Dogs that are good for first-time pet owners

Want to know more about dogs that are good for first-time pet owners? See all the dogs that fit this criteria and learn more about what it's like to have these dogs as pets.

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  • breed group: sporting
  • breed size: medium (26-60 lbs.)
  • other traits: easy to train, requires lots of grooming, high prey drive, high potential for weight gain, apartment-friendly, cold weather tolerant, hot weather tolerant, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies
  • colors: black, brown / chocolate / liver
  • patterns: bicolor, tuxedo, black and tan
  • coat length/texture: medium
  • temperament: friendly, outgoing, playful
Intelligent and naturally curious, English cocker spaniels are compact hunting dogs bred to flush and retrieve game. These charming and cheerful pups also make great family pets—kids and seniors alike will find a loyal companion in this medium-size breed that adapts well to apartment living and the great outdoors. Learn more about English cocker spaniel colors, size, and temperament here.
  • breed group: non-sporting
  • breed size: medium (26-60 lbs.)
  • other traits: easy to train, tolerates being alone, tendency to chew, low prey drive, high potential for weight gain, loves water, apartment-friendly, cold weather tolerant, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies, good hiking companion
  • colors: cream, black, gray
  • patterns: tricolor
  • coat length/texture: long
  • temperament: friendly, outgoing, playful
The keeshond is an intelligent old breed that has long been raised as family companions and watch dogs. They are well-tempered dogs with lots of personality and a striking gray, cream, and black double coat.
  • breed group: terrier
  • breed size: large (61-100 lbs.)
  • other traits: hypoallergenic, easy to train, easy to groom, high prey drive, loves water, apartment-friendly, cold weather tolerant, hot weather tolerant, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies, good hiking companion
  • colors: brown / chocolate / liver
  • patterns: black and tan
  • coat length/texture: short, wiry
  • temperament: gentle, friendly, outgoing, playful
Airedale terriers are highly intelligent and energetic dogs who make great family pets. They excel at agility and love to hike. Learn more about living with Airedale terriers.
  • breed group: sporting
  • breed size: large (61-100 lbs.)
  • other traits: easy to train, requires lots of grooming, tendency to chew, high potential for weight gain, loves water, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies
  • colors: cream, gold / yellow
  • patterns: saddle / blanket
  • coat length/texture: long, medium
  • temperament: gentle, friendly, willful, outgoing, playful
Golden retrievers are smart, loyal dogs that are ideal family companions. With their gentle nature, shining coats, and charming smiles, they are considered one of the most popular breeds in America. Learn more about living with these people-pleasing pups.
  • breed group: hybrid
  • breed size: large (61-100 lbs.)
  • other traits: hypoallergenic, easy to train, requires lots of grooming, low prey drive, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies, loves water, good hiking companion
  • colors: black, gray, red, blue, cream, white, fawn, gold / yellow, brown / chocolate / liver
  • patterns: bicolor, brindle, merle, black and tan
  • coat length/texture: medium, curly
  • temperament: gentle, friendly, outgoing, playful
Goldendoodles are a highly affectionate crossbreed known for their intelligence and loyalty to their humans. Active and playful, doodles fit in well with families and are great for first-time dog owners. Smaller versions make good apartment dwellers, too.
  • breed group: terrier
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: hypoallergenic, easy to train, requires lots of grooming, tolerates being alone, high prey drive, high potential for weight gain, apartment-friendly, cold weather tolerant, hot weather tolerant, good for first-time pet owners
  • colors: black, white
  • patterns: bicolor, flecked / ticked / speckled
  • coat length/texture: wiry, medium
  • temperament: outgoing, playful, friendly
Brilliant, tough, and eager to please, the miniature schnauzer is an excellent family dog—provided you can keep him entertained.
  • breed group: hybrid
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: hypoallergenic, easy to train, requires lots of grooming, low prey drive, apartment-friendly, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies
  • colors: black, gray, red, blue, cream, white, fawn, brown / chocolate / liver, gold / yellow
  • patterns: bicolor, tricolor, tuxedo, sable, merle
  • coat length/texture: medium, long, curly
  • temperament: gentle, friendly, outgoing, playful
Maltipoos make the perfect companion for young families, empty nesters, and everyone in between. Highly devoted to their humans, they love to accompany them on walks (and on the couch, of course). Plus, they’re non-shedders and make great apartment dwellers.
  • breed group: non-sporting
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: hypoallergenic, easy to train, requires lots of grooming, apartment-friendly, good for first-time pet owners
  • colors: white, cream
  • patterns: bicolor
  • coat length/texture: short, curly
  • temperament: friendly, outgoing, playful
Intelligent, affectionate, and incredibly cute, the bichon frise could easily be mistaken for a child’s toy. This happy-go-lucky breed originated in the Mediterranean islands, which could be why they’re so easygoing and fun-loving. Bichons are the perfect companion for families, elderly couples, and everyone in between.
  • breed group: hybrid
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: hypoallergenic, requires lots of grooming, low prey drive, good hiking companion, apartment-friendly, easy to train, strong loyalty tendencies, prone to health issues, loves water, good for first-time pet owners
  • colors: black, gray, red, brown / chocolate / liver, fawn, cream, white
  • coat length/texture: long, medium, curly
  • temperament: outgoing, gentle, friendly, playful, anxious
For loving companionship, few breeds compare to the smart, cuddlesome, and playful Cavapoo. This crossbreed might also be a good choice as a low-allergen pet.
  • breed group: toy
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: hypoallergenic, easy to train, easy to groom, apartment-friendly, good for first-time pet owners
  • colors: black, blue, brown / chocolate / liver, cream
  • patterns: tricolor
  • coat length/texture: hairless
  • temperament: friendly, outgoing, playful
Whether hairless or “powderpuff,” Chinese cresteds are friendly little lap dogs who are excellent for apartment life, older owners, or anyone who just likes a conversation piece.
  • breed group: terrier
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: hypoallergenic, easy to train, easy to groom, high prey drive, apartment-friendly, cold weather tolerant, good for first-time pet owners, good hiking companion
  • colors: brown / chocolate / liver, red, gold / yellow, cream, fawn
  • patterns: blue and tan
  • coat length/texture: short, wiry
  • temperament: friendly, outgoing, playful
Border terriers are intelligent, energetic, and affectionate little dogs with big personalities and low grooming needs. They make great family pets and are easy to train. Learn more about living with border terriers.
  • breed group: toy
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: easy to train, easy to groom, apartment-friendly, good for first-time pet owners
  • colors: red, black, white, brown / chocolate / liver
  • patterns: black and tan, tricolor
  • coat length/texture: medium
  • temperament: gentle, outgoing, friendly, playful
Tiny, noble, and extremely friendly, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel has become one of the most popular breeds in the world due to its ability to fit into almost any living situation.
  • breed group: toy
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: easy to train, prone to health issues, high prey drive, high potential for weight gain, loves water, apartment-friendly, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies, good hiking companion
  • colors: red, black, brown / chocolate / liver
  • patterns: bicolor, tuxedo, brindle, saddle / blanket, merle, black and tan, harlequin, hairless, spotted, sable, blue and tan, tricolor, flecked / ticked / speckled, liver and tan
  • coat length/texture: short, medium, long
  • temperament: outgoing, friendly, playful, anxious
Brussels griffons are smart and friendly little dogs with tons of personality, perfect for families or households of just about any size—including those with other dogs or cats. Learn more about living with Brussels griffons.
  • breed group: toy
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: easy to train, easy to groom, highly territorial, high prey drive, apartment-friendly, hot weather tolerant, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies
  • colors: black, red, brown / chocolate / liver
  • patterns: bicolor, tricolor, black and tan
  • coat length/texture: short
  • temperament: friendly, outgoing, playful, aggressive
Miniature pinschers are tiny dogs with huge personalities. Affectionate, loyal, and adorable, they make great companions. Learn more about living with miniature pinschers.
  • breed group: non-sporting
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: easy to train, easy to groom, prone to health issues, high potential for weight gain, good for first-time pet owners
  • colors: black, brown / chocolate / liver, red, blue, white
  • patterns: tuxedo, brindle
  • coat length/texture: short
  • temperament: outgoing, friendly, playful
Boston terriers are friendly, intelligent dogs that enjoy brisk walks just as much as cuddling on the couch. Learn more about why these dogs are nicknamed “American Gentlemen.”
  • breed group: hybrid
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: hypoallergenic, easy to train, easy to groom, tolerates being alone, apartment-friendly, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies
  • colors: brown / chocolate / liver, cream, black, blue, gray
  • patterns: bicolor, tricolor, sable, blue and tan
  • coat length/texture: wiry, curly
  • temperament: gentle, friendly, outgoing, playful
Few small hybrid dogs compare to the spirited and affectionate Yorkie-poo, a little firecracker of fun with devoted companionship every member of the family can enjoy.  
  • breed group: sporting
  • breed size: medium (26-60 lbs.)
  • other traits: easy to train, requires lots of grooming, loves water, cold weather tolerant, hot weather tolerant, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies, good hiking companion
  • colors: brown / chocolate / liver
  • patterns: bicolor
  • coat length/texture: medium
  • temperament: friendly, outgoing, playful
One of a small number of AKC-recognized breeds to be wholly developed within the 20th century, the Boykin spaniel is a brilliant, energetic, all-American dog with an eye toward hunting and water retrieval.
  • breed group: hybrid
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: hypoallergenic, easy to groom, highly territorial, apartment-friendly, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies
  • colors: black, gray, blue, cream, white, fawn, gold / yellow, brown / chocolate / liver
  • patterns: bicolor, tricolor, black and tan, liver and tan, blue and tan
  • coat length/texture: medium
  • temperament: friendly, outgoing, playful, anxious
The Morkie is a popular dog bred from the Yorkshire terrier and the Maltese. Learn more about the tiny, adorable, and tenacious Morkie.
  • breed group: toy
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: requires lots of grooming, prone to health issues, high potential for weight gain, apartment-friendly, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies
  • colors: black, gray, red, blue, cream, white, fawn, gold / yellow, brown / chocolate / liver
  • patterns: bicolor, tricolor, hairless, sable, saddle / blanket, brindle, flecked / ticked / speckled, spotted, harlequin, tuxedo, merle, black and tan, liver and tan, blue and tan
  • coat length/texture: long
  • temperament: gentle, friendly, willful, aloof
Pekingese are intelligent, affectionate, and friendly. These compact lion-maned dogs were first bred as companions for Chinese emperors. Learn more about living with Pekingese.
  • breed group: terrier
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: hypoallergenic, easy to train, requires lots of grooming, high prey drive, loves water, apartment-friendly, good for first-time pet owners, good hiking companion
  • colors: cream, blue, brown / chocolate / liver
  • patterns: bicolor, liver and tan, blue and tan
  • coat length/texture: medium, curly
  • temperament: gentle, willful, friendly, outgoing, playful
He's small, fluffy, and looks like a lamb, but the Bedlington terrier is all dog—and adaptable enough to join his family in any activity, from hikes to lazy days on the couch.