11 Worst Dog Breeds That Might Not Suit Every Home

worst dog breeds

Some dog breeds were genetically developed to hunt little animals, chase big prey, and do other things that might make them a bad match for a family with small children. Other dogs are aggressive because they were used for bloodsports or guarding. When choosing a new dog, it’s imperative to research the breed’s history.

Although canines are good by nature, this article is about breed issues that may not be ideal for certain families or solo owners. Also, these breeds aren’t great choices for first-time pet parents.

You need to research which breed is the right dog breed for you, and families need to consider their pet needs. If you have time and like to hike or play fetch, an active breed is a good match. If you have children, you want a breed that’s good with kids.

If you live in an apartment, you might want a small dog breed. If you like to relax and watch TV or movies, get a couch potato breed.

Matching your energy level with your dog’s energy levels is very important.

Worst Dog Breeds

By worse dog breeds, we mean flaws people need to know about when searching for a pet. All dogs are wonderful, but people need to find the right fit for them and/or their families. Some traits can be deal breakers.

1. English Bulldog 

worst dogs

The English bulldog is nice, calm, affectionate, courageous, friendly, smart, and protective. Their flaws are caused by breeders.

They suffer from respiratory issues because they have a brachycephalic/flat face. Breathing is challenging with narrow nostrils, and they have small tracheas. Some people might not like their snorting, grunting, snoring, and wheezing. Not their fault!

Because breathing is difficult, they aren’t very active. If you’re looking for a jogging partner, don’t get one. They are also stubborn and sensitive, and you have to clean in between the folds of their skin. Do you think they wanted to be bred with folds in their skin that can cause allergies, rashes, etc? No. They eat fast (don’t all dogs?) and are prone to flatulence.

According to the American Kennel Club, Bulldogs were created in 13th-century England for the ‘sport’ of bullbaiting, in which a tethered bull was attacked by a pack of dogs, and spectators bet on the winner. When that was made illegal, people crossed bulldogs with terriers to create smaller companion animals.

They are good with older kids and are a popular breed. No one’s perfect! English bulldogs are in the Non-Sporting Group. They are medium-sized at 14-15 inches high and 40-50 pounds. They have smooth and short fur and a lifespan of around 8-10 years.

2. Treeing Walker Coonhound

worst dog breed

The Treeing walker coonhound is affectionate, smart, playful, good with children and other dogs, energetic, very trainable, and brave. Sounds like a straight “A” doggie daycare report card.

They are in the Hound group, and there are several types of Coonhounds. They have a smooth and short coat, are 20-27 inches tall, weigh 50-70 pounds, and live 12-13 years.

Treeing walker coonhounds were bred as hunting dogs. Their job is to smell which tree a raccoon ran up to escape the hunter and barking dog so the hunter can shoot the poor raccoon.

A hunting dog requires enough exercise and mind stimulation because they were bred to be tireless workers. They are also a bit stubborn.

3. Australian Cattle Dog

worst dogs to own

The Australian cattle dog knows their job and will do anything to follow their human’s commands. The Australian cattle dog is protective, trainable, energetic, loyal, tenacious, smart, alert, and has high energy levels.

These dogs require a firm hand in training and also require lots of mental stimulation. Herders are as obsessive as hunting dogs. Australian dog breeds are adorable.

Aussies are medium-sized Herding group dogs at 17-20 inches tall and 35-50 pounds. Their lifespan is 12-16 years. They have a smooth double coat.

In the 1800s, Anglo-Australians migrated from the coast to western inland to raise beef cattle. Australia’s first cattle dogs were from Britain and called the Smithfield. They couldn’t handle the rough terrain, high temperature, and traveling vast distances.

They were crossed with Dingos and then with Collies, and then some Dalmatian was thrown in for good measure. This is a dog you can jog with.

Due to their strong work drive and overabundance of energy, they need exercise unless they are working to herd livestock. As excellent herders, they’ve been known to try to herd other pets and small children, so they are better with older children. It’s an occupational hazard. They are suspicious of strangers. Hunting and herding dogs need to keep busy because they are hardwired to work.

4. Tibetan Mastiff

worst dog to own

The Tibetan Mastiff looks like an enormous teddy bear. They are affectionate, intelligent, calm, muscular, need mental stimulation, and have a protective nature. They hail from the Himalayan Mountains and have lots of long fur. This fluff is a guard dog that weighs 70-150 pounds! Mastiff dog breeds tend to be large dogs with a double medium coat.

They are in the Working group and can be 24 inches and taller. Tibs have a lifespan of 10-12 years. This breed of dog is ancient and was always isolated in the Himalayan Mountains, so their history is mysterious. They were guardians and may be the ancestor of all modern mastiffs.

Tibetan mastiffs’ main flaw is that they don’t like repetitive training exercises because they are so smart. They have to be trained because they are too big to run amuck. Tibetan Mastiffs can be dangerous if not well-trained and supervised.

A protective nature plus being huge and muscular equals the need to be trained and supervised. Experienced dog owners are better for them than first-time pet parents.

5. Alaskan Malamute

what is the worst dog breed

Malamutes are snuggly, friendly, extremely loyal, playful, trainable, affectionate, good with kids and other dogs, and they are protective. They are 75-85 pounds of muscle and were bred specifically to pull heavy loads on sleds.

Alaskan dog breeds worked outside in the cold Arctic and really needed their double coat. These Working group dogs are 23-25 inches tall and live about 10-14 years.

Mals have medium length and a double smooth coat. Members of this fluffy large dog breed need to know that they are not the alpha of the pack. They worked in packs and will take over if they think they need to. They are big, so they need to be trained at a young age. The Mal is another lovely canine that just needs to know they aren’t the boss.

The Malamute is one of the oldest sled dogs from the Arctic. Their name comes from the Mahlemiut Inuit tribe that lived in northwestern Alaska. They developed the Mal as a sled dog to pull heavy loads at slow speeds for long distances.

6. Cane Corso

worst family dogs

These muscular canines are a breed that’s protective, intelligent, assertive, loyal, energetic, affectionate, and very trainable. They are 85-99 pounds. Any large dog that’s protective needs to be calm and under control.

These dogs look very intimidating when their ears are cropped. It’s difficult to look tough with floppy ears. Their name means “body guard” in Latin.

The Cane Corso, a hunting dog, is a powerful dog that’s not recommended for first-time pet parents. They are in the Working group and stand 23.5-27.5 inches tall. Their coat is short and smooth. Cane Corsos live 9-12 years.

The Cane Corso descended from mollosus dogs, or mollosers, named for the Molossi, an ancient Greek tribe thought to have bred giant Mastiff-type guardian dogs in the Roman Empire. They were brought to Italy and bred with Italian breeds, and Cane Corsos and Neapolitan Mastiffs were born.

The brave Corsos were “pireferi” dogs that charged into battle with buckets of flaming oil strapped on their backs. That’s a terrifying image. Poor Corsos. When the Western Empire dissolved, they found safer jobs like wild boar hunting (still sounds scary), livestock droving, farming, and guarding henhouses and farmsteads. Mechanized farming replaced many Corsos.

Corsos have a high prey drive, so they need to be socialized and trained young. They need to be mentally stimulated and exercised, or they may get destructive. Corsos also make noises like snorts, snores, grunts, and wheezing. They drool and get gassy.

Sadly, their appearance and reputation may lead to legal liability. They were originally bred for guarding, so they can be aggressive.

7. Dalmatian 

hardest dog breeds to own

The Dalmatian breed is energetic, extremely loyal, outgoing, affectionate, trainable, smart, friendly, and playful. Dalmatians were originally bred to guard horses and coaches, so they are very protective. They are leery of or reactive toward strangers and other animals. They are not the best dog for first-time pet parents. Dalmatians are good with other pets if they grow up with them.

They have smooth and short fur, are 19-24 inches tall, weigh 45-70 pounds, and live 11-13 years.

The Dalmatian needs training and socializing when they are young. A Dalmatian can be aggressive with other dogs, timid, and stubborn. They also need lots of exercise and mental stimulation, or they get bored — leading to barking, chewing, and other behavioral issues.

Dals were born in the British Isles, Europe, North Africa, and Asia. They lived in a Central European country called Dalmatia with gypsies. British nobles also used them as coach guards, and eventually, they became associated with firefighters.

They became popular when the movie 101 Dalmatians came out, and people mass-produced them for a profit without knowing how to breed mentally and physically healthy puppies. Improperly bred Dalmatians can be hyperactive or neurotic.

8. Saint Bernard

 dog breeds to avoid

The Saint Bernard is protective, playful, affectionate, inquisitive, charming, calm, and good with kids — especially older children. This Working group dog is 26-30 inches tall, 120-180 pounds, and lives 8-10 years. Their medium-length fur can be smooth or rough.

A hospice to help pilgrims traveling to Rome in 1050 was built by monks at a snowy pass within the Alps. The dangerous conditions included drifts as high as 40 feet. The monks trained powerful working dogs to find people buried in avalanches and drifts.

This is another large dog that needs to have intense training and be socialized by their owners, or they’ll have a bouncy, uncontrollable, gigantic dog jumping around. They can be fearful or aggressive without training and socializing. They can be stubborn, and they shed and drool. That’s what you get with an adorable fluffy dog with a double coat and jowls.

9. Siberian Husky

worst dog breeds for cats

Siberian Huskies are affectionate, high energy, playful, friendly, good with kids and other dogs, and need mental stimulation. Huskies may not be good with other pets and must be supervised. Husky parents don’t need a big yard; they just want a lifestyle in which they can spend time with their Sibe. They like to play rough. There are many beautiful breeds of Huskies.

The Siberian Husky is in the Working group. They are 20-23.5 inches high, 35-60 pounds, and live 12-14 years. They have a thick, medium-length double coat.

Their ancestors came from northeastern Asia and lived with the Chukchi people. This nomadic tribe needed sled dogs with stamina to move around. Huskies were also companion dogs. The public discovered Huskies when they won sled races in the early 1900s.

In 1925, a group of Huskies raced 658 miles in five and half days to deliver a lifesaving diphtheria serum to Nome, Alaska, during an outbreak.

Huskies are intelligent, strong-willed, and need lots of exercise and attention. They dig holes in the yard and will escape. Keep them entertained, or they will get destructive. Most large breed dogs need to be supervised with small children just because they can accidentally knock them over or run into them.

10. German Shepherd

why german shepherds are the worst

The German shepherd dog is affectionate, brave, smart, extremely loyal, energetic, very trainable, playful, and good with children. They are one of the breeds that needs intense training to subdue their guarding issues. German shepherd dogs are famous for their police work.

Shepherds are in the Herding group. They are 22-26 inches tall, 50-90 pounds, and live 7-10 years. Shepherds have a double medium-length coat.

Shepherds descended from German herding dogs that varied in each district. A calvary officer named Captain Max con Stephanitz crossed different strains of herding dogs from the northern and central parts of Germany, and they were the modern shepherds’ ancestors. Now, they work in the military, the police, as guide dogs, and more.

As large, muscular guard dogs, they wind up on the worst dog breeds list because they are protective enough to be territorial, and they need exercise and mental stimulation. Working dogs are bred to be busy and love being active.

They shed, so you have to brush them. My veterinarian has two young, gorgeous shepherds and two young kids, so you know they are great family members.

11. Shih Tzu

why shih tzu are the worst dog

Who put Shih Tzus on the worst dog list?! They are affectionate, playful, amusing, trainable, friendly, and good with children and dogs. These small dogs are one of the adorable and portable breeds. This toy dog is 9-16 inches tall, weighs 9-16 pounds, and has a lifespan of 10-18 years. They have a double-long-length coat.

Shih Tzu’s were developed by imperial breeders in the Chinese palace centuries ago. Their name means “lion dog.” They may be the product of a cross of Lhasa Apsos and Pekingese dogs. Their main job was lap warmer. All those other dogs are working so hard, and some are in freezing cold weather, and these guys are just sleeping in laps. Lucky dogs!

Their flaws are separation anxiety, picky eating, barking, and not listening to their humans. Look, we all have issues!


What Is the Most Aggressive Dog?

Several sources, including at least two insurance companies, named the Chihuahua as the most aggressive dog. They are tiny and defensive.

What Dogs Do Vets Not Recommend?

Vets are focused on the health issues of dog breeds, so many are concerned about flat-faced dogs that have health problems because breathing is a challenge. These brachycephalic dogs include pugs, bulldogs, and French bulldogs.

What Dog Breed Is Not a Good Family Dog?

Chihuahuas can be a bad match for small children because humans accidentally step on them. They are better with older children. Being tiny is scary. The Chihuahua has aggression issues, is territorial, and may bite because they are nervous.

What Dogs Are the Hardest To Own?

The worst dog breed qualities include annoying, excessive barking, stubbornness, and too much energy. Many lists of worst dog breeds include Akitas, Huskies, Chihuahuas, Pit Bulls (although they were also on favorite lists), Afghans, Dalmatians, Chow Chows, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds.

Final Thoughts  

Many dogs are bred to be energetic or aggressive for a job. Sometimes, a dog breed is big, so it’s dangerous if they are jumping around maniacally. It’s not their fault, and it’s the human’s responsibility to train and socialize them.

Most dogs can be great companions and family dogs when properly socialized and properly trained by their pet parents. Find out which breeds’ temperament, energy level, and personalities match yours.

Elise Margulis
Elise Margulis is a talented animal writer and a devoted pet parent residing near Manhattan in a cozy suburb. With a Chow mix and a rescued Siamese as her loyal companions, she's been animal-obsessed since childhood. Penning informative articles on pet nutrition, health, and animal welfare, she's also an avid advocate for adoption and animal rights. When she's not writing, she serves as the editor of two local online news sites. Working from home with her fur babies, she advocates adoption and animal welfare through volunteering and social media. A true animal lover and vegetarian for over 31 years, she's on a mission to raise awareness and make the world a better place for all creatures.

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