Are you considering growing the family by adding one furry baby? Or even taking in a retired old fur grandpa to entertain the kids? How to choose the best dog breed especially if this is the first time you are planning a pet?
Getting a dog is always, well, often, a good idea. They provide unbridled support and loyalty, which often translates into a more active lifestyle and a better mental health state.
But where do you start if this is your first dog?
If you are considering getting a dog for the first time, the main thing you’re going to want to look at is your energy levels and lifestyle. Some dogs are better suited to certain lifestyles than others, so it’s best to really research what the breeds are prone to when it comes to personality and what they can live with/without.
To get you started, here’s a short guide to the best dog breed for your situation as a first-timer.
Best dog breed for active people
If you are looking for a buddy to join you on those long hikes, runs, cycles, wild swimming excursions, etc. boxers are a great option. Not only do they have high energy levels, but they are also extremely loyal and will form a close bond with family. So, to layer on the perks, they’re great with kids.
However, you should know what you’re getting into here. A large dog with high energy is going to need a lot of exercise and a strong foundation of training. They’re good for first-timers because they will take to training easily, but every dog needs some training.
Other breeds that would be good for the active first-timer include a Golden Retriever, a Labrador Retriever, and Weimaraners.
If you particularly enjoy water sports, there are a few dogs that are natural swimmers, and some that are not. Keep away from pugs and Frenchies that find swimming really hard, but look into poodles, Labradors, Newfoundlands, Schipperkes, and anything with “retriever” in the name.
Best dog breed for less active people
If you’re not about to leave your sofa for anything less than the apocalypse, or you’re simply looking for a more peaceful lifestyle, you will need to get the dog to match. All dogs need their exercise, but there are a lot of breeds that have less demands in that department than others.
If you want a big dog, your best and, really, the only choice is a greyhound, which, despite being a racing dog, is really lazy. They are quite content to sleep all day on their lonesome, which is good if you are still working, and people won’t be in the house too often.
But there is plenty of choice among smaller dogs, which include pugs, French bulldogs, Chihuahuas, Bolognese, Pekingese, Shih Tzu, Dachshunds, and Maltese.
Best dog breed for busy (or lazy) owners
Let’s face it, we wish we could get a dog and someone else could do all the heavy lifting. We’re just looking for a cuddle/walk buddy. Someone else can do the rest.
If that sounds like you, there are a few suggestions to keep in mind. You might want to go to your rescue shelter and see about a dog that has been handed in and already trained well. You might have to let them warm up to you if their time in the shelter was unpleasant, but otherwise, someone has laid the foundations for you to have an adult dog.
But there are also a lot of breeds that are pretty low maintenance, so you can keep an eye out for mixes of them at the shelter or look into getting a purebred.
They include the dachshund, the greyhound, French bulldog, Chihuahua, West Highland terrier, and poodle. The dachshund, with its distinctive little legs, is known for not needing too much exercise, as does the greyhound, which, contrary to popular belief, is exceedingly lazy. The greyhound is also shorthair, like the Frenchies and Chihuahuas of the world, which means less cleanup.
The Westies are very easy to train, as are poodles, who can also come in hypoallergenic options. But dogs can get allergies too, so try out dog allergy testing to make sure you’ve got a healthy pup.
Best dog breed for families
If you’ve got a bunch of little ones at home, you’re going to want an even-tempered dog that is good with kids to fit in. This dog breed needs to be intelligent and trainable with a moderate energy level so that you aren’t run ragged by another being that seems to have an endless amount of energy.
Dogs that might fit into these categories include boxers, Labradors, golden retrievers, poodles, Bichons, beagles, German shepherds, pugs, Boston terriers, bulldogs, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
All of these breeds are known for their playful demeanor and love of children, so as long as your kid has a gentle touch and your dog is trained to tolerate them, they’ll get on splendidly.
Best dog breed for apartment renters
If you’re living in a small space, you will need a dog that is comfortable being in a small space with you. This can be made easier by the fact that some nature is nearby, like a park or field.
The characteristics you’re going to want to look for in a dog happy to live in a small space are quiet and low energy. It might make sense to add small stature onto that list, but there are a few medium and large breeds that might fit right in at an apartment.
Look into breeds such as basset hounds, bichons, bulldogs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahuas, Chinese crested, greyhounds, Maltese, poodles, Shih Tzus, pugs, and Frenchies.
Best to avoid…
If you’re going about this dog thing for the first time, there are certain things you might want to avoid to make it easier on yourself. Pass on breeds that might be stubborn, highly independent, or unpredictable. Those breeds might need some tough training to get them to change their ways, which isn’t a task for someone going for their first dog. Examples include Akita, Airedale terriers, and Australian cattle dogs.
Update: My friend Debbie Doglady via her comment, would like to add Dalmatians to the list of breeds not suitable for first-timers. While beautiful and highly intelligent, they need someone with experience to take care of them properly.
Whatever your lifestyle situation, whichever dog you decide to get, have fun. Take good care of them!