April 25, 2024 | Marlon Wright

10 Dog Breeds That Owners Regret—And 10 That Professionals Recommend

Expectations Vs Reality

It can be hard to know what you’re getting into when you’re adopting a dog. Though they’re all different, each with its own individual personality, there are some breed traits that have led to regret for adopters, from unusually high energy to unusually big personalities. But for every breed that might be overwhelming for an inexperienced owner, there are those that vets, dog trainers, and other professionals can all agree on recommending.

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Potential For Regret: Siberian Huskies

Few dogs are as striking as the Siberian Husky, with its thick, silvery fur and vibrant eyes. Huskies were brought to North American to serve as working sled dogs, and were later bred for racing. Their energy levels, physical attributes, and agility speak to this history.

Siberian Husky Lying On the SnowKateryna Babaieva, Pexels

Siberian Huskies: The Escape Artists

Any prospective owner of a Siberian Husky should be aware that they need a lot of physical activity—but should you live in a warmer climate, it might be difficult to work them out safely. They’re also renowned escape artists, shriekers, and shedders. Patience and free time for exercise are key for Husky owners.

Portrait image of Brown and White HuskyJoey Marrone, Pexels

Recommended: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a British toy breed known for being affectionate, playful, gentle, and adaptable. Some dog trainers have said that their moderate energy level and calm nature can make them a great dog for seniors.

A brown and white dog wearing a harnesspixabay, Picryl

Cavalier King Charles & Small Spaces

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel makes a great city/apartment dog. Why? Well, their fearless yet friendly nature means that big noises won’t be a problem, and that they won’t have a problem with other dogs—or their many human admirers—on the street. Also, they bark less than other small breeds, making them great for urban living.

Photo of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel DogLauren Bate, Pexels

Potential For Regret: Border Collies

Border collies are a wildly popular breed that present many of the same pros and cons as other herding dogs. Not only are they very good at what they do when they’re working, they’re also incredibly smart. Perhaps too smart for some owners…

Black and White Dog Border CollieHelena Lopes, Pexels

Border Collies & Mental Stimulation

Border collies were bred to work for hours and hours each day, essentially problem-solving the whole time—and their clever nature reflects this. Beyond physical stimulation, border collies need a whole lot of mental stimulation each day, which can be time-consuming. Without the proper attention, border collies can exhibit restless or destructive behavior.

Happy Border Collie in SnowElina Volkova, Pexels

Recommend: Labrador Retrievers

For the first one or two years, some labs may present the same problem that herding dogs like border collies do. They are high energy, and their history as working dogs may shine through. However, there’s one key difference: They can be a little dopey. Or a lot. But this trait actually works for them.

Labrador with twig in mouth in parkBlue Bird, Pexels

Labrador Retrievers: The Ultimate Family Dog

Labs are social and they lack the spatial awareness of their compatriots, which means they don’t mind sharing space with rambunctious kids. They present their own problems—they can be jumpers and they’re very food-motivated, so you’ll need an iron fortress for a garbage can—but these are behaviors that can easily be trained out.

Black Labrador Retriever Lying on GrassePixabay, Pexels

Potential For Regret: Jack Russell Terrier

Like others in the terrier family, Jack Russells were bred for hunting vermin—and all that time alone in small spaces made them incredibly independent. They’re small and charming, but they also have large personalities.

Jack Russel Terrier with ball in mouthBlue Bird, Pexels

Jack Russell Terriers & Being The Boss

Thanks to their independent nature and determination, Jack Russells can be a handful. They’re very destructive as puppies and need a lot of monitoring to make sure they don’t accidentally ingest the contents of every cushion in the house. Even after they grow up, they need a lot of training and are very hyper.

Dog Sitting on Floor in Living RoomMariana Al, Pexels

Recommend: Rat Terriers

While Rat Terriers were also bred to hunt vermin, they have a moderate energy level compared to Jack Russells. While they do require mental stimulation and physical activity, it’s at a much more manageable level than other working dogs.

Portrait image of Rat TerrierBuffaboy, Flickr

Rat Terriers: The All-Arounders

Rat Terriers are friendly, playful, and good with children, making them a great choice for family dog. Though they need outdoor time, indoor play with kids can expel some of their energy. Their needs are also easy to handle in terms of grooming, training, and socializing.

image of Rat Terrierkizzzbeth, Flickr

Potential For Regret: English Bulldogs

Who doesn’t love an English bulldog? After all, they love us right back. The English bulldog is very people-oriented, and thrives on attention and cuddles. They are sweet and gentle little tanks with a hilarious side—but sadly, their breeding has presented problems.

Brown And White English bulldogCreative Workshop, Pexels

English Bulldogs & Health Issues

Unfortunately, due to breeding practices, these stocky sweethearts are beset with health problems. Their short noses mean that they’re susceptible to breathing problems, particularly during periods of exertion and in hot climates.

image of Cute English BulldogsRubens F Barros Neto, Pexels

Recommended: Mutts/Mixed Breeds/Strays

It may come as a surprise to learn vets and dog owners alike recommend mutts and mixed breeds. After all, there’s no way of tracking their pedigree. While we can only speak in a general sense, many mutts have gentle demeanors—and unexpected bonus.

Brown Boxer Dog With Orange Black VestMarcus Christensen, Pexels

Healthy Mutts

Mutts don’t suffer from as many genetic or hereditary problems as their purebred counterparts—leading to a higher quality of life for the dogs, and fewer vet bills for owners.

A Cute Dog Lying on the GroundHeino Schliep, Pexels

Potential For Regret: Chow Chows

Chow Chows are among the most unique dog breeds out there, with their fluffy folds and distinctive blue tongues. While they still have their fair share of energy, they also tend to be reserved—which unfortunately, can present a problem.

A Close-Up Shot of a Chow ChowLemuel, Pexels

Chow Chows & Socialization

Chow Chows need to be diligently and continuously trained. They also need to be properly socialized as part of their training in order to reduce their risk around strangers and other dogs. Without proper training, they can exhibit aggressive behavior.

Brown Dog on Brown GrassSHARMAINE MONTICALBO, Pexels

Recommended: Greyhounds

On the surface, Greyhounds might seem like an intimidating breed to adopt. After all, they’re bred to race! However, greyhounds aren’t nearly as speedy or as energetic as you might expect them to be. Though you can adopt them as puppies, many greyhounds need homes after their racing careers end.

Greyhound Lying on BedRon Lach, Pexels

Greyhounds: A Chill Companion

And while they would certainly enjoy an off-leash sprint if the space allows, they are also calm and obedient walkers. Perhaps most importantly, they are great companions, with loyal and affectionate behavior. Just make sure you take care of their teeth, which can be a weak spot—and that you’ve got plenty of blankets for them to burrow in.

Woman Hand Petting Greyhound DogRon Lach, Pexels

Potential For Regret: Chihuahuas

Who wouldn’t want a dog that looks like a cartoon character, is as funny as one, and that you can take everywhere with you? Chihuahuas are adorable, charming, loyal, and feisty. In fact, despite their size, they’re often larger than life.

Two Dogs on a SofaALINA MATVEYCHEVA, Pexels

Chihuahuas: Little Dog, Big Personality

Is it possible for a dog to have too much personality? Anyone who has dealt with an aggressive Chihuahua will tell you the answer to that question is yes. Their high energy and bold personalities can become overwhelming, and without training, they may get aggressive.

image of chihuahua layingQuang Nguyen Vinh, Pexels

Recommended: Border Terriers

If you’re looking for a pocket-sized puppy without having to prepare for a constant battle of the wills, consider a Border Terrier. They’re more likely to form attachments to their human than other small breeds and terriers, and have an affectionate side.

image of Two Border TerriersRydale Clothing

Border Terriers: Easy Does It

Not only are they sweet, Border Terriers are even-tempered, obedient, easily trained, and, according to vets, generally are in good health and suffer from fewer endemic issues than other purebreds.

image of A Border TerrierCorinne Benavides, Flickr

Potential For Regret: Rottweilers

Rottweilers, at their core, are big, cuddly sweethearts—with the most viscous drool imaginable. However, they’re also a lot of work, requiring training and mental and physical stimulation throughout the day, like many other breeds.

A Rottweiler Dog Lying on the FloorAaron Posuniak, Pexels

Rottweilers & Dominance

Because of their large size and history as pack animals, Rottweilers can be naturally dominant—and without proper training, this can lead to conflict between owner and pet. As with any breed, it’s important to look at their needs before you adopt, and prepare to potentially change your lifestyle to accommodate a Rottie.

Photo of a Man Petting a DogЕкатерина Мясоед, Pexels

Recommended: Pit Bulls

Like Rottweilers, pit bulls are essentially huge sweeties at their core, eager to cuddle or share a sloppy, wet kiss. Though they require training, they take to it well, and can make excellent family dogs.

Photograph of a Black Pit BullHelena Jankovičová Kováčová, Pexels

Pit Bulls & Social Stigma

Unfortunately, pit bulls have a long history of social stigma and it may be prohibited to own or adopt one in certain areas. Though they’ve certainly been mischaracterized, pit bull owners may find it difficult to deal with judgmental neighbors & fellow dog owners while out with their pet. However, this shouldn’t stop you from falling for a perfect pittie, should you spot one on a rescue page.

image of White and Brown Pit BullToro Tseleng, Pexels

Potential For Regret: Australian Cattle Dogs

Australian cattle dogs are stunningly beautiful, clever, agile, and can make great companions, even without a herd for them to corral. However, their working background can provide challenges to certain dog owners.

image of a dog photographed from aboveAJ Spearman, Pexels

Australian Cattle Dog Energy Levels

Australian Cattle Dogs are not only incredibly smart, but their also have huge energy levels. In the absence of proper exercise and stimulation, they can unfortunately revert to unwanted behaviors, like barking or destroying furniture.

Close-Up Shot of an Australian Cattle DogAJ Spearman, Pexels

Recommended: Saint Bernard

Like the Australian Cattle Dog, the Saint Bernard is a working dog—but you wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking at them. Saint Bernards may have been bred for alpine rescues, but as house pets, they are famously low-energy.

Saint Bernard Dog on Snow Covered GroundKaterina, Pexels

Saint Bernard: The Retirement Years

Though these lovable droolers will still need a healthy walk or two throughout the day, they are just as happy to snooze the day away by your side. They’re also extremely patient and gentle with creatures of all shapes and sizes, making them a great dog for a family with younger children.

Saint Bernard Lying on a Grassy FieldKaterina, Pexels

Potential For Regret: Beagles

Beagles can seem like the ultimate companion. They’re cheerful, affectionate, and would much rather be by your side than on their own. However, this can lead to its own problems…

image of Beagle on GrassGenadi Yakovlev, Pexels

Beagles & Volume

Beagles are one of the more vocal dog breeds out there—from yaps to barks to straight-up howls. Particularly, when beagles are left alone or are under- or over-stimulated, they can be prone to howling. People living in urban areas might want to prepare their neighbors if they’re thinking of adopting a beagle.

Photo of Brown and White Short Coated BeagleDina Nasyrova, Pexels

Recommended: Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a wild history. They were originally bred in South Africa to aid in the hunting of lions. As pets, they are loyal and smart. They need training, and they do respond to it well, as long as it’s administered fairly—yes, they’re that smart. And they’re also big softies.

A Dog sitting on a Wooden TableFrank Schrader, Pexels

Rhodesian Ridgebacks: Personality At A Low Volume

While Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be extremely affectionate with their loved ones, they are also independent and fare well on their own—and they rarely, if ever bark, if noise is a concern

Selective Focus Photograph Of Rhodesian RidgebackJulia Barthold, Pexels

Potential For Regret: Irish Wolfhounds

Irish Wolfhounds are beautiful, gentle giants with a friendly demeanor and easygoing personality. However, because of their unusually large size, they do need a lot of physical activity.

image of Irish Wolfhound dogJamesInOregon, Flickr

Irish Wolfhound Life Expectancy

Sadly, like many large dogs, Irish Wolfhounds have a shorter life expectancy than other dog breeds. While some estimates say that they’re likely to only live 6-8 years, a 2024 study estimated an expectancy of 9.9 years.

image of Irish Wolfhound standingAiko, Thomas & Juliette+Isaac, Flickr

Recommended: Tibetan Mastiffs

Tibetan Mastiffs may look just as large as Irish Wolfhounds, but that could just be their giant coats fooling us. They may look imposing, but they can be extremely devoted to their family—and just as aloof with strangers.

two Tibetan Mastiff in the winter forestTkachuk Alexandr, Shutterstock

Tibetan Mastiffs: Cool, Calm, & Collected

When indoors, Tibetan Mastiffs will remain cool, calm, and collected, preferring to lounge about and watch whatever their family is doing. However, they will expel their excess energy the moment they get outside, and love a good run. They also have a slightly higher life expectancy than other giant dogs—10 to 12 years, on average.

image of Tibetan mastiff layingmastino0100, Flickr


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