Are you considering getting your first dog? Maybe you’ve wanted a dog since childhood, or maybe you are just feeling lonely in your quiet house and looking for someone who can add some life.

If you are committed to what it takes to raise and train a young pup, that’s certainly a way to add some life to your home! Today we’re looking at dog breeds for novice owners. These breeds are not going to be easy to raise, but they’ll give you the best chance to learn the proper ways to train your new friend.

What Makes a Great First Dog?

There are several things to consider when you are thinking about picking up your very first pup. These may consist of:

  • Home size
  • Lifestyle
  • Time

These things might seem like no-brainers, but not everyone considers these when they purchase a dog. If you ignore one of these, you’ll probably end up with a bigger problem on your hands than just ‘which dog is right for me.’

How big is your home? Do you live on a wooded acre, or do you have a 500 square foot apartment? Based on how much room you have to move around, how much room your dog will have to play? This is important to consider as a dog who feels “boxed in” will be much more difficult to put at ease. An uneasy dog can make training much more difficult.

What is your life like? Do you wake up with the sun and not come home until sundown? If that’s the case, you’ll have to think about what will happen with your dog. Do you have a friend, family member or trusted neighbor who is willing to help you take your dog out during the day? Are you going to hire a dog walker to come into your home and walk your dog for you?

Even if you work from home and can spend all your time with your dog. What’s your activity level like? Do you love to go for a 5k every day? The dog you choose better have the stamina to keep up! Conversely, if you like nothing better than taking your boots off after a long day at work and relaxing on your couch, you might want to find a fellow couch potato.

Dog Breeds for Novice Owners

Below, you’ll find a great list of dog breeds for novice owners. Each breed might not fit your specific circumstances, but the breeds listed below are known for being easier to train and are usually a bit gentler on newbies.

Bichon Frise

These first few breeds are great if you are in a smaller home. The Bichon doesn’t get much larger than thirteen pounds, so they’re very manageable no matter what size you may be. The breed is known for being very cheery, so you can expect to come home to a happy boy or girl each day. Though, they are known to love attention, so be sure you’re not keeping them home alone for too long.


The Maltese is another great breed if you’re looking for one that is on the smaller side. They are also extremely loving and are likely to give kisses to just about everyone. If you’re okay with that, it’s a great breed.

Be sure to brush their luxurious coat every few days and watch them around kids.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The biggest selling point on the CKCS is just how darn cute they are. These dogs love to be in the company of people and will likely always be someone’s shadow. This makes them great for full households, but their small size isn’t great for young children.

Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular breeds in the US and had held that distinction for decades. It’s easy to see why too. They are fun-loving dogs who are super smart. They’re easy to train and strive to please. They’ll also get the most out of you as they need about an hour of good exercise each day. You can also take some outdoor time to give them a good grooming, as they’ll shed a lot.


While Poodles today may be thought of more as show dogs or signs of luxury, make no mistake oodles were bred to put in a hard day’s work. These were originally used as water dogs. This means they were meant to retrieve for hunters and fishermen. These dogs are very smart, so obedience training is highly suggested and be sure to give them the physical and mental stimulation they need.


The Whippet very closely resembles its larger relative, the Greyhound. But Whippets are great apartment dogs as their energy levels stay relatively low while indoors. These are active dogs though, so be sure you are giving them enough time outside to let out some of their explosive energy. The Whippet is also a lover to everyone. They are great with kids and strangers alike. Just remember that they are not great watchdogs as they are likely to attack a burglar with kisses.

This list has hopefully given you some breeds to consider while on your quest for your first dog. Remember that not all dogs of a certain breed are guaranteed to act a certain way, and mixed breed dogs are also a great choice as well.