Top 10 Dog Breeds for Beginners

Raising your first puppy is the experience of a lifetime. First time puppy owners do well with highly trainable and laid-back breeds that act gentle and patient. Petland Cleveland has put together the best dog breeds for beginners. The purebred breeds you’ll learn about in this article are the easiest to train and the most docile […]

next article

Raising your first puppy is the experience of a lifetime. First time puppy owners do well with highly trainable and laid-back breeds that act gentle and patient. Petland Cleveland has put together the best dog breeds for beginners. The purebred breeds you’ll learn about in this article are the easiest to train and the most docile in temperament. Read on to discover the top 10 dog breeds for beginners.

A huge Bernese Mountain Dog lays on the grass on a sunny day as one of the top 10 dog breeds for beginners.


The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large dog breed. Its coat appears black, white, and brown. This sturdy and balanced breed proves highly trainable. Berneses were originally used during the Roman Empire more than 2,000 years ago. Bernese Mountain Dogs are also intelligent, strong, and agile enough to corral livestock and do other farm work historically. They were brought to Switzerland for this reason. This is to say that this hefty breed is highly obedient and trainable. A great dog breed for first time owners.

The temperament of the Bernese Mountain Dog boasts self-confidence, alertness, and kindness, never willful and also never shy. Bernese Mountain Dogs are not aggressive with strangers, but rather alert, gentle, and poised. The Bernese Mountain Dog is among the top 10 dog breeds for beginners. 


The Bichon Frise is a purebred, small dog. It has ultra soft, hypoallergenic hair and endless cheerful love to give its favorite person. Thanks to their high-energy and curiosity, Bichon Frises make wonderful companions to first-time dog owners. They’re always up for whatever their favorite person wants to do. They like to hang out at home just as much as going for a brisk walk. 

Bichon Frises do best in busy families with children they can play with. If you get a Bichon Frise, you can expect your puppy to trot briskly around the home, checking on everyone and making sure everyone is in good spirits! This sensitive and versatile breed feels just content when curling up on your lap. And he will like chasing after a frisbee in the yard. Bichon Frises prove highly affectionate and love to snuggle and share the love! 

A beautiful Boxer dog breed stands proudly in a field, as one of the top 10 dog breeds for beginners


Boxers make great dogs for first-time puppy owners thanks to their trainability. On the trainability scale, Boxers are considered “eager to please.” This means you won’t have to repeatedly assert yourself to get your Boxer to obey you during training. To the contrary, your Boxer will easily learn basic commands and happily follow the house rules that you teach him. This breed is moderately adaptable and good with children and strangers.  

There really are no downsides of owning a Boxer. They’re a perfect breed for new puppy parents. You can count on your Boxer to be fun-loving, active, and keen to your commands! And if you want a dog that can keep up with your outdoor activities, a Boxer is a great choice.


This list of the best breeds for new dog owners wouldn’t be complete without the Golden Retriever! Golden Retrievers boast trustworthy, gentle, and patient vibes. There’s no better word to describe this family-friendly breed than “devoted.” Golden Retrievers are highly affectionate, docile, and yet energetic; and they’re also great with children and other dogs. As medium-sized dogs, Golden Retrievers are surprisingly strong. This dog breed has been used in search-and-rescue missions. And to this day, Goldies work as guide dogs for the blind and as service dogs to the disabled. This speaks to the caring, intuitive, and helpful nature that all Golden Retrievers share.   

Golden Retrievers are happy, loyal family animals. They have a lot of energy but when it’s time to relax, they become calm, low-key, and affectionate. This breed has held the #1 spot for American family dogs for decades. Above and beyond all those reasons, a Golden Retriever will make a great first dog for you. This is thanks to the Goldie’s instinct to become your best friend and trustworthy companion. Naturally, the Golden Retriever is among our top 10 dog breeds for beginners. 

A cute Yorkshire Terrier smiles with its tongue out on a warm summer's day, as one of the top 10 dog breeds for beginners.


We had to include this adorable breed in our top 10 dog breeds for beginners! The Yorkshire Terrier, or Yorkie, is a sturdy, compact, toy terrier. This breed’s coat of long, straight, blue, and tan hair feels soft. Though very small, Yorkies belong to the “working dog” class of canines. They were bred to hunt mice and other rodents in the textile mills and factories where their owners were working. In these factories, Yorkies also fetched whatever items their owners needed. To this day, Yorkies are highly helpful and energetic. They have retained their instincts to hunt and often bring their owners the mice, bugs, and other pests that they’ve heroically killed. 

Due to their high energy and eagerness to please, Yorkies make wonderful companion dogs. They embody trustworthiness and can execute complex tasks. This makes them perfect for first-time dog owners. As their history indicates, Yorkies are meant to assist their owners all day long. Yorkies are happiest when they’re allowed to lend a helping paw to their owners’ needs on a moment-to-moment basis!


The Labrador personality can be described in a single word—fun! These medium-to-large sized dogs make fantastic first-time dogs for new puppy owners. Thanks to their affectionate nature and energetic yet gentle temperament, Labs are great dogs. In fact, this breed is currently the most popular in America for both families and individuals. You can count on your Labrador Retriever to be playfully enthusiastic, especially with your children.  

Labradors come in three colors—yellow, brown, and black. They were originally bred for the purposes of protecting women who, due to the culture at the time, had to stay home with their children. These dogs took on the responsibility of watching out for bears, pumas, and other dangerous wildlife on the American frontier. Their job included warning their families to get inside if they smelled trouble on the wind. Soon Labradors worked with fishermen on ships. This contributed to the lovable Lab breed migrating to England and Europe. There, Labs became the preferred companion dog to hunters, helping them retrieve their game. 

A beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel stands on a moss covered rock in a lush forest to show this #1 dog breed for beginners.


Quiet, poised, and soft, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel looks like it was made to cuddle. In fact, it was! This sweet dog breed was originally bred to be a companion dog.Cavaliers love spending their leisure time inside the home or outside enjoying the sunshine with their favorite people. When taken out for daily exercise, this “sporting” dog will sprint, jump, and burn off all kinds of energy! If you’re looking for a dog breed that’s gentle with children and other domestic pets, then consider the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy.

Given their easy-going attitude, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels make excellent dogs for first-time dog owners. We love recommending Cavaliers to families with children.These dogs tend to be very attentive to everyone in the household. And thanks to their high energy, they love to play with children! This lovable dog breed great for first-time owners because they’re sweet, easy-to-train, and retain a puppy-like spirit until they grow old. 


Historians claim that there are drawings of dogs that resemble the Great Dane on Egyptian monuments from roughly 3000 B.C. The earliest written description of a dog resembling this large breed can be found in Chinese literature of 1121 B.C. The origins of the Great Dane can be traced to the Irish Wolfhound breed with the Old English Mastiff breed. The Great Dane breed was originally developed by the Germans to hunt wild boar, a ferocious animal. 

When no longer used for hunting, the Great Dane became a companion and estate guard dog. Considered a “gentle giant,” the Great Dane is nothing short of majestic. Sometimes referred to as the “king of dogs,” this extremely large dog breed is known for being strong yet elegant with a friendly, energetic personality. The Great Dane’s coat colors can be brindle, fawn, blue, black, harlequin and mantle. Great Dane puppies have gentle and loving dispositions. This makes them excellent family companions for first-time dog owners. But as with all dogs, they should be supervised around young children.

An adorable Pug stands outside on a large rock to show that even small dog breeds are great for hiking.


Charming, loving, and a tad mischievous, Pugs make great companions to single people living alone and those in large families. If you want a super snuggly dog that isn’t high energy, then consider getting a Pug! Pugs are among the most affectionate of all the cuddly dog breeds. These smart, affectionate, and sometimes silly canines enjoy short play sessions.

They also love to cuddle with their owners and families after. They are social with strangers and other dogs, and get along great with children. As true companion animals, Pugs need to spend the majority of their day with their human owner or family. This breed doesn’t necessarily do well emotionally if they’re left home alone. If you are home and you’re too busy to give your Pug attention, you could hurt his feelings, in fact. This can be avoided, however, if you let your Pug sit next to you while you work and otherwise include him in your household activities. All told, Pugs are great cuddle buddies! This is the reason we’ve included them in our top 10 dog breeds for beginners.

As adorable as Pugs are, their sweetness goes way beyond their looks. Pugs have a gentle, intuitive demeanor. They’re caring and affectionate, and they only bark when it’s absolutely necessary. Pugs make perfect indoor dogs because of their small size, and their calm, slightly lazy attitude. Truth be told, Pugs would rather nap and cuddle than exercise! This means that if you’re a homebody and want a puppy that isn’t going to require much outdoor exercise, the Pug could be the ideal breed for you!


The Papillon dog breed is an intelligent, companionable, and easy-to-train dog breed for those who want their first puppy to be a small dog that doesn’t require a lot of outdoor exercise time. Hailing from the Spaniel dog breed family of Cocker Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, the Papillon is technically considered a Continental Toy Spaniel. Thanks to this ancestral mix, Papillons are alert, affectionate, and friendly. They are also dainty, elegant, and optimistic, as they heed commands and thrive on the praise they receive for doing as their owners please. 

A Great Dane watches over a little blonde girl on a secluded beach in Ireland.


Now that you’ve been introduced to Petland Cleveland’s 10 best dog breeds for first time puppy owners, which dog breed should you take home? The first two major considerations you should take are whether or not the breed matches your personal activity level and whether or not you can commit to the breed’s grooming needs. 

Both a dog’s daily exercise requirements and also its grooming needs directly affect its health. Breeds that need a lot of high intensity exercise per day require owners who exercise, too. We recommend matching your activity level to the dog breed you bring home.  

Likewise, taking the time yourself to groom your dog or paying a professional dog groomer to keep your dog groomed is vital to the health of your dog. Some breeds are low maintenance while other breeds need daily brushing and frequent grooming. When a dog owner cannot meet these needs, the dog becomes “neglected” because things like matted fur, dirty ears, and long nails can cause various infections and other serious health ailments. 

We recommend that before you bring a puppy home, take the time to research its breed to make sure you can meet all of that breed’s needs. The pet counselors at Petland Cleveland boast the expertise to match you with your perfect puppy. We welcome you to stop in our Parma and Strongsville locations to speak with our staff about the best breed for you and your family. 

next article