Which Dog Breed is Best for First Time Dog Owners?

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Once you finally decide to adopt a furry little one, it seems like a huge weight has been lifted! The eagerness and excitement, the anticipation for that new life you are about to add to your family, is almost overwhelming. The change couldn’t come quick enough!

Unfortunately, those same emotions can lead to quick decision making. Those adorable puppies you see in the window, or huddled together in their pen, are just too cute! It can be hard to imagine the adults they will turn into, and the immense responsibility that comes along with them.

Caring for a dog is never a ‘breeze’, but certain breeds require much more than others. So, which dog breed is best for first time dog owners?

Note: Puppy Care

No matter the breed, caring for an adult is quite a bit different from caring for a puppy. Puppies require a lot of attention. They are kind of like human babies in a way, putting anything available in their mouths and (especially during teething) chewing anything in sight, from electrical cords to the paint off your walls. Experienced dog owners have probably endured this, but first time dog owners should prepare themselves for a happy challenge!

‘Lower’ Energy Breeds

Some of the largest problems first time dog owners face have to do with their little one’s enormous energy level, prey drive and simple exercise requirements. Though these may not be the easiest breeds for first time owners to care for, they are some of the more ‘lower energy’ breeds out there. These dogs will still need some exercise, but not as much as a Beagle, Siberian Husky or Border Collie, for example.

Some of these dogs would be ideal for apartment living, for example, as long as the owner is willing to endure any other problems the breed may have.

  • Basset Hound
  • Bulldog
  • Bull Mastiff
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Chow Chow
  • French Bulldog
  • Great Dane
  • Greyhound

#1. Labrador Retriever

Not only are they the number one most popular dog breed in America, ‘Labs’ are among the top in several other countries as well. Almost every dog lover in the world has heard of them, and you probably have friends or at least know someone who has raised one before.

Labs are highly intelligent, considered among the top most intelligent breeds in the world. They are a social breed, eager to please by nature, meaning they are easier to train and learn new skills faster than many other breeds. Though they do shed, they won’t shed at an overwhelming rate; this can be easily handled with regular brushings.

Labs are also docile yet playful, great with kids and wonderful family dogs. Both friendly and outgoing, you’ll have an easy time socializing these pups! Labs are also fantastic swimmers and natural retrievers, for those who enjoy water sports. Labs have their share of health problems, as any dog breed does, but as a whole are healthier than most.

  • Golden Retrievers are also great first time pets, sharing similar personalities!

#2. Boxer

Another popular breed, Boxers are playful and affectionate, great dogs for the kids and wonderful playtime companions! Boxers are a loyal breed, forming close social bonds with family members. Unlike the the two above, Boxers have short coats and won’t shed much; their grooming requirements are minimal (much lower than the Labs).

Both Labrador retrievers and Boxers are active breeds, and will require regular exercise. Most dog owners consider walks simply part of the experience! A fenced in backyard will also help.

#3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Look up nearly any ‘top 10’ list for first time dog owners, and you’ll find the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel somewhere. These little fur-kids are easygoing, trusting, and make friends anywhere they go. Both dog and people friendly, they are very social, fantastic for families with kids! Training is usually as smooth as any other process. As long as you do your research and train properly, building social skills couldn’t be easier!

That being said, they are a smaller breed, and more susceptible to injury than the ones listed above.

#4. Beagle

Also extremely popular, Beagles are both intelligent and eager to please, making them as easy to train as the others listed above. These guys would make fantastic companions for children, and would love nothing more than to run all day!

BUT- bred to hunt and chase prey, Beagles have a high prey drive and are prone to bolt out of your front door after that ’small animal’ (not recommended for anyone living near busy roads). They are a higher energy breed than the ones listed above, and will require plenty of exercise. Daily walks are wonderful, but a Beagle will only be happiest if he has a fenced enclosure where he can run.

Breeds Recommended for Experienced Owners

The popular breeds below are more demanding than most, have exceptionally high energy levels, and some can even become destructive if they don’t receive enough exercise. Prey drive can also be a problem with these dog breeds, leading them to chase other small animals. Sadly, many of these dogs are sheltered because handlers aren’t able to care for the adults they become.

The breeds below make absolute fantastic companions for the right owner, each offering his own unique personality! That being said, they can be more demanding than most. Unless you are willing to go out of your way on a daily basis to meet these needs, the breeds listed below are only recommended for experienced dog owners.

  • Siberian Husky – High energy can easily lead to destruction, digging holes & escaping enclosures
  • Alaskan Malamute – High energy can easily lead to destruction, digging holes & escaping enclosures
  • Bulldog – Wealth of health problems common in this breed, care can be can be costly & stressful
  • Australian Cattle Dog – High energy, can be stubborn & difficult to train for inexperienced handlers
  • Dalmatian – High energy level can lead to destruction
  • Akita Inu – Strong prey drive, can be stubborn & difficult to train for inexperienced handlers
  • Shiba Inu – Strong prey drive, can be stubborn & difficult to train for inexperienced handlers

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