Top 10 Best Dog Breeds For First-Time Dog Owners

by Anne-Marie Smith
best dog breeds

Owning a dog for the very first time is something many people look forward to experiencing. This is not surprising considering that dogs are naturally good companions. They are also very loving, loyal, lively, and willing to do anything to brighten your day. However, dog ownership comes with many responsibilities that many people don’t think about before bringing a dog into their homes.

If you want to avoid having a bad experience with your first canine companion, it’s important that you take enough time to conduct proper research beforehand, since different breeds have different sizes, personalities, energy levels, grooming needs, and temperaments. This will significantly increase your chances of finding the right dog for you.

8 Important Factors To Consider When Choosing A Dog For Your Family

10 dog breeds that are best suited for first-time dog owners:

Golden Retriever

golden retriever

Golden Retrievers are among the most popular dog breeds worldwide for a good reason. They’re affectionate, loyal, happy, and active. Because of their friendly personality, calm temperament, and ability to get along with kids, Golden Retrievers can adapt to living in just about any household.

This medium-large dog is also well known for his eagerness to please his owner at all times. So, you should expect your Golden Retriever to do anything to keep you happy. This includes relaxing with you and your kids on the couch or accompanying you to family activities.

As a novice dog-owner, you’ll be happy to know that this breed has a very high level of intelligence, and loves to learn new things, so training him shouldn’t be a problem. To keep this breed healthy, happy, and well-behaved, just make sure you provide him with basic training and socialization, as well as a good amount of physical and mental exercises daily. Brushing your dog’s hair regularly is also essential to keep the coat looking good and tangle-free.

8 Most Common Behaviors In Dogs And What They Mean

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever

Labs are also very popular medium-large dog breeds like their cousins, Golden Retrievers. They are well known for their playfulness, social and easygoing nature, intelligence, and deep loyalty for their families. Since Labrador Retrievers are active dogs, they thrive better in households with active lifestyles where they can get attention and plenty of physical and mental exercises daily.

You Lab will enjoy hours of playing fetch in your backyard, just as much as he’ll enjoy keeping you company as you watch your kids play baseball. Therefore, if you’re looking for a flexible dog breed that you can take everywhere with you, Labrador Retriever would be a good pick.

With regards to trainability, Labs are easy to train and enjoy learning new things, so training yours to do anything should be a breeze. Their grooming needs are also very basic. Regular hair brushing is all your pooch needs to keep his coat neat and minimize shedding.

Note that your Labrador Retriever may sometimes engage in destructive behaviors when he’s bored, or when you fail to meet his high energy needs. To prevent this from happening, engage your pet in a wide range of activities daily to keep him entertained and happy.

Another point worth mentioning is that Labs love to eat a lot. This can increase their risk of developing obesity very quickly if you don’t keep a close eye on what he puts on his mouth.

5 Common Dog Behavior Problems and How to Fix Them

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

These cute and smart dog breeds make wonderful companions for both novice and experienced dog owners. This is mainly because of their pleasant and attentive nature, as well as their calm temperament. Bichons enjoy human company and love receiving lots of love and attention.

These little dogs adapt well to all kinds of lifestyles and are fairly easy to train. They also get along well with other household pets and kids of all ages, making them great family pets. As if that’s not enough, they have hypoallergenic coats, which is good for you if you suffer from allergies.

Note that Bichons can be quiet and shy around strangers at the beginning. However, with proper socialization from an early age, they usually grow into lively and friendly pups. Their curly coat also needs regular brushing and trimming to keep them looking presentable.

So, it’s important to create time from your busy schedule to groom your dog properly. Alternatively, you can choose to make the coat low-maintenance by trimming the hair short. With regards to exercise needs, your Bichon will require daily walks to keep him fit, healthy, and happy.

Top 10 Cold Weather Dog Breeds


boxer dog breed

Another breed that is great for first-time dog owners is the Boxer. This playful dog breed is worth considering if you lead an active lifestyle and are looking for a medium-large dog that will be your companion and exercise partner. This is because boxers are high energy dogs that require lots of exercise to keep them happy and healthy. They’re perfect for families with kids since they get along well children. They’re also very loyal, protective and tend to form a very close bond with their families.

It’s important to note that young Boxers can be a bit hyperactive, while adult ones tend to be stubborn. So, providing a strong foundation of training and socialization is mandatory to curb these traits, and turn your Boxer into a well-rounded, lovable pet. Boxers are fairly easy to train, just like Bichons and Golden Retrievers. They love and enjoy the attention given to them during training.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavaliers are extremely sweet and loving dogs that do well in all kinds of households. They enjoy being where their families are and are always ready to cuddle and relax with you at all times of the day. Many people love them for their gentle demeanor, small portable size, and adorable puppy-like appearance.

If you’re looking for a family dog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel should be on your top list. This is because these dog breeds are very attentive and generally get along well with children of all ages.

Other than being good family dogs, Cavaliers are also very low maintenance, which makes them suitable for novice dog owners. They require basic daily exercise to keep them in good health and satisfy their moderate energy needs.

They also need basic training and usually respond best to praises and positive reinforcement during training. Cavaliers also need regular hair brushing to prevent their medium-length coat from tangling.


poodle dog breed

Poodles are available in three main sizes – standard, toy, and miniature. They make great pets for beginners irrespective of the size of poodle you choose. They’re very versatile, too, and can be your cuddling buddy as well as an exercise partner.

In addition, they’re highly adaptable and can thrive in just about any home, including those with children. With a poodle by your side, you and your family can be sure that you’ll never get bored since this breed is playful, affectionate, and have a wonderful temperament.

With regard to training, we can say that Poodles are among the easiest breeds to train. They’re highly intelligent dogs that learn fast and are always eager to please their owners.

Poodles are also very energetic dogs, so you should be ready to provide lots of mental stimulation and physical activities to keep this dog happy. Also, be sure to provide regular grooming to help maintain its continually growing coat.


papillon dog breed

Papillon is a cute, friendly, and happy toy breed that can be both your lap dog and exercise partner. At first glance, the tiny frame of this dog may fool you into believing that he’s too delicate to do anything.

However, with time, you’ll realize that this little guy has a very big personality and is strong enough to engage in different activities with you and your family. Papillons love running around the house and generally being active, so make sure you provide yours with enough physical activities and mental stimulation daily to keep him busy and entertained.

This dog breed is also highly adaptable, highly trainable, and very smart too. They have a fluffy coat that’s easy to maintain through regular brushing and grooming. They also shed hair minimally, just like poodles.

However, for the sake of safety, you need to keep a close eye on your children every time they play with this dog. This is important, so they don’t play roughly with him and injure this tiny dog in the process.

Yorkshire Terrier

yorkshire terrier dog breed

Another breed worth adding to this list is the Yorkshire Terrier. Yorkies are great for beginners looking for lap-sized canine companions. They have a reputation for being extremely loving and loyal to their owners. Because of this love, they can act all protective when you’re around strangers.

These little dogs are also known for being vocal, mischievous and stubborn, but with proper structure and a good foundation of training, you can turn your Yorkshire Terrier into a well-behaved canine companion that you’re proud of.

Note that Yorkies have high grooming needs because their hair grows continuously. So, you need to trim and groom your dog’s coat regularly to keep it in good condition. Alternatively, you can hire a professional dog groomer to do so on your behalf if you don’t have enough time.

Lastly, you need to provide plenty of different exercises to meet the moderate energy needs of this breed. A good starting point is by taking daily walks with your pet.


greyhound dog breed

Greyhounds are the go-to dog for beginners looking for very low maintenance, large dog as their first pets. This breed loves to sleep and is very docile and well-behaved while indoors. Because of this, you can expect your greyhound to be a constant presence on your couch (that’s if you allow dogs to lounge on your couch).

You’re probably wondering if this breed needs exercise at all with the way they love to sleep. The answer is yes. They need regular exercise, just like all other dogs. They actually make great running speed that makes them excellent sports companions. They also enjoy being part of the family during outdoor adventures, so be sure to carry yours along the next time you go out.

Also, make sure you provide regular grooming to keep your greyhound’s coat looking great. Considering that this breed has a hunting instinct, you may want to keep him away from small pets in your home like cats.

English Bulldog

english bulldog dog breed

The last breed on this list is the English Bulldog. English Bulldogs are naturally very loving, kind, and loyal to their families. But, they also love to sleep a lot and are considered one of the laziest dogs on Earth.

If this isn’t a problem for you, then give this dog breed a chance to make your life happier and better. They’re excellent companions for first-time dog owners looking for a canine buddy who loves to lounge around the house.

Bonus Dog Breeds

Basset Hound

basset hound dog

As a bonus, I’ll include Basset Hounds on this list too. They’re naturally great family pets because they’re well-mannered, loyal, relaxed, and are comfortable spending time with family members and other pets. While indoors, Bassets are more than happy to just lounge around the house, just like English Bulldogs.

However, they’re prone to developing obesity if not exercised properly, so ensure that you provide this breed with enough exercise daily. If you’re able to handle the drooling, then this is a great companion worth considering.

Other breeds that are also suitable for beginner dog owners include

  • Pug
  • Vizsla
  • Shih Tzu
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Maltese
  • and mixed breed dogs (mutts)

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you’ll be able to decide on the best dog for you after reading this article. However, if you’re still confused, don’t hesitate to seek help from workers at your local shelter or dog rescue center. Based on your lifestyle and the traits you desire in a dog, they’ll be able to help you decide on the best canine companion for you.

You may also like