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  • Cheryl Cole

9 of the best breeds for first-time dog owners

Searching for your first ever dog? These breeds all make great choices for first-time dog parents.


Becoming a dog parent for the first time is exciting, happy and emotional, but it can also be overwhelming.


Adopting a new pup into the family is a lot of responsibility and deciding what dog is a good fit for your lifestyle is not always easy.


Of course, no two dogs are the same, but when it comes to breeds, there are some that stand out as perfect choices for novice dog owners. Whether it's their easy-going personalities, trainability or simply because they are low maintenance, these 9 breeds come up in almost every list you can find for first-time dog parents.


According to breed information from Dog Time, American Kennel Club and Rover, these adorable breeds are all great choices for first-time dog owners, so, if you're thinking about welcoming a new pup into your family, here are 9 breeds you should definitely consider.



1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This sweet and affectionate breed fits in to most kinds of households, and gets along well with children, and strangers.


Small and gentle, these dogs love to cuddle and will just as happily go on walks as they will curl up for hours on the sofa.


Cavaliers are generally intelligent and willing to learn, with food rewards and positive reinforcement helping to ensure that training goes smoothly.


Size: 10-18lb

Mood: Loving and Playful


2. Golden Retriever

One of the most popular breeds in Canada, these kind and even-tempered dogs make amazing family dogs.


Happy, loyal, affectionate and active, these dogs thrive in most households, but they need lots of exercise to stay healthy, and regular brushing to keep their coat tangle-free.

Training is essential but luckily, it's not difficult, as Retrievers love to learn and are not only intelligent, but also very eager to please.

Size: 55-77lb

Mood: Kind and Trustworthy



3. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkies love their humans and will be a friend for life, making them a a great 'starter dog' for anyone looking for a little lap dog.


Due to their small size, these affectionate and sprightly dogs can be exercised easily indoors, and are very eager to please, which comes in handy when training.


As their beautiful, silky coat is more like human hair, it needs to be brushed daily, and without structure, these little dogs can become stubborn and vocal, so a solid foundation for training is needed.


Size: 4-6lb

Mood: Energetic and Affectionate



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4. Papillon

Intelligent and highly trainable, these playful and energetic pups make great family dogs and get along very well with children. Their high energy level means they need lots of exercise, but they can happily amuse themselves with balls and other toys. This loving toy breed live well into their teens, and despite their fluffy coat, they are easily maintained and have minimal shedding.


Size: 4-9lb

Mood: Loving and Playful


5. Poodle

All three varieties of Poodle (Standard, Miniature and Toy) are excellent for first-time dog owners and are known to be extremely easily trained due to their high intelligence.


Fast learners, eager to please and playful, despite the regular grooming needed, these loving pups are non-shedding so are great for anyone with allergies,


Highly adaptable and people-loving, this breed does well in a wide variety of households, including those with children.


Size: 11-70lb

Mood: Active and Intelligent



6. Pug

Charming, mischievous and very loving, this breed is perfect for a first-time dog owner looking for a laid-back companion.


Their small size, infrequent barking and shedding, and affection towards strangers are just some of the long list of qualities that make pugs so popular.


Although very low maintenance, their love of snuggling on the sofa combined with their fondness of food does mean that obesity is a real possibility, so regular, moderate exercise is a must to keep these charming pups healthy!

Size: 14-18lb

Mood: Laid-back and Charming




7. Bichon Frise

This breed is great with children of all ages and is fairly easy to train, while their hypoallergenic coat makes them perfect for allergy sufferers.


Although low shedding compared with similar breeds, they should be brushed 2-3 times a week to keep their coat in top condition.


Playful and curious, their small size, low bark-rate and friendliness towards strangers make them a particularly great choice for apartment dwelling first-time dog owners.

Size: 12-18lb

Mood: Affectionate and Cheerful

8. Boxer

Intelligent, alert, fearless and friendly, boxers are instinctive guardians who love human affection and being close to their owners.

Patient, gentle and spirited with children, but also protective, Boxers are a popular choice for families and make great companions.

High energy and active dogs, they require minimal grooming but need daily exercise as well as mental stimulation, and are best suited to owners with active lifestyles.


Size: 60-70lb

Mood: Devoted and Friendly


9. Labrador Retriever


Loyal, kind and affection, Labs make wonderful family dogs and their sweet and easy-going nature makes them one of the most popular breeds across Canada and beyond.


Enthusiastic, high energy and eager to please, Labs are obedient and do well with training, and as they are not particularly 'sensitive' dogs, they can forgive a multitude of rookie mistakes.


This breed is social and loves people, meaning they are happy just about anywhere, as long as they can sit by your side.


Size: 55-80lb

Mood: Outgoing and Gentle

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