Best Dogs For Beginners

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Question: What are the best dogs for beginners?

What are the best dogs breeds for beginners/new pet that you can suggest to new pet owners and why. Can you share some general information about what new pet parents should consider when getting a dog and why certain breeds are easier if you’ve never had one before.


The best dog breed for a new pet parent depends on a variety of factors. The best dog for a beginner will have a laid-back, forgiving nature and be relatively easy to train. But you also need to look at things like size, activity level, and grooming needs to determine whether they’d be a good fit for a particular family’s lifestyle.

  1. Labrador and Golden Retrievers are usually good options. They tend to be kind-hearted and tolerant of mishaps. However, they are large and require a lot of exercise to stay physically and mentally healthy. Their double coats also shed a lot.
  2. Boxers are similar in size to Labs and Goldens but shed less. They are also very people oriented but have more than their fair share of health problems.
  3. If you are looking for a smaller dog, a Beagle might be a good option. They are friendly, active, and fun-loving but can be loud.
  4. Miniature Poodles are of a similar size and have the added benefit of not shedding. Don’t be put off by their upscale reputation—they are playful, smart, and athletic.
  5. The Newfoundland is a gentle, patient giant that is great with people, as long as you can handle their size and prolific drool and shedding.

More important than a dog’s breed is the personality of the individual dog, which means you should never overlook mutts, particularly those in shelters. Shelter personnel can often give you a good idea of a dog’s personality and help you determine if they might be a good addition to your family.

Tips from Our Vets

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If you have any specific health concerns related to your pet, please be sure to take the pet to your vet or an emergency vet, or if you have concerns related to something your pet may have eaten another option is to call a pet poison control line. Be aware that there is a fee to use these services. Two that we can recommend are the ASPCA Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435 and the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661.

Dr. Jennifer Coates
Dr. Jennifer Coates was valedictorian of her graduating class at the VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine and has practiced in Virginia, Wyoming, and Colorado. She is also the author of numerous articles and books including the Dictionary of Veterinary Terms: Vet-Speak Deciphered for the Non-Veterinarian.