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9 Best Breeds For First-Time Dog Owners

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There’s just something about bringing a dog home for the first time — you feel all sorts of feelings, but mostly happiness and excitement!

But let’s be real, owning a dog isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Because while getting a dog means having a loving companion at home, it also means having a lot of responsibility. And just like us hoomans, dogs also require a lot of TLC.

First-Time Dog Owners Arriving Home With New Dog
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If you’ve finally decided to get a dog for the first time in your life but you still haven’t decided on what dog breed you’ll get, then we have you covered!

Fortunately, there are certain breeds that are low maintenance, friendly, easy to train, and best of all, perfect for first-time dog owners!

Factors To Consider For First-Time Dog Owners

Getting a dog is a major life decision. And just like any major decision in life, you have to consider a lot of factors before you choose the right dog breed for you. And they are the following:

1. Current Lifestyle

When planning to get a dog for the first time, it’s essential that you evaluate your current lifestyle. Do you have an active lifestyle and love hiking and other outdoor activities? Or are you the type to spend quiet weekends at home?

Consider important lifestyle factors such as daily routine, work schedule, and hobbies (such as travelling, sports, etc.) Dogs require commitment, and you have to always have to have time for them in order to properly take care of them.

As a first-time dog owner, you wouldn’t want to overlook your lifestyle preferences. Because this will play a big part in determining the breed of the dog that would suit you best.

2. Living Situation

Another essential factor to consider as a first-time dog owner: your living space and condition.

For example, if you live in a small apartment, have limited space and no backyard, then a large breed with high activity level may not be ideal for you.

In this case, a small dog breed that can adapt well to indoor living and doesn’t require much exercise might be the best choice for you.

3. Family

Your family’s needs and dynamic is another important factor you should consider. If you live with children and other pets at home, you will need a dog that is easy-going and patient, especially when it comes to children and other pets.

You should also consider family members that have allergies. If this is the case for you, then a hypoallergenic breed will fit well within your family.

4. Financial Preparedness

Owning a dog doesn’t only cost time, but it also costs money. As a first-time dog owner, you’ll have to be prepared and calculate the cost of dog ownership — food, veterinary care, grooming, toys, beds, leashes, training classes, and other unexpected expenses.

9 Of The Best Dog Breeds For First-Time Dog Owners

All dog breeds are unique in their own way. But the dog breeds below all have something in common: they are perfect for first-time dog owners!

Continue reading below to find the best dog breed for you.

Small Dog Breeds

1. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu Is One Of The Dog Breeds Closest To Wolves Genetically
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Don’t let its size fool you, Shih Tzus have a big personality perfect for a first-time dog owner. They’re social, friendly, and above all, adorable. Like, who could resist their big dark eyes and sweet face? Definitely not us!


Shih Tzus weigh in between 9 to 16 pounds, and stand between 8 and 11 inches, so they are perfect for first-time dog owners living in small apartments.

Shih Tzus come in many coat colors and their coat can be kept long or short, depending on your preference. Although a short, puppy cut makes maintenance easier!


Shih Tzus are generally friendly, playful, and affectionate. And because of this, they work well with children and other pets, with the right introduction.

They can be a little stubborn at times, but they love their hoomans the most and would follow you around all the time. They’re suited for owners that love to spend most of their time at home.

Exercise Requirements

Shih Tzus are extroverts and have a lot of energy. So, to keep their body and mind stimulated, they need at least 30 minutes to an hour of exercise per day. Ideally, exercise should be split into two walks with playtime in between.

Potential Health Concerns

Shih Tzus can be prone to health concerns more frequently than other dogs because of their flat face. And as a first-time dog owner, it is essential that you are aware of the following problems:

2. Pug

Happy Pug At The Beach
e.r.mphotography / Shutterstock.com

Pugs are actually a super popular breed choice for first-time dog owners. These charming little furry companions have a pretty laid-back personally that first-time owners adore.


Pugs weigh in around 14 to 18 pounds and stand between 10 to 13 inches. They have a large, round head, big eyes, and wrinkled brows.

Furthermore, they have a short, smooth, and glossy coat that is pretty easy to clean and maintain, something first-time dog owners will be thankful for.


If there’s one word to describe a pug’s temperament, it’s “adaptable”. This is because they get along well with basically everyone, whether it’s another pet or a kid, a pug will do well around them. And they also do well whether they live in the city or in the country.

Exercise Requirements

Pugs do not require excessive exercise and 30 minutes of exercise per day would be enough. However, since they are known to have breathing and nose problems, several short walks throughout the day would be ideal to make sure they don’t get too tired.

Potential Health Concerns

Like Shih Tzus, Pugs are known to be prone to respiratory and eye problems due to their flat face. Here are some potential health concerns you should watch out if you want to get a Pug:

3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cute Cavalier King Charles Spaniel On The Couch
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Another adaptable breed that is sweet, affectionate, and has an adorable puppy-like face, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are a pretty low-maintenance breed ideal for those getting a dog for the first time.


Beautiful, graceful, and gentle — words that perfectly describe Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

These dogs stand no more than 13 inches and weigh about 13 to 18 pounds. Their long, silky coat can be one of four distinct colors namely: Blenheim, Black and Tan, Ruby and Tri-Colour.


Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are known to be great family pets because they can do well with other people, regardless of age, and other pets (as long as they are socialized from a young age).

They fit well with families where there are hoomans around at home almost all the time.

Exercise Requirements

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels require moderate exercise, and spending an hour every day will be enough. Their exercise can be in the form of daily walks, backyard playtime, and/or games to mentally stimulate them.

Potential Health Concerns

There are a number of health concerns that the breed is prone to. And they’re the following:

Medium Dog Breeds

1. Whippet

Whippet Dog In A Meadow
Dora Zett / Shutterstock.com

The “mini-me” of Greyhounds, Whippets are a playful yet calm dogs that are ideal for first-time dog owners who want a medium-sized breed.


Whippets, like Greyhounds, have long narrow heads, a deep chest, trim waist, slim but sturdy legs, and large eyes.

They weigh around 25 to 40 pounds and stand between 19 to 21 inches. They also have a short coat that is very easy to care for — you only need to brush them weekly and bathe them once every two or three months.


Whippets are described as calm yet energetic and playful, so they’re ideal for active first-time dog owners.

They can be calm inside the house, but once you give them enough space to run around and something to chase, and then you’ll see they’re all business.

Furthermore, they’re smart and rarely bark, so if you live in an apartment, having a Whippet won’t be much of a problem.

Exercise Requirements

Since they are active dogs, Whippets need a minimum of an hour of daily exercise. This can be split into two walks, where they are allowed to explore. Additionally, they should have plenty of chances for them to run and play off-leash in a secured area, like a fenced yard, to release their energy.

Potential Health Concerns

As a first-time dog owner, knowing a breed’s potential health concerns is a must so you can ensure that you’re ready for the responsibility and that the dog can live a long and healthy life.

For Whippets, the following are health problems they’re prone to:

2. English Springer Spaniel

English Springer Spaniel Dog Standing In Field
Martin Christopher Parker / Shutterstock.com

English Springer Spaniels are a sweet bundle of joy. And they are known to be people pleasers, a characteristic that could come in handy for first-time dog owners.


English Spinger Spaniels weigh around 40 to 50 pounds and stand around 19 to 20 inches.

They have a double coat, meaning they have a shorter undercoat and a long, and wavy top coat. They also shed moderately so be prepared for regular grooming.


Energetic, lively, social, and intelligent — English Spinger Spaniels are amazing dogs to have!

Along with their intelligence, they are eager to please their hoomans, so they are easy to train and make excellent family companions.

Exercise Requirements

If you love running or hiking, then English Springer Spaniel is the dog breed for you. These dogs love running and generally, enjoy being active.

At minimum, English Springer Spaniels should have around 1.5 to 2 hours of exercise every day. But not all should be physical as they also need mental stimulation throughout the day.

Potential Health Concerns

English Springer Spaniels are generally healthy dogs. But there are still health problems that are common to the breed that first-time dog owners should know. And they are the following:

3. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Standing Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Vadim Petrakov / Shutterstock.com

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is another medium-sized dog ideal for first-time dog owners. And if you’re looking for an extremely loyal and friendly furry companion, then this breed is for you.


Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, as their name suggests, are known for their signature wavy yet soft and silky coat. Their coat is low-shedding and hypoallergenic, but can require moderate grooming so they don’t get tangles.

Furthermore, they weigh between 30 to 40 pounds and can stand between 17 to 19 inches.


Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are energetic, clingy, and friendly dogs. They are good with other people, regardless of their age, and other pets. Furthermore, they adapt well to city, country, and even suburban life.

Exercise Requirements

Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are another ideal breed for active first-time dog owners. They can be energetic and need around an hour of exercise daily.

Potential Health Concerns

The following health problems are what the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is most prone to:

Large Dog Breeds

1. Great Dane

Great Dane Out For A Walk Just Before Sunset
Guy J. Sagi / Shutterstock.com

Don’t let their size intimidate you, Great Danes aka “Gentle Giants” are great family companions and are ideal for first-time dog owners!


There is no doubt that Great Danes’ size turn heads. They can tower over most other dogs and can stand as tall as 32 inches, hence the title “Apollo of Dogs”. Furthermore, they can weigh between 110 to 175 pounds.

Their short coat comes in different colors and patterns including harlequin, brindle, and fawn.


Great Danes are called “Gentle Giants” for a reason. Because despite their size, they are sweet and affectionate dogs that do well with children.

However, they make amazing guard dogs. Their size is one thing, but they are extremely loyal to their hoomans and will guard what they love.

Exercise Requirements

Great Danes require at least two hours of exercise a day. This is because they are big dogs and they need to burn off excess energy to help keep them in shape.

Their exercise can be in the form of daily walks, playtime, and other games to mentally stimulate them.

Potential Health Concerns

Great Danes are known to be predisposed to a number of health problems. The most common problems being:

2. Labrador Retriever

Yellow Labrador Retriever On Green Grass Lawn
Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

One of the most popular dog breeds, and for good reason! Labrador Retrievers are great dogs, especially for first-time dog owners.


It’s easy to spot a Labrador Retriever. These popular dogs have thick, sturdy bodies, broad heads, and long “otter tails”.

They also have a double coat that makes them waterproof. The outer layer is straight, short and dense. And the inner coat is thick and soft that protects their skin from the cold and the water.


Labrador Retrievers are very loyal and affectionate dogs, making them popular family companions.

They thrive well in active households where they can run, play and cuddle. That’s why they also do well with children! Furthermore, they are easy to train and are even friendly to strangers.

Exercise Requirements

Labrador Retrievers need at least two hours of exercise every day. So, they’re perfect for active owners and those looking for a running buddy!

Potential Health Concerns
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Arthritis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Obesity

3. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever Playing In The Park With A Stick
Will Rodrigues / Shutterstock.com

Last but definitely not the least! Golden Retrievers are another popular breed that are perfect for first-time dog owners looking for a large breed.


Golden Retrievers are known for their dense and lustrous coat of gold, where their name is derived from.

They have a broad head, a straight muzzle, and short but floppy ears. And they can also weigh from 55 to 75 pounds and stand between 21 to 24 inches.


Lovable, affectionate, and generally good-natured, Golden Retrievers typically get along with everyone in a household, including children and other pets.

Golden Retrievers are also intelligent and people pleasers, so training them is quite easy.

Exercise Requirements

As active dogs, the Golden Retrievers need at least an hour of exercise a day. Furthermore, they do well in households with a fenced yard so they can have playtimes throughout the day.

Potential Health Concerns

Golden Retrievers are also prone to a number of health concerns. So, watch out for the following!

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Cancer
  • Thyroid
  • Seizures
  • Hot Spots


Getting a dog is a huge responsibility. And while it is fulfilling and exciting to have a dog for the first time, these furry friends are a serious, long-term commitments.

So, whatever breed you decide to get as a first-time dog owner, make sure that you are 100% sure and ready for whatever dog ownership will bring to your life!

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