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16 Worst Dog Breeds for a First-Time Dog Owner (With Pictures)

Written by: Jeff Weishaupt

Last Updated on April 27, 2024 by Dogster Team

german shepherd puppy dog sitting on the grass

16 Worst Dog Breeds for a First-Time Dog Owner (With Pictures)

Have you found your favorite dog breed? That’s excellent! Now, prepare to take care of your dog’s every need to keep them happy and healthy for a long time. Since you’ve just become a dog parent, you need to make extra efforts to learn everything about your dog’s breed. Typically, beginners should adopt an easily trainable dog.

Remember, every dog breed is terrific, and there are no breeds that are truly worse than the others. However, their training level and socializing behavior can make a big impact on your experience.

Many experts suggest that new dog owners avoid particular dog breeds. After all, not everybody has the stamina to provide consistent training to their dogs. So, if you want an easygoing dog, keep reading this guide until the end to avoid certain breeds.

Important Note for First-Time Dog Owners

Beginner pet owners should never adopt a dog without researching it thoroughly. This includes their characteristics, physical and mental traits, eating requirements, and grooming needs. You must also consider your dog’s mental stimulation level and the training it will need to stay fit.

The 16 Worst Dog Breeds for a First-Time Dog Owner

Remember, every dog is different within a breed, meaning you can’t categorize an individual as the worst or best breed. With that said, some prove to be more challenging than others. Here are the 16 worst dog breeds for first-time owners:

1. Border Collie

border collie dog with toy ball on the couch
Image Credit: Julia Zavalishina, Shutterstock
Energy Level Extremely high
Height 18 to 22 inches
Weight 27 to 45 pounds
Coat (Grooming Requirements) Varies: can be short and smooth or long and rough; requires occasional grooming

Border Collies are powerful dogs that are always ready for work. These farm dogs are super energetic, which is why you’ll always find them running, playing, and looking for something to stay occupied. In fact, Border Collies are considered intelligent dogs as they need less than five repetitions to understand a new command.

Border Collies are independent dogs. So, you must prepare to keep your newly adopted pet entertained to prevent them from engaging in harmful activities. For instance, they may start barking, digging, and nipping out of nowhere.

Unfortunately, many dog owners have also reported their Border Collies breaking house training, chewing furniture, and scratching walls. Even worse, these dogs make such destruction while hiding, so you won’t notice them initially.

If you want to go for a Border Collie, make sure to take your pet out for a walk for an hour or more every day. Also, check with the breeder whether your Border Collie is a farm, show line, or sport dog before adopting one. They all have different needs!

2. Siberian Husky

siberian husky sitting
Image By: Aleksandr Abrosimov, Shutterstock
Energy Level High
Height 35 to 60 pounds
Weight 20 to 24 inches
Coat (Grooming Requirements) Thick and long; requires occasional grooming but regular brushing

The Siberian Husky is a happy, independent dog breed that loves cold environments. They are super energetic, so you must keep them occupied with plenty of exercise to maintain their happy mood. After all, these dogs were bred to sled.

Siberian Huskies also need space to spend time alone since they are uncomfortable around other dogs. They are quite vocal and may keep you and your neighbors on your toes. Huskies also have a double coat that needs extensive grooming to stay clean and tangle-free.

Considering intelligence, these dogs are reasonably intelligent and require up to 40 repetitions to understand a command. They are the best runners, so if you are not ready to keep up with them, it’s better to stay away from this dog breed.

As a Siberian Husky owner, you’ll also have to provide a safe, ample space to your husky to allow them to run independently whenever they want. But they can escape if you leave them alone. These dogs also have an increased prey drive, which can be a problem for new parents.

3. Dalmatian

Running dalmatian
Image By: Aneta Jungerova, Shutterstock
Energy Level Extremely high
Height 45 to 70 pounds
Weight 19 to 24 inches
Coat (Grooming Requirements) Short; requires minimal grooming

Who isn’t familiar with Dalmatians? Dalmatians are working dogs packed with loads of energy. These dogs were bred to run, making them one of the fastest breeds. In fact, they used to run alongside horses and fire engines.

Their energy levels make them quite a challenge for dog owners. These dogs can become destructive and bark endlessly when not given the desired stimulation. Despite having a short coat, Dalmatians still shed heavily, so you might have to use a vacuum cleaner often.

Dalmatians are reasonably smart dogs, needing 15 to 25 repetitions to understand their owner’s command. Dalmatians can be your ideal dog breed if you’re willing to run with your dog.

4. Chow Chow

chow chow dog in the grass
Image By: Flower_Garden, Shutterstock
Energy Level Low
Height 45 to 70 pounds
Weight 17 to 20 inches
Coat (Grooming Requirements) Very long and thick; requires regular grooming sessions

Despite appearing as a teddy bear, Chow Chows don’t act like one. Their adorable face and purple tongue make them stand out among other dog breeds. A Chow Chow is not the smartest of all the breeds and may require 80 to 100 repetitions to learn a command. That’s mainly because they can be stubborn during training.

Chow Chows are not a fan of strangers. They may show aggression towards other pets and dog breeds. The good thing is that you won’t have to take your Chow Chow outside since they don’t need extensive training other than regular walks.

The major downside of owning a Chow Chow is that it can be dangerous and irritating in new hands. Although they are aloof four-legged dogs, they’re not too cuddly with new owners. They also have regular grooming needs, so you’d have to take care of this.

5. Cane Corso

brindle cane corso with uncropped ears sitting outdoors
Image By: Eudyptula, Shutterstock
Energy Level Medium
Height More than 100 pounds
Weight 24 to 28 inches
Coat (Grooming Requirements) Short; requires occasional grooming

The Cane Corso is a large and strong dog breed that likes to be in charge of everything. They were bred to be protective dogs, which is why they seem pretty intimidating. They are highly suspicious of new people, so you may struggle to get along with them as a first-time owner.

Cane Corsi (plural for Cane Corso) can also become quite aggressive towards strangers, but that’s just in the nature of these guard dogs. They mainly attack intruders to show loyalty to their owners. Cane Corsi don’t require high physical stimulation, but they love playing tug.

As a Cane Corso’s parent, you must start training and socializing your dog as early as possible. Otherwise, they won’t recognize you as the “alpha” or owner, making it hard for you to manage them. These dogs are quite clever. So, you must keep them occupied to avoid them from being destructive.

6. Akita

akita inu
Image By: uadrienn, Pixabay
Energy Level Medium
Height 70 to 130 pounds
Weight 24 to 28 inches
Coat (Grooming Requirements) Long and thick; requires regular brushing and occasional grooming

The Akita is a famous Japanese dog with impeccable guarding characteristics. Besides their attractive features, Akitas became popular with the Tale of Hachi. There is no clear information about their origin, but it is believed that Akitas were bred for fighting, bear hunting, and protection purposes.

Akitas are highly suspicious of strangers and might show aggression toward new people and other dogs. Of course, you can train your Akita for socialization to make them your long-life companion. They require regular exercises to stay fit, taking up to 40 repetitions to learn their owner’s commands.

Unfortunately, they don’t get along with strangers too much. Things can be even more difficult for you if you’re a first-time dog owner. But the good thing is that they don’t bark much. Instead, these dogs only bark during danger or when trying to make a point in front of their owners. Akitas can also get quite moody and may show irritation for some time.

7. Rottweiler

Rottweiler walking on sand beach
Image By: everydoghasastory, Shutterstock
Energy Level Medium
Height 100 pounds
Weight 24 to 27 inches
Coat (Grooming Requirements) Short; requires grooming because of heavy shedding

Rottweilers are large, intimidating dogs with medium affection toward their owners. They can be stubborn, so you’ll have to lead them during exercises, training, and walking or running outside.

The general behavior of Rottweilers fluctuates significantly. You may find them being playful with you, but they become quite aggressive toward strangers and other dogs the next moment. So, owning a Rottweiler isn’t a smart choice for first-time owners. Their size also makes them challenging for newbie dog owners.

Rottweilers have medium energy levels. Although they were bred as working dogs, they slow down over time more than other dog breeds. You must provide them with two training sessions daily and take them for an occasional strenuous walk. The good thing is that Rottweilers are quick learners!

8. Airedale Terrier

Image Credit: PROMA1, Shutterstock
Energy Level High
Height 50 to 70 pounds
Weight 22 to 24 inches
Coat (Grooming Requirements) Wiry; requires regular grooming

Airedale Terriers are strong-willed and stubborn dogs with a friendly nature. These dogs are super fun to be around, but they also experience separation anxiety the most. In this situation, they start showing unusual behavior, such as digging holes in the mud, chasing other pets, and even knocking down kids.

Airedale Terriers are the largest terriers known, having the typical temperament of the breed. They are independent thinkers, which allows them to function according to their choice. But as a first-time dog owner, this can be a problem for you. These dogs also become aggressive when meeting strangers.

To keep your Airedale Terrier occupied, you must help them exercise regularly. They are very clever and pick up things quickly. Although their wiry coat doesn’t shed much, it still needs regular maintenance. So, if you’re up for these things, you can give Airedale Terriers a try!

9. Alaskan Malamute

alaskan malamute in the forest
Image By: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Shutterstock
Energy Level High
Height 75 to 85 pounds
Weight 29 to 35 inches
Coat (Grooming Requirements) Thick double coat; requires regular grooming

Known as the oldest working dogs, Alaskan Malamutes are strong dogs with impressive endurance levels. They can carry heavy loads for longer distances, but they are not very fast. An Alaskan Malamute is a great companion for some people because of their love and affection toward family members.

However, this dog breed is not an ideal choice for first-time owners. Alaskan Malamutes are packed with lots of energy, so they require regular training and exercising to stay focused and happy. When bored, they can become quite destructive due to their exceptional escaping skills. So, your pet may pull the leash, forcing you to let go of it.

An Alaskan Malamute expects their owners to travel with them far on foot and perform lots of exercises together. That’s why we have included this dog breed on this list.

Another factor is their heavy, thick double coat. While it makes the dog susceptible to heat injuries, it also sheds heavily. You’ll have to brush the coat frequently and regularly groom it to maintain it. That’s a lot for first-time owners!

10. Shar-Pei

Chinese Shar-pei puppy on the grass
Image By: Waldemar Dabrowski, Shutterstock
Energy Level Low
Height 45 to 60 pounds
Weight 17 to 20 inches
Coat (Grooming Requirements) Three types of coats: horse, brush, and bear coat; requires minimal grooming

The Chinese Shar-Pei has a broad muzzle and lots of wrinkles on their face. Some people find them strange-looking, but others consider them unique dogs. The wrinkles or skin folds on these dogs’ faces make them vulnerable to many skin issues and rashes. So, as a pet owner, you must provide constant care to them.

If you get a Shar-Pei, you must provide them with lots of physical and mental stimulation to keep the dog well-behaved. When bored, Shar-Pei can get destructive.

One important thing about these dogs is that they are territorial and bond with only their owners. They require attention from just one person and don’t like being around strangers and other animals. Only an experienced owner would know how to care for a Shar-Pei’s needs.

Shar-Pei can be excellent companions, but they often get into dangerous situations as they do not give a warning growl. Of course, if you are a beginner, you won’t understand your dog’s behavior beforehand.

11. Weimaraner

Weimaraner in the outdoors
Image By: BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock
Energy Level High
Height 55 to 90 pounds
Weight 23 to 27 inches
Coat (Grooming Requirements) Short; requires minimal grooming

Weimaraners are highly energetic dogs that require lots of exercise to stay happy. When bored, they are likely to suffer from separation anxiety, so you must always be there for them. These dogs have a unique short coat that requires minimal grooming.

Weimaraners are super intelligent dogs that need to be managed by experienced owners. They’re also difficult to train at home as they chase after other pets, becoming a hazard for them.

If you go out for a jog, a Weimaraner can go along with you. However, keep in mind that some dogs require prolonged exercise sessions. So, you should confirm with the breeder from whom you’re adopting the dog.

12. Australian Cattle Dog

red australian cattle dog
Image By: cynoclub, Shutterstock
Energy Level High
Height 35 to 50 pounds
Weight 17 to 20 inches
Coat (Grooming Requirements) Double coat; requires occasional grooming

You may know an Australian Cattle Dog as an Australian Heeler or Blue Heeler. They were bred for herding, which is why they are highly energetic. However, these dogs are not ideal for first-time owners due to their stubborn nature. They are also quite intelligent, which helps them trick their owners.

Australian Cattle Dogs require lots of exercises to channel their energy. You will also be surprised by their adventurous nature, which often puts them in danger. They are also quite wary of new dogs and strangers and may aggressively bark.

You’ll have to keep your Australian Cattle Dog occupied or they can get into mischief. If you still adopt this dog breed, lead them during training to make them well-behaved.

13. German Shepherd

a german shepherd lying on the table outdoor
Image By: lancegfx, Pixabay
Energy Level High
Height 65 to 90 pounds
Weight 22 to 26 inches
Coat (Grooming Requirements) Thick double coat; requires regular grooming

The German Shepherds are best known for their role in the military and police due to their intelligence. However, this prevents them from being the best pets for novice owners. They are also super energetic, requiring lots of training and exercising to stay intelligent and happy. Regular activity also keeps them safe from health issues, especially hip dysplasia.

With proper socialization, German Shepherds are ideal to be around people, children, and other pets. As a new parent, you must also train your German Shepherd with obedience exercises to keep its protective nature under control.

Unfortunately, German Shepherds are susceptible to multiple health problems related to their neurology. Before adopting one, check with the breeder about the dog’s medical history.

14. Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard sitting in meadow
Image By: rokopix, Shutterstock
Energy Level Medium
Height 140 and 180 pounds
Weight 28 to 30 inches
Coat (Grooming Requirements) Can be long or short; requires regular grooming

Many dog owners call Saint Bernard the “Gentle Giant” because of their large size and friendly nature. But these dogs are not ideal for first-time owners for two significant reasons.

First, they drool a lot! In fact, you’ll see large puddles of the dog’s saliva wherever it is. Second, Saint Bernards are susceptible to heat exhaustion, so they prefer staying indoors unless it’s cold outside. Even indoors, these dogs will keep causing trouble, such as eating towels, socks, or other fabric types.

However, Saint Bernards are fun and loving dogs that like spending time with their family. But considering all the mischief they do, it’s not easy for first-time owners to manage and take care of them!

15. Bulldog

english bulldog sitting on grass
Image By: AndreiTobosaru, Shutterstock
Energy Level Low
Height 50 to 55 pounds
Weight 12 to 16 inches
Coat (Grooming Requirements) Short; requires regular grooming

Bulldogs make the best pets with their goofy and fun nature, but only for the experienced ones. Unlike other breeds on this list, it’s not the aggression or grooming needs that make a Bulldog one of the worst choices for beginners. Instead, it’s the health issues this dog breed is vulnerable to.

Bulldogs are brachycephalic, meaning they have short, squished faces with small noses. This makes it hard for them to breathe, perform exercises, and swim. Bulldogs are also sensitive to stress and heat.

As a first-time dog owner, you may also find your Bulldog being stubborn. This can put you under a lot of pressure, especially during training.

16. Bullmastiff

Image By: BORINA OLGA, Shutterstock
Energy Level Extremely high
Height 110 to 130 pounds
Weight 24 to 27 inches
Coat (Grooming Requirements) Short and dense; requires occasional grooming

Bullmastiffs are muscular, large dogs weighing up to 130 pounds. So, their owners must show these dogs that they are the Alpha to keep them well-behaved. Of course, that’s quite difficult for a novice person to do.

Bullmastiffs are independent thinkers, and they do whatever they want. Early socialization is essential for this dog breed to avoid its aggressive nature toward strangers and other dogs. You should never leave your Bullmastiff alone, or it will become destructive and drool excessively.

Bullmastiffs are also super energetic, requiring regular training. The independent nature of these dogs also causes trouble during obedience training. They also have a powerful prey drive, which can be a problem for first-time owners.

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Adopting a dog is an exciting experience, especially when doing it for the first time. However, it comes with a lot of responsibility. No matter what dog breed you choose, you must take care of their eating, bathing, mental and physical stimulation, and grooming needs.

As a novice dog owner, you should go for the dog breed that requires minimal training and socialization. A dog with minimal grooming requirements is also ideal for beginners. Just make sure to check your pet’s medical history when adopting it from a breeder!

Featured Image Credit: Alexander Naglestad, Unsplash

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