Best Dog For First Time Owners [10 Easygoing Breeds]

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[Updated July 2019]

Are you thinking of getting your first dog?  Maybe you already have a favourite breed in mind.  Before you decide, be sure to check out this list of 10 easygoing breeds that are suited to be the best dog for first-time owners.

What Do First-Time Dog Owners Need To Consider?

Being a dog owner is one of the most rewarding and joyful experiences in life. It is also a huge responsibility!  If you are thinking of getting your first dog, you should consider the following:

Your Lifestyle

What is your lifestyle like without a dog?  How will a dog fit into your life?  Perhaps you are an active person who enjoys being outdoors, or you are more of a couch potato who enjoys quiet time inside.

You will need to find a dog that will fit into your lifestyle.  Certain dogs are more active than others and require more exercise.  Some breeds enjoy different activities as well, such as swimming.

How Much Time You Have 

Are you away from home a lot?  Do you travel often?  You will need to consider how much time you have in a day to be with your dog.

All dogs need to be walked, fed, and played with.  Some dogs do not do well when they are left alone for long periods of time.  There are many breeds that crave human affection more than others.


Are you looking for a dog that is great with kids?  Some dogs get along great with kids, and some dogs do not tolerate children at all.

All dogs require supervision around children, regardless of how friendly they are.  For example, Golden Retrievers and Labs are great with kids, but their large size could easily knock a small child over.

Size Matters

Many people have a size preference when it comes to dogs.  Some prefer larger dogs and others prefer small dogs.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Larger dogs take up more space obviously, but they tend to be calmer and mature faster.  They do not live as long though, which is a disadvantage.

Smaller dogs are easier to transport, you can carry them and they take up less space.  Small dogs are often more vocal, but their lifespan is longer.

How Much They Shed

Most dogs will shed.  It’s no secret that certain breeds shed more than others, like Golden Retrievers and Labs.  You will need to determine if you can put up with all that shedding, or if you want a dog that sheds less or is hypoallergenic.

Ease Of Training

If you are a first-time dog owner you will most likely want to choose a dog breed that has an easygoing personality and one that is easier to train.

Certain dog breeds are easier than others and are more forgiving, being resilient to bounce back from a novice owners mistakes and inconsistencies.


Owning a dog is expensive.  Being a first-time dog owner you will need to purchase everything for your dog unless you have friends or family who are willing to give you supplies.

You need to consider food, vet bills, training, grooming supplies, bedding, crates, toys, leashes and more.  Often, the first year of owning a dog is the most expensive especially if you are getting a puppy.

Puppies require certain shots in their first year as well as spay and neuter if you decide.  Not to mention purchasing your dog in the first place, either paying the breeder or adoption fees.

As your dog gets older, certain medical problems could arise that could cost more too.

Don’t Base Your Decision On Looks Alone!

Many dog owners will get a dog or puppy based on looks alone.  This is a big mistake, and one of the many reasons why so many dogs end up in shelters.

Find out the Top 10 Mistakes Dog Owners Make, and learn how to avoid them.

If you like the looks of a certain breed, be sure to do your research first.  This way you will know exactly what to expect, and you can decide if that breed is right for you.

A great resource is the American Kennel Club website.  Here you will be able to get information on each breed and determine if that breed is a good fit for you.

All puppies are cute, but they grow up and have different personalities and requirements that need to be met.

Best Dog For First-Time Owners

The following is a list of 10 easygoing breeds that would be suitable for any first-time owner.

1. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever sitting and smiling.

Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dogs out there. They are known for their friendly loving nature.

Often goofy at times they are always happy to be with their humans, and are great with children, making them a wonderful family pet.

They are a medium to large-sized dog that requires regular brushing to keep their coat free of tangles and mats. They do shed heavily twice a year and moderate shedding throughout the rest of the year.

These dogs love to play, they are very active and love to go swimming. They need a good amount of exercise daily, and mental stimulation to keep them in good shape and keep them from getting bored.

They are willing to learn and eager to please, making them easy to train.

With a heart of gold and an easygoing personality, Golden Retrievers are a true family dog that loves human attention and affection.

Definitely not a guard dog, these dogs may bark at strangers coming to your door, but soon warm up to them with their tails wagging.

Find out what it is really like Living With A Golden Retriever.

2. Labrador Retriever

Two black Labrador retrievers sitting on the grass by a creek.

Another easygoing dog breed that is very popular. The Labrador Retriever is medium to large-sized. Very loyal and affectionate, they make great family pets.

They are active and require plenty of exercise and training. They are playful and smart and can be trained to do almost anything.

With their short coat they require minimal grooming, they do shed however and regular brushing will help minimize the shedding.

Labs can easily become overweight if you are not careful, they tend to love all food. Labs can get bored and act out so they do need a good amount of exercise and mental stimulation.

Labs adapt well to most environments and are great with children.

3. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain dog laying on the ground.

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large-sized dog, nicknamed “the gentle giant”.

Very easygoing and friendly, they have a calm and affectionate temperament and are great with children.

They are very intelligent and easy to train. Daily exercise is needed for this breed.  They love the outdoors and would be best suited to a house or farm with a large yard. Not recommended for apartment living.

Their long coat sheds heavily twice a year, and moderately throughout the rest of the year.

This breed loves to be with his family, and if left alone can develop behaviour problems like excessive barking, digging, or chewing. Keeping them mentally stimulated with training and exercise will keep them from getting bored.

4. Boxer

Boxer dog laying on a couch.

Boxers are a medium-sized short-haired breed. Intelligent, energetic and playful, they do require daily exercise and training to keep them from being bored and destructive. Best suited for someone with an active lifestyle.

Loyal and protective is what they are and they form a close bond with their humans. Eager to please, they are willing to do anything with you and they just want to have fun.

Great with children, they would make a great family pet. Basic grooming is required for this breed, as their coat is short and shedding is minimal. A weekly brushing will help to keep their coat shiny and healthy.

5. Pug

Pug dog sitting and smiling.

Pugs are considered a toy breed. They are very affectionate and crave constant human attention. If you are looking for a lap dog than a pug may be the right choice.

Their exercise need is minimal, short daily walks are fine and they would do well in an apartment.

Extreme hot and cold temperatures are not tolerated well with this breed, and they should be kept indoors at a comfortable temperature.

Pugs have a short coat that sheds a lot, so regular brushing is required to help reduce the amount of shedding and to keep their coat healthy and shiny.

Pugs are good with children and are playful, energetic and affectionate around them. They are fine with other animals but may become jealous of another pet sitting on your lap.

Pugs tend to become overweight easily so food intake needs to be monitored carefully.

6. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise dog looking happy.

The Bichon Frise is a small breed that is considered a companion dog, the name is french for “curly white lap dog”.

They are easygoing, and playful and make a great family pet. Be aware though that they may not be best suited for families with younger children or rambunctious older ones, as the smaller Bichons can be injured easily during rough play, or snap at a child if they are frightened. As with any dog, children should always be supervised when playing around dogs.

Bichons are well suited for apartment living, because they don’t need a lot of room to run around and romp, and they are not known for barking so your neighbours will not complain of the noise. Their exercise needs are minimal, short walks and play sessions daily.

The coat of a Bichon Frise is non-shedding and considered hypo-allergenic. Frequent grooming is required, and their coat should be brushed and trimmed to prevent matting.

Bichons are easily trainable, they love to perform and are eager to please.

7. Papillon

Papillon dog looking happy, wearing a purple leash.

The Papillon is another small breed dog that is eager to please its owners. Their energy level is high, and they love to put on a show and play.

Very easygoing dogs, they adjust well to any climate and setting, whether it is warm or cool, city or country, they are happy to do anything with their family.

Very intelligent dogs and easy to train, they are described as friendly, alert, and happy. Papillons are great with children and would make a great family pet.

Grooming needs are minimal, they do have long silky hair, but with no undercoat. Shedding is minimal. Weekly brushing is fine to prevent any mats from forming.

8. Greyhound

Greyhound dog wearing a teal blue coat and collar.

The long-legged and slender size of a Greyhound might have some people thinking they are too high energy for them, but in fact, they are very mellow and easygoing.

They are quite content just laying on the couch snuggling up beside you. Ideal for any first-time dog owner, the Greyhound is quiet, clean, and pretty low-maintenance.

Despite being very fast, Greyhounds are not built for endurance.  They do not want or require a lot of exercise, like hours of running or jogging.

They do best with a large fenced-in area where they can get enough running exercise. They do like to chase after other animals that run, so providing a safe enclosed area is ideal.

Greyhounds are a sensitive breed that prefers quiet and calm environments. They are polite with people and other dogs, non-aggressive and they seldom bark. Because they are so docile, training should be done with a gentle voice and a lot of praise.

Grooming is minimal, they have a very short coat that has minimal shedding. In cold climates Greyhounds can get the chills because of their thin coats, so you should buy a warm coat for them in the snow or rain.

9. Standard Poodle

White Standard Poodle sitting in a field of grass looking at you.

The Standard Poodle is extremely intelligent, in fact, they are ranked as the number 2 most intelligent breed according to Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs.

Poodles are quick to learn and highly trainable. This dog breed is very friendly and affectionate and is great with kids.

The coat of a Poodle is considered hypo-allergenic, making it a great dog for someone with allergies. Shedding is minimal, but regular grooming is required to keep the hair neat and short.

Regular exercise is required and because of their intelligence, training is a must, in order to keep them mentally stimulated so they do not get bored and become destructive.

Poodles love to be around people and thrive on attention, leaving them alone for long periods of time is not good as they can develop bad habits such as excessive barking.

10. Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier wearing a red collar and leash looking up at you.

Boston Terriers are gentle and affectionate dogs. They have been given the nickname “American Gentleman”, because of their tuxedo-like coat markings.

Eager to please their owners they are easily trainable. With a happy-go-lucky attitude and friendly personality, they get along well with children and other animals.

Barking only when necessary makes them a great choice for city and apartment living.

Boston Terriers love to cuddle and snuggle with you and are happy to do anything with you. Because of their short muzzles, they do not tolerate hot or cold climates well.

Their coat is short with light shedding, minimal grooming is required for this low-maintenance breed.

Are Mixed Breeds Good For First-Time Owners?

Yes and No.

Mixed breeds can be wonderful for first-time dog owners, but they can also be a challenge.

With a mixed breed, you really don’t know what you are getting in terms of temperament and characteristics.  This is especially true when you are unaware of the dog’s genetic makeup.

Many mixed breeds can be adopted at shelters which is a great option.  When you adopt a dog from a shelter you are saving that dog’s life as well as making space for another dog.

Adopting an older mixed breed can be a good option for first-time owners because there is a chance that the dog is already trained and housebroken.

Adopting any dog whether it is purebred or mixed can be a risk, especially when you are unaware of the dog’s history and behaviour problems.

The last thing that any first-time dog owner would want to deal with is a dog that has behavioural issues.

When adopting or purchasing a mixed breed it is important to do your research on the different breeds that make up your dog.

Find out the pros and cons of adopting from a dog shelter.

Final Thoughts

I hope the above article has given you some insight into the easier dog breeds to own, and perhaps you have your heart set on one of the breeds that were mentioned.

Remember that all dogs are individuals within a breed, and their personality and needs can vary.  As a novice owner looking for an easygoing dog, your chances are good if you stick within some breed limits.

Any new dog owner can be successful if they have love to give and commitment.

What About You?

Do you agree with this list of the best dog for first-time owners?  Are there any breeds missing that you think would be best suited for first-time owners?

Share your thoughts and comments below.  I would love to hear from you.

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I am the proud owner of a Golden Retriever named Ellie. She keeps me busy, and when she is resting, you can find me working on my blog. She is always close by though. I live in Stirling, ON Canada with my husband, and we both enjoy the never a dull moment life with our Ellie.

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4 thoughts on “Best Dog For First Time Owners [10 Easygoing Breeds]”

  1. Thinking of getting a dog and getting the right breed could be a very difficult thing, especially for first-time dog owners.  

    I know many people that prefer smaller dogs, but I do think the Greyhound does look like a perfect pick for me.  I love the look of them and the fact that they are so mellow and easygoing.   I agree that new dog owners should look for a breed that will be easier to train and will fit into their lifestyle.

    Thanks, for making this easy for many out there.

    • Hi Seun Jeremiah,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.  Greyhounds are wonderful dogs.  I was a little surprised to learn that they are not really built for endurance and don’t require hours of running or jogging exercise.  They are also very quiet and can be sensitive.  Their easygoing and easy to train personality make them a great fit for any first-time owner.

      Thanks for your comment.


  2. Nice list, and glad to see the Boxer made it. I actually own a Boxer and they are definitely great with kids and have such a goofy personality. I’ve owned so many dogs throughout my life, but never had I ever owned one with a personality like a Boxer lol. The Boxer I have has been so easygoing from the get-go and he was wicked easy to train! 

    • Hi Nate,

      Thank you for sharing your experience.  I have always known Boxers to be fun-loving and kind of clownish.  They just love to have fun and are great with kids.  It is great to know that you can confirm that.  An easygoing and easy to train dog such as the Boxer is great for any first-time owner.

      Thank you for your comment.



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