Worst Dog Breeds for Beginner Owners

A while back, we answered a related question, “What are the best dog breeds for new owners,” which made us wonder if there are breeds we’d suggest steering clear of if you’re new to dog-dom. As we compiled our list of worst dog breeds for first-time owners, we asked ourselves, what makes a “good” breed versus a “bad” breed? The answer is, “It depends.” 

We’re not going to tell you to steer clear of any breed or mix, but do your homework. Understand that a dog’s temperament and ease of care depends on many factors, not just breeding.

7 Traits to Look for in a Dog

If you’ve never owned a pet, you probably want a dog that is easy to take care of, especially if you’ve got no experience with raising and training dogs. For a first-time dog owner, we suggest looking for a breed or mix with these traits:

  • Low shedding: A first-time pet owner might want to look for a breed or mix that tends to be low-shedding, especially if you’ve never lived with pets before. Otherwise, get a good vacuum cleaner, lots of lint rollers, and a hair-removing glove for your furniture. Almost all dogs shed somewhat. Read more about how to control dog shedding.
  • Smaller size: Big dogs are beautiful, loads of fun, and super smart, but first-time dog owners might be smart to start small. Remember: Big dogs make big messes (including poops). That said, these lovable giants are wonderful companions and guard dogs.
  • Chill temperament: A first-time dog owner might become exasperated by a stubborn breed that challenges your authority. Many factors affect a dog’s temperament — gender, breed, size, environment, to name a few — but some breeds tend to be lower maintenance than others. Here is our list of the calmest and quietest dog breeds.
  • Quiet: All dogs bark. It’s how they communicate. If you aren’t ready to go from a quiet household to a bark-filled one, look for a dog that tends to be on the chill side. Do you speak dog? Learn the 7 reasons most dogs bark.
  • Low exercise needs: All dogs need regular exercise and mental stimulation, but some breeds and mixes tend to be higher strung than others. If you’re an outdoorsy type who loves walks and adventures, then look for a breed to match your lifestyle. If you’ve got an apartment with no yard for free play, then look for a breed or mix that will do well with a daily walk. Here is our list of breeds based on exercise needs.
  • Independence: A first-time dog owner who adopts a “Velcro dog” might find themselves more frustrated than charmed by their new constant companion. If you’re not quite ready for a clingy dog, look for ones that have independent temperaments. Related read: What is a Velcro Dog and How to Stop Clingy Behavior.
  • Confident and friendly: Dogs with a storied or sad history can come with a lot of baggage. We would never discourage you from rescuing an abused or neglected dog; however, we always want to ensure that dogs with complicated histories end up in homes that will nurture and provide for their special needs. Learn more about Adopting and Training Abused Dogs
RELATED POST: 18 Top Dog Breeds for Newbies

High-Energy Breeds 

These dog breeds tend to have a reputation for requiring a lot of exercise. If you’ve got a lot of property and a fenced-in yard, as well as high energy yourself, these breeds could be good matches. Otherwise, look for a less energetic breed or mix.

Barky Dog Breeds

These dogs tend to be barkers, for many reasons. Don’t let that discourage you from adopting a dog with this breed’s history — they’re still highly trainable, especially when you use our train, treat, repeat method for dog training.

Frequent Shedders

These dogs tend to be excessive shedders, but some of them are among the most popular breeds because of their gentle and trainable temperaments. 

Stubborn & Independent Breeds

Some dog breeds were bred for their independence, or their ability to work, and once they become focused on a task, they might be hard to direct. Again, every dog is different, so evaluate individual dogs based on more than just their reputation as a breed. These are some of the more stubborn breeds:

  • Appenzeller sennenhund
  • Australian cattle dog
  • Bloodhound
  • Shar-pei
  • Japanese terrier
  • Kuvask 
  • Wetterhoun

All of the information above was taken from the American Kennel Club’s dog breed guide. For more information on breeds, explore our own guide to dog breeds.