Top 12 Dog Breeds for first time owners

Choosing a breed for your first dog can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve never had one before. The list of dog breeds is extensive; many of them are mixes of other, more common breeds. When it comes to dog breeds, how can you know which one is best for first-time owners?

In this article, we will go through the top dog breeds for first time owners. But before that lets look into various aspects before you get one.

Your dog’s attitude and health might also be influenced by his or her breed, in addition to its physical look and size. When it comes to personality and health, certain breeds are more prone to back issues than others. The key to finding the right dog for a first-time owner is to evaluate your wants and needs and determine your level of comfort with various dog breeds.

Before You Get a Dog, Here’s What to Consider

Considering buying a dog? Think about whether or not you’re ready to be a pet parent today. Before you buy a dog, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Your daily routine at work
  • Your home’s surroundings
  • Whether you’re already a parent to another pet
  • Your travel plans for the near future
  • Your financial condition as many dog breeds are prone to health issues 

It is important to think about the type of dog you want when you are looking for a new one. Some breeds are good choices for first-time pet owners, while others are not. Taking the time to consider all of your choices, as well as your lifestyle and home environment, is worthwhile.

Dog breeds for first time owners

Understanding Dog Breeds

There are more than 350 dog breeds in the world, which can be split into 7 different dog groups. Understanding these dog groups may help you choose the breed of dog that would be best for you.

Herding / Pastoral: Originally bred to herd livestock like sheep and cattle, this breed of dogs is smart and energetic and retain the innate ability to corral other animals. They are stacked with brains and athleticism that make them excellent companions for an active lifestyle. These dogs will like to be active and are alert to their surroundings. Eg: Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Corgi, Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd.

Toy: These companion dogs are small in statute but big with brains and affection. They make great lapdogs and come with big heart and personality. They are ideal for people who live in city or apartments. They don’t need a lot of exercise or long walk rather being a companion to you every time. Eg: Maltese, Pug, Pomeranian, Shih Tzu.

Sporting: They were originally bred to assist hunters in retrieving game. Setters, pointers, and spaniels were used to signal to humans when they picked up on the scent of wildfowl. They are highly attentive, easy to train, energetic and possess plenty of stamina for long treks. They also possess thick, water repellent coats to survive harsh condition. Eg: Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, Pointer.

Terrier: These short-legged breeds were first bred to go underground and hunt out rodents and other vermin, so they are quite persistent but full of character. They are highly determined and courageous, but sometimes noisy. With time they have become good pets. However, without proper training they can develop some bad habits like barking, digging etc. Eg: Bull Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier, Scottish Terrier.

Hound: Originally bred for the purpose of hunting, they have a powerful smell and scent-tracking-abilities to chase its prey. They are affectionate and strong willed in nature. The sleek long-legged sighthounds or short scenthounds use the combination of speed and wide vision along with powerful noses to catch its prey. Eg: Beagle, Basset Hound, Greyhound, Dachshund, Afghan Hound.

Working Group: These breeds were developed to assist humans in activities such as pulling sleds to guarding flocks and to protecting their families. They are intelligent, athletic and loyal watchdogs. The working group requires extra time and space, and a pet parent who is willing to take charge when it comes to training and socialization. Eg: Bullmastiff, Great Dane, Rottweiler, Siberian Husky.

Non-Sporting: This is an all-inclusive group of dogs which were bred to interact with people in some capacity. The variety of jobs (such as herding or hunting) means these come in all sizes with different personalities. While some are couch potatoes others love to run and explore. They are known to provide love and companionship to their human families. Eg: Bulldog, Poodle, Dalmatian, Chow Chow.

In addition to these 7 groups, there are various cross-breeds which may exhibit characteristics similar to mix of different dog groups. When choosing a breed, clearly there’s a lot to consider! But rather than choosing your first puppy, it’s important to think about how you would like it to fit into your family and lifestyle.

Genetics play a huge role in a dog’s breed which help in shaping its personality. Its important to choose a dog from a bona fide breeder, a rescue home or someone whom you know well who can share important details about its parents or its likes/dislikes.

There are a number of dog breeds that are ideal for first time dog owners.

The top 12 dog breeds for first time owners are: – 

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

Known for its friendly and lively nature, the Bichon Frise is a clever and adorable lapdog that quickly makes friends with everyone it meets. To begin with, they are one of the greatest dogs for beginners since they’re easy to teach and have a good temperament with young children. They are also hypoallergenic, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), making them an excellent choice for anyone who has allergies to dogs. 

Keeping them clean is as simple as bathing them regularly once a month and cleaning their teeth weekly. A four-to six-weekly trip to the groomer can also help maintain them look their best. 

Breed Details:

  • Height: 9 to 12 inches
  • Weight: 12 to 18 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 14 to 15 years 
  • Group: Non-Sporting

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Sweet and playful, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the cutest dogs you’ll ever meet. In general, cavaliers are adaptable to a wide range of environments, and they have a good relationship with children of any age. Small, but not tinny, this breed is known for its gentle attitude. This dog is graceful, intelligent, and normally quiet. 

Because of the Cavalier’s moderate level of activity, a simple daily walk is usually sufficient to keep him healthy. It just requires little instruction, and it quickly adapts. Even though this dog has a medium-length coat, its maintenance requirements are minimal. To avoid tangles in the hair, regular brushing is essential.

Breed Details 

  • Height: 12 to 13 inches
  • Weight: 13 to 18 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years
  • Group: Toy (AKC)

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is one of the greatest dog breeds for first-time owners because of its nature to entertain and tendency to get along with people of all ages. It is easy to teach this type of dog since it is full of energy and has a zest for life. As a result, they have a positive outlook on life and can flourish in any atmosphere. 

Golden Retrievers, which are known for their love of games, require a lot of activity and are best suited to owners who like spending time outside.

Breed Details

  • Height: 21.5 to 24 inches
  • Weight: 55 to 75 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years 
  • Group:  Sporting (AKC) 


The Papillon, despite its tiny shape, has a robust and enthusiastic nature that likes participating in family activities. Their adaptability and versatility make them excellent cuddling and workout companions. 

This adorable puppy can be both a lap dog and an exercise companion. Even though the papillon does not require a lot of activity, he enjoys playing and running around.  This dog can be trained quickly and requires just minimal maintenance.

Breed Details

  • Height: 8 to 11 inches
  • Weight: 6 to 10 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 14 to 16 years
  • Group: Toy (AKC)

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is one of the most well-known dog breeds. They are a medium-sized breed recognized for their sweet demeanor, intelligence, and retrieving abilities.

The adaptability of Labrador Retrievers makes them an excellent choice for new dog owners. In general, they are quite adaptable, and they get along well with children. Loyal and loving Labrador Retrievers also build strong ties with their families. 

They require a lot of exercise and training due to their high level of activity, playfulness, and intelligence. These pets do best in active houses that can offer them plenty of exercise and attention. 

Breed Details

  • Height: 21.5 to 24.5 inches 
  • Weight: 55 to 80 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years 
  • Group: Sporting (AKC)


Boxer -- petsforcare

For a medium-sized high-energy dog, look no further than the boxer. This faithful dog creates a strong relationship with its owners. A boxer could be a good choice for you if you are physically active. This breed demands a lot of physical activity as well as good training.  Even though young boxers might be a bit energetic, they are trainable and love the attention during training.

 Boxers may flourish in busy families and frequently get along with children after they have been properly trained and socialized. Boxers are extremely protective of their family, and this includes their young ones. The boxer’s maintenance needs are minimal.

Breed Details

  • Height: 1 foot to 9 inches- 2 foot
  • Weight: 55 to 70 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years
  • Group: Working (AKC)


Pomeranian breed -- petsforcare

The Pomeranian is the smallest dog breed in the family of Spitz. As a companion dog, Pomeranian is well-known for its compact size, thick, and rounded coat. They are dainty and considered as wonderful little lap dogs. Poms do well with older kids. They are often bond to a single owner, but they enjoy being part of family. They are easy to train and do require a minimum of two walks a day. They can even do well in apartments and small houses. While they shed, regular grooming and brushing ensures good quality fur and shedding at check. These fluff balls are always ready to greet you with love and do good job as watchdogs for your family.

Breed Details

  • Height: 6-12 inches
  • Weight: 3 to 9 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 13 to 16 years
  • Group: Toy (AKC)



One of the most popular and adaptable dog breeds, the poodle is an excellent companion. In terms of adaptability, the poodle is an excellent choice for families with children, since it can grow in a variety of situations. There are three different sizes of this breed: toy, miniature, and standard.  All are capable of learning and responding effectively to instruction. 

Dogs like Poodles require a lot of exercises and mental stimulation to keep them happy. Grooming is required on a regular basis to keep their curly, ever-expanding coat in good condition.

Breed Details

  • Height: over 15 inches (standard), 10 to 15 miniature (miniature), 10 inches and under (toy)
  • Weight: 45 to 70 pounds (standard), 15 to 18 pounds (miniature), 5 to 9 pounds (toy)
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 18 years
  • Group: Non-sporting (AKC)

Yorkshire terriers

Yorkshire terriers are perfect for anyone who desires a small, cuddly companion. If you are looking for a loving dog, this is the breed for you. The energy level of a Yorkie is moderate; thus, it simply requires basic exercise. This dog thrives on regular walks. Additionally, strong training is required for this breed.  To build your relationship with your Yorkie and establish clear limits, treat him like a large dog.

A lot of attention is needed when it comes to this dog’s grooming. Yorkies’ hair grows constantly, therefore they must be combed and clipped regularly. Maintaining your Yorkie is simple if you have the time and money to take him to the grooming sessions. 

Breed Details

  • Height: 8-9 inches
  • Weight: 5 to 7 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 13 to 16 years
  • Group: Toy (AKC)


Basenji Dog Breed

The Basenji, a clever and adaptable peaceful dog breed, is on our list because of its ability to adapt to any environment. Even some people have compared this dog to a cat because of its peaceful temperament and sense of self-determination. The Basenji is an excellent choice for first-time dog owners who love hitting the road and desire a dog that is not continuously nipping at their feet. This breed’s short coat is easy to maintain.  

Breed Details

  • Height: 16-17 inches
  • Weight: 22-24 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 13 to 14 years


For decades, the Pug has been capturing the hearts and minds of pet owners across the world and it’s easy to understand why. Cute and naughty, these dogs will bring a smile to your face with their funny antics, and their desire to show their owners how much they care makes them the perfect canine friend. As a result of their easy-going nature and preference for mild training techniques, Pugs are excellent pets for first-time dog owners who want a dog that will love them unconditionally in return.

Breed Details

  • Height: 10-13 inches
  • Weight: 14-18 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 13 to 15 years

Shih Tzus 

Shih Tzus are a well-loved breed and for good reason. They are witty, cute, fun-loving, and constantly looking for a good time. 

For first-time dog owners, Shih Tzus are an excellent choice since they have a moderate level of energy and like being active. To avoid their hair becoming matted and knotted, they must be groomed regularly.

For first-time pet owners, Shih Tzus are a great choice because of the breed’s amiable nature.  It also does not need a lot of grooming and does not require much training. 

Breed Details: 

  • Height: 8-11 inches 
  • Weight: 9-16 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 16 years 
  • Group: Toy (AKC)
Pros and cons of adopting a Shih Tzu

We selected these 12 dog breeds as the best options for the first-time owner as they are easy to maintain. They do not need much attention as compared to other dog breeds. 

Dog breeds that first-time owners should avoid 

Some dog breeds are better avoided by first-time dog owners than others. The novice pet owner may be unable to give the amount of time and attention that some of these breeds need. Potty training can be a challenge, and they have a tendency to bark or chew. Large and “aloof” or “reserved” dogs, as well as those with uncommon names, should be avoided by first-time dog owners.

These breeds may be high-energy, demand a lot of grooming, or be tough to train in the house. Avoid these dogs if you are a first-time pet owner and look at breeds 12 breeds that we suggested. They require less maintenance and simple care. 

Some of the breeds that you should avoid as a first-time pet owner are: – 


In this article, we explained the top 12 dog breeds for first-time dog owners. Although these dogs are all wonderful companions, not all of them are right for everyone.

Often, a dog’s temperament is a direct result of its owner’s behaviour. Choosing a dog breed that is compatible with one’s lifestyle and personality is essential for new pet owners.

If you are searching for a dog with a lot of energy, you should opt for an active breed. If you do not have a lot of time to play with your dog, you should go for a low-energy breed. If you have children, you should look for a dog that is well-behaved around kids. 

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