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Best Dog Breeds for First Time Owners – Find Your Perfect Puppy Companion

Yorkshire Terrier
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Pet ownership is a responsible task. Being a dog owner and pet parent is not something you should take for granted or lightly. There are responsibilities when you own a puppy. There are a lot of owners that get a puppy just because it looks cute. And when the responsibilities come, they decide it is not what they signed for.

This is one of the reasons why many dogs end up in shelters. When you are a first time dog owner, you should be careful about the pup you want to take home. What are some of the best dog breeds for first time owners?

Here is a tip: each dog is different despite its hardwiring. Trainability, aggression, and prey drive might be characteristic for a dog breed, but it is up to the owner to modify his/her dog’s behavior through nurturing and behavioral training.

Dog Ownership Responsibilities

Before we get to the best dog breeds for first time owners, let’s talk about what your responsibilities as a pet owner are?

What do you need to do to be an amazing dog parent? Here are some tips:

  • Provide regular vaccination for your puppy
  • Maintain a regular worming and flea treatment regime
  • Take your dog to the vet when you notice something is not right
  • Provide a balanced diet for your dog
  • Provide plenty of fresh water throughout the day
  • Use a collar, ID tag, and microchip to identify your puppy
  • Provide an appropriate place for sleeping
  • Complete basic obedience training at a minimum
  • Provide plenty of exercise for your puppy
  • Provide mental stimulation using toys and other forms of enrichment
  • Groom your dog regularly
  • Know your legal obligations
  • Pick up after your dog’s waste

With that in mind, let’s talk about some of the best breeds for novice owners.

Dog Breeds for First Time Owners

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

If you want a friendly and affectionate puppy, one that will feel like part of the family from day 1, you cannot go wrong with Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The Cavalier Spaniel is known for his adaptability and good behavior with people.

This puppy can be easy to train and is quite open with strangers. As one of the best low-maintenance breeds, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is great for someone who is new to dog parenting.

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

Usually, first time owners like a puppy that doesn’t shed. Enter the Bichon Frise, one of the friendliest puppies around. This happy-go-lucky dog is great for a family with small children living in an apartment. The Bichon Frise doesn’t need a lot of exercise and is happy to go anywhere his family goes.

Think of this small cotton ball as an all-around companion dog. Relatively easy to train, the Bichon can adapt to any lifestyle. They need only moderate exercise. But be ready for some cuddles in your lap and a shadow everywhere you go.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

Another great puppy for novice owners is the Shih Tzu. This ancient dog breed can live up to 15 or 16 years. You will have a companion for a long time. The best part is they weigh a maximum of 20 pounds. The Shih Tzu will sit on your lap the whole day if possible.

A really sweet dog who wants your love and affection. Just make sure to socialize them early on. This puppy is not used to city living.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

There is a reason why the Golden Retriever is constantly among the most popular dog breeds by the American Kennel Club. This is a dog where intelligence meets understanding, a combination perfect for a first time owner.

The downside? They need quite a lot of exercise to stay physically stimulated. But they are happy to do anything you want. Hiking? Ready! Playing with other puppies? Always ready! Playing with the children? Of course.



This might come as a surprise seeing how big the Boxer is. But this puppy is goofy and loves to play around. And it loves to spend time with its people.

His most notable feature is the desire for human affection. And that is even bigger when it comes to children. The Boxer loves to play with small children and is quite protective of them.

Labrador Retriever

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The most popular dog breed in the United States is the Labrador Retriever. Think of it as the Golden without a long coat. Labradors can adapt to any environment, any population, and any home. This loyal and affectionate dog will form a close bond with its family.

Active and playful, they are easy to train and a joy to be around. The Labrador thrives in an active household that can provide both physical and mental stimulation.

Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dog

The name says everything, this puppy loves to swim. In the past few years, the Portuguese Water Dog has risen in popularity. And that is because more and more families love to spend time with it. Granted, President Barack Obama had one as well.

This curly dog comes in different colors. Incredibly smart, he is willing to go the extra mile for his owner.



This might be the best dog breed for first time owners with children. Similar to the Golden Retriever, the Beagle has been a family favorite. Because of its relatively smaller size compared to medium dog breeds, the Beagle is a perfect companion dog for children.

The only downside, the Beagle might take a bit more time to house train than other puppies. But it is well worth it.

English Springer Spaniel

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Here is a dog breed that is eager to please its owner. Yes, that is a trait common among spaniels, but the English Springer Spaniel takes it to a whole new level.

This cheerful and affectionate puppy loves its family and loves to stick around. The English Springer Spaniel makes an excellent house pet. Regular daily exercise and regular grooming will be enough to make him happy.


papillon dog

This small and friendly toy dog is excellent for owners who want a little dog. Happy and alert, this tiny dog will be happy living in an apartment. At the same time, they love to play outdoors, but can easily spend hours indoors as well.


Toy Poodle

One of the smartest dog breeds, the Poodle excels in everything you want. If you want a companion dog, the Poodle can be it. If you want a cuddle friend, the Poodle can be that as well.

It comes in different size varieties, which is why it is quite popular. In the past few years, the Poodle is also one of the most popular choices for a mixed breed. The Goldendoodle and Labradoodle are two versions you would love to have.

Yorkshire terrier

Yorkshire terrier

The Yorkshire terrier is a great starter dog if you want a little lap dog. An affectionate breed, the Yorkshire is protective around strangers. Think of this puppy as your own and nothing more. They do not do well with strangers, but they love to spend the whole day with their family.

You might need a bit more training, as a terrier, the Yorkie can be stubborn.

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