8 Breeds Great for First-Time Owners

Looking to add a dog to your life? Check out these eight breeds! Their adaptable natures and...

Looking to add a dog to your life? Check out these eight breeds!


Their adaptable natures and family-friendly personalities make them great breeds for first-time dog owners. With different grooming and exercise needs, there is a breed to fit everyone. 



While they are instinctive guardians, the Boxer loves to be with his people. One of the breed's most notable characteristics is its desire for human affection, especially from children. They are patient and spirited with children, but also protective, making them a popular choice for families. The Boxer requires little grooming, but needs daily exercise.



Although a large, active dog, the Collie is loyal, affectionate and a devoted family dog, especially with children. Although they require daily walks, they can also be couch potatoes. Despite the Rough Collie’s immense coat, they only need to be brushed about once a week, although the need for brushing may increase in shedding season. Collies are also a very clean breed and are noted for not having a doggie odor.


English Springer Spaniel

The English Springer Spaniel possesses the "eager to please" attitude common to most spaniels. Cheerful and affectionate, Springers love their families and like to stick close to their owners. They make excellent house pets, but require daily exercise and need regular brushing and trimming to keep their coats neat and free of mats.



The Papillon is a small, friendly toy dog with a fine boned structure. They are known to be happy and alert little dogs that are not shy or aggressive Papillons are a happy breed whether living in an apartment, out in the country or anywhere in between. They love to play outdoors, but they can be easily entertained and exercised indoors as well.



The Poodle is an exceptionally smart breed that excels in all kinds of dog sport activities. The breed comes in three size varieties, which may contribute to why Poodle is one of the most popular breeds according to AKC® Registration statistics. The Poodle can accommodate nearly any size living quarters. His hypoallergenic coat may reduce allergic reactions, but requires regular trips to the groomer or a grooming lesson to keep maintained.


Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu makes a great companion and house pet, with a lively and friendly attitude. He requires minimal exercise and his long, luxurious coat can be kept in a “puppy cut” to keep maintenance easier.


Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

A medium-sized breed, the Wheaten is happy, steady, self-confident and alert to his surroundings. Wheatens tend to be less scrappy than other terriers but they are true terriers and will be more active than many other breeds, enjoying plenty of exercise every day. They relate well to children and can adapt to city, country, and suburban life. The Wheaten is single coated and sheds minimally, but needs regular grooming to keep its coat mat free.



Although Whippets like to run, most of the time the make excellent house dogs. They are quiet while hanging out in the living room at home, often spending most of the day sleeping. Their natural attachment to people makes them happiest when kept as house pets. The breed is friendly to visitors and good with well-trained children!


Learn more about these and other breeds at http://www.akc.org/breeds/index.cfm. Did we miss a dog that you think would be great for first-time owners? Tell us (and send a pic!) at communications@akc.org.