For a first-time pet owner, choosing the perfect dog can be overwhelming. If you’re debating a canine companion, there are multiple factors to consider. Families need a breed that gets along well with children and has a mild temperament. Seniors should look for low-energy puppies that don’t require constant walking and playing. People who live in Florida probably don’t want an ultra-shaggy Husky. And you’ll need to know what to budget for: dog daycare if you go to the office, pet grooming and food, to name a few. To make the decision easier for new pet owners, we spoke with several veterinarians who shared their top dog breeds for beginners. Read on to see if it’s more suitable for a happy-go-lucky Labrador or a little Yorkie.
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There is a reason why many families choose Labrador Retrievers as their first pet and why they are often used as service dogs. “Labrador Retrievers are friendly and easygoing, making them ideal puppies for beginners,” says one board-certified veterinarian. melissa m brock. Plus, they’re smart, loyal, and great with kids, according to a veterinarian and behaviorist. Paula Cuevas.
This high-energy, active breed needs plenty of exercise, so children can quickly learn responsibility through daily walks. Labradors also love water, which makes them great beach dogs and easy to bathe. And if you think you may add more dogs to the family in the future, a Labrador retriever is a safe bet.
“They are extremely social and don’t mind being in the company of other dogs, even if they’ve never seen each other before,” shares Brock. The only thing he has to keep in mind is that he can spend a good deal of time vacuuming. “His thick, water-repellent fur sheds a lot!” Caves warns.
When it comes to being affectionate, good with children, and good with other dogs, the American Kennel Club (AKC) gives Golden Retrievers the highest possible ratings. Like Labradors, they are a perfect choice if you have children, as they are “patient, calm and gentle,” according to Brock. They are also suitable for multi-pet households and are very easy to train.
Goldens require daily exercise; in fact, the AKC says they’re great companions for “long runs and bike rides,” but they’re slightly less energetic than Labradors (although they’re on par in the shedding department).
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Poodles come in three sizes: standard (more than 15 inches tall at the shoulder), miniature (15 inches or less), and toy (no more than 10 inches), according to the AKC. That makes them adaptable to a variety of homes. “These active, elegant and people-oriented dogs have gained great popularity as house pets because they are an intelligent, loyal and easy-to-train breed,” promises Cuevas.
A poodle is a good match for an active lifestyle. “Originally bred as hunting dogs, they love to retrieve and play both on land and in the water,” says Cuevas. If you live near a beach or lake, keep in mind that poodles are exceptional swimmers. Their low-allergen coats don’t shed much, so they’re easy to groom, and they get top marks from the AKC for how affectionate and good they are with children.
Any Poodle mix (better known as a “doodle”) is considered an “easy breed,” according to veterinarian and founder of TrendingBreeds. amanda takiguchi, DVM. But she recommends a Goldendoodle if you want a bigger dog. “They’re very smart, they’re quick learners, they’re super friendly, and they’re hypoallergenic,” she says.
Goldendoodles also love to play. According to Pet Behavior Specialist, Dog Trainer, and CEO and Founder of PetDT jacquelyn kennedy“They don’t have the excessive prey drive of some terriers, and they don’t require as much exercise as, say, a Husky.”
A fenced-in yard where they can run free for 20 to 30 minutes is ideal, explains Pet Finder. The adoption website also notes that “proper socialization of puppies is key to their development,” so you may want to consider enrolling your new pup in a playgroup or going to the local dog park.
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Maltese are considered good family dogs because they’re “very affectionate and calm,” says Brock, though the AKC only gives them a three out of five for how well they get along with small children. As they are lapdogs, they are also perfect if you work from home and want a friendly companion.
Beginners will appreciate that Maltese are pretty much in the middle when it comes to personality. They love to learn new tricks, which makes their training easy, and their energy level is moderate. They hardly shed, but they do require daily brushing and regular baths to keep their coats shiny.
These beauties are sweet and petite, making them ideal for city apartments. Affectionate and gentle, Shih Tzus are especially happy when their owner shows them love. They love to be picked up, hugged and carried, so make sure you have plenty of time to spend with them. They also like to be busy, which means you will buy them lots of toys.
Shih Tzus have long coats that require daily brushing, according to the AKC. And they are a bit high maintenance when it comes to grooming. “Remember to comb the mustache and topknot every day, and gently wipe the corner of the eyes with a damp cloth. To protect the Shih Tzu’s eyes from irritation, the hair on the top of the head should be trimmed or tied back. in a bun,” explains the AKC.
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This breed is an excellent choice for a smaller home due to its size and personality. “Yorkies are known for being affectionate and loving, but they tend to be less needy than Shih Tzu in terms of physical contact,” explains Brock. They are easy to train, hypoallergenic and do not shed much. A Yorkie is also a wonderful breed for people who live alone, as they rank high on the AKC’s watchdog meter. “Tenacious, feisty, brave, and sometimes bossy, the Yorkie exhibits all the traits of a true terrier,” they say.
Their shiny hair, which can fall to the ground, requires just as much attention as Shih Tzus. “Either you need to budget for routine grooming or learn to do it yourself,” advises Takiguchi. Their coats are very similar to human hair, and if they are kept long, they should be brushed every day, says the AKC.