You’re thinking of getting your first dog – congratulations! At Dog Ownership Guide, we’re so excited that you’re interested in improving your life this way. There are many benefits to dog ownership, but only if you choose one of the best dogs for first time dog owners.
Why the Dog You Choose Matters to Novice Owners
When you have never owned a dog before, you have a LOT to learn. Why make it more difficult for yourself by choosing a dog breed that’s a bit more challenging than others?
Dog ownership should be a good experience. One in which you become so in love with that you end up being a dog owner to possibly multiple dogs and for the rest of your life. You don’t want to make your first dog owning experience a traumatic one or you may never want to own a new one again, and that would be SO sad.
You’re going to have this new dog for at least 10 years, so let’s make sure you learn the ropes in an easy and stressless way with the best dog breed for you.
The Best Dogs for First Time Dog Owners
To help us with our list of best dogs for first time dog owners, we’ve turned to some experts on dog breeds.
First up, we have Crystal Hinks – owner and operator of Groundwork Puppy Rearing. She recommends the following to first time dog owners:
Potential dog owners need to be realistic about their lifestyles. Getting a very active dog (a lab, weimaraner, border collie) if you aren’t a very active person is a recipe for disaster. So knowing what you can commit to a dog in terms of exercise, training, and general fulfillment is critical.
Liking the look of a dog is not a good enough reason to get a particular breed. Many people think my great dane looks cool and think they would like one without considering the costs to own them or the utter damage they can inflict on a household if they aren’t exercised or trained. The best way to decide on a breed is to look at the activity level, the purpose of the breed, and the temperament of any potential breed.
Hinks recommends the following for the best dogs for first time dog owners:
First Dog Recommendations: Small Dogs
Small dogs are the best dogs for first time dog owners for many people. They don’t require a lot of exercise, don’t eat much, and as long as you choose a dog that isn’t too high strung, you’ll likely have an easy time with the care of your first dog. The following are some dogs you may want to consider:
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
These little dogs are not only adorable, but they make sweet, quiet, loving pets for first time dog owners. They are highly trainable, bond well with their owners, and love children.
These fluffballs are quiet, easy to train, and do not often have the same Napoleon complex as many other small breeds. They love cuddling with their humans and don’t require a ton of exercise.
First Dog Recommendations: Medium to Large Dogs
Just because you’ve never had a dog, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a medium to large dog. You just need to choose from low maintenance dogs for first time dog owners. The following are some of those dogs:
These dogs are intelligent, boisterous, and happy-go-lucky. They love everyone, including strangers, children, other dogs, and other pets (such as cats).
I always say it’s pretty hard to screw up a golden retriever. They have friendly, loving, happy personalities and are great with people, children, other dogs, and other pets. They aim to please, which makes training a breeze.
First Dog Recommendations: Large to X-Large Dogs
Again, just because you’ve never had a dog, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a giant dog. You just need to choose from the many low maintenance dogs for first time dog owners. Here are two to get you started:
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (GSMD) / Bernese Mountain Dog (BMD)
The family of mountain dogs makes solid pets for first-time owners. The GSMD has a short coat which may be preferable to owners that don’t want the responsibility of grooming. The GSMD has a more serious personality, whereas the BMD is more bubbly. Mountain dogs are incredibly loyal, are excellent with children, and are intelligent, highly trainable, and even-tempered.
These huge shaggy dogs are a great choice for first-time dog owners that want a giant breed dog. Although hair maintenance can be a deterrent, their sweet personalities are more than makeup for the work. They are very low energy, social, easy-going giants that need moderate exercise.
Additional Recommendations for First Time Dog Owners
Nick Kustka, a licensed pet behaviorist and author at Pango Pets recommends:
Labs are well-known as one of the most popular dog breeds, and they make excellent family pets because of their playful demeanor and friendly nature. They love to spend time with people and get along well with other dogs.
Beagles are one of the friendliest and most affectionate dog breeds. They’re very energetic and love to run around outside, but they also enjoy being inside with their families. Beagles can be trained easily and are easygoing enough for even first-time owners to handle.
Bulldogs were originally bred in England as hunting dogs, so they’re known for having a strong prey drive—they’ll chase after anything that moves! But if you’re not an active person who likes to go running around outside, this might not be the best breed for you—they tend to get bored easily without plenty of toys or activities to keep them busy indoors instead.
Dog Breeds Novice Owners Should Avoid
On the flip side, we turned to Dr. Linda Simon, a veterinary surgeon and consultant for FiveBarks, for her recommendations for what new owners should stay away from when choosing their first dog.
“What we wouldn’t advise would be to get a breed with a requirement for a lot of training or one who is prone to aggression or guarding behaviors. Breeds including the Belgian Malinois, Chow Chow, and Akita should be taken on by experienced owners only.
I’d urge owners not to be swept away by dogs they see on social media or in marketing campaigns. Popular breeds like Huskies and Cockapoos won’t always make the best choices for first time owners as they can be demanding and need a lot of attention and experience.”
How to Choose the Best Dog Breed for Your Home
Low maintenance dogs for first time dog owners is the way to go when it comes to choosing your first dog. The other consideration is energy level and the size of your home. If you have a large home, a large size dog with a moderate energy level may work for you. If you live in a small home or apartment, you may want to consider a small breed with low energy levels.
With any dog, keep in mind there is still work involved. Daily walks are great for all dogs no matter their size or breed. Regular brushing is good for connecting with your pup and for good skin and coat health. If none of this “work” concerns you, you’re on your way to becoming a first time dog owner.
Where to Find Your New Dog
The local shelter is a great place to find a new dog. Many of them are not puppies and are housebroken, so you’ll at least not have to worry about that training. On the other hand, some doggies come with some behavior problems due to coming from a bad situation. It may take some time for your shelter pup to get used to you, your home, and your family. Love, attention, and some discipline are usually enough to make shelter pups into great dogs.
You can also find a breeder that has puppies for the breed you’re choosing. While you will have the puppy stage and everything that comes along with it, some people believe it’s worth it. Brand new puppies may not be very low maintenance at first, but after a few months, they are trained and easily cared for even by those who have never owned a dog.
A First Time Dog Owner’s Checklist
As you’re getting ready to welcome a doggie into your home, be sure you review our First Time Dog Owner’s Checklist to ensure you have everything you need for your furbaby.
This is such an exciting time and we’re so happy you’re here learning all you can about owning a dog. Always remember – Happy Dogs ~ Happy Owners.
Feel free to leave comments below with questions for us about choosing your first dog or owning a new dog. We would love to help!