Whippets should definitely not be put on the list for best first dog. Lovely dogs but can be a nightmare to house train. And one of the top reasons dogs are surrendered to the shelter is because the owner can't house train them.
I'd add Rhodesian Ridgeback & Chow Chow to the list of "not for first time owners." Both can have aggression issues if not socialized & handled appropriately. Of course any dog can, but those breeds can be a little more difficult.
I'd agree with the list, and also agree that they specifically left out several other more common breeds that should be included.
For the 'best' for first timers, I'd actually say of the small breeds, the shih tzus I've come across (have fostered maybe 14 of what I'd call shih Tzu or shih mixes) have been awesome. Really quite affable, enjoyable lap dogs. My yoga instructor has a shih that comes to class and is the funniest little dude. A friend of mine who had never owned a dog in her life asked for my opinion on good small breeds for her, I said shih Tzu. She got a dachshund. Go figure. Half the doxies I've come across have been snappy, suspicious, and bossy with other dogs and people. Buuuuut hey.
I also agree that it DOES make a difference how dog-centered the owner wants to be. For example I'd not typically suggest an Australian Shepherd for a new owner, but if they were able active person, seriously interested in doing things with the dog like agility or herding classes, and wanted to dive head first into training and investing a lot of time into the dog, I'd not steer them away from an Aussie. Just thinking of how enjoyable the breed can be if you appreciate their brains and partnership.
From all the posts people write on the weimaraner Facebook pages of their dogs destroying the house, having crazy destructive tendencies and severe separation anxiety, I'd have to give the weimaraner a pass on first time ownership! I've had tons of experience with dogs but my weimaraner was a doozy at first. Never quite realized how consistent I absolutely had to be. And happy happy joy joy when training.... Poor thing gets so frustrated!
I would add Husky and Malamute to the list of not a good choice for first time dog owners.
I have been around more that one Husky that during training would throw himself on the ground and cry like they were dying rather than walk nicely and heel. Huskies tend to be runners if they can slip out and will dig out and go over many types of fences.
They are beautiful dogs but physically strong and opinionated.
Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)
I think the best first-time dog is a nice young adult-to-middle-aged dog (of almost any breed) in a good foster or re-home situation. You know how big the dog is, he or she is usually house trained, and neuroses and personality quirks have developed by then.
I'm fairly dog-experienced, and I know I don't have the time or patience to bring up even an "easy" puppy without creating a monster. I did, however, manage to rescue an adult GSD and ended up with a really good dog with just a minimum investment in training (mostly training for me!).
I'd have put chows at the top of the list. (But maybe the list people thought no one would be insane enough to get a chow for a first dog. They are getting pretty hard to find these days.) Also surprised not to see GSDs.
I know labs and goldens are supposed to be great dogs - but I've never met one I could teach to eat when it was hungry. Must be me, cause lots of people think they're great.
Border collies, OTOH, are the easiest breed I've ever owned. I think an excellent first dog is a middle-aged low-energy bc from a foster home who can tell you all about him/her so you can make sure you're a good match.