The 20 Best Dog Breeds for First Time Dog Owners

Dogs are a big commitment. From yapping Chihuahuas to boisterous Labradors, first-time dog owners are keen to make sure their new companion is the right one.

There are many factors to consider when choosing a furry friend – like the size of your home or whether you have a yard. Allergies also play a role, as does the owner’s ability to tolerate loud barking or heavy molting.

The range of canines can seem endless, so Newsweek has researched breed, foster, and pet locations to put together the perfect pooches for first-time owners. Take a look below.

20. Bichon Frize

Translated from French, Bichon Frize literally means “curly lap dog”, which captures the temperament of these spirited but peaceful companions.

They are small and require less exercise than larger dogs, although their “powder puff” coats require quite a bit of grooming.

The Bichon Frize is a small, white Mediterranean dog with soft, corkscrew curls.
ultramarinfoto / Getty Images

19. Border Terrier

Robust and reliable, these working dogs are well suited to an outdoor lifestyle. Thanks to their wiry fur, Border Terriers are easy to care for and the perfect dogs for roaming the countryside.

The border terrier is a gentle dog
The Border Terrier is known as a gentle breed of dog. In this photo, a Border Terrier dog lying down puffed and gasped its tongue after chasing around.
Tim Graham / Contributor / Getty

18. Cocker Spaniels

Relatively lively creatures, this breed requires at least an hour of exercise a day.

Owners can look forward to swimming, hiking, and other adventures with their spaniels. Highly energetic and prone to barking when bored, these dogs are better suited for an equally active owner.

Cocker spaniels
Cocker Spaniels at the 160th Great Yorkshire Show on July 12, 2018 in Harrogate, England. Cocker Spaniels require regular grooming.
Ian Forsyth / Getty

17. Airedale Terriers

Nicknamed the “King of Terriers”, Airedales are a great choice for anyone looking for a reliable all-rounder.

The breed is native to the Aire Valley in Yorkshire, England and has been used in the past to catch otters and rats in the area’s rivers.

These four-legged troops later made a name for themselves during World War I when they transported medicines and food through trenches.

# 19. Airedale terrier
Airedale Terriers have historically caught rats and otters in Yorkshire, United Kingdom.

16. Cardigan Welsh Corgis

Favorite of Her Majesty the Queen, corgis are smart, loving, and unwaveringly loyal.

This breed, believed to have existed for over 3,000 years, is distinguished by its long tail, which is often compared to the sleeves of a cardigan.

Mild-humored and not too much anger, these dogs make the perfect companion – whether for a royal household or not.

Corgis are a Queen's favorite
Corgis are the Queen of the United Kingdom’s favorite pets In this photo, a pair of Corgi dogs arrive on day two of the Crufts Dog Show at the NEC Arena on March 10, 2017 in Birmingham, England.
Matt Cardy / Stringer / Getty

15. Bearded collies

Limp, but certainly not goofy, this breed is known for its sheep herding skills.

Owners only have to watch their Collies do the “bartie bounce” – an animated wobble of its fur as it runs – to get a measure of this dog’s playfulness.

Bearded collie
A man grooms a bearded collie dog at the National Exhibition Center in Birmingham, England on March 8, 2019. Bearded Collies need brushing every day to remove tangles.
Oli Schalf / AFP / Getty

14. Bernese Mountain Dogs

Despite their massive stature, Bernese Mountain Dogs are gentle giants. Equipped with a sweet, affectionate nature, they are reliable family dogs.

With a shoulder height of over 27 inches, Bernese residents may need more space to spread out – ideally a house with a yard.

Bernese Mountain Dog
A Bernese Mountain Dog on March 2nd, 2016 in Clevedon, England. This breed should be brushed daily during the fur season.
Matt Cardy / Getty

13. American Eskimo Dogs

Recognized in two different sizes, miniature and standard, this stunning dog with its snow-white fur will turn heads.

Perhaps the only downside is the breed’s tendency to bark – so it’s not for those with sensitive ears or easily annoyed neighbors.

# 30.  American Eskimo Dog
American Eskimo dogs come in two different sizes, miniature and standard.

12. American Staffordshire Terriers

Muscular and stocky, these sociable terriers make trustworthy friends. With a glossy brown and white coat that requires little grooming, they are easy to care for and adaptable to different environments.

American staffordshire terrier
An American Staffordshire Terrier at the Sacramento SPCA February 1, 2008 in Sacramento, California. American Staffordshire Terriers only need a quick brush once a week.
David Paul Morris

11. Bulldogs

Originally bred to drive cattle to markets, these dogs are calm, slow creatures.

Well-suited for apartment living, bulldogs like to waddle around in the comfort of their owners’ homes.

French bulldog
Bulldogs enjoy slower lives and remain the most popular small breed of dog.
monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images

10. Bloodhounds

Contrary to their name, Bloodhounds are a docile but highly intelligent breed of dog.

Also known as “sniffer dogs”, these creatures are gifted with a keen sense of smell. Formerly bred for hunting and tracking, bloodhounds are now often used as sniffer dogs.

A bloodhound in Washington, DC on August 29, 2013. Bloodhounds should be bathed regularly to keep them from stinking, but they only need to be brushed once a week.
Saul Loeb / AFP

9. Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonkas

Petite, pretty dogs, Bolonkas, come from the area around Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

Translated from Russian to mean “colored lap dog”, they come in a variety of shades, including sandy brown and salt and pepper gray.

Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka
Translated from Russian to mean “colored lap dog”, they are originally from Moscow and St. Petersburg.

8. Brittany

This lesser-known breed is a true sports dog and will take on most outdoor activities with a jump in stride.

Smaller than setters but longer than spaniels, these dogs bring a lot of energy to the park. Ideal for families with equally excited children, they are eager companions ready to please.

A sporty dog, comparable to a spaniel, these are great companions for active owners.

7. English setter

A medium-sized dog known for its attentive and agile temperament.

Setters were once used as hunting dogs, so they need a more practical owner willing to take brisk walks.

English composer
An English setter at the NEC on March 9th, 2014 in Birmingham, England. English setters are friendly and cheerful dogs that typically live to be around 12 years old.
Matt Cardy / Getty

6. Golden Retriever

One of America’s most popular dog breeds, the Golden Retriever is sure to please you.

Fun for the whole family, they are gentle dogs despite being historically used for hunting.

In fact, the name “retriever” is an allusion to the breed’s ability to bring back game that has been shot undamaged.

Golden retriever
A Golden Retriever at AKC Headquarters on February 22, 2016 in New York City. Golden Retrievers are friendly and devoted dogs that live to be 12 years old.
Jamie McCarthy / Getty

5. Newfoundland

A huge dog that can weigh up to 150 pounds, this is not a breed that will fit in a purse.

Expect plenty of swimming from Newfoundland as it was once used by fishermen to haul in their nets.

Newfoundland dogs at Cruft’s Dog Show at the NEC Arena on March 6, 2020 in Birmingham, England. Newfoundland dogs are generally easy to train.
Jeff J. Mitchell / Getty

14. Pugs

Pugs, known for their thick wrinkles, may look annoyed, but they are mischievous companions.

According to an ancient legend, Chinese breeders who perfected the breeding of this dog preferred its wrinkles, since in their language they resembled symbols of good luck.

Ancient China’s passion for flat-faced dog breeds is behind the development of the pug.
fongleon356 / Getty Images

3. Rhodesian Ridgebacks

These canines look particularly unusual because of a distinctive crest made by hair that grows in the opposite direction from the rest of the fur.

Ridgebacks can expend a lot of energy walking long distances at high speeds, but they are good-natured dogs who rarely bark.

Thai ridgeback
Ridgebacks can use a lot of energy by enduring long distances at high speed.
DevidDO / iStock

2. Beagles

Developed as hunting dogs, these compact dogs need plenty of exercise and attention.

However, they are rewarding pets and have short coats that are easy to groom.

A Beagle at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home on December 17, 2019 in London, England. Beagles need to be brushed weekly but don’t need to be bathed very often.
Marsland / WireImage

1. Labradors

The countdown couldn’t be complete without this family-friendly favorite.

Black, brown or yellow, the characteristic wagging tail and the boundless energy of a Labrador secure the top spot as the best breed for first-time owners.

Black, tan, or yellow, these dogs are a crowd-pleaser.
Getty Images

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