Breed Tips

Great Dogs for First-Time Owners

Okay, first of all, great decision to get a dog! You will not regret it ever. And if you’re yet contemplating, we’ll help you clear all your doubts and get you the best first dog as per your needs. 

While it’s great to have a dog at home, it is a big responsibility and it comes with its own challenges. Some breeds even experienced dog parents struggle to keep up with them. So before diving into which breed you should choose, you should be asking yourself, ‘What is the reason that I’m getting a dog?’

While most people get dogs for companionship, some even expect them to guard their houses, introduce a companion for their kids, for health benefits, socialization, increased physical activity, etc.

Once you’ve identified your reason, you can then move on to looking at breeds that cater to it. We’ll help you with that. Continue reading below to learn more about great dogs for first-time owners. 

Guard Dogs for First-Time Owners

Now if you’re looking for a dog that can protect you while you go out, and guard your house when you’re not around or at night, some breeds specialize in it.

  1. German Shepherd – One of the most popular pet dog breeds in the world, German Shepherds are great companions, and the fact that they look like a wolf explains their ability to guard you against all threats. You would be happy to know that there are 3.5 million German Shepherds in the US alone. We have an entire article for you that explains the lifetime costs of owning one. (insert link here to – German Shepherd Price)

  2. Boxer – Fun-loving, intelligent, and playful, Boxers are another great first-time guard dog for you. And they are great with kids. So that’s two of your needs taken care of if you’re looking for it. (insert link here to – Boxer Price)

  3. Doberman Pinscher – By looking at these dogs you may find them scary. But they are the exact opposite. They are softies from the inside, loyal and fierce by nature. And if your search is for a guard dog, you won’t find a better breed. They are extremely alert and tend to react to threats very quickly. (insert link here to – Doberman Pinscher Price)

Great Dane, Australian Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, Rottweiler, Newfoundland, and American Bulldog are some other breeds that you can look at. 

Having said that, we would like to tell you that guard dogs may not be the best option for first-time dog parents. They might scare people around and also require a good amount of training and socialization. But if you do have someone to guide you along the way, do go ahead and get your first guardian! 

Big Dog Breeds for First-Time Owners

Some people looking for great dogs for first-time owners may be interested in large dogs. Big dogs have an appeal of their own. And they can be great first-time dogs as well. Some of the best ones are

  1. Golden Retriever – Big dog, companion dog, dog for kids, for health, or for socialization, Golden Retrievers can be a good fit for all of these needs. They are intelligent, playful, loyal, and beautiful. Undoubtedly one of the most popular dogs in the US. And they won’t need a lot of training. Again, we have an article dedicated to the lifetime costs of a Golden Retriever. Have a look! (insert link here to – Golden Retriever Price)

  2. Labrador Retriever – Another extremely popular, sweet, loving, and loyal with a mix of mischief, Labradors are one of the best options for first-time dog parents. (insert link here to – Labrador Retriever Price)

  3. Mastiff – These dogs are the large dogs for the large dogs. You may get intimidated by their size but they are very gentle, loving, and a great companion for kids. However, because of their size, they may not be recommended for very young kids. (insert link here to – Mastiff Price)

Irish Wolfhound, Newfoundland, Weimaraner, and English Springer Spaniel are some other large dog breeds that you can consider for being a first-time dog parent. 

Best Small Dog Breeds for First-Time Owners

Big dogs may have their appeal, but small dogs have a unique charm, energy levels, and cuteness. Many American families choose to adopt a small dog, and many such breeds justify it. Some of the best ones are – 

  1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - Gentle attentiveness of a toy breed with the athleticism of a sporting spaniel, that’s the Cav for you. Known for its connection to the British Royals, this breed is very easy-going, low-maintenance, and great with kids as well as elderly people in the family. It justly tops the list of ‘best small dog breeds of all time’ in multiple lists. 

  2. Shih-Poo – You may have heard about Shih-Tzu and Poodle but if you want the best of both, there’s Shih-Poo. With Shih-Tzu’s friendly and loyal nature with Poodle’s intelligence, these dogs make great first-time dogs for new parents. 

  3. Yorkshire Terrier – ‘The Yorkies’ are very popular in the US and if you look at their beautiful and adorable face, you’ll know why! Suitable for apartment living, these dogs come with a gentle temperament but with a tendency to bark, making them a little feisty.

Pug, Bichon Frise, Miniature Poodle, and Papillon are some other small dog breeds that are suitable for first-time dog owners.  

How to Choose Your First Dog

When selecting a breed, it's important to consider factors such as energy levels, size, looks, and grooming needs, as these can vary significantly between breeds. For example, if you're an active person, you might prefer a breed like the Labrador Retriever, which has endurance and can go running with you. On the other hand, if you're looking for a calm lap dog, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel might be a better fit. 

Are Goldendoodles Good for First-Time Dog Owners?

We’ve seen people ask this specific question a lot so we thought of answering it in this article. And the answer is yes, goldendoodles are a good option to consider for first-time dog owners. The combination of a Golden Retriever and a Poodle makes them intelligent, gentle, and eager to please; all of this in a compact size. They do have high grooming needs and their energy levels would need a little more time and energy from your side. 

Get Your First Dog an Insurance Plan Today!

Bringing a dog to the family is one of the best decisions you will make in your entire life and we assure you that you will not regret it. However, they do come like our own babies and sometimes taking care of them can turn out to be very expensive. If they develop infections, digestive tract issues, physical injuries, or medical conditions like hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, etc. the treatment costs can run into thousands. 

Not if you have insurance though! At Spot Pet, we cover dental cleaning, wellness exams, deworming, flea/heartworm prevention, fecal and blood tests, behavioral issues, alternate therapies, and more. And our plans start from as low as $10 per month. You’ll be able to save thousands in your dog’s lifetime and be able to get the best treatment for your dog so that you can spend some amazing time with your dog without worrying about vet fees and treatment costs.


What are some great dogs for first-time owners? There is nothing called a bad dog or a better dog. Every dog breed has its unique characteristics that make people fall in love with them. It depends on your lifestyle, reason for getting a dog, financial condition, etc. We hope the article did help you narrow down the choices. For the next step, we would recommend getting to know more about the lifetime costs of the breed, medical conditions that the breed is prone to, grooming requirements, and other factors that will help you get a better picture of your life after the dog becomes family.

Spot accident and illness plans can be used with any licensed vet in Canada or the U.S. Whether you are home, or traveling to the U.S., veterinary services your pet receives for the diagnosis, treatment, or management of covered conditions can be eligible for reimbursement. Spot’s accident and illness plans can help cover a variety of conditions including; broken bones, lacerations, aggression, kidney disease, diabetes, and more. With the addition of Wellness Riders for an extra cost, you can also receive reimbursements for wellness exams, certain vaccinations, dental cleanings, and more. Learn more about dog insurance or get a free quote. 


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