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

Want to know more about dogs that are playful 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: 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, 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: 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: 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: hybrid
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: hypoallergenic, easy to train, loves water, apartment-friendly, cold weather tolerant, hot weather tolerant, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies
  • colors: red, cream, black, blue, white, gold / yellow, brown / chocolate / liver
  • patterns: bicolor, tricolor, merle
  • coat length/texture: long, curly
  • temperament: friendly, outgoing, playful
With the intelligence of a poodle and the loving nature of a cocker spaniel, it’s no surprise the cockapoo is one of the most sought-after crossbreeds in America. They are a low-shedding, easy-to-love dog that comes in a myriad of colors and sizes to please any family.
  • breed group: hybrid
  • breed size: large (61-100 lbs.)
  • other traits: easy to train, loves water, cold weather tolerant, good for first-time pet owners, good hiking companion
  • colors: black, white
  • patterns: bicolor
  • coat length/texture: medium, curly
  • temperament: friendly, outgoing, playful, protective
The sheepadoodle is a cuddly, fluffy cross between an old English sheepdog and a poodle. Learn more about living with sheepadoodles.
  • 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: 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, 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: 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, 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: easy to train, easy to groom, highly territorial, high potential for weight gain, apartment-friendly, cold weather tolerant, good for first-time pet owners
  • colors: black, red, blue, cream, gold / yellow, fawn, white
  • patterns: bicolor, tricolor, sable, saddle / blanket, brindle, black and tan, liver and tan, blue and tan
  • coat length/texture: long, medium, wiry
  • temperament: outgoing, playful, friendly
Pomeranians are small in stature but big in personality. Alert, intelligent, and confident, Pomeranians have a beautiful coat and a charming personality to match. Read on to learn more about this little, loveable breed.
  • 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: toy
  • breed size: small (0-25 lbs.)
  • other traits: requires lots of grooming, high prey drive, apartment-friendly, good for first-time pet owners
  • colors: brown / chocolate / liver, red, gold / yellow, black, blue, white
  • patterns: bicolor, brindle
  • coat length/texture: long
  • temperament: friendly, outgoing, playful
The shih tzu is a born companion who loves to sit on anyone's lap. A regal, ancient breed, the shih tzu is a lively charmer. Read on to learn more about living with the majestic shih tzu.
  • 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: 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: 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.