By Ketan Panchal*

Becoming a first-time dog owner is exciting but it can also be a bit overwhelming. There are so many different dogs out there and it’s hard to know how to choose the right one. Before you take home the next adorable puppy you see, there are a few things to consider.

Choose a Dog That Fits Your Lifestyleecoming a first-time dog owner is exciting but it can also be a bit overwhelming. There are so many different dogs out there and it’s hard to know how to choose the right one. Before you take home the next adorable puppy you see, there are a few things to consider.

Make sure you can provide enough exercise for your new dog. If you are looking for a lazy lap dog, then it’s best to avoid high-energy dog breeds. If you want a dog that can go for running with you, choose an athletic dog with endurance.

All dogs have basic needs such as house training, socialization, obedience training, and frequent vet visits, but some dogs need more care than others. Consider how much extra time you have, to meet these needs. You may actually prefer a low-maintenance dog breed as your first one.

Dog Breeds for Beginners

There are hundreds of dog breeds out there. Fortunately, each dog breed has a relatively predictable energy level, size, appearance, and grooming needs, while each dog is different. When you know that you are ready to adopt a new friend, following round-up of the best dogs for first-time owners will point you in the right direction. Each of these breeds is known for being easy going and easy to train. When you decide to bring a furry friend home, you must consult with a professional dog trainer and behaviourist.

Top 8 breeds that I recommend for first-time pet parents:

Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is a happy-go-lucky little dog that looks like a bouncy cotton ball. This breed is an all-round great companion. Bichons are fairly easy to train and adapt well to any lifestyle. Be sure to dedicate time and money to regular groomer visits.


If you are looking for a medium–large high-energy dog, look no further than a playful Boxer. This is a loyal dog that forms a close bond with family. If you lead a fairly active lifestyle, a Boxer could be for you. This breed needs plenty of exercise and a strong foundation of training. A Boxer’s grooming needs are very basic. Guardians by nature, Boxers are naturally protective of their families, especially children.

Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is the quintessential family dog. This medium–large dog is happy, loyal, affectionate, and active. Goldens are smart and adaptable dogs that can thrive in most households. This breed does need regular brushing to keep its coat free of tangles and mats. They also need a good amount of exercise to keep them in good physical condition and prevent boredom. Training is essential but not difficult. They love to learn and can be trained to do a number of things. Golden Retrievers are eager to please and they love spending time with their families. They are excellent with children of all ages. It is no wonder that this is world’s one of the most popular dogs!


Who doesn’t love these squishy faces? Pugs are great dogs for a novice owner, as they are very low-maintenance but still active enough to keep you on your toes. They have wonderful personalities and they love kids. Pug is a good breed choice for families with children because despite being small, it is not delicate like many other toy breeds. Properly trained and socialized, a Pug enjoys companionship of dogs, and can be trusted with cats, rabbits, and other animals.

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular and recognizable medium–large dog breeds. They are deeply loyal and affectionate dogs that form close bond with their families. This breed is active, playful, and smart. Labs thrive in active households that can provide plenty of exercise and training. They love to learn and can be trained to do almost anything. You can play fetch for hours or go for a run with your Lab, then end the busy day snuggling on the couch. Without plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, Labs may get bored and act out, especially during their younger years. They also tend to love all food and can easily become overweight if you are not careful. Fortunately, they only have minor grooming needs. Brush your Lab regularly to minimize shedding. If you take good care of your Lab, you will have a happy and lovable companion for life.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu is a dynamic blend of an attentive and affectionate lapdog, and a dignified companion. Within a home, these little pets just want to be part of the family. One downside to a Shih Tzu is that they can be stubborn at times. Bred to be the perfect companions, and to hold themselves with pride and assertiveness, when it comes to training and housebreaking, these characteristics can make the process a bit more difficult.


One of the most misunderstood breeds, the Rottweiler is a recognizable breed with his large head, solidly muscled body, and distinctively handsome black-and-tan markings. He is intelligent, strong, and loyal. You could be the perfect family to take a Rottweiler in and show them unconditional love. They enjoy exercise and are incredibly beautiful with their black fur and brown markings. These are social dogs and should be around people and other dogs if possible. They are capable of destructive behaviour, which could be due to boredom or anxiety. Rottweilers bark when necessary and can be reserved around strangers. Rotties are sensitive due to their intelligence and close attachment to their family.

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is very protective and devoted to its family and home, maintaining a suspicious and aloof demeanour around strangers. It can be dominating and assertive towards dogs, though it is normally friendly with other pets in home. The German Shepherd is an immensely versatile dog, displaying a keen intelligence while dutifully performing its tasks. They are intelligent dogs, so they are easy to train. They are known to be one of the best breeds when it comes to training. However, each dog is an individual so differences can occur, and some may be bred to be better at specific tasks than others.

* Author is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer