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21 Worst Dog Breeds For First-Time Owners (with Pictures)

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Husky coat colors

If you are thinking about going out and purchasing a dog for the first time, one of the biggest questions you can ask is which breeds you should avoid. There are close to 200 pure breed dogs and an unlimited number of mixed breeds, so there is no reason to get a dog you can’t control or take care of properly.

We’ve asked all of our friends and scoured the internet for information about as many breeds as we could find that might give a new pet owner a difficult time. Some are aggressive, while others require excessive excursion, but whatever the case, we’ve listed them all here, along with the reason why.

Join us while we look at 21 dog breeds that might give a new owner trouble.

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The 21 Worst Dog Breeds for First-Time Owners

1. Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier
Image Credit: Lumia Studio, Shutterstock

The first dog to make our list is the Airedale Terrier. It’s the largest of all terriers and is known for having a strong will and being stubborn. They are a friendly and fun dog, but they suffer from separation anxiety quickly and can start to get into mischief when they do. They can also dig holes in the yard and garden, and their high energy level makes them prone to knocking over small children and chasing other pets.

2. Akita

Image Credit: Nikoleta Vukovic, Shutterstock

The Akita is a large and powerful Japanese dog that has strong guarding instincts. They are known as the silent hunter because they don’t bark much, only when they need to make a point or warn you of an intruder. However, they like to be the boss and need an owner that knows how to show that they are the alpha to keep the dog in line. Akitas are also moody dogs with rapid and dramatic mood swings that could lead to them becoming aggressive for a short time.

3. Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute
Image credit: Liliya Kulianionak, Shutterstock

The Alaskan Malamute is a strong dog that has amazing endurance. It’s one of the oldest sled dogs, but it is not fast. Instead, its breeding helps it carry large loads over a long distance. It’s friendly and loves to be around other family members, especially children. The primary reason we find the Alaskan Malamute on this list is that it requires an enormous amount of exercise that many owners are not able to complete. It’s also a heavy shedder and requires frequent brushing and grooming to keep the hair under control.

4. Australian Cattle Dog

Image Credit: lara-sh, Shutterstock

The Australian Cattle Dog is a herding dog with a stubborn streak. It’s also intelligent and will try to trick you into giving in to its demands. It requires an enormous amount of exercise to stay happy, and it’s extremely wary of strangers and will bark loudly and even become aggressive when it encounters them. These dogs require plenty of room as well as a job to do, or they can get into mischief.

5. Bloodhound

Image Credit: Degtyaryov Andrey, Shutterstock

The Bloodhound is another dog breed that likes to be in control and requires an owner that knows how to be the alpha. They like to follow their nose and can drag you behind them while they follow the scent for a considerable distance, no matter how much you yell and pull. They are also prone to chasing small animals and will continuously pursue anything in the yard.

6. Border Collie

border collie
Image Credit: jhas, Pixabay

Border Collies are strong work dogs with lots of energy. This breed needs a job to do and space to run free, or they will pick up some bad habits. They can break house training and cause other damage by chewing furniture and even walls. They like to hide and do the damage, so you don’t see it at first. Expect to walk an hour or more a day if you own one of these dogs.

7. Bulldog

happy bulldog outside
Image Credit: Mary Lynn Strand, Shutterstock

The Bulldog is friendly and goofy, and the reason they are on this list of worst dog breeds isn’t because of aggression or even grooming, it’s because they have a lot of health problems that a new dog owner may not have the skills to handle. These dogs have a squished in face that causes them to have a difficult time breathing. It affects their ability to exercise and makes it hard to deal with heat and anxiety. They can also be stubborn and hard to train.

8. Bullmastiff

Image Credit: cynoclub, Shutterstock

The Bullmastiff is a very large breed that is quite muscular and strong-willed. They can often weigh more than 125 pounds, so if you can’t prove you are the alpha, you will not be able to control the dog, and it will do as it pleases. They need plenty of early socialization with people and animals, or they can become aggressive. Bull Mastiffs also become destructive if you leave them alone for too long, and they drop gallons of drool everywhere.

9. Cane Corso

Cane Corso
Image Credit: Hoika Mikhail, Shutterstock

The Cane Corso is another very large and strong dog that likes to be the boss and can be hard to control. It’s a very protective breed, but if you can’t establish yourself as the alpha when the dog is still a puppy and maintain that status, the dog can become difficult to manage.

10. Chow Chow

chow chow blue tongue
Image Credit: bogdanhoda, Shutterstock

Many people mistakenly think that the Chow Chows personality will match its teddy bear appearance. However, that is not the case at all. These dogs are not very friendly, nor do they like cuddling. They require dominant owners and extensive training. It doesn’t get along with other pets very well and doesn’t like strangers.

11. Dalmatian

Dalmatian Dog Breed Info
Image Credit: Freepics4you, Pixabay

The Dalmatian is a high energy dog that makes a great companion and family pet. The reason it made our list is that it requires nearly non-stop exercise, or it can become bored. Once your Dalmatian is bored, it can become destructive and start chewing or digging. It also sheds a lot, and its fur is notorious for getting trapped in the fabric.

12. German Shepherd

overweight german shepherd dog lying on grass
Image Credit: MasatoTsuda, Pixabay

The German Shephard is an extremely intelligent dog that requires plenty of training, or they will likely find a way around your rules. They also require a lot of exercises and are prone to plenty of health problems, including hip dysplasia. They love children but will need socialization to be around other pets.

13. Pitbull

american pit bull terrier
Image Credit: Ivanova N, Shutterstock

Pitbulls can be very loving dogs, and with proper attention, they can be suitable for a first-time pet owner, but they can become mean and aggressive if the trainer doesn’t know what they are doing. Owners will need to supervise their pet around children and other animals and spend plenty of one on one-time bonding with the dog.

14. Rottweiler

Rottweiler Close up
Image Credit: TheDigitalWay, Pixabay

The Rottweiler is a large and intimidating breed. They are affectionate but are also stubborn and require a leader who knows how to take control. Since they are so large, this is usually not an easy task for first-time owners. They will also require two exercise sessions each day, and many times it will need to be more strenuous than a short walk.

15. Shar Pei

Shar Pei
Image Credit: Vasiliy Khimenko, Shutterstock

The Chinese Shar-Pei is a very strange looking dog with lots of big wrinkles and a wide muzzle. This breed is extremely distrustful of strange people and animals. It also requires a lot of mental and physical stimulation to prevent it from becoming bored. The numerous skin folds on its face are prone to rashes and other skin issues and will require constant care.

16. Saint Bernard

female saint bernard outside
Image Credit: Artush, Shutterstock

The Saint Bernard is called the Gentle Giant by many experienced dog owners. However, despite its friendly nature, owning one of these dogs can be a big job. It drools continuously, leaving large puddles wherever it goes, and it doesn’t like to go outside unless you live in a cold climate because it’s prone to heat exhaustion. It also likes to eat socks, hand towels, and any other fabric about that size.

17. Siberian Husky

siberian husky happily lying on grass
Image Credit: Maria Ortega, Pixabay

The Siberian Husky is a fast sled dog that’s well suited to cold environments, but its double coat requires extensive grooming to keep it neat and tangle-free. Because of their high energy level, they will need plenty of exercise and won’t be happy if they are not getting enough. They also need a lot of space and are not comfortable around other pets.

18. Skye Terrier

Skye Terrier
Image Credit: Lourdes Photography, shutterstock

The Skye Terrier is a strange-looking small dog with long, straight hair. It’s known for being stubborn and wanting to be the boss. It doesn’t like people or animals it doesn’t know and requires a fair amount of exercise. The coats grow very long, requiring continuous brushing, and you may have to trim the hair as well.

19. Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiff
Image Credit: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Shutterstock

The Tibetan Mastiff is another large breed in the same family as the Bull Mastiff we saw earlier. This dog is bred as a watchdog and is independent and intelligent. The breeding also makes them distrustful of strangers, and they can become aggressive when meeting new people. If you are not skilled in training this type of dog, you may need to take them to a trainer, which can be expensive.

20. Treeing Walker Coonhound

Treeing Walker Coonhound
Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

Treeing Walker Coonhounds are on this list because they need a massive amount of exercise and plenty of space to run when they are not exercising. These dogs are best for people who live on a farm or are athletic and regularly jog or bike ride. They will not do well in a city or small apartment. They also like to chase after small animals like rabbits and squirrels, ignoring your commands to stop, and they will stand at the tree where the animal is hiding barking loudly until you arrive.

21. Weimaraner

silver weimaraner
Image Credit: Pxfuel

The Weimaraner is often called the Grey Ghost because of its short shiny coat. It is another breed that requires excessive amounts of exercise and suffers from separation anxiety when you’re not there. It is a difficult breed to housetrain and will chase after cats and other family pets, which can put their lives in jeopardy. It’s suitable for owners that go jogging, but most people will need to spend large parts of the day exercising this breed.

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As you can see, not every dog is suitable for a new owner. While you can train any dog with enough patience and a positive attitude, some of these breeds would likely take over your life and leave you feeling like a failure. The larger breeds like the Mastiffs can be downright dangerous to you and others if they get out of hand because very few people have the strength to manage them once they start doing as they please.

We hope you have enjoyed our look at these challenging dog breeds and will heed our advice to avoid them, at least until you gain some experience. If you have found it helpful, please share this guide to the 21 worst dog breeds for first-time owners on Facebook and Twitter.

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Featured Image Credit: Konstantin Zaykov, Shutterstock

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