When you consider bringing a new dog home to the family, you want one that will be easy to train, especially if this is your first doggie experience. Stubborn, untrained pets will quickly make life difficult. You get stressed and the dog becomes a burden. That is the last thing you want, for both your family and the new pet. To ease this burden you must seek out a dog that can quickly learn to walk on a leash, understand which things are acceptable to chew on and which things are not (slippers, shoes, newspaper—no!), and train to pee outside instead on your favorite area rug. That is why you should always start looking at easy to train dog breeds first. These animals often have gentle temperaments, keen minds, and a thriving desire to make their owners happy.
Some breeds are naturally easier to train. This is not necessarily because they are highly intelligent. Most dogs are very smart, however some breeds are just more stubborn or strong headed than others. These “difficult” dogs demand an owner they can respect, someone consistent and it isn’t always easy. Other breeds simply have a short attention span or are easily distracted by their strong prey drive. Thus, they take longer to learn the commands. You don’t want one of these breeds if you are a first time dog owner testing the waters. This means you should look at working dogs, retrievers, and herders. These easy to train dog breeds can quickly understand the association between a command and the action they must perform. Also, easy to train dog breeds respond very well to the rewards system and enjoy the learning process.
10 Most Easy to Train Dog Breeds
That said, always keep in mind that though there are easy to train dog breeds, not all dogs in that breed will fit the mold. You must pay close attention to temperament, responsiveness, and find a pet that meshes well with your family. Also know all dogs require time and attention, regardless of breed, if you hope to train them. So be patient and keep the treats and positive reinforcement on hand. With the right amount of care and attention any one of these dog breeds can be the easiest to train.
Here are the dog breeds just looking for an owner they can please:
This easy to train dog breed is first on many lists. These medium large dogs are not aggressive in the least, but have a lively and goofy spirit owners are sure to love. They are medium-large dogs well known for their trainability. They are outgoing, agile and intelligent. These dogs also have a naturally sunny personality and were originally bred to be both the best companion and the best working dog. They can hunt, assist, haul and swim. They make excellent therapy dogs, fishing dogs and sporting dogs. And don’t forget devoted to their owners and families. No wonder these easy to train helpers are America’s number one breed.
Labrador Retrievers usually weigh between 55 and 80 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. They have a thick, dense, almost “waterproof” coat that is so easy to take care of.
These athletic and capable dogs were bred to carry heavy game across both water and land. They are known to be devoted and obedient by nature, and actually needs daily exercise to avoid becoming overly boisterous or overweight. Golden retrievers are naturals with kids, make excellent members of the family, and will even be social with other pets. Because these dogs are well suited for a variety of jobs they are also one of the easiest to train dog breeds. They do well in obedience and can even excel in agility with proper training.
Generally Golden Retrievers weigh between 60 and 80 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. A hallmark of this breed is their sweet, calm nature. To ensure the best in the breed you need to ensure early socialization. Fortunately, these dogs make great pets for first time dog owners.
These dogs have long worked in rescue, mine detection, herding, security, tracking, and multiple other occupations. Shepherds have a gentle temperament and a strong desire to obey their owners. However, these dogs are hard working, companion animals and will not fare well if left alone for hours on end. They need interaction and exercise to thrive. They are also suspicious of strangers and have a strong prey drive. This means you must train them early with puppy classes if you want a happy, well-balanced dog.
Generally German Shepherds weigh between 75 and 95 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 14 years. To help keep German Shepherds busy you might consider dog sports like agility, flyball, and endurance training.
Well known for elaborate hairstyles, these dogs are also an easy to train dog breed. They are extremely active and intelligent, originally bred for hunting and retrieving water fowl. Though not usually the first breed to pop to mind when it comes to easy training, these animals are ranked in the second spot behind border collies when it comes to intelligence. They also rank highly for obedience. As a result these dogs earn a lot of blue ribbons, and not just for their haircuts.
Generally a standard poodle weighs between 45 and 70 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. However, these dogs have a highly playful nature and early obedience training is essential to their success as a family pet. Also keep in mind that though the dog may be easy to train, the coat is not. It will need endless upkeep and you should take poodles to the groomers every three to six weeks.
Dogs of this breed are well known for their intelligence and awareness. They actually originated in the western United States, and not Australia. Historically these dogs were working dogs, originally bred to herd and protect livestock. This is part of the reason they excel in activities like obedience, dog sports, hunting, and of course, herding. These dogs also commonly work in service, therapy, and search and rescue. They can make wonderful family companions as long as you give them a job to do and plenty of training at a young age.
Generally Australian Shepherds weigh between 40 and 65 pounds and live approximately 12 to 15 years. What often sets this breed apart is their luxurious and striking coat. These dogs come in blue merle, red merle, red, black, or tri-color. The merle coat is a patchwork of dark against light, and is so beautiful. However, these dogs do shed year round, so make sure to have a brush handy for consistent grooming.
This bundle of energy is sure to keep you on your toes, but can also be one of the easiest dog breeds to train. These dogs are highly intelligent and versatile, actually at the top of the list when it comes to smart dogs. They have an innate desire to learn as much as possible and have an astounding ability to understand signals and commands. They also have an extraordinary amount of energy and you need to know what you are getting into. If you want a happy, well trained breed then these dogs will need plenty of both mental and physical exercise every day, otherwise they are prone to developing behavioral problems.
Generally Border Collies weigh between 30 and 45 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. You should also know these dogs have a propensity for drooling and shedding, and do not tolerate hot weather. They also want to herd anything that moves—including cars. So keep these dogs fenced or on a leash at all times to avoid any accidents.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
There are two Corgi dog breeds and this one is the older of the two, believed to have been bred for more than 3,000 years in Wales. These dogs run along the same likes as Dachshunds and Basset Hounds. Historically they herded cattle to market and exterminate vermin. They can quickly associate prompts to actions, and this makes them one of the easiest to train dog breeds. However they also have a slight stubborn or independent streak, which means the dogs might choose to do things their own way for a while.
Generally Cardigan Welsh Corgis weigh between 25 and 38 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. They love to eat, and tend to overindulge if their meals are not well monitored. They also have a strong herding instinct and tend to be excessively vocal. These dogs are great family companions and have an adaptable nature.
Historically the early toy spaniels had drop ears, but when the erect-eared small spaniel was developed in the 17th century the dogs were named Papillion, for the resemblance they had to a butterfly. Though some lines of Papillon can be fidgety and nervous, most dogs of this breed are intelligent, playful, and highly trainable. What makes these dogs such great pets is their affection towards their family. They are happy, friendly, and not prone to act aggressively.
Because they have such high energy, these dogs are not known to cuddle, but best like to have something to do. Generally Papillons weigh between 4 and 9 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 16 years. Because they are small, these dogs are fragile and not suited for any rough play. They also can be sensitive to anesthesia, something to keep in mind if ever you need to schedule a surgery.
Another smart, small, easy to train dog breed is the Norfolk Terrier. These dogs are energetic and nimble, and have the cutest button noses you have ever seen on a dog face. Though labeled as easy to train, it doesn’t mean it will come without difficulty. This breed was developed to hunt vermin in barns. As such they have a strong drive to chase and should never be allowed off the leash. They might also want to dig in the yard and practice their escape skills. They can also have a stubborn side that makes them difficult to house train. Norfolks like to be where the action is, so they will want to spend as much time with your family as possible.
Generally Norfolk Terriers weigh between 11 and 12 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. These are big dogs in small bodies, and always want to run with the fun. They are small and well suited for apartment living, as long as they get at least one 20 to 30 minute walk per day, or an extended play session.
These dogs have long been known to execute on orders, as they were often trained as war and police dogs in the past. Though they have high energy and endurance, these dogs have an innate ability to be sensitive to the happenings around them. They are affectionate with their family and have a protective nature making them perfect for the role of household guardian. This also means Dobermans shouldn’t be left alone for extended periods of time without companionship. These dogs will also like to be included in all family activities.
Generally Doberman Pinschers weigh between 60 and 80 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 13 years. These dogs will need room to romp if you want to avoid destructive behavior. They also require enough exercise, which can be tiring if you are unaccustomed to an exuberant dog breed. Generally the public reaction to Dobermans is one of fear, but if well trained you will come to see the breed as sensitive, affectionate, and a loyal family companion.
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