Before you become a dog owner, there are some things that you should consider. Not all breeds will be the perfect dog for new owners, as a number of them require certain care and experience, but there are still tons of breeds that make great first-time pets. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 best dog breeds for you.
In this guide, you will discover which dog breeds are the best for first-time owners, as well as some extra information about buying or adopting a dog. You’ll want to make sure you have everything in place before you bring home your furry friend!
The Best Dog Breeds for First-Time Owners
Before we get started with our list of the top 10 best dogs for first-time owners, let’s look at why dog breeds matter.
Why Dog Breed Matters
There are so many dog breeds out there and at least one of them is your perfect match. Each dog is unique, with every one possessing their own individual size, color, fur type, and personality.
While some dogs were bred to be hunters, others were bred for herding sheep and other farm animals. There are even several variations of dogs that were bred to be loyal lap dogs; which are well-tempered and aren’t as energetic as, say, golden retrievers.
As a first-time dog parent, the task of finding the right breed for your home may feel impossible. But there are plenty of dogs out there that are easy to train and made just for you.
Watching videos on dog sports, and seeing lap dogs and toy poodles parade around, may make you feel like that breed of dog is the one for you. Be careful! You don’t want to be fooled by the hype of a sensationalized breed.
No matter which dog you choose as your first, they will need plenty of exercise and perhaps even obedience training. Not all dogs have the same background. Younger dogs and puppies will need more training and exercise to burn off their extra energy. On the other hand, dogs that are a few years old will be more settled and their personalities less likely to change.
The canine world is full of highly trainable dogs. One of them could end up being the best first dog for your home.
Adopting an Adult Dog
When you’re looking for a dog, consider adopting one that isn’t a puppy. Many families look for puppies first, but the reason behind this choice is usually superficial. Puppies are adorable, but they require a lot more work than an older dog.
Adult dogs are, more often than not, fully trained. For a family where there are young children in the house, time is already sparse without adding puppy training into the mix. It’s better to take on a puppy once you have some experience.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few good choices. The best adult dogs for new owners are often those that have positive personality traits, require a good amount of daily exercise, and can quickly adapt and become great family members.
Good Dog Breeds
As dogs get older, they settle into themselves. An adult dog is a great choice for any beginner because they aren’t going to give you many surprises. This becomes truer and truer the older a dog is.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Stunningly cute dogs that remind many owners of Lady from Lady and the Tramp, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is known as one of the best dog breeds.
These are smart, small dogs that don’t need reminders when being taught new things and can pick up commands on the first go. They’re easy to train, although they will need regular grooming for their long coats.
In terms of health, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel shares similar issues to the Pug. Take a look below!
The Pug is a short and compact dog breed that is as happy to play as they are to rest.
Unfortunately, Pugs have the potential to have a handful of medical conditions or problems during their lifetime. This is due to their biology and the issues caused by their shorter, squashed snout.
Although Pugs are easy to train, and eager to please, any novice owner will need to ensure that they are willing and ready to care for their Pug if they become unwell.
A dog that requires regular grooming, the Shih Tzu is an energetic pup that has little strength, but a good amount of intelligence.
Shih Tzus are a great dog if you have kids because they’re actually quite athletic (we were just as surprised as you!). These little fellows can certainly keep up with the young ones. As a small dog, parents won’t feel concerned having them around babies or toddlers.
This dog may seem like they’re ready to take off running (and they were bred for it), but you’ll be surprised to know that the Whippet breed is full of couch potatoes.
With a short coat of fur, your Whippet won’t need much regular grooming. They may, however, benefit from a dog jacket if you live in a colder climate or if the temperature tends to drop rapidly.
Ideally, take your Whippet out for a good amount of exercise. They enjoy the occasional sprint, but will otherwise be happy with simple, daily walks.
The Greyhound is another racing dog that will need decent exercise and is a wonderful breed to consider adopting.
After their racing career is over, many retired Greyhounds end up with charitable organizations or shelters that try to find them a new home.
They’re good dogs for first-time owners because they have surprisingly calm personalities. It’s best for them to be with other animals their size, as Greyhounds are trained to chase after small animals and objects from early on in their lives.
If you do adopt a Greyhound, they will need a lot of love and exercise.
An amazing dog breed for beginners, the Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular dogs in the western world. You won’t need much experience with dogs to keep a Lab happy.
A quick but important note: Be sure that you’re adopting the variant of Labrador that are bred to be pets and not hunting dogs.
Labrador Retrievers are extremely intelligent and can make a great companion for almost anyone. They enjoy exercise, and you’ll often find them employed as service dogs.
Next, we have the Golden Retriever, which are basically next-level Labradors. They are commonly trained to be service dogs for individuals who need extra assistance to get around, and are also slightly smarter than the standard Lab.
Golden Retrievers also make great companions. Truthfully, there are few differences between the dogs – though Golden Retrievers do need a more regular grooming schedule due to their longer coats.
Whichever you choose, both are great dogs around children, and are equally very friendly.
The Bichon Frise is tiny, fluffy, and great for new owners who don’t have a lot of space.
These little dogs are descended from poodle-like breeds, but ultimately represent their own sect. In fact, they aren’t part of the poodle breed at all!
What they are, however, are happy go-lucky little pups with a gentle nature. They’re perfect for family households and good around children.
Also known as the “Yorkie“, this small breed of dog is great for anyone looking for their first pupper.
They don’t need a lot of work to be socialized, and once they’ve made that progress, they’ll be great with other members of your household. Give them just enough attention and you’ll soon have a friendly, lively dog following you around and begging for treats.
Mixed Breed Dogs
Choosing a mixed breed could be the best option for you, but you have to consider that you might be choosing a dog without knowing much about their background. To avoid any surprises, adopt your mixed breed dog from a shelter, organization, or home which has available information on the dog’s parents.
A mixed breed is, most likely, going to display traits of both their mother and father. By having their parental history, you won’t be hit with any unexpected surprises as the dog grows and gets older.
That said, try to avoid situations where you are matched with a dog of unknown parentage. As someone who is new to dog ownership, even though you might want to adopt the first fluffy friend see, you need to think about what dog would fit best with your family.
As you gain more dog owner experience, you will become more familiar with the different dog breeds and their behaviors.
Outside the idea of having a family dog, a first-time owner may also be looking to enter dog competitions and sports. You would certainly want to avoid mixed breed dogs of unknown lineage if you are looking at the competitive dog world. Purebreds are the way to go there!
Puppies for First-Time Owners
We would recommend any of these 10 best dog breeds for people looking to adopt a puppy, rather than an adult dog.
In addition to our highlighted dogs, there’s also a number of others that make great pets, whether they’re young or old.
Here are a few of them:
There will always be a lot more training involved when you take in a puppy, in comparison to an older dog. Be patient, be kind, and consider dog training services if you find yourself struggling with the required commitment.
What to Do When Adopting Dogs Online
It can seem all too simple to adopt a new dog in the digital age. There are several websites dedicated to buying and selling animals, and those are just the ones for individuals, not including organizations or charities.
When it comes to being safe online, you may feel like you’re pretty good at protecting yourself. But it’s hard to prepare for a scam that you don’t see coming.
Do not pay online for your dog. This is the number one rule that we want you to remember when looking for puppies online. Only pay in-person when you pick up your new pup and are happy with their health. Not a moment before.
Avoiding Breeders for Puppies
Puppy breeders are easy to spot. They appear constantly on social media, pet selling pages, and pet websites. Every few weeks, they are certain to have a new litter of puppies ready to be re-homed.
These backyard breeders will charge extortionate amounts for their puppies. They will claim that their pups are purebred, yet they will have no paperwork or family history for them.
The mother will appear in one photo or not at all. The breeder’s online profile will be full of puppy pictures.
Identifying a breeder is easy when you know what to look for. Don’t feed a cruel practice.
Consider the Life of the Dog
Consider the lifespan of your pup. First-time dog owners may not take into account how long they will have their dog for. A dog can live for at least 12 years (barring any health issues or accidents).
This is just the average lifespan of a dog, too. There are several dog breeds that can live up to 18 years of age.
Dogs should never be treated as a holiday present or a tool to eliminate your child’s boredom. First-time owners will quickly realize how beneficial it can be to own a dog. They are wonderful companions; extremely loyal and affectionate. But they require commitment, attention, and care, too.
Adopt An Old Dog
The last topic we’d like to highlight is regarding old dogs. They are the last to be adopted, and if placed in a shelter, don’t often find a home.
People often prefer puppies or younger dogs over those who are in their twilight years. Yet, old dogs are among the most affectionate. All they are looking for is a calm and caring home to live out the rest of their years in. Be that home for them, and they’ll likely remember it forever.