Good First Dogs For Novice Owners

As a potential first time dog owner it can be a daunting prospect to take on the guardianship and care of a thinking being, especially if you have never had a dog before. Let's face it, as much as I love cats, rabbits, hamsters and such like, they don't require anywhere near the levels of interaction and upkeep that a dog needs to live a fulfilled life, especially if you want a dog that is well behaved and a pleasure to be with. Inorder to ensure that your first time experience is a happy one then I think there are definitely some dogs or breeds best suited to the novice owner than others.

Let’s just be clear however, there is no such thing as a good dog, or a bad dog. Only the right dog.  

Some dogs are just easier than others: they respond to training better, have easier going personalities and won't make you pay for any incoinsistencies or mistakes that you might make along the way.

It makes sense then to look for for a new pooch that is going to take your lack of experience into account rather than taking on a dog breed that has a wilful streak, is naturally assertive or is particularly sensitive.

What breeds do you consider to be ideal as good first dogs? We would love love to hear from you, What was your first dog? why not upload a picture and share your experiences, tell us why you love ’em. Do You Have A Related Question? - Just ask and we will be happy to help .

There are good reasons why Golden Retrievers are the classic family companions and an ideal first dog for any novice owners.

They're famous for their affectionate easy going natures and great patience with kids. Goldies are also keen to please their owners making them a cinch to train.

One caveat: That famously beautiful coat does need some attentive grooming, however grooming is not too difficult, with regular brushing and combing you should should do just fine.

cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are the original people pleasers who love to be around their owners as much as possible. If you are looking for a smaller breed or lap dog, then look no further as they are adorable little sofa sausages who love nothing more than curling up and relaxing with you what ever time of day it is.

Cavaliers make brilliant first dogs for the inexperienced owner, as they are naturally well behaved and super easy to train, however in the event you are away from home a lot, look elsewhere, because these dogs hate to be alone and separation anxiety can become a genuine problem for them.

Labrador Retriever

A fitting testament to just how brilliant Labrador Retrievers are is the fact that for the last 20 years Labs have been the undisputed most popular dog breed in the USA, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. If you are planning to become a first-time dog owner then you would not be unwise to jump on the bandwagon as these dogs write the rule book when it comes to best first dogs.

They are a large breed however and do require a fair amount of exercise, so if you like the Labrador just make sure you have the lifestyle to match their energy requirements and enthusiasm.     


The Brittany makes a fantastic first dog for owners and households with very active lifestyles. This really is a high energy breed that will require frequent exercise and stimulation, which is ideal for an owner who also enjoys exercise along with plenty of time spent outdoors.

These dogs are happy, friendly and very keen to please making training very easy, plus they usually don’t demand a great deal of grooming, making them uncomplicated for first time owners to manage.


Papillons are friendly, smart and easy to train, which makes them a great first dog for novice owners. However, make no mistake, they may appear as dainty little foo-foo dogs, but looks can be deceptive as the Papillion is is unquestionably a "big dog in a little body," These dogs have big, big personalities, and they'll think of themselves as much larger than they are if you let them.

Papillons are great for active owners as they have boundless energy, and are adaptable enough to live either in an urban setting or a more open rural environment. Due to their small size, and big ego Papillons are not great for kids.


You could be forgiven for thinking that as Greyhounds are long, sleek, lightning-quick thoroughbred racing machines, that they are also likely to be very energetic, requiring constant exercise having highly strung personalities bordering on the neurotic.

In fact nothing could be farther from the truth, Greyhounds are incredibly mellow relaxed dogs that don’t require excessive amounts of exercise, they are also quiet, and very easy to maintain, which makes them perfect for even the laziest or most inexperienced of owners to make a decent job of looking after them.

 The Shih Tzu is a first time dog owner's dream pooch! They love to play, and have a sense of mischief about them, but are equally content just to lounge around or snuggle up on your lap. Shih Tzu's are very gentle by nature and form strong emotional bonds with their owners, this devotion and willingness to please means they are very easy to train.

Don’t give into temptation and start spoiling your Shih Tzu because of their cute looks as, you wouldn't want them getting all diva-ish on you and also understand that their luxuriant flowing coat takes a lot of maintenance to keep looking lovely

Shih Tzu bichon frise

The cute, white little powder puff ball that is the Bichon Frise was bred to be a companion dogs whose sole purpose in life is to please you and make you smile. It stands to reason then that training this little fellah is pretty straight forward.

Bichon Frises, have loads of character, are incredibly affectionate and make very entertaining company. They are  also very portable and have the added bonus that their fur is considered to be hypoallergenic, making them ideal first dogs for the allergic novice.

Looking like a miniature Collie, the Shetland Sheepdog or ‘Sheltie’ for short makes an ideal first time dog for new owners as they are they incredibly smart, intelligent and very easy to train. Shelties are very affectionate, sometimes known as Velcro dogs because they will stick by your side and make great family dogs as they also have a great temperament towards kids.

Shetland Sheepdog’s are quite a noisy breed with a tendency to bark frequently and loudly, this makes them great watchdog’s but can upset the neighbours if steps aren’t taken in training to curb this trait.

shetland sheepdog pug

The ever enthusiastic Pug is always a favourite, with their squishy comical face and clown like antics, Pugs are guaranteed to put a smile on anybody’s face. Pugs are gentle little souls and make very affectionate companions. They are easy to care for and require little in the way of exercise, making them great for people who are less active or don’t have the time for a busy schedule.

 This easy going nature makes the Pug an ideal companion for novice dog owner, just don’t ask about the snoring.

10 Good First Dogs For Novice Owners

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All dogs are individuals, even within a breed there can be quite some variance in the needs and personalities from one dog to the next. It is however safe to say that you have a far better chance of finding the ideal novice friendly dog within certain breed limits than others. For example I have yet to see either a ravenously territorial Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that would take on all comers, or a Tibetan Mastiff that ran and hid when the doorbell rang

Don’t fall into the trap that just because a breed is popular, then it is neccesarily a good first dog for you the novice. And please consider the grooming and exercise requirements of any dog that you like, the more your chosen poochy pal fits into your own lifestyle the better.

Having said all that, just because you don’t see the dog breed that you have your heart set on here on this list,  it doesnt mean that it wouldent be suitable for the newbie owner, as any new dog owner can be succesful with any dog; It's just that there are certain breeds that make the whole process of learning to be great new dog owner that much easier.

Have a look at our best breeds for the novice owner, they are all fantastic dogs and have loads of potential, they come in all sizes and shapes so I am sure there is bound to be one or two here that are ideal .

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