“Dogs for Experienced Owners” What does that even mean?
There is no such thing as a bad breed, but bad dogs do exist because they are in the hands of owners who do not understand them, don’t care, or are just inexperienced.
Are they misguided, ill-advised, or did they just make the wrong choice? Let’s face it, as much as we love dogs, not everyone should have a dog, especially those that make the decision to get a dog for all the wrong reasons.
Finding the right breed takes time, patience, and knowledge.
There are so many different types of dog breeds that you are likely to find the perfect one that meets your needs, but if you have never owned a dog before or have limited experience, the wise choice for you is a dog that is suitable for first-time dog owners.
If you are experienced in caring for and training dogs, then one of these breeds could be right for you.
If you are considering one of these breeds, do your homework:
Some of the breeds on our list of dogs for experienced owners may have some restrictions in certain locales.
Some may also be difficult to insure through your homeowner’s insurance.
It is advisable to check out your local zoning laws to assure that your breed of choice is not banned and that it can be included in your homeowner or renters insurance policies.
If you are an inexperienced dog owner, how will you know what breeds to avoid? Just do an internet search and you are likely to find breed profiles that all begin to sound alike.
How to Spot Breeds of Dogs for Experienced Owners
If you read the characteristics of a breed, you are likely to get some hints. Some breed descriptive words should jump out at you like red flags. These are phrases that describe dogs for experienced dog owners.
- Highly territorial
- Bonds only to one person
- Very strong prey drive
- Aggressive towards other dogs
- Independent Thinker
- Needs extensive mental and physical stimulation
- Breed was developed to Guard
- Dominant Nature
- Highly energetic
- Incredibly strong and muscular
- Stubborn (if describing a large breed dog)
- Intelligence paired with High Energy
Just because these breeds are on our list of dogs for experienced owners, it does not make them any less loving, loyal or devoted to their owners. They can make great companions for families, singles or couples but they require a little extra effort to socialize and train them properly.
People who have lived with dogs before understand their body language, the clear signals that dogs send out that say, “don’t mess with me, I’m scared, nervous, ill, etc.” Experienced dog people will recognize and be able to manage their special needs and will have had some experience training dogs.
If the dogs listed on this page are ignored or neglected, you will end up with a pet that is uncontrollable and impossible to live with. If you can’t give it your ALL, get a dog that is easier to manage.
Are you an experienced dog owner?
In my opinion, knowledge and dog leadership is more than just owning a dog.
Someone who has worked with dogs, but never owned one may be just as experienced as someone who lives with a dog that is vastly different from the one that they want to acquire.
A person, for example, who has lived with Maltese dogs all their lives, suddenly wakes up and decides that a Tibetan Mastiff is a must have. That person might be experienced with the Maltese breed, but is not likely to do very well with a Tibetan Mastiff.
A quick brainstorm produced some words that I would use to describe an “experienced dog person.”
- Assertiveness (a good leader demands respect but is never mean or aggressive)
- Patience (an experienced dog person knows that it takes time and effort to train)
- Persistence (as with patience, an experienced dog person is driven and gives it their all.)
- Focus (how well you bond, your ability to time your interactions, your understanding of your dog)
- Emotional Energy (theirs – and – yours) a stressed, high-strung person can’t inspire calm in a dog.
Before getting any of the dogs on this page, do your homework. Find out what is involved in socializing and training them.
Find out what characteristics a person should have such as the qualities listed above. Do you see them in yourself? Honestly, assess your ability to manage a 200-pound dog if that is what you want.
Dogs for Experienced Owners
The following breeds are most suitable for experienced dog owners only. (Listed in Alphabetical Order)
Aidi (or Berber Dog)
The Aidi dog breed is from the Atlas Mountain region of Morocco. It is a Livestock Guardian Dog, where it was used to guard and protect flocks of sheep and goats from human and animal intruders.
This breed is suspicious of strangers, both human and animal, and is very protective of it’s ‘family’. It needs a sense of space around it, and is best suited to rural living, although a big fenced yard may be enough. Not suited to apartment living.
Airedales are bold and playful yet stubborn and domineering. They have a ton of energy and need an owner that will provide mental and physical stimulation on a consistent schedule.
They need daily vigorous exercise in the form of a couple long walks or an active play session in a fenced in yard. Some do not do well with other dogs.
The Akita is the tallest of the Japanese breeds and was developed to be a fighting dog, a hunter of large game, and a home guardian.
At upwards of 130 pounds, these dogs are strong, stubborn and territorial. They can be aggressive towards other dogs, but generally get along well with people.
Early socialization and ongoing training is a must to make these dogs into a docile affectionate family pet. One of the definite “dogs for experienced owners”.
A relatively recent breed with a long history, the American Bulldog is often mistaken for a pit bull but does not have the same temperament. The reason they made this list is because they are strong, determined, and stubborn.
They need an active owner who will provide plenty of stimulation and exercise. They can be destructive if left for long periods of time. They can be domineering and some do not do well with other dogs.
Often dogs are lumped together as Pit bulls, but the dogs registered with the United Kennel Club are APBT, or American Pit Bull Terriers. Originally developed to be a guard and livestock driver, they found themselves used in the now illegal practice of fighting in pits, hence the name.
They are incredibly strong and confident even though they are not an overly large dog. They often don’t get along with other dogs, and some have unpredictable personalities.
This a good breed for families, playful and usually docile, but may not do well around other dogs or other pets.
They are stubborn and fearless. Training and socialization may take time, patience and persistence. They require a considerable amount of daily exercise to meet their energy demands.
You might know this dog as the Blue Heeler or Hall’s Heeler. Hardy, smart and independent are three words to describe the Australian Cattle Dog’s personality. They are headstrong but need considerable mental and physical challenges daily.
They have energy to spare, practically tireless, so the ideal owner will have time to meet those needs in the form of long walks or vigorous play sessions.
Experts have trouble categorizing this breed–they are one of the few primitive breeds, they have a strong prey drive and love to run.
Without daily mental and physical stimulation, they become frustrated and destructive. Although small in size, they have a very high energy level and can be challenging to train.
Recognition: FCI (Group 6), KC (Hound), UKC (Scenthound)
Bred to track wounded game through mountainous territory in the southern German state of Bavaria (Bayern), this is a single-minded dog that will climb fences and dig holes to escape confinement if they do not have enough space to roam and exercise.
A rare breed, most are owned by forestry workers and game wardens.
The Beauceron is a French herding dog that doubles up as a guard dog. Their endearing and friendly nature within the family belies their suspicion of strangers and bravery in protecting their home and owner. This is a BIG dog, powerful, muscular and intimidating.
The Belgian Malinois has been gaining in popularity as an ideal police dog. They are intense, very smart and always alert. They need plenty of stimulation, early socialization, and ongoing training.
The ideal owner will understand their domineering personality and be able to deal with any dog to dog aggression. These are not the best choice for someone needing a cuddly affectionate dog. Definitely deserves a place on our list of Dogs for Experienced Owners!
One of the most intelligent dog breeds, the border collie is simply a bundle of energy. They need a challenging job to do every day and plenty of physical exercise.
They are one of the canine workaholics of the world and without their work, they can be most difficult to live with. They are easy to train, but don’t get along well with other animals, especially small pets.
These dogs are generally gentle and quiet and make a great guardian. They can be fearless if they feel threatened and very stubborn.
A huge dog with a stubborn streak may be difficult for some owners. They can be aggressive towards strange dogs, but are good with children. Timid owners need not apply.
The Cane Corso is a devoted family dog that makes a great watch dog and guardian. They want to please and training is not terribly difficult.
However, they have a domineering personality, a suspicious of strangers and can be aggressive. For these reasons, they don’t make an ideal candidate for novice owners.
They may look like a cuddle buddy, but they are are formidable guardian, developed to guard anyone or anything that they deem their family. They make excellent guards because of their strong willed tendency, fearlessness and independence.
By nature, highly aggressive unless VERY WELL trained. Only really happy when he has a job to do, these dominant dogs can be a challenge even for the highly experienced dog owner. Definitely deserves a place on our list of Dogs for Experienced Owners!
Here is a breed that is self-assured, independent and stubborn. They are suspicious of strangers and can be aggressive around other dogs. They are not an easy dog to train, not especially affectionate but very protective of their families.
The Chow is independent and stubborn and can be aggressive with other dogs, but very protective of their owner and family.
They have a low energy level and do not require much strenuous exercise. Since their tendency is to be suspicious of strangers, it is very important to socialize them from a very early age to all types of people.
Highly intelligent and adventurous, these dogs make an excellent choice as a watchdog and guardian. They are loyal and sensitive to their owners needs, however some are very domineering.
They are generally reserved with strangers and can be aggressive with strange dogs. The best owner for this breed will have the time to provide daily mental and physical activity, early socialization and ongoing training.
Dogue de Bordeaux (aka. French Mastiff)
The Dogue de Bordeaux is a big dog breed from France, used for centuries as a hunting dog and a guard dog. If properly trained they are calm, confident and good with older children, although dog-on-dog aggression can be a problem.
They are big droolers, and need frequent mopping up. They don’t need a great deal of exercise, but are not really suited to apartment life as they are so big. This breed was the star of the 1989 comedy film with Tom Hanks, ‘Turner and Hooch’, which accurately depicted the breed.
This breed is probably one of the most versatile dogs ever created and serves as a police dog, guide dog, search and rescue, among many other roles including being a shepherd in some areas.
The breed is highly intelligent and will be easy to train, however they have a work ethic that is hard to surpass.
If you get one of these dogs, make sure they have a job to do. They are protective and suspicious of strangers and can be aggressive around other dogs. They need a strong leader and one who has the time to devote to these amazing dogs.
Most small breed dogs are perfect for novice owners – with a few exceptions and the Jack Russell Terrier is one of them. Highly active, very intelligent, independent, and with a strong prey drive, these dogs can challenge even seasoned dog owners.
Also called the Parson Russell Terrier, these dogs need an active owner willing to provide enough activity to keep them out of mischief.
Bred to protect flocks of sheep and goats from wolves, jackals and even bears, the Kangal is a big, strong dog. They are very protective of their “flock” or human family, and are good with children.
But this innate desire to protect can result in the dog being overly suspicious of strangers. They need complete socialization as puppies, and firm, consistent training. When properly trained, they are calm, confident and make great watchdogs and guard dogs.
Stubborn, domineering and independent, these dogs need a firm leader willing to devote considerable time to socialization and training.
They are reserved with strangers, aggressive with other dogs but does well with household pets. They are a natural guardian that will protect the family. They need daily exercise and their grooming requirements are extensive.
The Rafeiro do Alentejo originates in Portugal, and was used for guarding sheep. They are big dogs, usually weighing over 100lbs, and standing 28 inches at the withers. They are independent and territorial, but gentle giants around the home and family.
This not an easy dog to train, and they can seem quite obstinate. Definitely a breed for experienced dog owners only!
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a large, powerful dog weighing up to 90 lbs. (My own Ridgeback weighed over 100 lbs.) They were bred to protect their owners from wild animals and humans invading the home, and so tend to be aloof with strangers, and may chase anything they consider a threat to their master.
They are NOT aggressive, but have an independent streak, and need patient and persistent training. A wonderfully loyal breed for experienced owners. They love a game that challenges their intelligence.
There is nothing quite as imposing as a Rottweiler, which makes them an excellent choice for family protection. They are confident and alert, but stubborn.
As a very powerful and strong breed, they need early socialization and daily exercise. Definitely deserves a place on our list of Dogs for Experienced Owners!
A firm, consistent, patient owner is needed for these giants. They grow fast, and at their very large adult size can be handful for an inexperienced owner.
They do well with children but their size can be overwhelming for some kids. They require early training, but patience is needed because they are not always ready to respond.
The Siberian Husky was developed to pull sleds over icy, frigid terrains so certain characteristics were very important in the dogs that did this type of dangerous work. As a long distance runner, they were prized for their endurance.
They would always run in front of the human and his sled making independent decisions along the way to keep the dogs and humans from safe from cracks and unsafe conditions in the ice. All of these characteristics make them great workers, but also make them more difficult to own as purely companions.
High intelligence, Independent thinker, very large strong muscular dog, these dogs were breed to guard, so just getting their attention and displaying a leadership style that will command their respect is very important.
Notice the words that I have used to describe this breed. They are exactly like those above and are precisely the type of vocabulary to look for when reading breed profiles.
To get a good understanding of what it is like to live with one of these dogs, please read our Breed Interview with a Tibetan Mastiff Owner.
The Weimaraner is a lean muscular dog developed to hunt both birds and big game. Though fun-loving, they are highly energetic and often insist on getting their own way. They have the nickname ‘Silver Ghost’, due to the color of their coat.
They need a job to do and plenty of exercise. Socialization and training should be ongoing. They love to run and will become destructive if pent up for long.
Owners often describe them as “needy” or “in your face” dogs, so the ideal owner will be willing to deal with their demands for attention. However, I personally know a Weimaraner that is extremely laid-back and relaxed.