Vet Blog

Dogs for New Owners

January 13, 2020

Which breed is the best for a first-time dog owner?

While there is much debate about the ease with which a new owner can be trained, some breeds are better than others for the novice dog parent. At Animal Care Center of Castle Pines, we believe there is a dog for everyone! Here are nine of our favorite breeds for first-time dog owners.

Small Dogs

Boston Terrier

These little guys love to be with people. They are friendly with almost everyone they meet, and they have an enthusiastic attitude that says, "Let's play!" At the same time, they can be quite content to lounge on the couch with you for an afternoon. Bostons require some moderate exercise each day, and they will happily chase a ball to burn off excess energy. Too much exercise may trigger breathing problems, though, so a walk is preferable to jogging.

French Bulldog

Like a Boston terrier, French bulldogs will happily hang out on the sofa with you. They are easy-going and affectionate, alert and playful. Frenchies make exceptional apartment dogs. They are good watchdogs but are not excessive barkers. Like the Bostons, they can develop breathing problems and are prone to overheating in the summer, so a cooler climate is best for them. They enjoy a short walk every day for exercise.

Bichon Frise

The quintessential companion dog for a first-time dog owner, Bichons were bred to be with people. They are highly affectionate and good with children. They are also lively and entertaining, and they have long been employed as circus dogs because they love to do tricks for the master. One thing they are not fond of is being left alone. They will have a tendency to become barkers if you spend all day away without them.



A popular crossbreed that combines the hardiness of a Labrador retriever with the even temperament of a poodle. As with every crossbred dog, the traits of individual dogs will vary due to their genetic makeup. Generally, the Labradoodle will be smart, friendly, and moderately active. They excel in obedience training and agility trials. Their overall size will be dependent on whether the poodle was a toy, miniature, or standard size, so it's wise to ask the breeder for the parents' particulars.


Another poodle crossbreed, this time with a golden retriever. The Goldendoodle will typically be friendly, intelligent, and active, perhaps even rowdy. They love to play and make a great family dog with room to roam in the backyard.


Cockapoos demonstrate the best qualities of cocker spaniels and poodles. They will be happy and affectionate, and always ready to play. Though they are low shedding dogs, they will require daily brushing to keep looking their best. Good with children, they make a great choice for a first-time family pet.

Large Dogs

Labrador Retriever

For more than a generation, Labs have been a favorite family dog. These guys are all-arounders: when they are trained, they make wonderful pets. They are used as service and therapy dogs, and they are athletic and affable. Bred as hunting dogs, they love activity. If you have an active family that seeks adventure, this breed will fit right into your lifestyle.


It's no surprise that the Poodle is a foundation of popular crossbreeds. They are highly intelligent, energetic, and entertaining. Poodles are even-tempered and stable dogs but may become destructive if they are bored. It's best to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. They are hypoallergenic, which is a bonus. When they are a family dog rather than a show dog, they need only a basic cut to look great. Families who want to keep teaching them new tricks will find them to be loving and loyal companions.

Golden Retriever

Many veterinarians think goldens make the best pet for a first-time dog owner. We can agree that golden retrievers are among the top three breeds that are excellent family dogs. With a sweet, gentle personalities, they are great with children and seniors alike. They are playful, loyal and affectionate, and are easily trained. If you want a loving companion, this might be the breed for you.

At Animal Care Center of Castle Pines, we believe every dog needs the proper attention and training if they are going to fit into a family successfully. For first-time dog owners, training will help you understand your dog's needs and how you can contribute to his/her maximum happiness and security. We also offer non-confrontational behavioral treatment for dogs who have been abused and/or abandoned. And as always, we are here for every veterinary need your animals may have. In your search for your first dog, relax and remember-the best dog is the one you bond with!