Dogs that are gentle and good for first-time pet owners

Want to know more about dogs that are gentle and 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: 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: hybrid
  • breed size: medium (26-60 lbs.)
  • other traits: easy to train, easy to groom, requires lots of grooming, tolerates being alone, low 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, red, gold / yellow, cream, black, white
  • patterns: bicolor
  • coat length/texture: long, medium, curly
  • temperament: gentle, friendly, willful, outgoing, playful, protective
A friendly, loving family dog who's easy on the allergies makes Labradoodles one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. These dogs love activity, just not as much as they’ll love you.
  • 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: 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, 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: 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: 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: non-sporting
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: easy to train, easy to groom, tendency to chew, apartment-friendly, strong loyalty tendencies, good for first-time pet owners, high potential for weight gain, highly territorial
  • colors: white, cream
  • patterns: bicolor
  • coat length/texture: long
  • temperament: gentle, outgoing, friendly, playful, protective
American Eskimo dogs are intelligent, energetic pups with fluffy white coats that are easily trainable and highly loyal to their owners.
  • 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: 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: working
  • breed size: extra large (101 lbs. or more)
  • other traits: easy to train, easy to groom, prone to health issues, highly territorial, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies
  • colors: fawn, black, blue, gray, white
  • patterns: bicolor, brindle, harlequin, merle
  • coat length/texture: short
  • temperament: gentle, friendly, outgoing, playful, protective
Great Danes are enormous, gentle dogs that love spending time with their family, whether on walks or lazing at their elbows. Is this gentle gargantuan dog breed right for you?
  • breed group: non-sporting
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: easy to groom, prone to health issues, apartment-friendly, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies
  • colors: cream, fawn, white
  • patterns: bicolor, brindle, flecked / ticked / speckled
  • coat length/texture: short
  • temperament: gentle, friendly, outgoing, playful
Bred primarily as companion dogs, Frenchies crave all the love and affection we humans have to offer. They’re just as satisfied playing with kids and other dogs as they are being a couch potato. Goofy, yet intelligent, French bulldogs make an easygoing best friend for any dog lover.
  • 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: 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.
  • breed group: working
  • breed size: extra large (101 lbs. or more)
  • other traits: easy to train, requires lots of grooming, tendency to chew, prone to health issues, highly territorial, low prey drive, high potential for weight gain, loves water, cold weather tolerant, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies, good hiking companion
  • colors: black, gray, brown / chocolate / liver
  • coat length/texture: long
  • temperament: gentle, friendly, playful
Few dogs fit the description of majestic but gentle giants as well as the loving, sweet, and mild-tempered Newfoundland. Easygoing with children and protective of their families, they’re devoted pets you’ll want to learn more about.
  • breed group: working
  • breed size: extra large (101 lbs. or more)
  • other traits: easy to train, easy to groom, prone to health issues, low prey drive, high potential for weight gain, cold weather tolerant, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies, good hiking companion
  • colors: red, brown / chocolate / liver
  • patterns: bicolor
  • coat length/texture: long, medium
  • temperament: gentle, friendly, outgoing, playful
Patient and caring Saint Bernards aren’t just known for their massive size—they have huge hearts, too, full of devotion for their human companions. Intelligent, mellow, and playful, learn how they can serve and adore a family like yours.
  • 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, 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: 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: 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.