There you are, thinking about getting your first dog. If you have fought this battle with yourself or your children on several occasions, it might be time to give a family pet a real go. If you have yet to enjoy the wonderful experience of bringing a dog home for the first time, you are in for a real treat. However it isn’t all face-licks and Milkbones. Those first few weeks can be terrible, just as much as they can be wonderful. So before you jump into doggie ownership, remember the breed you decide on can play a huge part in how much of each extreme you will experience. There are some dog breeds better suited for first time dog owners. These pooches are easier to take care of, easier to train, usually healthier, and even have easier personalities.
As a first time dog owner you do not want to bite off more than you can chew with a high maintenance breed. Often these dogs are too big, too difficult to train, too easily distracted, or just too independent. Danes, Coonhounds, Border Collies, Bloodhounds, and Cane Corsos are some off the worst dog breeds for the novice. First time dog owners are unprepared to handle to complexities of training, asserting, and caring for such sensitive breeds. So don’t shoot down your chances at success before you even begin. Start your journey to dog ownership by doing a little research. That way you can get the best match for your first dog-owning experience and choose a breed that is the best fit for you, your lifestyle, and your home. Granted, it will be a lot of work no matter the breed. But you will have more successes and fewer struggles when you choose one of these breeds for first time dog owners.
10 Best Breeds for First Time Dog Owners
You might know a thing or two about some of the more popular breeds. However, just because a breed is well known does not mean it will make a good pet for first time dog owners. You want a low maintenance breed that is a good size, loves to please, and isn’t prone to as many health problems or dietary restrictions. These dog breeds are often well balanced, excel as working and companion dogs, and make it easy for first-time dog owners. The best dog breeds for first time dog owners are highly trainable. They also have even temperaments and long-standing reputations as loving and loyal dogs.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
These dogs are endlessly loyal, friendly, and obedient. They love to be with their families and owners as much as possible, making them the epitome of companion breeds. If you are looking for a good lap-dog, then this is the breed for you as a first time dog owner. Their slippered feet will follow you from room to room and thrive as a housedog meant to keep people company. These dogs are generally well-behaved, intelligent, and good natured dogs. They are also athletic and one of the largest of the toy breeds, making them heftier for playing around in the yard and excelling in dog sports like agility, flyball, and rally. They will fall over themselves to try and please their owners.
Generally Cavaliers weigh between 13 and 18 pounds with an average lifespan of 9 to 15 years. Just a heads up with this breed, these dogs do tend to get overweight if you do not watch their diet and exercise. They might also have trouble house training, so you will need to be consistent and set up a schedule to help them learn to potty outside.
The word “papillon,” in French means butterfly, and references the fringed, upright ears of this dog breed. These dogs, also called the Continental Toy Spaniel, are so friendly and smart. Best of all, for first time dog owners, this breed is usually very easy to train. They are self-assured dogs with an innate ability to translate commands and signals into the actions you wish them to perform. They are also good-natured, sociable creatures. You should also know, these dogs can be curious and busy creatures. As a first time dog owner you might find their flitting from one thing to the next a little exhausting.
These dogs also like to chase and hunt vermin and will rid your house and yard of rodents if given the opportunity. Generally Papillons weigh between 4 and 9 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 16 years. Don’t let these dogs fool you. Their lap-dog size belies a big-dog personality.
As a first time dog owner, you might not even know this breed exists. Yet it tops the list as one of the best breeds out there for owners and families who choose to live a more active lifestyle. Originally breeders raised Brittanys as gun dogs. They are remarkable in many ways and highly versatile. These intelligent dogs learn fast, are generally friendly, and greet each new adventure with enthusiasm. These dogs are also a great size; not too big to stay in the house or travel around in the car. Brittanys usually weigh between 30 and 40 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 13 years. That said, these dogs have high energy. They will need at least one hour of exercise every day if you hope to keep them happy and healthy.
These dogs also respond best to gentle, consistent training. You will need just the right amount of firmness so they can learn their place in the household However, these dogs won’t make good pets for everyone. They have a no-holds-barred level of enthusiasm and you can’t leave these dogs home alone all day with nothing to do.
These dogs are popular for both the veteran and novice dog owners alike. They have such cheerful temperaments and make enthusiastic companions. Bichons Frises have baby-doll faces and big black eyes. They also have compact bodies covered in fluffy white hair. Because they don’t shed like regular dogs, they often make great dogs for people with allergies. Keep in mind though, routine grooming is a must. These dogs love to play, which is perfect in a family pet. However, their affection runs deep. These dogs often suffer from separation anxiety if left for too long alone. They want and need to be with their families.
Bichon Frises are also easy to train and many owners put their pets in agility, rally, obedience, and a variety of other dog sports. These dogs generally weigh between 7 and 12 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. They are good for people who live in apartments or larger homes, and generally get along well with others. Though not known as watch dogs, they will alert you if a stranger ever comes to the door.
German Shorthaired Pointer
These dogs are a low maintenance breed perfect for first time dog owners. They are active, generally healthy, and fairly easy to train. These dogs are also versatile because of their history as sporting dogs. They would hunt all types of game and retrieve on both land and water. So though they may be easy, they also require regular and vigorous exercise with both physical and mental challenges. These dogs excel as family companions and love being with people. However, as a first time owner keep in mind these dogs tend to be rambunctious, and you will need to watch them around the little ones. They are not aggressive, just energetic and ultimately will make great friends to your children if brought up together.
German Shorthaired Pointers generally weigh between 45 and 70 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. These intelligent dogs need to stay busy and are notorious escape artists.
If you are an active person looking to become a first time dog owner, then this is an excellent breed to consider. These dogs are some of the best exercise companions. They are affectionate and easy to train, and crave exercise. They also get especially attached, hence the nickname “Velcro Vizsla.” These dogs are also talkers. Vizslas whine, howl, moan and make a myriad of other noises. They want to be part of everything going on and will make their opinions known. However, this also means they can become recreational barker. You will need to get a handle on their vocal behaviors early on. Vizslas generally weigh between 45 and 65 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 14 years.
These dogs will do best in a home where they have someone to keep them company and have something to keep them busy. They also excel in dog sports—and they are the first and only breed to produce a quintuple champion in conformation, field, obedience, and agility. These dogs are sensitive though, and if you hope to train them it will require kindness and positive reinforcement.
Even if you have never seen one in person, you know what Greyhounds look like. These dogs were originally bred to hunt and chase deer, foxes, and hares. Greyhounds can reach speeds of 40 to 45 miles per hour. In turn, they became racing dogs and to this day participate and excel in all dog sports. But even with their iconic reputation for grace and speed, these dogs might surprise you. This is a larger breed and a lot more prone to acting like a small breed than you might imagine.
They love to sleep, have docile temperaments, and though they do need regular exercise, they also are one of the most low maintenance breeds around. They are a great breed for first time dog owners. Generally Greyhounds weigh between 50 and 85 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Something to note about the breed is their tendency to nip. You might need to muzzle them until they have grown accustomed to their new home.
Australian Cattle Dog
Known by many names you might recognize these dogs as Australian Heelers, Blue Heelers, or Queensland Heelers. These dogs are hearty, active, and intelligent. They are also tough dogs. Australian Cattle Dogs were bred to handle the high temperatures and rugged terrain on ranches. As such, they are highly tolerant of pain. In fact, these dogs focus so intensely they even work through injury. Even with that kind of history, these dogs get along famously with children and are easy to train. However, even though a good breed for first time dog owners, they do have high exercise needs and will not be a regular couch potato. Without mental and physical exercise these dogs might resort to bad behaviors like digging around in the trash or your garden.
Generally Australian Cattle Dogs weigh between 30 and 50 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Must note that these are mouthy dogs. Because of their herding and prey drive they tend to nip at anything that moves—including other pets and children. You will want to start these dogs early in obedience training and socialization. That way they learn as a pup how to behave.
These are active dogs, but also extremely obedient which makes them a great breed for first time dog owners. They are easy and fun to train, require little grooming, hardly shed, and are completely adorable. These dogs have all the drive of other working breeds. But they also make wonderful companions. They have a playfulness that can last well into adulthood, but also have an assertive streak. German Pinschers are more than capable of taking care of an intruder if necessary. The bark from these smaller dogs sounds like it comes from a much bigger animal. If that doesn’t work to ward of strangers these dogs will defend their home with all they’ve got.
Generally German Pinschers weigh between 25 and 45 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years. These dogs will be hopelessly devoted to you, but can also test the limits of your affection. Start training early if you are a novice dog owner, and make sure these dogs get plenty of mental and physical exercise.
These dogs are the standard when it comes to first time dog owners. They are one of the most popular dog breeds and make wonderful pets for all dog lovers. They have a high intelligence and an unmatched affection. These dogs excel in sports, hunting, tracking, and working. They are successful as assistance dogs, police dogs, athletes, and competitors in dog sports. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with this breed if this is your first experience with a dog.
Golden Retrievers are friendly towards everyone, gentle with children, and possess a high potential for playfulness. The only thing to keep in mind is that these dog are boisterous and terrible watchdogs. Generally they weigh between 55 and 75 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. Golides have a sweet, calm nature and are a generally healthy breed. But watch out, these dogs love to eat and can fatten up if you don’t watch their diet and give them plenty of exercise.
I've been a dog lover since the day I was born but it's the current four legged love of my life, Phoebe who inspired me to create the Munch.Zone.
We moved together from Israel to New York in 2013, love hiking together, and never pass up a trip to the dog park. Watching her over the years sparked so many questions about dog behavior and health needs, and it wasn't always easy to find answers. Thus, the Munch.Zone was born.
On any given day you'll find me watching Netflix originals, eating popcorn, and thinking about how to get into house flipping.