15 Best Dog Breeds For First Time Owners


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I still remember the joy of having my first dog. The giddiness and overwhelming excitement as the furry pup licked my fingers and stared nonchalantly to my face. Years after, I’ve seen tons of dogs, fell in love with some of them, got broken-hearted as they pass to the rainbow bridge, and fall in love again with a new furball. Dogs are amazing companions and since you’re reading this, I’m glad that you’re thinking of being a paw-rent someday. But as much as you can get just any doggo you want, I recommend that you consider these 15 best dog breeds for first time owners:

1. Golden Retriever$500-$3,000
2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel$950-$1,800
3. Basset Hound$300-$500
4. Bichon Frise$1,500-$2,500
5. Poodle$1,000 and up
6. Cockapoo$1,200-$2,000
7. Pug$1,500-$2,000
8. Boxer$700-$1,500
9. Labrador Retriever$800-$1,200
10. Shih Tzu$900-$2,500
11. Havanese$1,000-$1,500
12. Shiba Inu$1,400-$2,200
13. English Bulldog$1,500-$3,000
14. Boston Terrier$600-$800
15. Maltese$1,200-$1,600

What makes a dog for novice owners?

It’s easy to get the cutest pup you can find, but it’s important to assess if they are one of the best dog breeds for families, let alone one that’s suited to your pet owning experience. If you’re a total newb, I highly discourage you from getting aggressive hunting breeds. You might end up handing them to animal rescue or your house will bear the brunt of the rowdy animal.

Gentle. Get a dog that’s gentle and known for their friendliness. If you haven’t owned a dog before, now isn’t the best time to consider guard canines. They can dominate and outsmart you.

Family and kid-friendly. Calm and friendly dogs thrive well in the care of first-time owners. They have excellent living adaptability and can tolerate the behavior of children.

Affectionate. Depending on what you prefer, affectionate dogs are excellent as first pets. They develop an emotional bond to their owners that will result to trust and loyalty.

Moderate energy level. As a first time pet-owner, it’s a bit hard to keep up with all the yapping, romping, and baying. Still, there are energetic dogs that are easy to live with.

Without further fluff, here are 15 of the best dog breeds for first time owners:

1. Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are family favorites. They are loving, gentle, affectionate, loyal, and people-pleasers. This dog is also intelligent and easy to train which makes them a versatile option. They can be great companions and reliable working dogs at once.

Golden Retrievers have a big heart for kids and their owners. They love playtime, especially the pups, but their intensity is manageable. Golden Retrievers don’t have itchy paws. They prefer staying within your yard or indoors when they aren’t busy. The best part is they don’t usually bark or howl unless threatened.

This breed is a topnotch choice in terms of behavior and personality. However, you should prepare for heavy shedding, mouthing, and sometimes, drooling.

2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs are popular for being couch potatoes. But don’t underestimate this breed. They have a sporty and playful personality but with moderate exercise requirements. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a total sweetheart. They are friendly to anyone – kids, their owners, strangers, and even other canines. This makes them one of the best dog breeds for families and traveling owners.

The Cavalier dogs are very intelligent and easy to train. They have low prey drive and wanderlust tendencies which make living with them worthwhile. Well, I’ll take bird and critter chasing as exceptions since these doggos love running after them. But most of the time, they will be cozying on the couch and demanding for a belly rub.

3. Basset Hound

They may look like the saddest dog, but Basset Hounds are actually goofy. They aren’t the playful and energetic type due to their low gait and deep chest. If you’re a pet owner who’s not a fan of long walks and play fetch, Basset Hounds will be perfect. They have one of the lowest energy requirements of all breeds and they will be contented to relax indoors.

Bassets are very affectionate to kids, strangers, and other dogs. But like their cousin Beagle, they have a penchant for loud howling when left alone. They also have one of the most powerful noses in the canine world. This means that their sniffers are always on the ground and hooked to a smell they are bent to follow.

4. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise is one of the most popular lap dogs due to their affectionate and friendliness to people. These cutie pies could be small, but they are oozing with energy and in the hunt for adventures. They look like a stuffed toy which makes them more appealing as a family pet.

Bichons can thrive on small apartments so newbie owners in the city won’t have much trouble taking care of them. Even with their fluffy hair, they are the least shedding dog and craved for by pet owners due to their hypoallergenic characteristics.

Bichons aren’t wanderers but they are rompy as ever.

5. Poodle

Intelligent, classy, and loving, Poodles are no doubt suitable for inexperienced dog owners. They are playful but they don’t need too much exercise. This is the reason why there are so many Poodles in the city – it’s not just a Beverly Hills stereotype, you know.

Poodles are excellent with kids and other pets. They are also great companion dogs for the elderly with their low wanderlust drive. Like Bichons, Poodles don’t shed heavily and they are considered to be one of the healthiest breeds as well.

Although they are easy to live with, don’t spoil a Poodle too much. Pampering these pooches excessively will make them think they are the boss.

6. Cockapoo

Their innocent stare and curly fur don’t lie when we say that Cockapoos are true darlings. They are clowns that like to play and cuddle. Cockapoos are one of the best dog breeds for families and houses frequented by visitors. Just give them 15 minutes of exercise a day and they’ll be happy doggos.

Cockapoos are hypoallergenic dogs that are also lauded for their intelligence and high adaptability to apartment living. However, it’s not a good idea to get them if you’re going to live the house for long. These pooches can get bored and bark whenever they see someone walk close to your door. They are one of the best dog breeds for first time owners who are home-bodied.

best dog breeds for first time owners

7. Pug

These little, worried-looking doggos are always demanding cuddles and petting. Although their face has a flustered look, they are little clowns that are going to put a smile on your face. They love it when everyone’s attention is on them but they will turn sulky and heartsick if ignored.

Pugs are loving and friendly to almost anyone they meet, even strangers and other pets. However, they can get jealous if you don’t give them the same love as the other dog at the house. Pugs are great with kids since they are playful and have a low gait. Still, they can be stubborn at times.

8. Boxer

Their name sounds intimidating, but these hounds have hearts of gold for their families. They are always in the run, playing and venting their endless energy to anything they can get busy at. If you’re a new pet owner who loves a dog that can keep up with your active lifestyle, boxers won’t disappoint.

Boxers can get really excited when you come home. One reason why they are named as such is that they will stand on their back legs and scuffle with their front paws. Boxers will remain as angsty puppies even during their adult year.

Take note that Boxers snore, fart, and drool like crazy – just some of the ugly parts you have to love in exchange for their loyalty.

9. Labrador Retriever

Like Golden Retrievers, Labs are one of the best dog breeds for families that do well with kids. They are a bit reserved with their affection but they won’t fail to show their love in their own ways. Labrador Retrievers are sturdy pets but they are also playful, rompy and rowdy, especially during their puppy years.

Labs are intelligent and they take training by heart. As companions of fisher folks in the past, Labradors grew to be dedicated buddies. Just make sure that you can put up with their high energy levels and demanding exercise requirements. Train them well and they’ll learn to tame their hyperactive tendencies.

10. Shih Tzu

The ultimate lap dogs, Shih Tzus are famous all over the world for their calm and affectionate personality. Even the most inexperienced dog owner can have them. They are addicted to following their owners everywhere. Shih Tzus are outgoing pets and they will welcome anyone with their affectionate personality.

Shih Tzus are playful but they don’t need too much exercise to stay happy. They are better off as indoor dogs with their lack of interest to romp and sniff around. These doggos are best for families with kids, but they tend to be too patient that they sustain injuries due to the herky-jerky nature of little kids.

11. Havanese

Similar to Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise, Havanese dogs are energetic, playful, and always seeking for something they can do. This breed used to be circus performers so there’s no doubt that they are highly trainable and easy to get along with.

Like Shih Tzus, Havanese pooches love kids and their families. They do well in households with multiple pets, even cats. These babies are small but they think they have the body of a large hound. They like chasing critters around the yard.

Havanese dogs don’t like being left alone. They will experience separation anxiety if locked up without a companion pet.

12. Shiba Inu

Headstrong, independent, and confident – these are three words to describe the fluffy and mysterious Shiba Inu dog. They are highly spirited Japanese dogs that don’t like too much cuddling. Shiba Inus are introverted dogs since they are moderately playful, not fond of chasing, and they prefer going their own way.

So what makes them one of the best dog breeds for first time owners? Shibas are loyal to their masters. And although they aren’t the cuddly type, this breed has its own way of showing its affection. Take note, though, that Shiba Inus are only fit for families with older kids.

13. English Bulldog

Looking for a couch potato? The English Bulldog is exactly what you want as a pet. Rarely would you see them running around for long. A short walk and a long nap are what they adore. Still, don’t judge them as lazy heads. This doggos are playful and as affectionate as the Pug when it comes to their owners, kids, and strangers. However, they get heartsick when you have another canine in the house or when you ignore them.

English Bullies are like little kids. If you don’t give them what they want, they will turn their back and throw a low growling tantrum.

Take note that this breed is an indoor type. Their flat noses are too sensitive to extreme temperatures.

14. Boston Terrier

Nicknamed as the “American Gentleman”, Boston Terriers are the sweethearts of the hound breed. They are friendly and affectionate to everyone. This breed also loves playing and running around, but during lazy days, you’ll find them cozy on the couch.

Just be careful with this breed because they can be really gluttonous during feeding and they hate the presence of other dogs. Still, they are one of the best dog breeds for families.

15. Maltese

Maltese is always mistaken to be a Bichon Frise or a Shih Tzu. They have the same white and silky hair that wins the heart of many pet owners. Maltese love their families but they are a bit intolerant of little kids as well as strangers. Nevertheless, they are the right blend of playfulness and low energy levels as one of the famous lap dogs.

Maltese are people-pleasers but they can be stubborn at times.  Letting them know that you’re the boss will keep their imposing personality at bay. And since they are adaptable to different environments, novice owners won’t find keeping them too demanding.

What do you think of these best dog breeds for first time owners? Send us your thoughts below!

P.S. If you’re looking for a family dog for the first time, here’s a short guide from WaysAndHow: