Best dog breeds for first-time owners

Best dog breeds for first-time owners

Bringing your new puppy home is a memorable moment for all first-time owners and the start of a lifelong bond that cannot be broken, owning a puppy is always a big commitment! There are so many different breeds to consider and they all have unique characteristics and personalities. So, deciding which is best for you or your family can be confusing at first. Certain dog breeds are known to be more suitable for first-time owners, so let’s explore the best dogs for first time owners in the UK so you can make the most informed decision!

What are the best dogs for first time owners?

Before you think about the best dogs for first time owners it is important to consider your lifestyle and how this will impact your new pet. Certain dog breeds will be more suitable for families, so think carefully about the dynamics in your home, the amount of time you can give to your new puppy and any other factors that are relevant to you, such as children or other pets! 

For example, owners who suffer from allergies can benefit from looking for dog breeds that do not shed as much or hypoallergenic dog breeds such as Poodles and Chihuahuas. 

Generally, new owners will want to look for dogs classed as “low maintenance”, meaning that they are easy to train and family-friendly. 

15 best dog breeds for first time owners

Several breeds are considered good dogs for first time owners and come in all shapes and sizes. Low maintenance doesn't always mean smaller breeds so you don’t have to rule out larger dogs if that is your preference! 


Poodles are known for being warm and intelligent dogs, making them good first dogs. The biggest hurdle new owners might face is grooming them, however, they are a low-shedding breed so are sometimes considered a better choice of dog for people with allergies. They are covered in hair, they just shed less hair in their environment. Someone suffering from an allergy to dog hair is less likely to react in close proximity to poodles.

Golden Retriever

Golden retrievers are known for being loyal, lovable family pets. They are best suited to busier more active families as they need a lot of exercise. They are generally great with kids due to their calm and intelligent demeanour and may be one of the best first dogs for families. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a beautiful and loyal dog. These dogs want to play an active role in the family and can be prone to separation and anxiety issues. A big family with lots of love and attention to give to them is a great match for this dog. 


Greyhounds are known for being friendly and very laid-back dogs. Contrary to popular belief, despite their infamous speed on a racetrack they don't require loads of exercise. They also have short, low-shedding coats that require little to no grooming. 


The Papillion is a little dog with a big personality (and big ears!) They are known for their loveable character making them good first dogs. This lap dog also has bursts of energy and is quick, smart and curious. 


These dogs have big hearts and loyal personalities! Labradors are good dogs for first time owners with families as they are abundantly affectionate dogs. They have minimal grooming requirements. Known for being people-pleasers they can be easier to train than other breeds. 

Yorkshire Terrier

This little dog packs a big personality. Known for being loyal and sweet, the Yorkshire Terrier will enjoy cuddling up in your lap often, making them good dogs for first time owners. Due to their size, they may do better in homes without children and are also suited to older owners. 

Bichon Frise

This sweet dog is known for its sociable personality, they are particularly good with children. Their coats do not shed as often as others however, they will still require regular grooming. 


These cute little dogs don’t take up a lot of space or have extensive exercise needs. They have a low-shedding coat, and they have minimal grooming needs. 


This larger dog is great for active families as they are extremely loyal and energetic. Boxers are easily trained and love kids. They also have minimal grooming needs making them a good first dog for outdoorsy families. 

Shih Tzu

This breed is the ultimate lap dog making them one of the best first dog choices for seniors. Small, loyal and big on cuddling, the Shih Tzu is an ancient breed that just wants to be part of the family. Despite their longer fur, they shed very little, however, they do need a good detangle with a brush once a week. 


These little dogs are known for being hearty and having very few health issues. Their coats will require daily maintenance and grooming, however, they are low-shedding dogs. The Maltese does not need as much exercise as other breeds.


These gorgeous dogs are known for their small stature, juxtaposed by their long bodies. They have sweet personalities but they can be quite stubborn, so training is advised. This dog’s coat is low-shedding and generally requires minimal grooming if they are shorthaired. 


Last but not least, Beagles are known for being a great breed for families with children as they are very sociable. These dogs love to be around kids and are loyal, kind and clever. Beagles have short coats and minimal grooming requirements, however, they love to get dirty on long walks so you may end up bathing them quite often! 

Boston Terrier

This sweet dog’s manageable size and friendly nature make them a great first time pup. Known to thrive in smaller living spaces, this loyal dog does well in the city and is another great choice for people looking for a low-maintenance canine.

Considerations for first time dog owners

Before considering which breed is best for you or your family, you will need to evaluate the long-term cost of looking after a dog. 

Think about your lifestyle, time commitments, how stable your living conditions are and if you are introducing the puppy to other pets or family members very carefully. Understanding these factors will help inform your decision about what breed would suit you best. 

You may discover that a puppy is not the best option for you or your family and decide to adopt an older rescue dog. Older dogs are generally calmer and do not require as much exercise. You will also avoid the puppy training stage and all the mess that comes with it while rehoming a dog that truly needs all the love you can give it. You should also consider mixed-breed dogs and these dogs combine the best of both breeds! 

First time dog owner FAQs

Do you have more burning questions about the best dogs for first time owners? Check out our FAQ section below. 

Which is the easiest dog to own?

If you are a first time owner looking for a low-maintenance dog there are a lot of great choices out there. Low-maintenance breeds tend to be easier to train and make great family pets. The best dogs for first time owners tend to have less grooming requirements, require less time outdoors exercising or have coats that are less likely to set off allergies. “Easier” breeds also respond to training well. All breeds have different energy levels, coats, sizes and personalities so use our handy guide to help you research the best breed for your individual needs. 

Every dog has a unique personality so this question is not always a straightforward one. There is no such thing as an “easy” breed but there are low-maintenance breeds that are more suitable for young families, older owners, and owners with existing pets.

How do I choose my first dog?

Choosing your first dog is an incredibly exciting time for any new owner, however, it is also a huge decision that should not be made lightly. Before evaluating what breed best suits you or your family, it is important to also consider your lifestyle and how this will impact your new pet. Do you have a lot of work commitments? Do you have a family with existing pets? Is your home an apartment with no garden? These are questions you need to factor into your decision-making. Puppies are not always the best choice for everyone and you may decide that adopting an adult / older dog is preferable. Be honest about what you can provide for your new pup, as well as what they bring to the table! 

The next stage involves researching breeds and deciding what breed is best for you. You should always choose a responsible breeder to support ethical breeding practices. You can ask for recommendations from your vet or friends. Always pick a licensed breeder. Alternatively, you can find local rehoming shelters to adopt a dog or puppy. 

Learning about different breeds doesn’t need to be stressful with our handy guide on the best low-maintenance dog breeds. Once your new pup comes home you’ll make some incredible memories together. Curious about what food to feed your new puppy to maintain a healthy and nutritious diet? Check out our range of James Wellbeloved™ Dog Food