Dogs that are good with families and that are good for first-time pet owners

Want to know more about dogs that are good with families and 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: toy
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: easy to train, easy to groom, prone to health issues, high potential for weight gain, apartment-friendly, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies
  • colors: fawn, black
  • patterns: sable
  • coat length/texture: short
  • temperament: friendly, outgoing, playful
Pugs are known for their squishy faces and their charming demeanor. A bit mischievous but beloved by owners, this breed is ideal for laid-back homes and those who like to dote on their pet. Here’s what you need to know about living with pugs.
  • 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: 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: hound
  • breed size: medium (26-60 lbs.)
  • other traits: easy to groom, high prey drive, high potential for weight gain, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies
  • colors: brown / chocolate / liver, red, gold / yellow, black
  • patterns: tricolor
  • coat length/texture: short
  • temperament: gentle, friendly, willful, aloof
You know that jowly face, those floppy ears. Basset hounds are excellent tracking dogs, but they're just as happy to spend time napping with your family. Learn more about living with basset hounds.
  • breed group: working
  • breed size: large (61-100 lbs.)
  • other traits: easy to train, requires lots of grooming, prone to health issues, cold weather tolerant, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies, good hiking companion
  • colors: black, brown / chocolate / liver, white
  • patterns: tricolor
  • coat length/texture: long
  • temperament: gentle, friendly, playful, aloof
Bernese mountain dogs are smart, hardworking, and loyal dogs who love to spend time with their human family. Learn more about living with Bernese mountain dogs.
  • 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: 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: 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: terrier
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: hypoallergenic, easy to train, easy to groom, tolerates being alone, apartment-friendly, cold weather tolerant, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies, good hiking companion
  • colors: red, cream, black, gray, white
  • patterns: brindle
  • coat length/texture: short, wiry
  • temperament: gentle, friendly, willful, playful, anxious
Cairn terriers are loyal, intelligent, and playful little dogs who are just as happy snuggling on our laps as they are accompanying us on hikes. Learn more about cairn terriers’ behaviors and traits here.
  • breed group: toy
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: easy to train, easy to groom, prone to health issues, apartment-friendly, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies
  • colors: brown / chocolate / liver, black, gray, blue, white, fawn
  • patterns: bicolor, tricolor, brindle, merle, black and tan, liver and tan, blue and tan
  • coat length/texture: short, long
  • temperament: gentle, anxious, playful
Chihuahuas are charming, smart, and sassy. Small in size, but big in personality, Chihuahuas are beloved by owners for their unique appearance and entertaining attitudes. Learn more about living with this pint-sized breed.
  • 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 any living situation.
  • 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: toy
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: easy to train, requires lots of grooming, low prey drive, 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, sable, flecked / ticked / speckled, spotted, harlequin, tuxedo, merle, black and tan, liver and tan, blue and tan
  • coat length/texture: long
  • temperament: gentle, friendly, outgoing, playful
Havanese dogs are smart, extroverted performers who don't require a lot of room to roam. Learn more about living with Havanese puppies and dogs.
  • 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
  • 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 fierce 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: sporting
  • breed size: large (61-100 lbs.)
  • other traits: easy to train, easy to groom, tendency to chew, prone to health issues, high potential for weight gain, loves water, cold weather tolerant, hot weather tolerant, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies, good hiking companion
  • colors: brown / chocolate / liver, gold / yellow, black
  • patterns: sable, flecked / ticked / speckled
  • coat length/texture: short, medium
  • temperament: friendly, outgoing, playful
Labrador retrievers, or Labs as many know them, are an ideal combination of friendly and active, making them one of the most beloved family pets. Read on for more information about this most popular dog breed.
  • breed group: toy
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: hypoallergenic, easy to train, easy to groom, high prey drive, apartment-friendly, hot weather tolerant, good for first-time pet owners
  • colors: black, gray, red, blue, fawn, brown / chocolate / liver, gold / yellow
  • patterns: bicolor
  • coat length/texture: short
  • temperament: friendly, outgoing, playful
Athletic. Regal. Suuuuuper tiny. Welcome to the wonderful world of the Italian greyhound.
  • 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: toy
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: hypoallergenic, easy to train, requires lots of grooming, apartment-friendly, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies
  • colors: white
  • coat length/texture: long
  • temperament: gentle, friendly, outgoing, playful
While their flowing white locks draw attention, Maltese are especially beloved for their smart, gentle nature. Learn more about living with the Maltese.
  • 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: 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.