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12 best dog breeds for first time owners

All dog owners experienced and new can agree that dogs are a ton of work. Owning a dog is a very big commitment that requires lots of time, patience, and effort.

For someone who is a first-time owner, this can be a lot to handle at first. And while there isn’t a ‘perfect dog’ for first time owners, there are options that can be a little easier in terms of breeds. It is also important to consider your lifestyle when looking for the right fit because a dog that may be great for one person might not be right for the next.

It’s best to do lots of research, talk to other dog owners and trust your gut when trying to figure out what type of dog is fit for you as a new owner. To give you some insight, we’ve compiled a list of 12 best dog breeds for first time owners.

1. Boxer

Boxers are amazing dogs that are known for their protective instincts and ways with children. They are a humorous breed that enjoys lots of physical activity to keep their minds stimulated so make sure you can provide them with lots of walks and dog park visits! Boxers are extremely intelligent which means they are great to train and are known as great family pets, even though they may look intimidating to some. If you like larger pooches with minimal grooming needs, the Boxer could be great for you.

2. Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is arguably one of the most popular dog breeds, often seen in movies portrayed as the ‘perfect dog’ living in the ‘perfect family home.’ In reality, these large dogs do live up to their reputations! Golden Retrievers are extremely friendly and can get along with children of all ages if trained properly. This breed is eager to learn, outgoing, affectionate, loyal, obedient and will always be up for a game of fetch – making them a great option for first time owners. Because of their longer coats, regular brushing and grooming will be required to maintain cleanliness.

3. Poodle

Poodles are available in many different sizes including toy, mini and standard! Their amazing coats are quite different from other dogs thanks to their fluffy curls which are also great for owners who suffer from dog allergies. These hypoallergenic breeds are often bred with other types of dogs which result in Golden Doodles, Labradoodles and more. A great option for beginners, Poodles are recognized for their positive temper and training capabilities. Be sure to keep exercise top of mind and invest in some professional grooming visits to keep their unique coats looking fresh.

4. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers, often referred to as Yorkies are a great dog for first time owners, partially thanks to their size. If you’re looking for a smaller option, Yorkies makes the perfect lap dog. With basic exercise needs, Yorkies will require less physical activity than some medium-large sized breeds. It is important to maintain daily walks and training as these pooches have no problem being vocal about their needs. Their exceptionally friendly and big personalities make this little breed a great candidate for first time owners.

5. Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is more than just an adorable little fluff ball. These dogs are known for their ability to adapt to different living situations such as city living in apartments or busy families with smaller children. This breed is easy to train, requires moderate exercise and its coats are hypoallergenic. Bichon Frise companions are very attentive and are always in the mood to either snuggle up or take a stroll at the dog park. They can be better suited for people who spend more time at home as they enjoy being close to their owners.

6. Labrador Retriever

Another very popular breed among pets is the Labrador Retriever. While they are larger in size, they do very well in different environments, are very loyal and enjoy lots of physical activity and training. Active households with children can be a great fit for a Labrador Retriever. Their minimal grooming needs and calm demeanors are appreciated. One thing to note about these dogs is that they really enjoy their food! This means they are at a higher risk of gaining weight, so it is important they receive a nutritional diet and regular exercise.

7. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an elegant, calm and graceful breed. Their relatively quiet and relaxed personalities make them a great option for different pet owners including singles, couples, families and especially seniors! Average exercise, grooming needs and smarts are all great qualities of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. These smaller dogs love to snuggle with their owners as they are extremely affectionate.

8. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are a very interesting breed as they’ve been historically bred to live within royal palaces. This means today, Shih Tzus are wonderful companions for those living in apartments or places lacking an outdoor space. These pups only require minimal exercise and are definitely considered to be house dogs but their beautiful coats will need some love. If you want a cute companion that will follow you around, a Shih Tzu might be the right fit for you!

9. Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are one of the smallest breeds of dogs which can be very convenient for their owners. These extremely low maintenance pooches are able to exercise inside which means they are a great option for those living in large city centres. Chihuahuas do well when it comes to training, but they do need positive reinforcements to respond better. If you’re a new pet owner who travels regularly, Chihuahuas are a great fit because their size makes them travel friendly for any occasion as they can be taken as a carry-on during flights.

10. Papillon

Papillons may be small in size, but their massive personalities definitely make up for it! These intelligent pups are easy to train and are very popular among first time owners. They are known for their friendliness and ability to adapt to different situations. This breed lives an active but relaxed lifestyle. Their looks are sure to gain some attention with their beautiful coats, silky hair and cute fuzzy ears. Proper training is required at an early age to ensure your Papillon does not become yappy.

11. Whippet

Whippets make great indoor house dogs when they are given the opportunity to properly exercise. While they are extremely fast runners, these energetic pups also love lounging and taking naps. Their short coats are very easy to maintain with minimal brushing and they are considered to be mostly quiet when it comes to barking. If you’re looking for an exercise buddy to keep you on your toes, Whippets are a wonderful choice. They do however require consistent training as their personalities can be a bit mischievous at first. Owners of Whippets can agree that their attachment and loyalty to their owners is a very positive trait. They are great around new people and welcoming when visitors come into their home.

12. Mixed Breeds

For our last best dog breed for first time owners, we wanted to shed some light on mixed breeds! The cool thing about these dogs is they are unique and total one of a kind. You can explore the benefits of mixed breeds by visiting your local animal shelter and spending time with them. Often people will pay thousands of dollars to get a purebred dog while mixed breeds are taking up all the space in our shelters waiting to be euthanized if they don’t find a home fast enough. The professionals at the shelters can assist you in finding a mixed breed that lines up closely to your desires and needs by focusing more on the pup’s personality rather than breed.


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