The 20 Worst Dog Breeds for First Time Owners

Dogs make great companion pets; there’s a reason they are referred to as ”man’s best friend.” However, some are harder to keep than others. Of course, all of them are capable of making messes and running wild, but some are harder to manage than others. The natural instincts of some dog breeds just make them harder to train and control, making them bad choices for first time dog owners. Everyone should have a dog, but before bringing one home, thorough research needs to be done to ensure you haven’t taken on more than you can handle. After all, the pounds are full of unwanted dogs; you don’t want to add to their numbers. Making sure the dog breed agrees with your lifestyle is most important. There are many things to consider before bringing home a dog and we’d like to help. Since some dog breeds are present bigger problems than others, here’s a list of the 20 worst dog breeds for first time owners in alphabetical order.

1. Airedale Terrier

The Airedale Terrier, the largest breed of Terriers, definitely has a large personality as well. They are independent and intelligent, but also can be very stubborn. They’re friendly, but also courageous. This breed is a lot of fun as they’re eager to please, but they also need a lot of supervision. They love getting into and onto things, such as kitchen counters and trash cans and they are notorious diggers. They’ll bring the same high-energy level and enthusiasm to playing games as they will digging up your garden. An Airdal Terrier needs supervision while around other dogs and pets as well as with children. This breed needs both physical and mental stimulation on a daily basis. If you have the time to spend with this breed, it’s definitely worth it, but be sure you’ll be able to give one proper attention before bringing him home.

2. Akita

Originating from Japan, this large, powerful dog is an alert working breed with strong guarding instincts. Known as the silent hunter, Akitas are known to be relatively quiet and will most definitely sound the alarm if someone breaks in. However, they like to be in charge, requiring training with a strong hand. In addition, their disposition can drastically change in an instant. One minute they are calm, the next aggressive and bouncy. Supervision is required around other animals and small children. This breed needs more discipline than others with plenty of positive training. Socialization should begin early, as a pup. First time dog owners need to do extensive research about this dog’s temperament, grooming needs, and medical conditions before deciding to get one.

3. Alaskan Malamute

This breed is the oldest and largest of Arctic sled dogs, possessing massive strength as well as endurance. Although they are not designed to race, they can carry large loads over a long distance. Made for traveling, this breed is athletic and exuberant as well as happy and friendly. They still enjoy sledding and pulling weight, in addition to jogging, swimming, back-packing, and other physical activities. They need dedicated owners who will be committed to giving them plenty of exercise. Not only does this breed shed like crazy, but his thick fur also makes him vulnerable to heat injuries. The Alaskan Malamute is a talented escape artist, so keeping one confined may be a hassle. They are also known to pull on their leashes with all their weight, which is 65-100 pounds. Supervision is required around other pets and small children.

4. Australian Cattledog

As this dog was originally bred to herd, they can become very restless if they don’t have something to do. This breed is better for country living where their agility and obedience can be used daily. They are extremely smart and very loyal, but they also have a stubborn streak. They require a large amount of exercise if you want them to be both happy and stress-free. Even though they bond closely with their family, they can be very wary of strangers, which is one of the main reasons they made this list. If you have a lot of visitors in your home, it can be a problem. In addition, this breed needs a strong, dominate hand in training or they will take over, doing things the way they want. If you don’t have plenty of room for this breed and a ”job” for him to do, leave this dog for someone else.

5. Bloodhound

This lovable breed definitely bond closely with their owners, but they also love being in control. Since they tend to be very stubborn, it’s important that pet owners establish that they are the boss early on. This active breed needs both physical and mental stimulation daily and are known for picking up bad habits if they don’t get enough attention. In addition, due to their very strong sense of smell, a Bloodhound will want to follow their nose especially once they pick up a scent, dragging their owner along behind. They’re also prone to chasing other animals and can be more than some dog owners can handle. Bloodhounds, like most hounds, will bay often, alerting their owners to danger, whether real or perceived. They’re good with children, but are better under supervision.

6. Border Collie

This workaholic breed is extremely energetic and highly intelligent. Willing to please, they thrive on human contact, having a job to do, and plenty of room to run. A Border Collie will need plenty of physical and mental challenges, including a lot of exercise. Requiring much more than just a walk around the block or quick play in the backyard, if pet owners can’t guarantee they can provide plenty of exercise, it’s best to avoid this breed. They need sufficient stimulation or they can develop behavioral issues. This medium-sized dog is great with other dogs and older children, but should be supervised around smaller children.

7. Bullmastif

This is a large-sized dog with a solid build, originally bred during the nineteenth century for guarding estates. They are typically devoted and docile, but as a puppy will be exuberant and rowdy. They are loyal and protective to the point of laying down their lives for their family. They have a mind of their own if pet owners don’t establish who’s boss and when weighing in at 100-130 pounds, this can prove to be troublesome, easily overpowering their owners who don’t (or can’t) stand up to them. This breed needs consistent and positive training with set boundaries from puppyhood on. They have the potential of being aggressive towards people when not socialized enough and often show aggression towards other animals as well, being better off as an only pet. They also tend to get destructive when bored or left alone too much. In addition, this breed drools a LOT; you may have to follow him with a mop! The Bullmastif can have serious health problems with a shorter lifespan than other breeds. Definitely be sure before bringing this breed home.

8. Bulldog

The Bulldog is know for their loose, shuffling walk, massive, short-faced head, and their adorable wrinkles. They are generally good-natured, but may be a challenge to train. This lovable breed has a heavy build that makes them sensitive to heat as well as to exercise and stress. In addition, they are unable to swim, so if you have a pool or other water feature, be sure to restrict their access. Unfortunately, they are prone to have a variety of health issues, requiring often trips to the vet. Although they are generally fairly lazy and won’t beg to be exercised, they still need regular walks and occasional play. This breed does tend to be very entertaining with a laid-back attitude and is one of the most popular types. The Bulldog is also good with other animals and children. The challenge is keeping this breed as a pet is in their many health issues, so make sure you’re up to the task before deciding to take it on.

9. Cane Corso

Originally trained in Italy to be a watchdog and to hunt wild boar, this breed is very large and strong, having both a dominant nature as well as a strong will. If pet owners don’t establish themselves as dominant in their household, they run the risk of this breed taking over and doing things how they want. Nonetheless, they are very protective of their owners and extremely territorial. They form strong bonds with their owners and are very loving and affectionate, even towards children. The Cane Corso is a very alert breed, letting owners know if something isn’t right. Because of their stubborn streak and dominant nature, however, it’s best if first time dog owners avoid taking this breed on as a family pet.

10. Chinese Sharpei

The Chinese Sharpei is some pet owners selection due to the way they look: the broad muzzle, their scowling expression, sunken eyes, tiny little triangular ears, the blue-black tongue, the overabundance of loose skin folds, the high, tapered tail, all wrapped in an unusually rough coat. Unfortunately, those extra skin folds can increase the likelihood of having chronic skin and eye conditions. This breed is very devoted to family members but tends to closely bond with only one person. They are distrustful of unknown dogs and humans alike and will act standoffish and lordly towards those they don’t know. They require an experienced and assertive owner for training and keeping them from getting bored. Although they are not particularly active, they still need a good walk at least once a day.

11. Chow Chow

These powerful dogs have a compact build with several distinctive features, such as the lion’s mane around their heads and shoulders, deep-set, almond-shaped eyes which aid in their snobbish, scowling expression, and the stiff-legged way they walk. Going against their teddy bear look, they are not particularly loving or cuddly. They are smart, but very stubborn and require a massive amount of training. This breed’s owners have to be both dominate and consistent with training. Chow Chows are wary of strangers and can be aggressive towards dogs they don’t know and will often act aloof as well. They aren’t very active, but still require a couple of walks a day. This breed is better as an only dog and needs supervision around smaller children. Be careful to thoroughly decide if this breed is right for you and your family.

12. Dalmatian

This spotted breed is known as a Disney darling. They were bred to work as coach dogs, running along beside carriages or horses, warding off stray dogs as well as alerting coachmen of others approaching. In addition, they also became the traditional firehouse doggy for keeping the streets clear when fire engines were horse-drawn. They are active and alert with great endurance and speed. This intelligent breed has an almost endless capacity for exercise and tends to be quite destructive when bored. They are suitable as both a family pet and a performance animal, often found in dogs shows as well as obedience and agility rings. The Dalmatian notoriously sheds, loosing fur which finds a way to weave itself into fabric, but not out. Although they can make good family pets, they can sometimes get jealous and need supervision around children and other pets.

13. German Shepherd

You may be surprised to find the German Shepherd on this list, but because of their extreme intelligence, it takes a lot of training, exercise, and consistent dedication to remain smarter than they are, at least in their eyes. Because they are highly intelligent and naturally want to protect, they are well-suited for a number of jobs, such as guide dog or police dog. In fact, with the right training, there’s little this breed can’t do. Unfortunately, though, this breed also comes with higher tendencies for serious health problems such as neurological issues and hip dysplasia. They move quickly and are very nimble, having a natural free-and-easy gait, but they can ratchet it up a notch when duty calls. A true dog lover’s dog, this breed requires regular physical and mental exercise. Even though they are wonderful around children, they need supervision around other pets. Unless you have the time and energy to devote to this dog, you better take a pass on getting one as a pet.

14. Rottweiler

This massive breed is very large and quite scary to some people, although they are very loving and affectionate once socialized properly. They can be very stubborn, however, and love being in control, which makes them difficult for first time dog owners, especially when considering their size. They are not only big, but also very powerful, and can take over quickly if you allow it. In addition, they are very protective of their families, making them very loyal guard dogs for those who have experience dealing with this type of dog. This breed likes to have a job to do and with their intelligence, willingness to work, and endurance, they make suitable police, service, and therapy dogs. They are devoted to their owners, loyal, and affectionate, but are reserved around strangers. The Rottweiler needs at least two solid workouts a day, making it impossible to own for those who have little time for exercise.

15. Saint Bernard

This gentle giant is incredibly lovable and is among the world’s most beloved and famous breeds. Unfortunately, they are also a lot of work. The Saint Bernard is a massive drooler; he drools a LOT and is also known to eat items such as socks and dishtowels. Because of his enormous size, some think they’d prefer to hang out in a large backyard, but that’s not true. This breed is prone to having heatstrokes and is more comfortable indoors. Additionally, they love being around people as well, wanting to remain indoors with them at all times. These dogs make great companions for kids and are known as ”nanny dogs”. They have a huge head, with their wrinkled brow and dark eyes, giving them an intelligent, friendly expression, which is why they were such a welcome sight for stranded Alpine travelers. This breed is not very active, but like long walks and occasional play. Because of their size and need to stay indoors, you need to aware of their needs before bringing one home.

16. Siberian Husky

These stunning dogs were bred in Northeast Asia to be sled dogs and are known for their endurance and willingness to work. These large dogs need lots of grooming and exercise to stay healthy and fit. The are agreeable and outgoing, making them an all-around great dog and suitable for anything from therapy work to sledding. Because of being working dogs, they aren’t happy unless they are exercising and are always looking for something to do. They have thick coats, made up of a dense undercoat and a longer, coarse topcoat which requires almost constant grooming. Furthermore, the Siberian Husky needs loads of exercise. They can walk for hours and will need a variety of exercise throughout the day. They also need plenty of space and don’t do well around other pets. Because they are predatory, you can never be sure of their temperament. All of these combined is why this breed isn’t suggested for first time owners.

17. Skye Terrier

Although they are great little dogs, this breed can be very stubborn, wanting to do things on their own or in their own way. They are wary of people and dogs they don’t know. These sensitive dogs needs regular exercise and will need a lot of walks in order to stay happy and fit. Even though they require regular outdoor activity, they are more comfortable living as a companion dog indoors. Their coats can grow very long, ending up covering their eyes, and will need regular grooming as well as baths and brushing to prevent matting. Because of this making them fairly high maintenance, they are not recommended for first time owners. The Skye Terrier is fiercely loyal, but needs supervision around other dogs and children.

18. Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff originates from the Himalayan Mountains where they were used for protecting families. They were bred to stay inside during the day and to be let out at night for guarding the family or flock as a watchdog. Because of this, they are very independent and intelligent, tending to want to do their own thing. Due to being bred as watchdogs, they can be very aggressive towards strangers, making it hard to bring visitors into your home. Although they are loyal and loving toward their families, they will need socialization from an early age as well as strict obedience training. Because of the training requirements needed by this breed, it is recommended that first time owners refrain from making these a pet. They are good with children, but need supervision around other dogs and pets.

19. Treeing Walker Coonhound

This breed is a favorite of hunters due to its extreme endurance, desire to perform, and competitive spirit. In addition, the Treeing Walker Coonhound was bred to track and tree raccoons. These highly athletic dogs need plenty of exercise in order to stay content and fit. For those who already lead active lifestyles, that may be fine, but this breed also needs enough space to run outside and burn energy. Not only are they not a good choice for first time owners, but they also are not a good choice for city dwellers or those living in small apartments. Furthermore, they love to chase small game and will run off if given the chance, loudly barking once they have their quarry treed. These smart and brave dogs are good with children and other pets, but you really should consider how much activity and space that are needed before bringing one of these home.

20. Weimaraner

This breed is often referred to as the ”Gray Ghost” because of its beautiful gray coat and habitual close following of its owner. Even though Weimaraners are highly intelligent dogs, they certainly aren’t right for everyone. They are extremely energetic, seemingly with no off switch. They are bred for intelligence, courage, speed, and good scenting ability, making them excellent game hunters and active participants in other dog sports. These graceful dogs do not like being left alone and separation anxiety is a real issue with them. Because they are very active and athletic, this breed make ideal running companions. However, they can be difficult to house-train and are a hazard to cats and other smaller pets. Besides needing supervision around other pets, they seem to do well around children. If you like hunting, hiking and other same-type activities, they make perfect companions. Otherwise, they need much more exercise than most are willing to invest, so be sure to think about that before bringing one home.

Honorable Mention- American Pit Bull Terrier

This breed is equally recommended for first time owners as it is not, but it’s worth a mention. This breed has a formidable look and has traditionally been used in dog fighting rings, giving them a ”bad dog” reputation. However, those who have American Pit Bull Terriers have found they make loving, devoted, and loyal companions. A mistreated Pit can be very mean and aggressive, or one that has been taught to fight, but those who have been bred to be loving and accepting of people are just the opposite. They need to be supervised around other pets and children as well. If you are thinking about bringing a Pit home, be sure to do thorough research into the dog’s background. If you get one as a puppy, the training will be up to you rather or not he is frightening or loving. It’s probably best to leave the Pits to seasoned dog owners, finding another, easier breed to take on if you’re a first time dog owner.


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