I'm sure glad I don't have to deal with iris-eating porcupines! Yikes!
Ten to 12 irises is not too many for a beginner. Cultivars differ in their ability to grow well in a given area, and so it is good to try several and find those that do well for you. However, if you are purchasing from a grower near you, there is a better chance that most will do well.
It is hard to choose from so many cultivars! If you are close enough to visit the garden at bloom time, it may help you decide what to get. I happen to like the shorter cultivars: miniature and standard dwarf bearded, border bearded, intermediate bearded, miniature tall bearded. You might want to try some of these, too. I also like strong sweet fragrance. Which cultivars are you looking at getting?