Difficult Dog Breeds – Not for Newbies
Warning these dogs are not for newbies. Not that they are bad dogs, but because their personalities can often be a bit much for novice dog owners.
Let’s see who, and why perspective first-time dog owners should look elsewhere.
10. Saint Bernard
The Saint Bernard is a lovable, gentle giant, but it can be a lot of work.
First off, the Saint is huge at 130 to 180+ pounds. It’s a large dog that takes up no small amount of space.
You’d think that it would just want to hang out in a large backyard, but the Saint Bernard is prone to heatstroke and would much rather be around people. It’s definitely an indoor dog, but who’s got the indoors to accommodate such a large dog. You might as well have a pony on your sofa.
The Saint Bernard is friendly, requires moderate exercise and for the most part is easy to train, which would normally make a dog an excellent choice. So that’s not the problem.
The issue first time dog owners can have with the Saint Bernard is the sheer size of this breed and how to accommodate such a massive dog that really does better living indoors.
And the Saint sheds tons and drools…. You can not forget the drool … the copious amounts of drool. And your dog food bill is going to be huge.
It’s not a bad dog, just a little difficult to live with.
I want to pause to thank you for 10 Million Views. It’s inspiring and humbling that we’ve been able to grab such an amazing amount of views. I can’t thank you enough for your support! You’re a great community and we truly appreciate you. Thank you.
I’ve covered the German Shepherd Dog in several other videos, including one about the Easiest Dog Breeds to Train. And, I do stick by that; they are easy to train. Once you get past the stubbornness.
It’s hard to appreciate the intelligence of the German Shepherd until you’ve lived with one. There is little the GSD can’t do with the proper training. But that intelligence is exactly why the breed is not well-suited for the novice owner.
You have to stay smarter than your dog is. Which is not an easy task. It takes dedication, training and exercise to keep a GSD acting right. Just remember a bored German Shepherd is not a particularly easy dog to live with.
Not to mention the GSD comes with some pretty hefty health concerns, including hip dysplasia and digestive and neurologic issues.
8. Australian Cattle Dog
Sometimes known as a Blue Heeler, the Australian Cattle Dog, has a reputation of being stubborn and being a bit over adventurous, not to mention that it has almost never ending stamina.
In the case of the Australian Cattle Dog, it wasn’t really meant to be a pet. It is a working dog through and through. Even more than the German Shepherd, the Australian Cattle Dog needs a job to do and these resilient herders are intelligent enough to routinely outsmart their owners, sometimes even experienced ones.
A quick walk or a game of fetch in the yard isn’t going to cut it. ACDs really need a job in order to remain happy. On a farm, this may not be an issue, especially if there are animals to herd. In less rural living situations, going with its owner on runs every day, or nearly every day, is a good outlet for immense energy reserves.
If you don’t have animals that need herding or you’re not training for a marathon, this intelligent breed is probably not suited for your home.
Like many dogs on this list the Dalmatian wasn’t bred to be a pet. It’s a working dog. Disney kinda failed to mention that in 101 Dalmatians, which would probably be a nightmare living situation.
The Dalmatian was bred to work as a coach dog, running alongside carriages or horses, alerting coachmen to approaching highwaymen and warding off stray dogs.
That’s how it became the traditional firehouse dog — it kept the streets clear for horse-drawn fire engines.
With the right humans, Dals are bright, loyal, and loving house dogs. They are strong, active athletes with great stamina—a wonderful partner for runners and hikers.
But, Dalmatians need training to help make them well-mannered members of the family. They can be headstrong, so without consistent, firm training you could end up with an unmanageable, destructive dog.
Also, he’s a notorious shedder with stiff fur that weaves its way into fabric (but not out). Disney forgot to mention that too.
William Wegman is an American artist best known for creating series of compositions involving dogs, primarily his own Weimaraners in various costumes and poses. If you haven’t seen his work, you should check it out, it’s a must see.
Nicknamed the “Gray Ghost”, the Weimaraner earned its nickname for its beautiful gray coat and maybe sometimes annoying habit of following its owner closely, but the highly intelligent Weimaraner isn’t the right dog for everyone.
This dog does not have an off switch. It is extremely energetic and not happy with being left alone. Separation anxiety can be a real deal-breaker with the Weimaraner, especially if you work.
They are also difficult to housetrain and have a high prey drive that can make them a real danger to cats and other small pets you may have in the house. But, if you have the time and energy and your home is lacking cats, it just might work out for you.
The Rottweiler is one of those breeds that gets too much bad press, sadly. Because, Rottweilers are truly gentle giants.
But, the Rottie is also a truly powerful and protective dog. And, a Rottweiler needs someone to be the boss, and if you’re not taking the job, your Rottie will.
Consider that the Rott can be up to 135 pounds of muscle, this loyal and protective dog can backup its threatening growl and unfortunately legally this does not usually end well for the dog.
If you can’t be the boss, the Rottie is out of your league. And there are many easier breeds to choose from.
The Alaskan Malamute is friendly, joyful and exuberant, not to mention beautiful. This may make it an attractive option for someone seeking a first dog.
But, there are quite a few gotchas with the Alaskan Malamute.
It’s probably not a surprise that the Alaskan Malamute sheds. The surprise may be just how much this big ball of fluff manages to shed without going bald.
But that’s not the end of it. The Alaskan Malamute is a sled dog, which means it pulls. Not such a bad thing if you have a sled, not such a great thing if you are holding onto the leash of a 65-100 pound dog pulling you with all the might and endurance of a champion sled dog.
It also needs a lot of exercise, but is vulnerable to heat stroke due to its thick, beautiful coat, a catch-22 if you live in warmer climates.
3. Chinese Shar Pei
A Chinese Shar Pei puppy is sooooo cute with all of those wrinkles that don’t go away as it reaches adulthood. It’s adorable and kinda hard to resist. But, you might want to.
Despite the cuteness, the Shar Pei requires an assertive, experienced owner to train it and keep it from getting bored.
You won’t be spending a lot of time exercising your dog, but you’ll spend an amazing, and frustrating amount of time training it. The Shar Pei is not generally easy to train, nor is it the brightest crayon in the box.
This highly territorial dog tends to bond with one person, though not particularly affectionately, and can be quite distrustful of those it doesn’t know — humans and dogs alike and aren’t well-known for being friendly toward children.
They aren’t tolerant to either hot or cold weather.
And all those cute dramatic skin folds can increase the tendency for chronic skin and eye conditions that a naïve pet owner may find a bit daunting.
2. Chow Chow
The fashionable Chow Chow, an all-purpose dog of ancient China, at least as early as the Han Dynasty, presents the picture of a muscular, aristocrat with an air of inscrutable timelessness. Dignified, serious-minded, and aloof, the Chow Chow is a breed of unique delights, if you have the skill to train it.
Not known for being particularly affectionate, the Chow Chow isn’t the big teddy bear it appears to be. It’s intelligent but stubborn, and may require a lot of training before you get a dog that is easy to live with.
This breed is wary of strangers and may be aggressive toward dogs it doesn’t know.
You’re probably thinking that I’m picking on these breeds. And that’s not the case. These are all good dogs in the right hands. I’ve had several of them throughout my life.
The thing is, people often get these dogs for the wrong reasons without knowing their personalities. And, that often leads to less than fortunate outcomes for the dogs. Just know what you’re getting into before rushing out to get any dog, even the little ones.
The Akita is a large and powerful dog breed with a noble and intimidating presence.
The Akita was bred to hunt big game such as bear, boar and elk in Feudal Japan. That should tell you something about the tenacity of this dog. The Akita does not back down from challenges and does not frighten easily.
This Spitz breed can also weigh upwards of 115 pounds (sometimes even more), and requires a brisk 20-30 minute walk every day, always on leash due to a strong prey drive or off leash if your neighborhood is plagued by bears and boars. It’s safe to say that an Akita shouldn’t be trusted around cats and other small pets.
The Akita’s a beautiful dog, but sheds heavily, drools heavily and can be a challenge to train, making it best suited to experienced dog owners.
I know some of you are going to hammer me in the comments. Feel free to tell me I’m wrong about any of these breeds. I’ll listen. What do I know? I’m just a guy on YouTube that talks about dogs.
Which of these breeds would you take a chance on?