12 Best Dogs for First Time Owners

best dogs for first time owners

Becoming a pet parent for the first time might fill you with excitement.

This can be very rewarding, although the experience along the way can daunt as well.

The good news is there are a lot of dog breeds you can choose to be your furry pet. The question is, which among them best fits your lifestyle? This roundup of the best dog breeds for first-time owners will be your guide.

Here’s a quick list of the top dogs that novice dog parents can bring home:

  • Golden Retriever
  • Bichon Frise
  • Boxer
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Poodle
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Greyhound
  • Bulldogs
  • French Bulldog
  • Shih Tzu

Let’s discuss more of these dog breeds further below. There are still other factors and considerations to investigate before making the choice.

Picking the Ideal Dog (Pure or Mixed Breed Dogs)

Assess whether you are ready to bring home your first puppy or dog. This is because the attention and amount of time you will need to spend with him are critical. Research before deciding because dog breeds will differ in their energy level, personality, size, temperament, and grooming requirement.

Note your responsibilities to train, exercise, and socialize with your pal. Consider a low maintenance breed or adopt an adult one from a shelter or rescue home for lesser work. Breeds from rescue are more socialized and better trained. Avoid high-energy breeds if you want a lazy lap dog. Meanwhile, puppies need a lot of work as they require training, socialization, and more attention.

Dogs differ in their needs and characteristics. You will probably have a healthy and happy relationship with your pup if you will consider your lifestyle and personality against the profile of each breed.

Best Dog Breeds for Novice Parents

Predict how you and your new furry house member will get along as certain breeds are advisable for particular fur parents. New pet owners will generally need loveable, loyal, and calm breeds. Among them are:

Golden Retriever

The quintessential family dog, the Golden Retriever, speaks of affection, loyalty, and an active personality. These famous pets are energetic, fun, and trainable, so there would be no trouble keeping them around. You’ll only need less than five repetitions for your Golden Retriever to learn a new command. Training is important for this breed to prevent destructive behavior. This is easy as they are eager to please and learn.

Although golden retrievers thrive in many households, a lot of physical exercise is vital for them to stay healthy. Regular brushing of their coat is necessary to free them up from tangles. Save time and money by following these dog grooming tips if you ever decide to get this breed.

They can be a bit of work as they need a certain amount of daily exercise and grooming for their long hair. They also shed a lot, leaving hair everywhere throughout your home.

golden retriever 1 12 Best Dogs for First Time Owners

  • Overview:
  • Group: Sporting (AKC)
  • Size: Large
  • Color and Coat: Light to dark gold; Medium-length, double coat
  • Height: 21.5-24 inches
  • Weight: 55-75 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Bichon Frise

Happy-go-lucky Bichon frise can be ideal for those living in an apartment of families with children. This bouncy cotton ball-looking breed is an all-around companion. Training him is very easy, as he can adapt to any lifestyle really well. He only needs moderate exercise to become healthy and happy. He needs regular grooming, as his curly coat will need regular trimming and careful brushing. Keep his hair cut short to ensure low maintenance.

On the other hand, a Bichon can be vulnerable to allergies and other skin problems. We highly recommend crate training for them, as housebreak can be difficult for them.

bichon frise

  • Overview:
  • Group: Non-Sporting, companion (AKC)
  • Size: Small
  • Color and Coat: Curly (white), may have buff, cream, or apricot traces
  • Height: 9-12 inches
  • Weight: 7-12 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 14-15 years


Get a boxer if you prefer a medium-to-large companion with a high energy. Boxers are loyal and suitable for families who have active lifestyles. They are great at giving you company in all your adventures. A daily walk is a must for them otherwise, they might get frustrated. Taking care of them is quite easy, though for their grooming needs are fundamental. Also, they shed less around the house.

They are a naturally stubborn breed requiring keen training since they can be hyperactive as puppies. Strict obedience training is necessary to teach them appropriate behavior at their young age. Professional training could be very helpful, as boxers are not the easiest breed to train.

boxer puppy

  • Overview:
  • Group: Working (AKC)
  • Size: Medium to Large
  • Color and Coat: Standard colors (brindle and fawn); Short coat
  • Height: Up to 2 feet
  • Weight: 55-70 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

If you love to explore local trails and go countryside, then Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is your best companion. They are naturally friendly and have an adaptable temperament, so taking them anywhere would not be a problem at all. As intelligent as they are, these little dogs learn quickly, so training them yourself is doable. They can learn new commands in 25-40 repetitions. So even if you are a newbie, training them will not be as difficult for you.

While energetic and resilient, these little ones are very affectionate. They love to curl up on your lap after a long day of adventure. You won’t mind them on your lap either, what with their small structure. You’ll also notice they will love being near you.

One downside of this breed is the regular grooming needs for their long coat maintenance. This can be a fun bonding experience, though. Second, they may suffer from separation anxiety when left alone.

cavalier king charles spaniel

  • Overview:
  • Group: Toy (AKC)
  • Size: Medium to Large
  • Color and Coat: Tricolor, black and tan, Blenheim, ruby; Sleek, long, silky coat
  • Height: 12-13 inches
  • Weight: 13-18 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Labrador Retriever

Being affectionate and loyal makes Labrador Retriever one of the most famous and recognizable among the medium-large dog breeds. These dogs are playful, intelligent, and very active.

Household workaround? They are good at that, giving them more training, attention, and plenty of exercise. You will find them funny when at their high energy level as they act out when bored.

It may only take five or fewer repetitions when training this smart breed. In fact, they’re so highly trainable that, oftentimes, they are chosen as service dogs. You will always feel in control of them, notwithstanding their size. They are so adorable that they tend not to be overwhelming.

Spending time outdoors is a passion for them. They love swimming and other activities outdoors, making them splendid companions for active parents or family members.

While they are caring and protective, especially to children, you shouldn’t leave labs alone with kids as they are large enough to get involved in accidents.

labrador retriever

  • Overview:
  • Group: Sporting (AKC)
  • Size: Medium to Large
  • Color and Coat: Chocolate, yellow or black; Short, dense double coat
  • Height: 21.5-24.5 inches
  • Weight: 55-80 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years


Versatile, pretty dog breed poodles are smart enough to be trained easily. Poodles are adaptable to any household and any situation. Their size ranges from miniature, toy, to medium and their intelligence remains no matter their size. These wonderful companions are energetic, so they need as much exercise as possible.

Regular grooming is a significant task for fur parents, as poodles’ continually growing coat should be maintained. This is because they are hypoallergenic and their dead fur tends to stay on their coat, so they need regular brushing.

This breed requires a lot of attention from its owners. Their intelligence needs mental stimulation otherwise they may yield to trouble.


  • Overview:
  • Group: Non-Sporting (AKC)
  • Size: Varied Sizes
  • Color and Coat: Black, brown, gray, white
  • Height: 10-15 inches
  • Weight: 45-70 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10-18 years

Yorkshire Terrier

If you are looking for a lap-sized companion, then a Terrier may be a good start for you. Terriers are affectionate and loyal towards their paw parents, although they seem to be protective around strangers. A daily short walk is already enough for them to stay healthy.

Meanwhile, terriers require firm training with their susceptibility to stubbornness and being vocal. Treat their training as if you are training a big dog to strengthen your bond and shy away from boundaries. Invest in their training as they have a tendency to become barkers. Extensive grooming is what they need for their continuously growing hair. Therefore, you need to brush and trim their hair regularly.

yorkshire terrier

  • Overview:
  • Group: Toy (AKC)
  • Size: Small
  • Color and Coat: Black and tan, blue and tan, black and gold, blue and gold; Long, straight silky coat
  • Height: 8-9 inches
  • Weight: 5-7 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 13-16 years


The star of the racecourse Greyhound dogs are the lowest maintenance breed among their peers. A short walk for 30 minutes each day is already a lot for this breed. Not built for stamina, Greyhounds live for speed. These gentle giants may easily settle into every household, and they get along well with children and all other pups.

Greyhounds course any game independently from their human companion. Unlike other hunting breeds requiring direction, they decide on their own. They have a short, smooth coat that only needs minimal grooming requirements. Often, they are just asleep, so they never mind spending hours alone.

Boredom is one characteristic of this breed that you need to consider. Keep their training concise and short. A gentle approach during training is also a must with their sensitive personality. Note, they are more interested in doing things with you rather than for you.


  • Overview:
  • Group: Hound (AKC)
  • Size: Large
  • Color and Coat: White, gray and white, black and white, white and brown; Short, smooth coat
  • Height: 28-30 inches
  • Weight: 65-70 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10-13 years


Bulldogs are rollicking family dogs suitable for different households, mainly because they are good-natured. Originally, bulldogs were bred to fight bulls for sport, making them the mascot of the United States Marine Corps and many colleges. This breed became popular for their face and the laughter and love they bring to everyone. They are the most admired breed for their determination and loyalty.

You may find these cute dogs adorable, yet they are difficult to train and incredibly stubborn. Training this breed can be a nightmare. Let them know you are the boss they need to follow. Training them should start as soon as you bring them home. Be a hundred percent consistent and firm so they will learn significant commands from you. More so, keep lessons short as they are resistant to long training sessions.

If you want to bring a bulldog home, be sure to read this complete guide to prepare you for that decision.


  • Overview:
  • Group: Non-Sporting
  • Size: Small to medium
  • Color and Coat: White, brown, black and white, gray; soft, short coat
  • Height: 8-10 inches
  • Weight: 40-50 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 8-10 years

French Bulldog

The French Bulldog is one of the dog breeds that like keeping to themselves for hours. This makes them ideal for working fur owners. Although this breed needs attention and companionship, he does not require excessive exercise or long runs. They may only choose to nap with nothing else to do.

French bulldogs have large eyes and short faces. Running and breathing can be difficult for them when it is humid and hot. You can leave them alone for many hours, and dog owners like to consider them the best among small breeds for children.

However, French bulldogs may encounter health issues because of their enormous eyes and short faces, such as breathing problems. Bear in mind, they may also be aggressive toward canines new to them.

french bulldog

  • Overview:
  • Group: Sporting
  • Size: Small to medium
  • Color and Coat: White, black and white, white and brown
  • Height: 11-12 inches
  • Weight: 28 pounds and more
  • Life Expectancy: 9-11 years

Shih Tzu

Small yet sturdy dog breed Shih Tzu is a favorite by many with their confidence, courageous demeanor, alertness, and playfulness. They are a wonderful companion when properly cared for and trained.

Have small living space? This breed can be the best choice because of his small size. They are intelligent, friendly to kids and other dogs, and very affectionate. You can train them with minimal commands.

Though Shih tzus need less exercise, grooming is a must for them. They may be hypoallergenic with their low shedding patterns. But it remains wise for dog owners to spend time with dogs with allergies so they can observe what triggers them from happening.

Shih Tzu

  • Overview:
  • Group: Toy
  • Size: Small
  • Color and Coat: White, black, gold, blue, or combinations; Long double coat
  • Height: 8-11 inches
  • Weight: 9-16 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10-16 years

FAQS for First Time Dog Owners

If you still have hesitations about which breed of dog to get, check out these FAQs to get some more clarity.

What is the best low maintenance dog?

Among all dog breeds ideal for first-time owners, the Greyhound dog requires the lowest upkeep. Greyhounds do not need long walks, so a 30-minute walk is enough for them. They are grown and trained for speed, not for stamina. Such could be the reason they can easily fit into any household and get along with all the family members.

What is the hardest dog to train?

As mentioned earlier, bulldogs are the dog breed that can be most difficult to train since they are stubborn. You must dedicate time for your training plan and be firm during the training. Be the boss and show them you are serious about making them learn commands. Many bulldog owners recommend training them young and early. They may be resistant to the training, but they can do it. Just try to make the sessions short.

What is the best all-around dog breed?

Pet owners herald golden retrievers as the best all-around dogs, especially for first-time owners. They are highly trainable, as you need not command them over five times to learn. Yes, they can be destructive, but you can easily tame them through training. Pleasing them is not that difficult, even when it is your first time to own and train a dog.

Which Dog Can Be Left Alone the Longest?

Although most dogs need human company as much as possible, some breeds don’t mind being left alone for long hours. The French Bulldog is one of these breeds, making them an excellent choice for working pet owners. They prefer napping and doing nothing more than going on long walks or doing excessive exercises. That is why having them in your household is a great deal. Just be careful with them as they can be vulnerable to health problems because of their eyes and face.


Which of the dog breeds for first time owners featured and suggested above is suitable for you? Take a keen look at every one of them and make sure you are choosing one that suits your lifestyle. Own the dog that will make your life more meaningful rather than stressful.

Once you’ve decided on the specific breed to care for, make sure to jump to this page on how to train your puppy and these tips on the psychology of house-training your dog. It’ll surely help you out tons!

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