Updated: Jun 17, 2022
Let’s be clear – making the decision to get a dog isn’t something anyone should do on a whim. Puppies are cute, but puppies also grow up quickly. While there’s certainly something to be said for nurture over nature, it’s worth remembering that certain types of dogs are less suited to new dog owners than others.
For example, very intelligent dogs are easy to train, but they can also quickly pick up bad habits and become stubborn. Certain dog breeds are very high maintenance, and other dog breeds are just too expensive.
So, if you’re a new dog owner, which dog breed is best for you?
The New Dog Owner Checklist
There are lots of things to think about before you get your first dog. Aside from the age-old “adopt or shop” question, you need to consider what type of dog you’ll get, and you need to be careful where you get your dog from – some shelters aren’t good to adopt from and finding an ethical puppy seller can be a real nightmare.
So, here are some main things to consider first:
Can I afford a dog?
Make no mistake, dogs are expensive. The initial cost of buying a puppy or paying an adoption fee is only the beginning. You’ll have food, toys, and supplies to buy, as well as vet visits and vaccinations. You’ll need to get your dog spayed or neutered if they aren’t already. You may have to pay pet insurance, or extra rent fees to keep a dog. If you go on holiday, you’ll need to pay for a dog sitter or kennel boarding fees. Some dog breeds are prone to health issues, which may not be covered by pet insurance and can wind up being very expensive.
Will a dog suit my family, and vice versa?
Be sure that a dog is right for your family. Small children and dogs can go well together but be sure that your children know how to behave around dogs. If you already have animals, think about how a new dog will affect them. Cats and dogs tend not to get on unless they’ve grown up together. Small animals should not be kept around dogs, as most dogs have an instinct to chase.
Do I fully understand the expenses, time, and effort required to train and care for a dog?
Make sure that you’ve done your research. The reality of owning a dog can be very different to your imagination. The cost of owning a dog isn’t just measured in money. Your dog needs time, effort, and a lot of love. Be sure that you know exactly what your new dog will need, and check that you can provide it.
Is this a long-term commitment for me?
If you only like the idea of a puppy, don’t get a dog. If you plan to get rid of your dog if and when you move or have a baby, don’t get a dog. If you tend to get bored of pets quickly and then get rid of them, don’t get a dog. Getting a pet is a lifelong commitment for that animal. They deserve a good home, and if you can’t provide that, let somebody else have the pet.
If you don’t see a dog as a permanent commitment, stick to stuffed animals.
Which Dog Breed Is Best For You?
Dogs are all unique, and while there are some characteristics that tend to be found among certain breeds, some dogs are more trainable, friendly, and loyal than others. Here are five of the best breeds for new dog owners.
These dogs are part Cocker Spaniel and part Poodle (both excellent choices for first-time owners, by the way!), and they're taking the world by storm. Cockapoos are good-natured, low-maintenance dogs. They are intelligent and easy to train and make perfect family pets. Like poodles, Cockapoos are also hypoallergenic and are notably more healthy than many other pedigrees.
2. Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are classic family dogs. They’re good-natured, happy, and eager to please. They are good with children and adaptable and are very easy to train for new owners. Golden Retrievers do need plenty of grooming and exercise and can get bored quickly.
Just like Golden Retrievers, Labradors are the perfect family dog. Labradors are adaptable, loving, good with children, and very affectionate. They need less grooming than a Golden Retriever, but they will still need plenty of exercise and lots of love!
4. King Charles Cavalier Spaniel
Buying a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel can be expensive, and the breed can be prone to health issues. However, that’s the only possible downside to these beautiful dogs. King Charles Cavaliers are gentle, affectionate, loyal, and easy to train. They only need a moderate amount of exercise and need to be brushed regularly.
Boxer dogs are loud and excitable, but also loving, intelligent, and easy to train. They’re naturally loving dogs who are great with children. However, boxers do need plenty of exercise and can be a little hyperactive!
Dog Breeds To Avoid
Training any kind of dog can be a challenge. No dog breed is naturally vicious or aggressive – that is trained into them by bad owners or bad experiences. However, some dog breeds can be stubborn and difficult to train.
If you’re a first-time dog owner, giant dog breeds may not be a good idea. Dogs like St Bernard’s, Newfoundlands, and Great Danes are usually gentle giants, and may even be more loving than smaller dogs. However, giant dogs present unique challenges. Any mistakes you make in training will be amplified in a giant dog.
For example, if your little poodle tends to jump up at guests, that’s not a big deal. If your Newfoundland dog does it, that’s another story!
Dog breeds like Akitas, German Shepherds, many types of terrier, and others are recommended for more experienced dog owners. Training a dog isn’t natural for everyone, and it’s natural to make some mistakes. However, your dog is your responsibility – mistakes you make in the early stages could become a serious problem later on.