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10 Best Dogs for First Time Owners

Getting your 1st pet is one of the most exciting times in your life - these sweet pups bring an endless amount of joy and laughs. 

But what breed makes the best dogs for a first time owner? Inexperienced dog owners don’t know what to expect or how they’ll handle a first-time dog. 

Not all households are the same, and every breed of pup brings something different to the table. Some people want an easy-going dog breed, while some might need a furry running buddy with lots of energy to burn. 

We’ve rounded up the top ten breeds that make the best first dogs for owners based on their unique needs. 

Choosing a puppy: how to find the right fit

How do you choose the right pup for you?

Weigh up your options based on individual needs and read up on how to prepare for a puppy. Come up with your list of wants and needs, and compare each breed to see what fit is best to find a good fit for your first time dog. 

Consider the following when choosing a new dog:

  • Energy levels. Do you want a dog that can’t get enough exercise or a pup that prefers to lounge in your lap most of the day?
  • The size of your space. If you live in a small apartment or condo, avoid getting giant breeds, who need more room and hopefully a fenced-in yard to roam through.
  • Family structure. For families with small children, you should opt for a breed that does well with children and babies. Some small-breed dogs experience a lot of jealousy when they’re not the “only child.”
  • Other pets. If you have other cats or dogs, pick a breed that thrives in social situations with other animals. 
  • Lifespan. The average lifespan ranges from 10-13 years, with some living as long as 20 years. You may want to choose a breed with a lower average lifespan depending on the commitment you look to make. 

Preparing for a puppy

There are lots of things to prepare as a first time owner. Dogs require quite a bit of maintenance, supplies, and accessories to make life great for you both. 

Before you pick up your dog, use a puppy checklist to shop so that you have everything you need when you get your fuzzy bundle of joy home. 

If you are getting a small dog, consider a dog ramp for the bed and the car so that your pup can move around the house independently. 

Best dog breeds for first time owners 

Take a look at our breed list and compare these pups to find the right fit for you and your home.

#1 - Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: the all-around easiest

These pups earned their name being a favorite of royalty and are some of the easiest dogs to own with their affectionate, friendly, and smart personalities. 


  • Quick learning and easily trainable
  • Need moderate exercise


  • Need regular grooming for their long coats
  • Separation anxiety

Best for: Owners that are home often, like short walks, and enjoy affectionate dogs. 

#2 - Golden Retriever: the baby’s best friend

Golden retrievers are the classic image of what a family should be - big and furry, with the sunniest of dispositions.


  • Very good-natured and intelligent
  • Gets along quite well with children and other pets


  • Sheds a lot
  • Separation anxiety when left alone

Best for: Big families full of pets, kids, and people who like long walks.

#3 - Pug: the low-energy sweetie

These sweet, beady-eyed guys have a great sense of humor and are surprisingly intelligent for their small size. 


  • Does well in small spaces
  • Doesn’t need much exercise


  • Very attached to their owner, don’t like to be left alone for long
  • Sheds often

Best for: Owners that enjoy affectionate lap dogs and little exercise. Great for seniors and one of the best dogs for beginners.

#4 - Poodle: the hypoallergenic learner

Poodles are energetic, intelligent, and whip-smart dogs, making them virtually the easiest dog to train. And don’t worry - you don’t have to get that fancy haircut unless you want to!


  • Highly intelligent and attentive, training is a breeze
  • Hypoallergenic hair instead of fur


  • Need vigorous exercise
  • Can be skittish and emotionally sensitive

Best for: Owners that love to walk and run often, want a dog that does fun tricks, and have allergies to dog fur. 

#5 - Basset Hound: the loyal follower

These floppy-eared fellas are even-natured and very laid-back. They make good first dogs for owners that love a shadow to cuddle up all day long.


  • Easy-going and patient, great with kids
  • Enjoy time indoors, do well in small spaces


  • Prone to obesity
  • Prone to barking

Best for: A big family with children that don’t want to spend all day walking. 

#6 - Bichon Frise: the total package

These fluffy, white pups are one of the best dogs for first time owner as they’re smart, quiet, and adorably inquisitive. 


  • Playful, only need moderate exercise
  • Good watchdog
  • hypoallergenic hair, not fur


  • Separation anxiety when left alone
  • A moderate amount of grooming 
  • Prone to barking

Best for: An owner that will be home often and likes short walks and lots of play.

#7 - Greyhound: the large yet low-maintenance companion

Calm, quiet, and graceful as a deer - greyhounds are beautiful creatures that are often ex-racing dogs. 


  • Highly athletic, but prefer shorter walks and exercise
  • Extremely quiet, rarely barks


  • Best with a fenced-in yard they can hop around in
  • Sensitive, can be timid

Best for: An owner that has a fenced-in space and loves a quiet house. 

#8 - Boxer: the loving babysitter

These dogs can be a little crazy as pups but are among the most loving breeds that benefit from strong leadership at home.


  • Very playful personality
  • Steadfast and reliable, very protective over their families


  • Can be territorial
  • Rowdy at young ages

Best for: A family with young children that will provide a strong, regular training regimen. 

#9 - Boston Terrier: the social butterfly

This sensitive terrier loves to always be close to their family and enjoys frequent social outings.


  • Very social, polite with others
  • Great in small spaces


  • Short snouted problems with breathing 
  • Overheat quickly in warm weather

Best for: An owner that lives in an apartment and loves to visit friends/entertain guests often.

#10 - Great Dane: the giant, gentle soul

These massive dogs have an intimidating, deep bark but are very sweet-natured.


  • Extremely calm and easy-going
  • Doesn’t need a ton of exercise


  • Needs the space of a larger home
  • Can be aggressive toward other animals

Best for: An owner with children who wants a mindful watchdog and will work to socialize the dog.

Final notes: making your choice

Do your homework, weigh the options, and choose the breed that will fit best into your life. 

There are commonalities in dogs of a single breed. Still, much like people, they are individuals - meet your pup first and spend a bit of time with them to determine if their personality will blend into your family well. 

We wish you a happy puppy hunting journey!

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