Dogs make wonderful pets, but dog owners know that they are far more than just pets. If you are considering becoming a dog owner for the first time, there are a few things you should first consider. First thing you should consider is the dog's needs and if they can be met (i.e., If you have a hectic work schedule or are gone a lot, adopting a high energy breed or any breed is not a good idea unless you have time for the dog) Also consider your future - are you planning on moving soon? Will you have to move to a place that doesn't allow dogs? I'd encourage not adopting a dog unless you are certain of your situation and that where ever you go, you will be able to take your dog with you. After all, would you want to be adopted into a loving family and then abandoned and wait to be re-homed?
Also consider the dog's hair type/coat; will they require frequent grooming to avoid matting, etc.? Are they prone to health issues that will require frequent vet visits or a special diet? Another thing to consider is the dog's breed. All dogs are capable of making messes and running wild, but some breeds are just harder to manage than others. The natural instincts of some dog breeds make it more difficult to train and control, making them a bad choice for first time dog owners. It's also important to get a dog that will fit your life style to ensure that both you and the dog are a good fit and will be happy (i.e., if you're looking for an adventurous dog you can take on hikes, an English Bulldog isn't going to be a good fit)
Here are some breeds that are not recommended for first time dog owners:
- Airedale Terrier - Can be stubborn, require lots of supervision. This breed needs physical and mental stimulation on a daily basis, which requires a lot of time
- Akita - They like to be in charge, require training, and a strong hand. Their disposition can change in an instant. This breed requires more discipline and socialization. First time dog owners should do extensive research on their temperament, grooming needs, and medical conditions
- Alaskan Malamute - These dogs require A LOT of exercise. They shed like crazy and their thick fur makes them vulnerable to heat injuries. They are also talented escape artists.
- Australian Cattledog - These dogs can become very restless if they do not have something to do. This breed is better for country living where their agility and obedience can be used daily. Smart and loyal, but have a stubborn streak. The are also wary of strangers and require a lot of exercise and training.
- Bloodhound - They are very stubborn and needs both physical and mental stimulation daily. They are a breed that easily picks up bad habits if they don't get enough attention.
- Border Collie - Extremely energetic and intelligent, they require lots of mental and physical challenges. It's best to avoid this breed if you can not provide A LOT of exercise
- Bullmastif - They have a mind of their own without proper training but are typically devoted and docile. They can easily over power their owners if they are not established that you are the boss. They have a potential to be aggressive if they are not socialized. This breed also drools excessively.
- Bulldog - Good natured but can be a challenge to train. They are sensitive to heat, exercise, and stress. They are also unable to swim. They are generally fairly lazy and won't beg to be exercised but do require regular walks and occasional play.
- Cane Corso - Large and strong, dominant nature and strong willed. If you don't establish yourself as dominant pack leader then they will likely take over. They are protective of their owners and territorial but are very loving and affectionate.
- Chinese Sharpei - Skin folds can increase the likelihood of having chronic skin and eye condition. This breed is devoted to family members but tends to closely bond with only one person. They are distrustful of unknown dogs and humans and require an experienced and assertive owner
- Chow Chow - They are not particularly loving or cuddly. They are smart, but stubborn and require a lot of training. This breed's owners have to be both dominate and consistent with training. Requires socialization at a young age
- Dalmatian - Endless capacity for exercise and tends to be destructive when bored
- German Shepherd - Extreme intelligence and takes a lot of training, exercise, and consistent dedication. Prone to neurological issues and hip dysplasia
- Rottweiler - Very loving and affectionate if properly socialized. They can be stubborn and like being in control, so needs lots of training.
- St. Bernard - Lovable but requires a lot of work. Massive drooler. Known to eat socks and dishtowels. Not very active and prefer to be indoors
- Siberian Husky - Lots of grooming and exercise required. Agreeable and outgoing and needs lots of exercise and temperaments vary
- Skye Terrier - They can be very stubborn, sensitive, and require regular outdoor activity. They also need regular grooming, baths, and brushing to prevent matting due to their long coats
- Tibetan Mastiff - Independent and intelligent, can be aggressive towards strangers and need socialization and obedience training
- Tree Walking Coonhound - Needs plenty of exercise and needs enough space to run outside and burn energy. Not a good choice for those who live in a city or apartment
- Weimaraner - Energetic with no off switch. They do not like being left alone and separation anxiety is an issue with them.
A lot of the above dogs are mostly not recommended for first time owners due to the amount of time, exercise, training, and attention required. However, there are great family dogs that also might not be great for first time pet owners due to the amount of grooming and maintenance required. Neglecting the grooming needs of your dog can lead to lots of other health issues and matting (clumped, knotted hair that is painful for your dog)