Best Dog Breeds for First Time Owners
When choosing a dog – especially if it’s your first one – the key is to find a breed that complements your lifestyle. Like us, some dogs are happy to spend most of their time relaxing indoors, while others want to run half marathons every day.
So, think about your lifestyle, and then find the dog to match. Here are some helpful lifestyle and dog breed matches to help you narrow down the field.
Dogs for Sofa Lovers
Being an evening couch potato doesn’t necessarily mean you’re lazy – it probably means you’ve had a busy day at work, and need some downtime. Plenty of dog breeds fit this ‘couch canine’ lifestyle, including:
- Dachshund – these loveable ‘Sausage Dogs’ can actually damage their spines if they’re forced to take too much exercise. They will still need a morning walk, though!
- Greyhound – this one surprises people who don’t know the breed well. “Greyhounds?”, they say, “Surely all they want to do is chase hares at breakneck speed all day?” Well, yes, they can run fast; but their preferred lifestyle is actually long, lazy days, with a couple of short runs in the park.
- French Bulldog – they’ll be hyperactive for 20 minutes on a walk, and then they’ll be worn out. Lacking endurance, this makes them perfect for anyone who lacks time for long walks every day.
The popular lapdog breeds fall into this category too, including Chihuahua, Pug, King Charles Spaniel, Pekingese, Shih Tzu and Yorkie.
Dogs for Busy Outdoor Lifestyles
If you do lots of walking or running, there are plenty of high-endurance dog breeds that will just love keeping up with you every step of the way.
- Dalmatian – these loveable hounds will find 101 reasons to run and play all day. Whatever you’re doing outdoors, they’ll be with you every step of the way.
- Border Collie – possibly the dogs with the busiest work ethic, they will happily be hyperactive from dawn to dusk. If there’s no work on offer, they’ll find it for themselves. That ball game isn’t just a game, it’s a job, and the Border Collie will make sure it’s done properly – all day long, if needs be!
- Husky – a breed that was developed to pull heavy sledges for hundreds of kilometres is not going to be content with anything but a busy lifestyle. These dogs need lots of exercise – as many miles a day as you can give them. Not for the faint-hearted!
Many other larger breeds suit active lifestyles, including German Shepherd, Pointer, Boxer and Labrador Retriever. Some smaller dogs pack an energy punch, too, and the Boston Terrier and Jack Russell, for example, will be able to keep up with you no matter how long the journey home is.
Child’s Play – Best Dogs for Kids
Although children should not be given full responsibility for a pet dog, there are plenty of breeds that are very child friendly.
- Labrador retriever and Golden retriever – these are probably the perfect family dogs. Retrievers are gentle and loving, and treat children with a mixture of respect and parental care. They’re incredibly soft and good natured.
- Irish (or Red) Setter – this breed seems to have been developed to play with children! Playful, but gentle, children often form very tight bonds with this wonderfully handsome dog.
- Old English Sheepdog – when they’re not selling paint, these dogs – so often called ‘Dulux Dog’ that the name has become semi-official amongst dog owners – love nothing better than chilling with the kids. They’re gentle giants.
There are plenty more dogs in this category. The Newfoundland, for example, is even more giant than the Old English, and just as gentle. Boxers and Beagles are good with the kids too – as long as they’re well trained from an early age.
Dogs for People Allergic to Dogs!
Don’t despair! Your pet-induced sneezing and asthma doesn’t mean you can never be a dog owner. The thing you’re allergic to is a protein found on animals’ skin, and/or shed hairs. Although no breed is officially hypoallergenic, the commonest ones in families where allergies are a problem are:
- Poodle (both full size and Toy)
- Bichon Frise
- Shih Tzu
This is not a precise science, and some people are definitely more “allergic” than others. Many people who sneeze and wheeze at most dogs find that they are okay with Yorkies and Westies, even though these have longer hair than the average hound. At the same time, the short-haired Boxer can cause strong allergic reactions in many sufferers.
The key here is to spend some time with the breed before making the decision to bring one home.