You might think there are just two types of dogs on Instagram: good boys and good girls. But dig a bit deeper, and there are juicier trends to chew on.

Every dog has a unique character. But some breeds share distinct traits. Science has shown how DNA may shape around 15% of a dog breed’s personality: the Labrador is most likely to get anxious when you stop working from home; the Border Collie and the poodle are among the diverse breeds categorizable as “eager learners.”

But how about naughtiness? Protect My Paws wondered if any of these breeds of good boys are – you know – gooder than the others.

To find out, we went back to Instagram. We counted the posts that mentioned a breed along with a popular behavior hashtag (#gooddog, #cleverdog, #cleverpuppy, #baddog, #naughtypuppy, #cheekydog, #muddydog). And then we balanced the positive hashtags against the naughty ones and looked at where they were geotagged.

Finally, we made charts and maps to show which dog breeds are the naughtiest good and which ones are the best-behaved even gooder.

Key Findings

  • The best-behaved dog breed on Instagram is the Korean Jindo Dog, with 75.86% positive behavior tags.
  • Instagram’s naughtiest dog breed is the Japanese Spitz, with 86.67% of Spitz behavior posts reporting bad behavior.
  • South Africa is home to the naughtiest dogs: 87.85% of dog behavior Instagram posts are negative.
  • Ukraine is the land of good boys, with a 96.72% good behavior report.
  • Moscow, Russia, is the city with the best boys (98.41% positive).
  • Canberra, Australia, is the city with the naughtiest dogs (99.74% negative).

The Japanese Spitz is the Naughtiest (or Most Misunderstood) Breed on Instagram

First, let’s look at the breeds with the highest proportions of bad- or good-behavior hashtags. 

Public enemy number one is the Japanese Spitz. In fact, the gap between the naughtiness rating of the Spitz (86.67%) and number two, the Shichon (78.38%), is bigger than the gap between the rest of the top 10.

If being affectionate is a crime, the snowball known as the Spitz is going straight to the doghouse. Couple this lack of respect for your personal space with a mischievous sense of humor, and you can expect to be clambered over, interrupted, snuzzled, and maliciously cuddled. What a villain!

The Jindo is an actual national treasure. Native to the South Korean island of Jindo, this loving but independent hunter was declared “Republic of Korea Cultural Asset No. 53” in 1962. Not only that, but the Jindo is a very good dog indeed.

Over centuries, the Jindo’s harsh island environment drove the dog to become “energetic, watchful, alert, fearless, loyal, and obedient.” Yes, they may be less warm towards strangers – but the Jindo’s keen companionship assures them a positive behavior report in more than three-quarters of Jindo-based Instagram posts. Pointy of ear, with a tight, brindled coat, the Jindo is a credit to their master and their Instagram account.

South African Dogs ‘Mostly Naughty’

Next up, we used Instagram’s geotags to see where all the good and less good dogs are. Disclaimer: they say that there’s no such thing as a bad dog – only a bad owner. While the truth isn’t quite as simple as that, don’t let our study tarnish your impression of a particular country’s dogs. This is Instagram, after all, where even an over-affectionate hug gets a playful #baddog tag.

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South Africa is home to the world’s naughtiest dogs, and you’ve got to love them. Just take Mia and Albertus, for example. Not only did these furniture-chomping bulldogs make a meal of mama’s rattan, but they had the audacity to play dead when caught. The dogs of Instagram have an 87.85% naughtiness rating in South Africa.

Slovakia (85.42%) is the second naughtiest country for dogs, followed by Singapore (85.11%), Australia (80.55%), and the UK (80.54%). Meanwhile, there is a distinct ‘best boy bloc’ of Ukraine (3.28%), Russia (5.92%), and Belarus (8.70%).

47 American States Vote ‘Good Boy’

The US puts a new spin on the ‘no bad dogs, only bad owners’ cliché. While human crime soars, most Americans are filing only positive reports about their beloved pooches. Kansas (56.52% naughty) and North Carolina (53.96%) are the only states who vote ‘naughty dog’ – and only by a small margin. South Dakota and West Virginia are neutral. The remaining 47 states reckon their dogs are well-behaved, while the District of Columbia has the highest approval rating of all: 92.42% good dogs.

Of course, these are beloved dogs under review by their adoring owners. Some say that, while Americans have inherited the British affection for the four-legged friend, there remains a cultural divide between the brash Yankee pooch and the more refined European canine – and that more patient, positive, professional training could help bring American dog behavior into line with their owner’s praise on Instagram.

The Good, the Bad, and the Pugly

The canine world is complex. No breed is bad, no dog is flawless (no matter how much they love chewing on the pet door flap), and some good boys are gooder than others. To find where your preferred brand of dog figures in the behavior ranks, check out the full results in our interactive table below.

Click the buttons to switch between the Naughtiest and the Best-Behaved.

Methodology

To create these tables, we made a list of good and bad dog hashtags ( #gooddog, #cleverdog, #cleverpuppy, #baddog, #naughtypuppy, #cheekydog, #muddydog). Then we made a comprehensive list of dog breeds and analyzed Instagram posts featuring a dog breed and any of those hashtags. (87,886 posts in total.) We then calculated the proportion of good to bad hashtags for each breed to identify the top naughty and well-behaved breeds. 43,367 geotagged posts were analyzed in order to create the maps.  The data was gathered in June 2021.

Sources

Instagram. (2021). Instagram. instagram.com

Dog Time. All Dog Breed Profiles. dogtime.com

Finances Online (2021). Number of Dogs in the US. financesonline.com

Pet Secure. (2017). Worldwide Pet Ownership. petsecure.com.au