Easy dog breeds for first-time owners
You won’t forget the day you become a dog owner for the first time. Adding a dog to the family can be a great game-changer for everyone. Dogs can be loyal, loving, playful, and, let's face it, they're pretty cute.
Dogs bring so much joy into a person’s life and help to create lifelong memories. Once you have a dog, it will be very hard to go back to living without one. Dogs can become wonderful companions, and if brought home to a family, can help teach kids responsibility and compassion. They may also help you feel more secure at home, as many dogs can be trained to become skilled watchdogs.
That said, not all dogs are right for everyone. Prospective owners have to find a dog that is best suited to their personality and lifestyle—it's a matchmaking game more than anything else. And if you're a first-time dog owner, you're going to want to be particular about the type of dog you bring into your home. Some dogs require much more work than others, and some may be more difficult to care for because they are prone to illnesses later in life.
So which breed is easiest for a first-time owner? Stacker analyzed the American Kennel Club dog breed database to find breeds with traits ideal for first-time owners. The analysis focused on breeds that had calm or regular activity levels, as opposed to dogs classified as energetic or needing lots of activity. Dogs that bark infrequently or only when necessary were considered, rather than dogs that were classified as stubborn to train or as extra-large in size. The dogs for this analysis then were ordered by weight from largest to smallest.
There’s a lot to consider when selecting a dog for the first time. Are you an active person who wants a running buddy, or do you spend most of your day away from home, which might require a dog that’s more sedentary? Typically dogs that don't shed much are easier for first-time owners—less clean-up and grooming. Dogs that respond to training tend to be better for first-time owners since they will be more prone to obeying and staying out of trouble.
If you’re ready to add a dog to the mix, here are 30 dog breeds ideal for first-time owners.
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- Height: 24–27 inches (male), 22–25 inches (female)
- Weight: 95–135 pounds (male), 80–100 pounds (female)
- Life expectancy: 9–10 years
Incredibly loyal with a temperament that does not require too much coddling, Rottweilers are great dogs for first-time owners, especially if that pet owner likes to be physically active. Rottweilers are protective of their families, and according to Petfinder, need daily long walks or jogs daily. First-time pet owners will like their relatively low maintenance—an occasional brushing gets the job done.
#29. Rafeiro do Alentejo
- Height: 25–29 inches
- Weight: 77–132 pounds
- Life expectancy: 12–14 years
First-time dog owners can rest easily with a Rafeiro do Alentejo. This watchdog-by-nature has a calm demeanor, is protective of its family, and is relatively low maintenance, needing only an occasional bath and weekly brushing. This breed is also more active at night than during the day, so keep that in mind if you are a morning person.
#28. Perro de Presa Canario
- Height: 22–26 inches
- Weight: 84–110 pounds
- Life expectancy: 9–11 years
The Perro de Presa Canario is a calm breed, with a higher than average affection level and a protective spirit. First-time dog owners should keep in mind that, according to Petfinder, these dogs are best kept away from other dogs and pets, but they are about as loyal to their families as they come. Grooming required includes weekly brushing, an occasional bath, regular nail trimming and ear cleaning, and they can be exercised either with several daily walks or in a fenced yard.
- Height: 23–27 inches (male), 22–25.5 inches (female)
- Weight: 55–100 pounds
- Life expectancy: 12 years
Don't be fooled by its moppish appearance—the briard is a good pick for first-time dog owners, and is characterized as an excellent watchdog, with a history of protecting its family. The briard has a very high affection level, is easily trained, and early socialization is important. Despite the excessively long hair, the briard doesn’t shed as much as other breeds, is child-friendly, and also is an excellent apartment dog.
#26. American bulldog
- Height: 22–25 inches (males); 20–23 inches (females)
- Weight: 75–100 pounds (males); 60–80 pounds (females)
- Life expectancy: 10–12 years
Gentle and affectionate are two words often used to describe the American bulldog, and make it a perfect breed for children. It is loyal to its family, and while it is easily trained, it’s best to do so when the dog is young. Historically, the American bulldog is a working dog, so daily exercise and activity will keep it happy and in good health.
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#25. Clumber spaniel
- Height: 18–20 inches (male), 17–19 inches (female)
- Weight: 70–85 pounds (male), 55–70 pounds (female)
- Life expectancy: 10–12 years
Clumber spaniels look similar to cocker spaniels, but they are not the same, and though the name may come from England, it’s unknown where this breed originated. First-time dog owners will realize these pups are incredibly affectionate and intelligent. They don't need a ton of exercise, but be forewarned that this breed is particularly slobber- and shed-prone.
#24. Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Height: 25–27 inches (male), 24–26 inches (female)
- Weight: 85 pounds (male), 70 pounds (female)
- Life expectancy: 10 years
Faithful and protective, new dog owners are going to adore the best friend they'll have in a Rhodesian ridgeback. A breed that can be incredibly loving, it originated in Africa and was used to hunt big game, including lions, according to the American Kennel Club. First-time dog owners should train Rhodesian ridgebacks at an early age because they are prone to independence.
#23. Bergamasco sheepdog
- Height: 23.5 inches (male), 22 inches (female)
- Weight: 70–84 pounds (male), 57–71 pounds (female)
- Life expectancy: 13–15 years
With a signature coat unlike any other breed, the Bergamasco sheepdog is definitely a looker, has a one-of-a-kind personality, and is loving, affectionate, and incredibly loyal. And, believe it or not, that signature coat that might give people pause is relatively maintenance-free. A Bergamasco does not shed––it doesn't even need to be brushed. Plus, this breed only needs a moderate amount of exercise, making it invariably low maintenance for first-time dog owners.
- Height: 19–24 inches
- Weight: 40–70 pounds
- Life expectancy: 12–16 years
With a name that reflects its roots across Europe and Asia, the Eurasier was recognized officially in the 1970s after the guided cross-breeding of several breeds, including a chow chow, Wolfspitz, and Samoyed. These dogs are great for first-time owners because they are loyal and devoted to family members, have relatively few health issues as they age, and don't have many needs when it comes to exercise. They may take a while to warm up to strangers, but are dog-friendly, so don't worry about socializing them when you take a trip to the dog park.
#21. Bavarian mountain scent hound
- Height: 17–20.5 inches
- Weight: 37–66 pounds
- Life expectancy: 12–15 years
Devoted to its family, the Bavarian mountain scent hound is smart, active, and lightweight. Despite its short hair, maintenance requires regular brushing and frequent trimming of fast-growing nails. These are definitely country dogs who were used primarily for hunting, so apartment living will not suit them, but first-time owners will find they are intelligent and easy to train with positive reinforcement.
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