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10 Best Dogs for First Time Owners

10 Best Dogs for First Time Owners

6 min read

There’s nothing more exciting than adding a new four-legged friend to your household. Whether you live alone, or have a big family, the companionship a dog brings is unlike any other and, for many, a home just isn’t complete without one.

However, if you’ve never had a pup before, choosing the best dog breed to match your lifestyle, home and time requirements can be a bit of a minefield.

Keep reading to find out our top 10 best dogs for first time owners and - who knows - maybe you’ll find your perfect match!

10 best dogs for first-time owners

When choosing a dog, it’s important to consider which breeds will be well-suited to your lifestyle, as well as how much training they tend to require. For example, a breed like the Siberian Husky is often purchased for their adorable, wolf-like looks, but they’re also generally very stubborn and often require a lot of training and exercise, which first-time owners may struggle to manage. Unfortunately, this means that many of these beautiful dogs end up being surrendered to charities every year. However, by making sure you do your research properly, you will be able to find out about the most common characteristics for each different breed. While each individual from a breed will differ, this will still give you a rough idea of what to expect!

Below we’ve listed some of the top 10 best dogs for first time owners. These breeds are generally more laid-back and easier to train, making them much more suited to those with little training experience.

1. Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever breed is often lovable, affectionate and good-natured, making them one of the best dogs for first time owners. Their gentle characters also mean that they typically get along with the whole family, including other pets! Golden Retrievers also love to learn, so they’re quite easy to train, but exercise will be more of a challenge, as these dogs will need lots of long walks to burn off steam! Retriever grooming requirements generally aren’t too extensive; just make sure to have at least one good grooming session at least once a week, and this will need to be increased during shedding seasons.

2. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds, and it’s so easy to see why. Labradors are normally adaptable, friendly, loyal and affectionate. They adore their family and love to please and learn, meaning they’re often easy to train too. As with Golden Retrievers, Labradors are more suited to active homes, as they require lots of exercise to avoid them falling into destructive habits due to boredom. But with their outgoing and friendly personalities, you’ll love to take them out and about on any adventure you can.

3. Bichon Frise

If you’d rather a smaller first dog, the Bichon Frise could be a good fit for you. Known for their happy-go-lucky natures and adorable appearances, the Bichon is easy to train, adaptable and more suited to smaller households – although they will still need plenty of walks and regular access to outdoor green space. One thing potential owners should be aware of with this breed is that they will require regular grooming sessions to keep their white fluffy coat healthy and mat-free.

4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the best dogs for first time owners as they are generally very affectionate, gentle natured and tend to get along with just about everyone. This small breed has moderate daily exercise requirements. They’re also easy to groom, and they typically take well to training using positive reinforcement methods.

5. Poodle

Poodles come in a variety of sizes including miniature, toy and standard, all of which are often intelligent, relatively easy to train and generally quite good for novice owners. However, due to their high intelligence levels, Poodles will require plenty of mental and physical stimulation to keep them happy, so new owners should be prepared for this. Their gorgeous coats will need regular grooming too, so bear this in mind if you’re limited when it comes to time and experience.

6. Yorkshire Terrier

Great things truly do come in small packages when it comes to the Yorkshire Terrier. Adorable in appearance, and with a mischievous streak, you’ll never be bored when this breed is around. This terrier will often have a loyal and affectionate nature, making them one of the best first time dog owner breeds, as they love to learn and please their owners.

You’ll need to ensure you get the basic training foundations down though, as they can be prone to stubbornness!

7. Pug

Pugs are a super popular choice for first time dog owners, as their laid-back personalities can mean they get along well with most people, as well as other pets. Their short coat also means they’re pretty easy to keep clean and their grooming requirements are fairly low. Their small size and moderate exercise requirements mean that this breed can be suited to smaller households, although they will still need regular walks and access to outdoor space. It’s also worth noting that Pugs are prone to a number of health issues due to the shape of their skull, including brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (which causes breathing difficulties) and eye issues.

8. Papillion

Small in size, but big in intelligence, the Papillon is often extremely trainable, which makes them one of the best dogs for first time owners. Despite their petite bodies, these dogs are surprisingly high-energy and this, coupled with their inquisitive nature, means they need plenty of mental and physical stimulation in the form of walks and games. Also, because they are so small and delicate, they’re generally not well-suited to homes with very small children, as they can very easily become injured during play.

9. Greyhound

Greyhounds often tend to have affectionate personalities, and there’s nothing this breed loves more than lounging on the sofa with their family. But they will also need regular walks to allow them to sprint around – something that Greyhounds are very well-known for! It’s also worth bearing in mind that these dogs were originally bred to hunt animals including hares, foxes and deer so, because of this, they’re not recommended for homes with small fluffy pets, such as cats and rabbits.

10. Boxer

Boxers are bouncy, high-energy and loved far and wide for their lovable, goofball personalities. Best suited to active families, these dogs love to go out and about on adventures and adore playtime, so they’re often a great fit for older kids. However, for first time owners, it is worth noting that Boxers do require a good foundation of training, as they can be stubborn.

Plus, they’re often hyperactive as puppies, so it may be worth enrolling in a good puppy training class for additional support! Also, as with the Pug, this breed is also prone to respiratory and eye issues due to their short muzzle and skull shape.

So, that’s our list of the top 10 best dogs for first time owners! As we’ve already mentioned, while most of these breeds can be easier to train, this won’t be the case with every individual. If you’re struggling to train your new puppy, or unsure where to start, it’s always a good idea to find a puppy training class in your area for extra support and tips on what to do.

Want to find out more about all the different dog breeds? Read our article on the best dog breeds for families and kids, next.