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Searching for your first-ever dog? Once you’ve determined you’re ready for a puppy, one of the breeds below might be perfect for you and your family. Find a responsible breeder and discuss what you’re looking for in a pet. This will help you figure out if the breed is a good fit for you.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This gentle, affectionate Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is known for being adaptable and good with all sorts of people, from young children to the elderly. The Cav is very trainable and open with strangers. While they do need regular grooming and an average amount of exercise, they are overall a low-maintenance breed.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel sitting outdoors.
©lenkadan -


While they are instinctive guardians, the Boxer loves to be with their owners. One of the breed’s most notable characteristics is the 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 they do need daily exercise.

Boxer puppy walking in the grass.

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 they also require daily exercise and need regular brushing and trimming to keep their coats neat and free of mats.

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The Papillon is a small, friendly member of the Toy Group with a fine-boned structure. They are known to be 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.

Portrait of cute Papillon dog lying in the green grass
Kisa_Markiza/Getty Images Plus


The Poodle is an exceptionally smart breed that excels in all kinds of dog sports. The breed comes in three size varieties (Toy, Miniature, and Standard), which may contribute to why this is one of the most popular breeds. The Poodle can accommodate nearly any size of living quarters. Their nearly-hypoallergenic coat may reduce allergic reactions, but Poodles do require grooming to keep their coats maintained.

Poodle head portrait outdoors.

Shih Tzu

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

Shih Tzu walking in the grass.
©Train arrival -

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

A medium-sized breed, the Wheaten Terrier is happy, steady, self-confident, and alert to their 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 they need regular grooming to keep its coat mat-free.

©Mary Bloom


Although Whippets like to run, most of the time, they 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!


Labrador Retriever

The Lab has been one of the most popular breeds in the U.S. for decades for a reason! This intensely loyal and affectionate breed is great with kids, is extremely trainable, and is friendly with strangers. The Labrador Retriever does best in an active household where they can both run and cuddle.

Labrador retriever laying next to a young girl blowing bubbles in the park.
©kozirsky -

 At AKC Marketplace, we can help you find your dream dog. You can find AKC-registerable puppies from responsible, passionate breeders, and we provide the tools you need for every step of the process. Visit to start connecting with dog breeders in your area!

Related article: What Dog Is Right For Me? How to Choose the Perfect Breed
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Selecting a Puppy

How do you know what breed is right for your family? How do you find a reputable breeder? What questions should you ask a breeder? Download this e-book for guidance on these questions and other important factors to consider when looking for a puppy.
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