Before you clarified what you are looking for, I almost said, it is like what is the best car? We need to know the duty of the car or dog to be able to answer.
Anyhow, that being said, consider that burglars consider dogs specially smaller (as opposite to large dogs) dogs as the biggest deterrent. Small dogs tend to yap and can be very ferocious. Most big dogs are just friendly and welcome the intruder.
I have a weaten terrier, only 45 pounds, non shedding (I repeat for most dog owners' sake, the dog does not shed) and very good guard. Once he almost took out the mailman, when I didn't notice him approaching and the leash wasn't on. He is getting old now, but if he hears someone approaching the house, he goes into attack mode and forgets about his age. Otherwise friendly if outside and incredibly funny. You should see him dancing when we come home.
Other designer dogs can be also non shedding, but they tend to be larger, like 70 pounds. I find the 35-45 pounds range to be perfect, big enough to be a guard and play with it, but small enough to lift it up if needed. Can be OK with kids, depends on what age they are introduced to children...
About maintenance, we get him shaved (they actually have a constantly growing hair, as opposed to fur) every 3 months, so that is a $75 expense, and in the winter I keep the hair around his paws short, but other then that, we don't really brush him a lot.
Geographically they wouldn't like the South, they love snow and hate humidity...
One cool thing is about them that you can change their appearance by so much, that you almost like getting a new dog after a haircut. And even if you don't like the new look, in a few weeks they are back to the old look. Most breeds always look the same...
My fiance has a boxer which I had never been around alot before and she is an absolute awesome dog - Tons of energy, loves to play, is super gentle around other dogs and generally does the funniest things. But the amount of energy she has im not sure is for first time owners.
Growing up I had a number of dogs, German Shepherd / Great Dane mix was probably the favorite. Although I never really liked the purebred German Shepherds my cousins had.
Honestly the best kind of dog I would recommend for a first time dog owner is some sort of a lab. They are friendly loving dogs that are awesome to play with (easy to teach fetch) They love water generally, great around kids etc.
Two things I think about dog ownership are important:
1. It is a big time commitment (but so worthwhile). Dog nature is more determined by the owners and the input they give to the dog then simply the type of dog - I have met Pits who are the nicest dogs. And also met some of the more generally considered nicer dog types but because of irresponsible owners the dogs were not nice at all.
2. I highly recommend looking into rescue dogs - sometimes puppys are a handful (although they are awesome too!) but the growing up stage can be long and lengthy! People give up on their dogs all the time and sometimes you can rescue an adult dog that is really nice.
The following user says Thank You to DeadCatBounced for this post:
Not particulary more than any other breed. As compared to vizslas or huskies or even labs those need tons of running before they get tired. I would say all puppies are tireless, but if that is a concern, you can just get a grown up dog.
There are wheaten rescues all over the states, you can find one that has been abandoned and needs help...
The following user says Thank You to Pedro40 for this post:
Don't get a little dog. In my family experiences, the little ones always bark and are never fully house broken. I used to work 12 hour shifts and my Chocolate Lab would always wait until I get home, however I had a poodle for a short time and he would always leave messes everywhere. My Uncle had 7 dachshunds and none of them would ever stop messing in the house even after thousands of dollars put into obedience school. Of course these are my experience. I'm a big dog lover. I prefer Labs and Boxers. They are loyal and energetic.