Dog and owner Dog and owner

Best Dog Breeds for First Time Owners

Read time: 6 mins

21 Sep 2023

We understand that becoming a first-time dog owner is an exciting and rewarding journey. Your furry companion will bring endless joy, loyalty, and companionship into your life. 

However, it's essential to make the right choice when selecting a breed that suits your lifestyle and experience level. 

In this guide, we'll explore the best dog breeds for first-time owners, those that might be a bit more challenging, considerations for gender, the responsibilities of dog ownership, and more. So, let's embark on this tail-wagging adventure together.

Best Breeds for First Time Dog Owners

When it comes to choosing the perfect canine companion for first-time owners, certain breeds stand out for their friendly nature, adaptability, and ease of training. Here are some top picks:

Labrador Retriever

Labradors are known for their friendly and outgoing personalities. They're easy to train, making them an excellent choice for novice dog owners. Their affectionate nature and boundless energy will keep you entertained.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are renowned for their gentle disposition and love for people. They are highly trainable and make great family pets. Their beautiful, golden coats are just as warm as their hearts.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

These small, affectionate dogs are perfect for apartment living and are known for their loving and sociable personalities. They'll quickly become your shadow and shower you with affection.


Pugs are charming little companions with a fun-loving attitude. They are adaptable to different living situations and don't require excessive exercise, making them a good choice for those with busier lifestyles.

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frises are cheerful, friendly, and relatively low-maintenance in terms of grooming. They're well-suited to families and individuals alike.

Worst Breeds for First Time Dog Owners

While all dogs have the potential to be loving and loyal, some breeds may be less suitable for first-time dog owners due to their strong-willed or high-energy nature. It's important to be aware of these breeds to make an informed decision:

Border Collie

Border Collies are incredibly intelligent and energetic, which can make them a handful for novice owners who may struggle to meet their mental and physical exercise needs.

Siberian Husky

Huskies have a strong independent streak and require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. They thrive in colder climates and may not be ideal for first-time owners in warmer regions.


Dalmatians are known for their high energy levels and can be prone to stubbornness. They require consistent training and exercise to be well-behaved.

Jack Russell Terrier

These small dogs are full of energy and need a lot of physical and mental activity. Without proper stimulation, they can become bored and exhibit destructive behaviour.

Chow Chow

Chow Chows can be aloof and independent, making them a bit more challenging for first-time owners to bond with and train effectively.

Low Maintenance Dogs for First Time Owners

While it's essential to understand that no dog is entirely low maintenance, some breeds are less demanding in terms of things like grooming and exercise. These breeds can be suitable for individuals with busier lifestyles:

Basset Hound

Basset Hounds are known for their easygoing nature and low exercise requirements. They have a distinctive appearance with long ears and a droopy expression that's hard to resist.

French Bulldog

These compact dogs are well-suited to apartment living and don't require extensive exercise. However, they do enjoy playtime and companionship.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus have a luxurious coat but are relatively low maintenance when it comes to exercise. Regular grooming is necessary to keep their coat looking its best.

Should a First Time Dog Owner Get a Male or Female?

When choosing the gender of your first dog, there are a few factors to consider. However, it's important to note that individual temperament and personality matters more than gender. Here's what you should know:


  • Generally, male dogs are slightly larger than females of the same breed.

  • Some male dogs may be more territorial and may exhibit marking behaviour indoors.

  • Neutering can help reduce territorial tendencies and prevent unwanted breeding.


  • Female dogs tend to be more independent.

  • They may have a maternal instinct, even if not bred.

  • Spaying prevents heat cycles and reduces the risk of certain health issues.

Ultimately, the choice between a male or female dog should align with your preferences and the specific dog's personality rather than a strict gender preference.

Is It Hard Being a First Time Dog Owner?

Being a first-time dog owner can be both rewarding and challenging. It's important to understand that dogs are a long-term commitment, and they require time, effort, and patience. Here are some things to keep in mind:


All dogs need training, and consistency is key. Enrol in a positive reinforcement training class to build a strong bond with your dog.


Dogs need regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. Be prepared to spend time walking, playing, and engaging in other activities with your pup.


Depending on the breed, grooming needs may vary. Regular grooming and maintenance are essential to keep your dog comfortable and healthy.


Dogs require routine veterinary care, vaccinations, and preventive measures against parasites. Budget for these expenses in advance.

Time commitment

Dogs thrive on companionship, so be prepared to spend quality time with your furry friend. Loneliness can lead to behavioural issues.

Financial responsibility

Owning a dog comes with costs, including food, grooming, healthcare, and unexpected expenses. Budgeting for these costs is crucial.

Things You Should Consider Before Getting a Dog

Before bringing a dog into your home, consider the following factors to ensure a smooth transition and a happy life together:


Assess your daily routine and make sure it can accommodate the needs of a dog.

Living situation

Check if your living space is suitable for a dog. Some breeds may do better in apartments, while others require a yard.


Ensure that no one in your household has allergies to dogs.

Family dynamics

Consider how a dog will fit into your family's dynamic, especially if you have children or other pets.

Time commitment

Dogs require time and attention every day. Make sure you can commit to their care.

Financial preparedness

Calculate the cost of dog ownership, including food, veterinary care, grooming, and unexpected expenses.

Long-term commitment

Dogs live for many years, so be prepared for a long-term commitment that can span a decade or more.

Should a First Time Dog Owner Get a Rescue?

Rescuing a dog can be a fulfilling and compassionate choice for first-time owners. It may require an extra amount of commitment, as unfortunately rescue dogs have had troublesome pasts. Usually, a rescue shelter will match you with a dog to suit first time owners.

There are many wonderful dogs in shelters and rescue organisations looking for loving homes. Here are some benefits of rescuing a dog:

Transforming a life

By adopting a rescue dog, you provide a second chance to a dog in need.


Rescued dogs often show immense gratitude and loyalty to their new owners.

Temperament assessment

Many rescue organisations assess the temperament and behaviour of dogs, helping you find a dog that matches your lifestyle and personality.

Support and guidance

Rescue organisations often provide support and guidance to adopters, making the transition smoother.

Reducing overpopulation

By adopting, you indirectly contribute to reducing the overpopulation of dogs in shelters.