A canine behaviourist who has helped save thousands of dogs throughout his life has shared his thoughts on the worst dog breeds for first-time owners.
The idea of welcoming a little ball of fluff into your home is very different to the reality of it, as any dog owner who's ever woken up to piles of sh*t around the house and chewed-up furniture will know all too well.
It's for this reason that dog expert Will Atherton has made it his mission to educate hopeful future dog owners about the different breeds available, in a bid to make sure they can make the best decision about the right pup for them.
Atherton has drawn attention to desires to purchase guard dogs to protect the home, with popular breeds including Belgian Malinois, Turkish Kangals, Tibetan Mastiffs and Caucasian Shepherds.
While these dogs can definitely be intimidating, Atherton has made clear they require a lot of skill and experience to manage - meaning they're not ideal for a first-time owner.
"It’s simply due to the nature of the beast that is a guard dog," Atherton said, per The Sun. “The drives, confidence, independence and then, quite frankly, sometimes the aggression that is bred into those breeds. It's very difficult to manage for anyone without experience."
Atherton described Turkish Kangals, Tibetan Mastiffs and Caucasian Shepherds as 'more traditional guard dogs in the sense that they 'don’t need to be trained to have high guarding instincts'.
“They are the breeds that are fighting with wolves and bears," Atherton said. “People hear that story and that those dogs are capable of that and then think it might be good to get them guarding a small, suburban home in the UK. It’s very, very rarely a good idea."
Other dogs Atherton believes are bad choices for first-time owners are Belgian Malinois, working line German Shepherds, Dutch Herders, Dobermans and some Giant Schnauzers.
The canine behaviourist explained: “Especially if they’re bred from working lines for working purposes, that is very often a recipe for disaster if a first-time owner is getting those breeds.
“For the Belgian Malinois, what they are capable of is absolutely ludicrous. They are amazing animals and when they are paired with skilled handlers with the amount of time every day that is required for a breed like that, they are capable of incredible feats.”
For anyone considering getting a dog for the first time, RSPCA scientific officer Esme Wheeler stressed that dogs need a good home where they can be 'healthy and happy', and noted that the needs of the pooch can vary from animal to animal.
“It’s also a good idea to have a chat with your vet about your dog’s welfare needs, particularly if you are a first-time dog-owner," Wheeler said.
Purina, a pet food company, says the best dogs for first-time owners include Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Bichon Frise, Yorkshire Terriers, Poodles and Pugs.
Featured Image Credit: @iamwillatherton / TikTok / Tierfotoagentur / Alamy Stock Photo