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First-Time Dog Owners Do Well With These Breeds
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First-Time Dog Owners Do Well With These Breeds

Critter Culture Staff
Updated Nov 16, 2022

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Certain dog breeds may be more suited to your lifestyle than others, so it's important to research to ensure you and your new fur baby are compatible. That's a given.

For example, if you're often busy with work, you'll have less time to groom a high-maintenance breed with a glamorous hairdo or deal with a puppy that still needs house training.

Hate exercise? You'll probably prefer a lap dog to join you in your couch potato ways rather than an athletic breed that's always bounding out the door. It's worth noting that every dog is unique.

Even though different breeds have traits they're known for, your dog's behavior will only sometimes be predictable. How you treat and train your pooch counts more than anything else, including genes.Pro tip—don't write off mutts or the likes of pit bulls. They can be some of the coolest cucumbers in the kennel.

1

Golden retrievers

High angle view of small siblings cuddling their golden retriever on carpet at home. Focus is on dog. skynesher / Getty Images

Golden retrievers and their labrador counterparts are the kinds of dogs in fantasies about the American dream. Chalk it up to the movies, but if you've ever envisioned a white picket fence in the burbs, there's a solid chance an affectionate golden retriever was somewhere in the picture.

These dogs are obedient and helpful, which is why they make outstanding service and assistance dogs. They're top contenders for your canine bestie if you enjoy fitness or lead an active lifestyle that will stimulate them. Expected lifespan? Approximately a decade.

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2

Cavalier King Charles spaniel

Pure breed cavalier king Charles Spaniel at home. Tempura / Getty Images

Cavalier King Charles spaniels are great if you have kids who want their first family dog. This breed won't bowl little ones over with its size or bark your ears off in an already noisy household. They're gentle, require an average amount of exercise, and are the right size for an apartment.

Adaptable and eager-to-please, this is a great therapy dog and an excellent choice for retired seniors who have the time to brush medium-length coats daily. Cavs aren't too wary of strangers, so you could go away for a business trip and get a dog sitter without issue.

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3

Poodles

Pet friendly workspace Pekic / Getty Images

Poodles are originally from Germany, and they're one of the most popular dogs in the world. They've spawned many a new breed because of their commendable characteristics, including their smarts and athleticism.

Available in three sizes, poodle coats are some of the least likely to shed or trigger allergies. These curly-haired cuties will require daily brushings and monthly professional grooming.

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4

Pomeranian

Cute puppy Pomeranian Mixed breed Pekingese dog run on the grass with happiness. panom / Getty Images

Pomeranians are the ultimate fit-in-your-handbag toy breed. They're famous for being a Paris Hilton accessory, but there's so much more to these fluffy lil' knockouts.

Pomeranians tend to form a best friend in multi-person households, but they're happy to form bonds with everyone. Basic training should temper any wilfulness you observe.

Don't stress about pom coats—they are less of a schlep than they look.

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5

Yorkshire terrier

Beautiful yorkshire terrier playing with a ball on a grass Yevgen Romanenko / Getty Images

Yorkies are tiny, but you should know by now that dynamite comes in small packages. These dogs can be possessive and vocal.

They're great if you have allergies, but you must brush their human-like hair every day.

Yorkshire terriers have mixed feelings about exercise, so if that sounds like you, this could be a match made in doggy heaven.

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6

Bernese mountain dogs

Bernese mountain dog Andrew Hingston / Getty Images

Do you love the idea of a gentle giant? Bernese mountain dogs check this box. They have a lovely temperament, with applause-worthy patience levels, and get along with other household pets.

Bernies only need about an hour of exercise per day, and a large home and garden are a given. The biggest issue with this breed is shedding.

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7

Border collies

Close-up of a farmer adjusting his dog's collar while out walking in a field on a early morning in summer AJ_Watt / Getty Images

Border collies tend to be highly trainable and keen on toys. They're intelligent and super active animals, so if you're the of person who loves a good binge sesh, good luck being on the same page as one of these doggies.

If you look forward to the challenge of a fur baby that needs lots of stimulation and solid walks twice a day, you'll find owning a border collie a gratifying experience.

Border collies frequently participate in dog agility contests, which could open up a new hobby for you. With a life expectancy longer than 12 years, you'll have a friend for a significant chapter of your life.

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8

Shih Tzus

Shih tzu, cocking his head, moaan / Getty Images

Shih Tzus are animated dogs, but they're not demanding regarding exercise. So if you want a small sit-down soul mate, look no further.

Shih Tzu coats can get lengthy and look like Kardashian hair extensions, but if you don't plan on being your pooch's glam squad, you can stick to a puppy cut at your local canine hair salon.

Best of all, this breed is trainable and relatively quiet.

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9

German shepherds

Full length shot of an attractive young woman dancing with her dog in the living room at home Moyo Studio / Getty Images

Protective German shepherds make fantastic first-time guard dogs and first dogs in general, so if you prefer large breeds, they could be your gateway dog.

German shepherds are relatively low- maintenance and brainy, which is why they're in the police force. They're also sweethearts who'll follow you around and make heart-melting eye contact. These dogs can live up to 10 years long.

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10

Pugs

Photo of a young woman and her dog enjoying in the bedroom; the morning routine of a young woman and her pet. AleksandarNakic / Getty Images

With their squished-up wrinkly faces and adorable stout little bodies, pugs just do it for some people. If you're one of these individuals unleashing heart-eye emojis every time you cross paths with the neighborhood brachycephalics, you should know that a pug is a good first-time breed.

These dogs are fabulous family dogs, friendly and willing to go with the flow. Pug coats require little attention beyond weekly brushings. Despite their well-documented breed-related health issues, including breathing difficulties and a propensity to overheat, they're relatively long-lived. A pug could be your companion for up to 15 years.

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