walks with a Kingly gait

The Science of Arrogant Dogs


We’ve all known the arrogant boss or family member with an overwhelming belief in their abilities, but have you ever met an arrogant dog? They could be confused with a stubborn pooch that digs in their paws at training time or a dominant pup who likes to wield their power at the dog park

Arrogant people have a sense of pride and that, according to scientists, is not feasible in a doggy. WHY? It’s because our woofers are comparable to the age of a toddler who may not have grasped the concept of pride and arrogance. According to Parents, a child this age can be bossy, opinionated and rude. Is this the beginnings of arrogance? We want our kids and dogs to be confident, but it appears there's a fine line between assurance and arrogance.

Up until now, research has concluded a pooch is not capable of understanding complex emotions due to their brains being similar to a 2-2-1/2-year-old, although some scientists have stretched that to 3 or 4. This could be due to dogs like Chaser, a Border Collie who learned to understand the names of over 1000 toys. Her psychologist pet-dad worked with Chaser from a very young age and blew scientists away with her comprehensive toy-naming repertoire.

As dog owners, we often struggle with the findings of science as we see little miracles on a daily basis that might make us beg to differ. Raising Children tells us tiny tots around this age can feel pride in their achievements. Little tykes get excited if they have performed a task all on their own and are appreciated. It’s down to good parenting if a child with a healthy sense of pride becomes a humble or arrogant adult. The same could be said for our fur-babies, who rely on guardians to lead the way.

Psychology Today points out that other mammals - similar to dogs can comprehend guilt, shame, and pride so there’s every reason to suggest dogs could also.

Training Dogs to be Less Arrogant


If your dog seems arrogant to others, it could be they have no social skills and do not actually know how to behave in an acceptable manner. Dogs are not necessarily born with a dominant or bossy attitude and can be taught with positive methods how to get on with other pups and people.

Their background may have played a part, plus genetics and socialization contribute. Your bombastic pooch might be the dog park clown, knocking over other dogs and always grabbing the ball. The good news is even older dogs can be taught new ways.

If the pooch with a chip on their paws is prone to aggression, dog trainer Victoria Stilwell tells us some dogs see a threat and react accordingly. This pooch may growl a warning and then lunge toward the opposing force. There are many reasons a dog is combative including not being spayed or neutered, their health, hormones, and fear.

According to Positivity and Dr. Karen Overall of the University of Pennsylvania, a dog prone to aggression can be a very anxious pooch. Research shows woofers that are snappy and snarly have high levels of stress hormones sending them into a “flight or fight ” state of mind.

Arrogance is a pooch that sees the world through its limited experience. It could be the Bulldog with no dog park etiquette or a cute Yorkie with an, “I must be pampered” attitude.

Arrogant pups can be stubborn and refuse to learn the basics. Getting a headstrong woofer to sit can be like raising the Titanic. You say SIT - they woof "maybe."

First, you have to get their attention, so grab a treat in your hand and move it over your head. This will get any chicken-loving dog wanting to take a look. The law of gravity should take hold as your dog sits, trying to see how high the treat might go. This is cause for celebration! Give a ton of praise along with that mouth-watering reward.

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Written by a Japanese Chin lover Linda Cole

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 06/12/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

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