Owner with brown bulldog
© Pixabay

6 best dogs for first time owners

By Ashley Murphy Content Writer

Updated on the

Deciding to get a dog requires a lot of thought. So, with all the things you need to consider, here’s some information on the best dog breeds for first-time owners.

Best first-time dog: a few things to consider

A dog needs to be right for you; more importantly, you need to be right for the dog. Much of this will depend on your lifestyle. For example, how much space do you have? Have you got the time to take a dog out for long walks and runs? Is the dog going to be left alone for long periods of time? What about the cost of seeing a vet? Or buying food? Toys? How much does it cost to groom them? What if you want to go on holiday?

That might seem like a lot of questions! But, before you adopt a dog, you’ll need to find an answer for all of them.

Best dog breeds for first-time owners

1# Boxer

Although boxers are quite hyperactive, they’re pretty easy to train (even for the first time dog owner.) They're playful, gentle, and loving animals. Boxers are great with kids and other animals too. Their short coats don't require much grooming and, although they need plenty of regular exercise, their needs won't overwhelm the less experienced owner.

Boxers are great family dogs©Pixabay

2# Yorkshire  terrier

A great little “starter” dog, the Yorkshire terrier is a kind-hearted breed that loves being around people. Their tiny legs require a moderate amount of exercise, although they will need a bit more grooming than other breeds. This will take time and cost money, so do plenty of research before committing to anything. The Yorkshire terrier is loyal and forms a very special bond with its owner.

Yorkshire terriers are fun and friendly©Pixabay

3# Labrador

The Labrador retriever is a great choice for people who want a more active dog. This medium-sized breed is enthusiastic without being overbearing, and they’re also one of the easiest breeds to train. In fact, Labradors love learning and are always keen to impress their new owners. They really enjoy being around people and are especially good around younger children. Just be careful not to overfeed them. Labradors can be greedy, and they have no shame in using puppy eyes to get more treats. So stay strong! Overfeeding a Labrador can lead to obesity, and that can lead to very serious health problems.

Labradors are easy to train©Pixabay

4# Poodle

The Poodle is a very versatile breed, making it a great choice for first-time dog owners. It comes in three sizes: toy, miniature, and standard. All three need regular exercise, but the Standard requires much more than its smaller relatives. Poodles are also very intelligent and much easier to train than other breeds. First-time owners need to be mindful of the Poodles grooming needs. These can be time-consuming and expensive.

Poodles are very intelligent©Pixabay

5# Cavalier King Charles spaniel

These cute dogs are small but full of character.  Despite their long coats, the Cavaliers grooming needs are pretty basic - a weekly brush will keep their fur clean and healthy. The Cavalier also responds well to training. A first-time owner will have no problems teaching this dog the basics.

Cavaliers are a good choice for inexperienced owners©Pixabay

6# Mixed breeds

Often overlooked in these kinds of lists, mixed breeds have loads of great qualities. They're usually much healthier than pure breeds, saving their owners the emotional stress of looking after a sick dog, as well as reducing the financial burden. These unique characters often inherit the best parts of both parent breeds, and no two mixed breeds are ever alike. Despite the long list of positives,  mixed breeds are usually ignored by would-be owners. Animal shelters are full of mixed breeds mixed breeds waiting to be rehomed. Adopting one is a really special thing to do.

Mixed breeds can be healthier than pure breeds©Pixabay

First-time dog owners: which breeds to avoid

As a general rule, there are some breeds which a first-time owner should avoid. Don't go for anything that is too powerful, too intelligent, or too stubborn. Examples include:

These dogs require an expert hand. They're big, powerful, independent creatures that could easily overwhelm first-time owners. These dogs are beautiful and impressive creatures, but think with your head rather than your heart. It will save you and the dog a lot of trouble.

Owning a dog is a really rewarding experience, but it should never be considered lightly. Remember, most dogs can live up to 10-12 years - that’s a huge commitment by anyone's standard. Responsible dog ownership means feeding them the right foods, monitoring their health, making sure they get enough exercise, and raising them in a way that produces a happy and safe dog. It's not easy. But, if you get it right, you’ll have a new best friend for life!

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