12 Dog Breeds With Houdini-Like Escape Artist Skills

12 Dog Breeds With Houdini-Like Escape Artist Skills

Most pawrents will experience a frightening loose dog incident at some time in their pup’s life, but few dogs turn escaping into a true art form. For some crafty canines there is simply no fence too high and no screen too strong to tame their wanderlust.


There are many reasons why an otherwise happy, obedient dog may run away. Pups who have not been spayed or neutered may follow their hormones in search of ruv. Some wander because they are lonely, bored or suffering from separation anxiety. Others flee in response to fear stimuli like storms, fireworks or construction in the home. Discovering the cause and working with a trainer to alter the behavior is the surest way to keep your pup safe at home.

shibescape released a list of the 25 dog breeds most likely to become lost based on their database of more than 350,000 registered dogs. Using their data and the breed characteristics of some of the high ranking suspects, we have compiled our list of the top 12 breeds most likely to plan and execute a backyard breakout.

Shockingly, Weimaraners and Shiba Inus did not make Fido Finders top 25, but they definitely get an honorable mention shout out from Bark Post!


1. Labs

Labrador Retrievers scored the honor of’s “Most likely to get lost”. These energetic, boisterous balls-of-happiness tend to love everything and everyone. Their curiosity easily leads them astray, and their desire to be around their people make them prone to separation anxiety.



2. Chihuahuas

Some Chi pawrents mistakenly think that because they are small they require less exercise, training and attention. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Chihuahuas love to run and they crave close contact with their humans. So if they aren’t getting it at home…



3. Huskies

These sled pulling beauties were born to run – literally. Their desire for exercise combined with their talents for digging and climbing make these gorgeous fluff balls big time flight risks.



4. Boxers

I once knew a Boxer who could jump clear over my head – I’m 5’7″. Needless to say, these muscular beasts have little trouble parcour-ing their way over a backyard fence. They are also extremely playful and delight in a good game of chase. Boxer forums actually have a term for their naughty escape habit – Boxer Bolting.



5. Jack Russell Terriers

What these pups lack in size, they make up for in speed, power and spunk! They require lots of exercise to be happy, and their powerful predatory instinct to chase smaller animals makes them professional bolters. Three of their Terrier cousins also made Fido Finder’s Top 25 – Yorkshire Terriers, Boston Terriers and Rat Terriers.



6. Beagles

Beagles are scent hounds and their instinct to follow their nose is a powerful one indeed. Their desire to track often leads them astray putting them high on the list of commonly lost dogs at number 7. Their fellow hound breeds are no slouches when it comes to breaking loose, either!



7. German Shepherds

Trainers often recommend looking at what a dog was bred to do when analyzing their behavior issues. German Shepherds were bred to herd and their instinct to chase down other animals remains strong. They are also excellent diggers and known to be stubborn. Not surprisingly, their fellow herding pals the Australian Cattle Dog and the Border Collie also made the Fido Finder’s Top 25.



8. Staffordshire Bull Terriers

Stubborn Staffies need stern leadership from their pawrents plus plenty of exercise to be happy. These muscle-bound powerhouses can easily scale a 6-foot fence if something on the other side catches their fancy, and their big paws make perfect shovels for tunneling underneath.



9. Cocker Spaniels

These extremely loving cuties simply adore their humans. Unfortunately this makes them predisposed to separation anxiety which can lead to escaping. They also retain the desire to scamper after small game as a throwback to their breeding as retrievers. Their cousin the Springer Spaniel has the same propensity for mischief.



10. Golden Retrievers

When I worked as a vet tech I always described Goldens as the perfect family dogs. They are extremely affectionate and patient, and usually stick to their owners like glue. However, they were bred as a sporting breed to accompany hunters, and they still need lots of exercise to stay out of trouble. The Golden Retriever is Fido Finder’s #13 breed most likely to get lost.



11. Poodles

Poodles are graceful, energetic athletes that excel in agility and obedience competitions. They are extremely intelligent and trainable, but these same traits mean they require lots of mental and physical stimulation to be happy. Their above average exercise needs and predisposition to separation anxiety may lead them to stage escape attempts.



12. Dachshunds 

These little sausage pups were bred to chase badgers into underground dens. They are excellent diggers, hyper-vigilant of their surroundings, and will take off after small animals and birds in a heartbeat. They are also stubborn, tenacious, and extremely protective of their owners. If they aren’t escaping to chase a bird, these crafty wiener dogs may run off in search of their humans due to separation anxiety.


Any breed of dog can easily become lost or run away if the proper precautions aren’t taken. Always keep your pups on a leash or confined to a fenced area when outside. Teach the sit and stay commands to keep them away from the door when you are entering or exiting. Also, be sure to spay and neuter, provide lots of exercise, and address any behavioral issues with an experienced trainer.

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Liselle Whitehill