14 worst dogs for first-time owners
German Shepherd at the park (Photo: Adobe Stock)
helloBARK! staff
By helloBARK! staff
Updated on March 25, 2019

Deciding upon your first dog can be an overwhelming experience.

helloBARK! must stress that each individual dog is different, even if the breed has a reputation for certain characteristics. This article doesn’t constitute expert advice and if you’ve any questions or queries, you should contact your local vet or dog training expert.

There are a number of factors that you’ll have to consider before settling on a dog breed best suited to your lifestyle.

While some lesser known breeds can be beautiful to look at, they can come with challenging temperaments.

You’ll have other considerations to think about, such as the energy levels of some bigger breeders.

A lot of issues stem from a lack of or poor training, so you’ll need to dedicate time to laying down some basic ground rules and obedience.

In this article, helloBARK! will look at the worst dog breeds for first-time owners.

Things to consider before getting your first dog

Lifestyle Having a dog can demand a change in lifestyle. Some breeds don’t like to be separated from their owners for long periods.

Living arrangements Bigger breeds will naturally require more space.

Exercise Not at all large-sized dogs require a lot of exercise. Every breed has different requirements.

Easy to train If you’re dog has a high IQ, they can be quick learners. However, consistent training is still required to ensure these dogs don’t try to take over the household.

Sociable Some breeds can be quite aloof and don’t do well as more sociable dogs. If you like to host a lot of guests, a dog that is welcoming of strangers might be a better choice.

Personality A dog may be smart but they can also be stubborn. Not all breeds have the same intense drive to please.

Cost While there is the initial cost of purchasing a dog from a breeder, other long-term medical costs could be a factor if your breed is predisposed to certain health conditions.

14) Border Collie

Border Collies are the smartest dogs in the world (ahead of the Poodle and German Shepherd). While they’re intelligent, they can be very challenging pets. These dogs are still used on farms to herd sheep and other animals, and as a result, can often nip, which could become troublesome.

13) Akita

Akita are beautiful and powerful dogs. Hailing from Japan, they have an imposing stature and muscular frames. They can be wary or even intolerant of strangers. The breed achieved notoriety thanks to Hatchi, who secured Hollywood stardom alongside Richard Gere. However, these dogs can be a lot of work.

12) Chow Chow

Another ancient Asian breed, Chow Chow are muscular dogs like Akita. The American Kennel Club describe these dogs as “serious-minded, and aloof”. Often likened to lions thanks to their mane, the Chow Chow owners have been known to describe the breed as cats of the dog world due to their fastidiousness.

11) Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Siberian Husky (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The Siberian Husky are beautiful, striking dogs. HBO show Game Of Thrones has seen the breed surge in popularity. However, these sled dogs can be quite challenging. They’re very vocal and strong willed. Siberian Huskies require a lot of exercise and their prey drive means they aren’t suited to homes with other small pets. They’re expert escape artists – too.

10) Beagle

The Beagle is a member of the Hound family (Photo: Adobe Stock)
The Beagle is a member of the Hound family (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Beagles do have a reputation for being quite loud dogs. They certainly make good watch dogs but may not be suited for every home. Given their a member of the Hound group, it should be no surprise to learn these dogs need a lot of exercise.

9) Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Shiba Inu (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Another Asian breed with a reputation for being stubborn is Shiba Inu. The advent of the internet has made these dogs one of best known breeds in the world – they’re often described as Meme Dogs. However, they can be aloof and shy, especially around strangers. They’re independent thinkers, which can make them difficult to train.

8) Dalmatian

A Disney favourite thanks to 101 Dalmatians, they can present a number of unique problems. They require a lot of exercise due to their high energy levels. Not only that but they’ve got a reputation for barking a lot.

7) St Bernard

Another Hollywood favourite is the St Bernard. With over seven films in the Beethoven franchise, they’re an instantly recognisable breed. But they may be better suited for those with experience of dogs. While they’re considered to be gentle giants like the Great Dane, their slobber can create quite a bit of mess.

6) Alaskan Klee Kai

Alaskan Klee Kai were created in Alaska in 1970s (Photo: ispywithmylittleskye / Instagram)
Alaskan Klee Kai were created in Alaska in 1980s (Photo: ispywithmylittleskye / Instagram)

A relatively new breed, the Alaskan Klee Kai was created in the 1970s by an American called Linda Spurlin. They were bred to be companion dogs and can become quickly bonded to their owners. However, Alaskan Klee Kai can suffer from separation anxiety. They’re smart dogs but require consistent and firm training as they can be independent thinkers.

5) Weimaraner

The German dogs have an elegant body structure and a mesmerising coat colour, making them firm favourites with dog lovers. However, the Weimaraner breed are very energetic and require a lot of exercise. Like the Alaskan Klee Kai, Weimaraners can suffer from separation anxiety, so don’t tend to do well when left at home alone for long periods.

4) Airedale Terrier

These independent dogs can be challenging for first-time owners. The Airedale Terrier likes to think on its own and doesn’t always follow commands. They also like to dig, which could be bad news for your potted plants or garden.

3) Bullmastiff

While the Bullmastiff has a lot of positive traits, these powerful dogs can be overwhelming for first-time dog owners. They can weigh up to 130 pounds, which can be challenging to keep in check. The AKC describe these dogs as “world-class protectors” but stress training is required from a young age to engrain obedience before they become too big.

2) Alaskan Malamute

Like the Alaskan Klee Kai and Siberian Husky, the Alaskan Malamute are very attractive dogs. Their beautiful coat colours and striking eyes make them a big hit. The Alaskan Malamute shed a lot, so be prepared for lots of vacuuming. They’re size can make them difficult to control for first-time owners.

1) German Shepherd

German Shepherd (Photo: Adobe Stock)
German Shepherd (Photo: Adobe Stock)

German Shepherds are very intelligent dogs – third only to the Border Collie and Poodle. However, they need consistent and firm training to maintain good behaviour. These dogs are athletic and powerful, while they require a lot of exercise.