Love dog but never had one before?

Think it’s time you got your own canine buddy?

If you’ve answered  “Yes” to both these questions, we've got you covered. Dogs can be a lot of work, and certain breeds tend to be stubborn troublemakers that will go out of their way to make your life difficult. That can be cute, but you probably couldn't handle that as a beginner. No one wants to be the person who lets their dog control them, rather than the other way around.

As with other things, it’s important to start easy and level up as you go. That’s not to say that the dogs in this article are any less inferior to more difficult breeds. These dogs will love you unconditionally and give you memories that you will cherish forever.

Ready to choose? Here are the best dog breeds for first-time owners.

Rating System

To make things easy for you, we’re going to rate every dog on this list along our beginner pet owners’ scale. Here are the factors we will use, each rated out of five:

· Adaptability: how open they are to changes.

· Apartment Friendliness: how much they bark, their size and how well they do indoors.

· Grooming: how much bathing, brushing and professional grooming is needed. This also includes how much they shed. A higher rating indicates greater grooming needs.

· Trainability: how easy they are to train.

· Lovemeter: how much love they display.

· Daily activity: how much exercise the dog needs every day. A higher rating means more exercise is necessary.

Golden Retriever

Well, if there were ever a celebrity dog breed, it would be the Golden Retriever. Starring in dozens of Air Bud movies and Napoleon, they are among the most popular breeds across the globe.  

Enough about their stardom, though. What are they like as pets? They are considered by many to be the best all-round family pets you can find. The always-smiling Goldens are known for their peaceful nature, friendly attitude and relaxed temperament. They are one of the most forgiving dogs around, and they are great with kids!

Adaptability: 5

Apartment Friendliness: 2

Grooming: 3

Trainability: 5

Lovemeter: 5

Daily activity: 5


Just feel like staying-in all the time and watching Netflix? A pug is your perfect buddy! They are one of the most relaxed breeds on this list. They get along well with everyone they meet, have a smooth coat that doesn’t need much grooming and can live anywhere from a ranch to an urban apartment.

Don’t think they’re gloomy because of their laid-back attitude. Pugs are naturally inquisitive and love to mess around.

There is one problem, though. Pugs are susceptible to various health issues like breathing and eye problems. If you’re adopting a pug, be prepared to pay for the extra healthcare, and a potentially shorter life than other dogs.

If you can bear with the one small drawback, pugs make for one of the best dog breeds for first-time owners.

Adaptability: 5

Apartment Friendliness: 5

Grooming: 1

Trainability: 3

Lovemeter: 5

Daily activity:1

Basset Hound

Here’s another laid-back canine for all the easy-going pet owners. Some might even call them lazy. This breed is perfect for families because of how loving they are with children. They enjoy spending time inside cuddled up with their families and other pets. They are an extremely loyal breed that is perfect for owners who may not have the biggest backyard.

Bassets are prone to obesity if they don’t get enough exercise, thanks to their sedentary lifestyle. Make sure to take your dog out every day and keep them on a healthy diet. Other than that, this is the perfect dog breed for beginners!

Adaptability: 5

Apartment Friendliness: 3

Grooming: 2

Trainability: 3

Lovemeter: 5

Daily activity: 3


The AKC describes Corgis as “smart and alert, affectionate but not pushy, bold but kindly.” Sounds like a good combination, doesn't it? Corgis have awkward short legs that make them one of the cutest breeds on this list. They are easily trainable, active and crave human attention.

You need to train them well during their early years to make sure that you have a well-behaved buddy for the rest of your life. They can adapt to any living spaces and sport a medium coat that needs weekly grooming.

Corgis are a bit more work than the previous dogs on this list. But if you’re looking for a cute and active partner, you won’t do much better than a Corgi.

Adaptability: 5

Apartment Friendliness: 5

Grooming: 4

Trainability: 5

Lovemeter: 5

Daily activity: 4


They are the tiniest dogs on this list. A Pomeranian knows that it's the cutest thing around and will never live it down. They often forget their own size and might try to take on larger dogs.

They’re intelligent dogs with a knack for fun and games. They need moderate daily exercise (a walk around the block is enough) and adapt well to different places thanks to their size. Their fluffy coat is not as high maintenance as it looks and only needs regular brushing.

Make sure to give positive training through their early years so that they don’t become stubborn and feisty. They also bark slightly more than other breeds on this list.

Adaptability: 5

Apartment Friendliness: 4

Grooming: 3

Trainability: 3

Lovemeter: 5

Daily activity:2


This is by no means an exhaustive list of the best dog breeds for first-time owners. There are many dog breeds out there and while most of them are easy to handle, others are not. The best way to find the best canine friend for yourself is to go out and interact with dogs. Visit shelters, hang around dog parks and talk to owners. Learn from everyone’s experiences.

Lastly, keep an open mind. You might go into a shelter thinking you want a Corgi, but you might fall in love with a Beagle. It happens, so don't discard other breeds. Talk to experts and friends to determine if you can take care of the dog and give it a good life.

We hope you’re ready to take your first step towards becoming a happy dog owner. All we ask is that you give your dog the same amount of love that it gives you.

Good luck!