10 Best Dogs For First Time Owners

Are you considering adding a four-legged friend to your home or family?

While you may love all dogs, not all dogs are the best dogs for first time owners. In today’s article, we are going to help you discover which type of dog would be best for you, and then talk about some of the 10 best dogs for first time owners.

Let’s get started!

What Are The Best Dogs For First Time Dog Owners?

Pic 1 a labradoodle and a lab
The best dogs for first time owners are going to be eager to please and highly trainable.

Many novice dog enthusiasts tend to pick dogs based on appearance, a Hollywood stigma, or other superficial ideals that don’t matter much when it comes to pairing a dog with the right owner.

Like people, different dogs have different personalities, exercise needs, care requirements, and temperamental traits. Sadly, shelters are full of dogs who were not the proper match for their family.

So, instead of choosing a dog based on his coat color, size, or a movie you once saw, it’s much better to choose a dog based on research, your lifestyle, and how much time you have to be able to commit to raising a canine companion.

Some of the best dogs for first time owners are going to be dogs who are eager to please, easy to train, family-friendly, and more laid back.

These dogs generally require less in the way of maintenance, though to be clear, all dogs require a certain amount of commitment and time.

For that reason, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions before beginning your search for the best dogs for first time owners.

Questions To Ask Yourself Before Getting A Dog

Pic 2 a couple with a dog outside
Before getting your dog, consider your lifestyle. 

Remember, not all dogs are the best dogs for first time owners. Before beginning your search for the right dog for you, ask yourself some questions:

What Is My Lifestyle Like? 

Consider your lifestyle. This should include your home environment, your work schedule, and how you enjoy spending your free time.

When looking for the best dogs for first time owners, try and remember that you need to match your dog’s unique needs as much as your dog needs to match yours.

Do You Want An Independent Dog Or A Close Companion?

When looking for the best dogs for first time owners, some first time dog owners don’t realize that certain breeds are more demanding than others. In fact, dogs who were bred as working dogs tend to be more independent, while those bred specifically as companion dogs require much more love and affection.

What Are The Temperament Traits of Your Dream Dog? 

This is a fun little exercise for first time dog owners because it gives you an opportunity to visualize what your ideal dog-human bond would look like.

Some people imagine a dog who curls up on their lap while they work from home. Others imagine a larger breed who is able to hike up difficult terrain and explore new mountain trails.

What does your ideal dog look like? While this dream dog may not exist completely, it’s still a good idea to have an idea of what you are looking for. This can help when you’re researching which types of dogs are the best dogs for first time owners.

Alright, now that you’ve got your dream dog in mind, let’s get to the fun stuff. Here are 10 of the best dogs for first time owners!

1. The Labrador Retriever

Pic 3 a labrador retriever 1
Labs are playful and energetic, and do well with active families.

Classification: Purebred

Average Weight: 55 – 80 Pounds

Average Height: 21.5 – 24.5 Inches

Average Temperamental Traits: Intelligent, family-oriented, playful, energetic

Average Lifespan: 10 – 12 Years

Hypoallergenic: No

Common Health Issues: Hip and elbow dysplasia, heart issues, progressive retinal atrophy, hereditary myopathy, exercise induced collapse, and bloat

Pros: 

  • Playful
  • Affectionate
  • Outgoing
  • Friendly
  • Eager To Please
  • Highly Trainable
  • Moderate Grooming Needs

Cons:

  • High-Energy
  • Puppylike into Adulthood
  • Requires Daily Exercise and Mental Stimulation
  • Can Be Prone To Destructive Behaviors

Ideal Owners: Active families, singles, couples, outdoorsy people

Labrador Retriever Overview:

The Labrador Retriever is a family favorite for a reason. Sitting at number 1 out of 196 on the American Kennel Club’s list of America’s most popular dog breeds, the Lab is an outgoing, family-friendly companion dog.

He is eager to please, easy to train, and a joy to work with. He knows no strangers and makes a wonderful companion to families with children and other pets.

However, the Lab requires plenty of daly exercise and mental stimulation in order to stay happy and healthy. He is also a shedding dog who requires moderate grooming.

2. The Golden Retriever

Pic 4 a golden retriever outsideGolden Retrievers are active, outgoing dogs who do well with children and other pets.

Classification: Purebred

Average Weight: 55 – 65 Pounds

Average Height: 21.5 – 24 Inches

Average Temperamental Traits: Loyal, Friendly, Playful

Average Lifespan: 10 – 12 Years

Hypoallergenic: No

Common Health Issues: Hip and elbow dysplasia, juvenile cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, pigmentary uveitis, subvalvular aortic stenosis, and ear infections

Pros: 

Cons: 

  • Vigorous Exercise Needs
  • Requires Routine Grooming
  • Could Be Prone To Destructive Behavior
  • High-Shedding
  • Not Ideal Apartment Dogs

Ideal Owners: Families with children and other pets, young singles, active owners who enjoy the outdoors

Golden Retriever Overview:

The even-tempered Golden Retriever is another one of the best dogs for first time owners. Popular, beautiful, and friendly to boot, the Golden Retriever does best in homes with active families who have plenty of time to commit to training, exercise and play.

This is a dog who will thrive in homes with a backyard where he can run and play, and he will enjoy having children in the home to entertain. Golden Retrievers also get along well with other pets.

However, they are heavy shedders who require routine grooming and will not be best suited for those who suffer from allergies.

3. The Goldendoodle

Pic 5 a goldendoodle
Goldendoodles are one of the most popular hybrid dogs in the US. 

A Cross Between: A Golden Retriever and A Poodle

Average Weight: 15 – 90 Pounds

Average Height: 13 – 26 Inches

Average Temperamental Traits: Intelligent, Playful, Eager To Please, Affectionate

Average Lifespan: 10 – 15 Years

Hypoallergenic: Potentially

Common Health Issues: hip dysplasia, sebaceous adenitis, subvalvular aortic stenosis, progressive retinal atrophy, glaucoma,cataracts, and Addison’s disease.

Pros: 

  • Highly Intelligent
  • Playful
  • Trainable
  • Eager to Please
  • Comes in Different Size Varietes
  • Could be Hypoallergenic
  • Gets Along Well With Children and Other pets

Cons: 

Ideal Owners: Active families, singles, or individuals who enjoy the outdoors and have a backyard.

Goldendoodle Overview:

The Goldendoodle is one of the best dogs for first time owners who suffer from allergies, as this dog has the potential to be hypoallergenic.

Goldendoodles are also one of the most popular hybrid dogs to date, and are a family favorite. They get along well with children and other pets, are eager to please and very easy to train.

However, these pups can also be incredibly energetic and will require lots of time, attention and training to ensure they grow up happy and healthy.

4. The Labradoodle

Pic 6 a black labradoodle
Labradoodles have the potential to be hypoallergenic. 

A Cross Between: A Labrador Retriever and A Poodle

Average Weight: 12 – 80 Pounds

Average Weight: 10 – 26 Inches

Average Temperamental Traits: Smart, Outgoing, Family-Friendly, Eager To Please

Average Lifespan: 12 – 15 Years

Hypoallergenic: Potentially

Common Health Issues: Hip and elbow dysplasia, von Willebrand’s disease, and progressive retinal atrophy

Pros: 

  • Very Intelligent
  • Eager to Please
  • Gets Along Well With Children and Other Pets
  • Friendly
  • Affectionate
  • Can Come in Different Size Varieties

Cons:

Ideal Owners: Active families, singles, outdoorsy folks, and owners with a flexible schedule

Labradoodle Overview:

The Labradoodle is another one of the best dogs for first time owners who suffer from allergies. This potentially hypoallergenic crossbreed is friendly, active, outgoing and great for young families.

He does best in homes with a backyard and with families who are able to commit to training and exercise. A mix between two intelligent purebreds, the Labradoodle will also require plenty of mental stimulation each and every day.

If left to his own devices, the Labradoodle can become depressed, anxious and destructive.

5. The Boxer

Pic 7 a boxer
Boxers are energetic, playful, and have excellent comedic timing. 

Classification: Purebred

Average Weight: 65 – 80 Pounds

Average Height: 21.5 – 25 Inches

Average Temperamental Traits: Playful, Outgoing, Clever, Energetic

Average Lifespan: 10 – 12 Years

Hypoallergenic: No

Common Health Issues: Intolerance to extreme weather conditions, hip and elbow dysplasia, aortic stenosis, cardiomyopathy, degenerative myelopathy, thyroid deficiency, and cancer.

Pros: 

  • Cheerful
  • Playful
  • Quick To Learn
  • Family-Oriented
  • Loyal
  • Affectionate

Cons: 

  • Can Be Stubborn
  • Can Suffer From Separation Anxiety
  • Requires Lots of Exercise
  • High-Energy
  • Routine Grooming Needs
  • Potential for Destructive Behaviors

Ideal Owners: Young, active families, singles or people who enjoy being outdoors. Requires a backyard to run and play and will do best in homes with owners who have flexible schedules.

Boxer Overview:

The Boxer is adored for his adorable face and infectious temperament, but did you know he is also one of the best dogs for first time owners? This clever dog is a short-coated dog who, though he does shed, doesn’t shed too heavily.

When properly trained and socialized, the Boxer gets along well with children and other pets, though he is known to be quite energetic and active. This is a breed who needs daily routine exercise and mental stimulation, and is a great candidate for crate training while his owners are away.

When done properly, crate training can help reduce anxiety in Boxers and protect them (and your home) from destructive behaviors like chewing, potty accidents and more.

6. The Papillion

Pic 8 a Papillion
The beautiful Papillion is a small dog who is an excellent first-time companion for more relaxed owners.

Classification: Purebreed

Average Weight: 5 – 10 Pounds

Average Height: 8 – 11 Inches

Average Temperamental Traits: Clever, Friendly, Focused, Happy

Average Lifespan: 14 – 16 Years

Hypoallergenic: No

Common Health Issues: Collapsed trachea, accidental injury if handled too roughly, fontanel spot (AKA soft spot on the top of the skull), and patellar luxation.

Pros: 

  • Smart
  • Affectionate
  • Devoted
  • People-Oriented
  • Beautiful
  • Long-Lived
  • Relatively Healthy
  • Great for Apartment Living

Cons:

  • High-Shedding
  • Not Recommended For Small Children
  • Can Be Very Sensitive
  • Can Be Prone To Injury
  • Prone to Separation Anxiety
  • Can Be Vocal

Ideal Owners: Families with older children, seniors, singles, and those with a flexible schedule who are looking for a purposefully-bred companion dog

Papillion Overview:

The tiny Papillion is an excellent little lap dog and is one of the best dogs for first time owners looking for a constant companion. Sometimes referred to as a ‘velcro dog’, the Papillion is an affectionate little pooch who does best in homes with owners who can spend most of their time with him.

This is not one of the best dogs for first time owners looking for an independent dog or a dog for small children. The Papillion can be prone to serious injury if handled too roughly. That said, this is a sweet natured pup who will enjoy being cuddled and loved all day. He does well in apartments and is an excellent companion for more low-key people.

7. The Poodle

Pic 9 a white poodle
The Poodle is just as intelligent as he is stunning.

Classification: Purebred

Average Weight: 10 – 70  Pounds

Average Height: 10 – 24 Inches

Average Temperamental Traits: Intelligent, Active, Proud, Friendly

Average Lifespan: 10 – 18 Years

Hypoallergenic: Yes

Common Health Issues: Hip and elbow dysplasia, idiopathic epilepsy, eye disorders, sebaceous adenitis, immune-mediated disorders, Legg-Calve-Perthes, luxating patella, and von Willebrand’s disease.

Pros: 

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Can Come in 3 Size Variations
  • Highly Trainable
  • Very Intelligent
  • Eager to Please
  • Active
  • Outgoing
  • Family-Oriented
  • Gentle

Cons: 

  • Routine Grooming Needs
  • Routine, Daily Exercise
  • May Have a High Prey Drive
  • Can Be Prone to Separation Anxiety

Ideal owners: Young, active families, singles or people with a backyard and ability to walk and play with their Poodle each and every day

Poodle Overview:

Poodles are popular for their fanciful coats, but they are also beloved for their clever minds and eagerness to please. One of the best dogs for first time owners, Poodles come in three size variations including miniature, toy and standard.

They get along well with people and dogs, though they may have a high prey drive. They should not be left alone with smaller pets like rodents and birds, and should be walked on a leash and harness when outside of their home or fenced yard.

Poodles require routine exercise and grooming to ensure they are happy and healthy, and will do best with owners who can provide them with plenty of mental stimulation.

Because they are hypoallergenic, Poodles are also one of the best dogs for first time owners who suffer from allergies.

8. The Bichon Frise

Pic 10 a Bichon Frise
The hypoallergenic Bichon Frise is an excellent dog for first time owners who suffer from allergies.

Classification: Purebreed

Average Weight: 12 – 18 Pounds

Average Height: 9.5 – 11.5

Average Temperamental Traits: Happy, Inquisitive, Playful, Spirited

Average Lifespan: 14 – 15 years

Hypoallergenic: Yes

Common Health Issues:  Luxating patella, cataract, dental disease, ear infections, skin allergies and bladder infections.

Pros: 

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Small and Compact
  • Friendly
  • Affectionate
  • Playful
  • Get Along Well With Children and Other Pets
  • Great Apartment Dog

Cons: 

  • Prone to Separation Anxiety
  • Can Be Easily Injured if Handled Too Roughly
  • Requires Routine Grooming
  • May Be Difficult To Housetrain

Ideal Owners: Families with older children, seniors, singles, or couples who are home often and are looking for a devoted companion dog.

Bichon Frise Overview:

The beautiful and affectionate Bichon Frise makes one of the best dogs for first time owners who work from home or have flexible schedules. The Bichon Frise also does well with older, more gentle children and other pets.

However, they can be prone to injury if handled too roughly, so make sure to monitor youngsters or more active, larger dogs around this tiny pup.

The Bichon Frise is also one of the best dogs for first time owners in apartments. That said, due to his small size, he can be difficult to housetrain. Time and attention must be taken to ensure your Bichon is trained gently and effectively. Avoid punishments with this sensitive breed and use positive reinforcement like treats and praise.

9. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Pic 11 a cavalier king charles
The Cavalier King Charles is a sweet-natured and family-friendly dog who does well with children and other pets. 

Classification: Purebreed

Average Weight:  25 – 70 Pounds

Average Temperamental Traits: Loyal, family-oriented, intelligent, active.

Average Lifespan: 10 – 12 Years

Hypoallergenic: No

Common Health Issues: Cataracts, patella luxation, ear infections, mitral valve heart disease, hip dysplasia, and syringomyelia.

Pros: 

  • Intelligent
  • Happy
  • Affectionate
  • Does Well With Children and Other Dogs
  • Friendly
  • Good Travel Companions
  • Quiet
  • Low Maintenance
  • Highly Trainable

Cons: 

  • Routine Brushing and Grooming Needs
  • Prone to Ear Infections
  • Prone to Obesity
  • May Have A High Prey Drive
  • Can be Costly as Puppies
  • Prone to Separation Anxiety

Ideal Owners: Families, singles, seniors, and those with flexible schedules who can spend plenty of time with this sweet and family-oriented dog.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Overview

The Cavalier King Charles is certainly one of the best dogs for first time owners, but he’s not the best dog for those who are very busy or not home often. This is a breed who is very people-oriented and can become depressed and anxious if left to his own devices for too long.

A quiet little dog, Cavalier King Charels dogs do excellent in apartments so long as their exercise needs are met.

They are not hypoallergenic, but do not shed excessively. Their compact size also makes them ideal for those who enjoy travel.

10. The Cavapoo

Pic 12 a cavapoo
The adorable Cavapoo is a sweet, intelligent, and friendly addition to any first-time dog owning family. 

A Cross Between: A Cavalier King Charles and a Miniature Poodle

Average Weight: 9 – 25 Pounds

Average Height: 9 – 14 Inches

Average Temperamental Traits: Affectionate, Playful, Clever, People-Oriented, Friendly

Average Lifespan: 12 – 15 Years

Hypoallergenic: Potentially

Common Health Issues: Cataracts, patella luxation, ear infections, mitral valve heart disease, syringomyelia, hip dysplasia, idiopathic epilepsy, eye disorders, sebaceous adenitis, immune-mediated disorders, Legg-Calve-Perthes, luxating patella, and von Willebrand’s disease.

Pros: 

  • Intelligent
  • Eager To Please
  • Easy To Train
  • Potential To Be Hypoallergenic
  • Friendly
  • Family-Oriented
  • Playful
  • Affectionate
  • A Great Apartment Dog

Cons: 

  • Susceptible to Separation Anxiety
  • Potential High-Prey Drive
  • May Be More Costly Than Other Hybrids

Ideal Owners: Families with children and other dogs, singles, couples, and seniors looking for a companion.

Cavapoo Overview:

The Cavapoo is a hybrid mix between the Poodle and the Cavalier King Charles. Like the Labradoodle and the Goldendoodle, the Cavipoo is one of the best dogs for first time owners who suffer from allergies.

He is also a wonderful companion to those looking for an easy-going, easy to train dog. The Cavipoo is an eager to please, sweet, and affectionate dog. He does well with children and other pets and is just compact enough in size to make him the ideal travel companion.

Tips On Raising The Best Dogs For First Time Owners

Pic 13 a family washing a golden retriever
Keep up with routine grooming, exercise, socialization and training to ensure your dog grows up happy and healthy. 

As we mentioned above, all dogs require a certain amount of time, commitment, patience and care. Are you wondering how to properly raise one of the best dogs for first time owners?

Then follow the below tips from our experts:

Socialization

Even the best dogs for first time owners require consistent socialization beginning at an early age. Properly socializing a dog can reduce anxiety, stress, and behavioral issues like fear-based aggression, reactivity, barking, chewing, nipping and over-excitement.

To properly socialize a pup, owners should introduce their dogs to new experiences, people, places and things as often as possible. It is also just as important to ensure these first impressions are positive for your dog.

Training

Just as with socialization, it’s imperative that the best dogs for first time owners are properly trained.

When training one of the best dogs for first time owners above, refrain from punishments like scolding and instead use positive reinforcement techniques like treats and praise. Remember, your dog wants to please you, and can easily shut down if he feels he hasn’t.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Dogs who are not properly exercised or kept mentally stimulated can develop behavioral and health issues including depression, anxiety, destructive behaviors, and even obesity. If you’re not sure how much exercise your dog needs, speak with a trainer or trusted veterinarian.

Grooming

Grooming not only helps keep your dog healthy and his coat and skin looking their best, but it is also an excellent way for you to build a trusting bond with your dog.

Proper grooming for the best dogs for first time owners includes routine brushing, nail clippings, ear cleanings, teeth cleanings, and occasional bathing.

Diet 

A healthy diet ensures your dog has the energy he needs to thrive. The best doggy diet will be a quality dog food that is rich in real animal proteins, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and water.

Steer clear of dog foods that contain additives, soy, wheat, by-products, fillers, and artificial dyes or flavors.

Vet Visits

Keeping up with routine vet visits will not only ensure your dog is healthy, but can also catch potential illnesses before they become too serious. This can even help you save money in the long run.

Choosing the Best Dogs For First Time Owners – How To Find the Healthiest Puppy Or Rescue Dog

Pic 14 a golden retriever puppy
Make sure to do plenty of research and go through reputable sources when getting a puppy. 

Raising a healthy dog begins before you even get your dog, so make sure you go through reputable sources when looking for one of the best dogs for first time owners.

When going through a breeder, make sure you ask questions and do plenty of research. Reputable breeders should be able to provide you with a certificate of health proving their puppies have been cleared of any serious health issues.

Avoid going through backyard breeders when looking for the best dogs for first time owners. Also stay away from unqualified sellers or those offering puppies at a bargain price without certification. Doing so could make you the unwitting supporter of puppy mills and you have a much more likely chance of winding up with a sick puppy.

You also have the option of going through a rescue or a shelter to find the best dogs for first time owners.

Many shelters throughout the US specialize in the above 10 best dogs for first time owners, as well as many other breeds and mixes.

Adopting a dog has plenty of benefits and is a very rewarding experience. Not to mention it is about a fraction of the cost of going through a breeder.

And remember, when choosing one of the best dogs for first time owners, ask plenty of questions, do lots of research, and take your time to ensure you find the right dog for you and your unique lifestyle.

So, now it’s your turn. Which of the above best dogs for first time owners do you think is right for you? We would love to hear from you. Leave us your thoughts in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading!

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