19 Dog Breeds Not Suitable for the Average Owner

There are 200 unique breeds of pedigree dogs in the U.S., so choosing the perfect canine companion can be challenging. While all dogs deserve love and care, some breeds are best left to experienced dog owners due to their size, temperaments, care requirements, or high energy levels. Here are the 19 breeds we don’t recommend for first-time dog owners!


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These Japanese hunting and guarding dogs are loyal and protective but can be independent, willful, and challenging to train. Hill’s claims that male Akitas can be 27 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 130 lbs! You may struggle with behavioral issues like aggression unless you’re confident that you can adequately socialize, train, and handle such a large dog.

Belgian Malinois

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Bred for herding and police work, the Belgian Malinois is an incredibly intelligent and athletic dog breed. Their boundless energy and high prey drive make them challenging to handle, and they require firm, consistent training to become well-rounded family pets. They also need plenty of mental and physical stimulation, as well as owners who don’t spend too much time away from home. 

Chow Chow

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These distinctive lion-like dogs can be aloof and independent, even with their families. They are known to be reserved and require much more socialization than other breeds to prevent them from becoming shy, fearful, or even dangerous. In addition, they are large, and their thick double coat requires a significant amount of grooming, which inexperienced owners might fail to cope with.

Doberman Pinscher

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According to Dogster, Dobermans require experienced owners and consistent socialization to prevent them from becoming wary of strangers. Their innate protectiveness, alertness, and intelligence are great for police work but can make them skittish and reactive in home environments, especially with inexperienced owners who don’t provide strong leadership. 

Tibetan Terrier

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The first smallish dog breed on our list, Tibetan Terriers are intelligent and lively companions with a fierce independent streak. Their persistent stubbornness can make them challenging to train, particularly for novice owners. Their long, double coat requires regular brushing and professional grooming to prevent matting, and they often become vocal when left alone.

Siberian Husky

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These beautiful sled dogs often attract inexperienced owners with their wolf-like appearance and blue eyes. Although they can be playful, loyal, and friendly, their strong pack mentality and prey drive can make them disobedient and dangerous around small animals (like cats). You’ll need a secure yard, grooming experience, an active lifestyle, plenty of time, and a firm hand.

English Bulldog

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Adorable and affectionate, these laid-back couch potatoes can be good family pets as long as someone is always home. Bulldogs are “velcro” dogs that don’t cope well with being left, while their brachycephalic (short-faced) snouts make them prone to breathing difficulties, overheating, and exercise limitations. They are also tough to train due to their stubborn nature!  

German Shepherd

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Intelligent, alert, and highly trainable, GSDs are happiest when exercising or when they have something to do. Without experienced training and sufficient mental and physical stimulation, they can quickly become bored, frustrated, and destructive. They require a confident owner who will keep them adequately socialized and has plenty of time to interact with them.

Giant Schnauzer

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PetMD asserts that the giant version of the Miniature Schnauzer stands 28.5 inches at the shoulder and weighs up to 85 pounds, but it can be challenging to own. While loyal and intelligent, their size and strength necessitate a firm training approach, and they can be wary or even aggressive around strangers if unsocialized. Their thick, curly coats also need regular grooming.

Neapolitan Mastiff

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As one of the largest dog breeds, these gentle giants are not known to be aggressive, despite their bullish appearance. Their massive size and strength require a confident and experienced owner who can keep them under control. They can be stubborn and require a large home, while constant drooling and various breed-specific health concerns are also worth considering.

Afghan Hound

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These regal sighthounds are famous for their stunningly long and glossy coats. While they may look impressively majestic, their straight coats require constant maintenance to prevent painful knots and dreads from forming. They’re also very stubborn and can resist all but the most advanced training techniques. Oh, and they might eat the cat, too!


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The unique Komondor looks like a mop on legs, with its abundance of white ‘dreadlocks.’ While their original appearance can be alluring, be aware that they are working dogs bred to guard livestock. Their medium/large size, strength, and protective instincts require a firm, experienced caregiver, while their corded coat requires specialized grooming techniques.


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Like the Afghan Hound, the Borzoi is a large, elegant sighthound with a slender build. Although gentle with humans, it’s an independent and highly prey-driven breed that can be a danger to small animals, including toy-breed dogs and neighborhood cats! Their silky coat and stubborn streak also necessitate an owner with above-average grooming and training skills.

Tibetan Mastiff

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These ancient Asian guardians are known for their loyalty, but their massive size can be challenging for even experienced owners to handle. Gitnux reports that males can weigh up to 250 lbs., and puppies can cost millions of dollars to purchase! Even if you have enough space and money, this colossal breed requires extensive socialization, firm training, and regular grooming.

Airedale Terrier

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Intelligent and energetic, Airedale Terriers are also mischievous, disobedient, and stubborn. They are known for being playful and endlessly energetic, and this can make them a challenging breed for inexperienced owners. They require a lot of physical and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior, as well as regular grooming for their wiry coats.

Saint Bernard

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Made famous by the 1990s movie Beethoven, these gentle giants are renowned for their work as mountain rescue dogs. However, the strength and determination that make them good at such tasks can cause them to be difficult dogs to have in the home. They require owners who can control them while out walking, train them firmly, and don’t mind excessive drooling and shedding!

Brussels Griffon

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Charming and relatively small, these terriers pack a lot of personality into a small body. They are known for being alert, tenacious, and stubborn, and they have a tendency to bark excessively, especially when left home alone. Any owner should know how to provide consistent training, set boundaries, and have sufficient time to interact with their pet.


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While not the largest of breeds, stocky Rotties still require a lot of space. They are intelligent, loyal, and powerful dogs known for their protective nature. However, their tendency to guard things can make them overly reactive and even aggressive if they are improperly socialized and trained. Rottweilers are best left to more experienced owners, who can bring the best out of them.

Irish Wolfhound

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The tallest dog breed recognized by the AKC, Irish Wolfhounds can stand an impressive 34” at the shoulder. They are known for their noble, gentle natures and are generally laid back when exercised sufficiently. However, their immense size requires a spacious home and a confident owner who can handle them on walks—particularly when their strong prey drive kicks in!

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