If you have never owned a dog before, it is even more important than usual to choose a good breed that will fit your lifestyle and requirements, and not present you with more than you can handle! While theoretically a first-time owner can aspire to own any given breed of dog providing that you do your research first and are confident that you understand the breed traits and can handle them, some breeds and types of dogs are considered to be more suitable for beginners that others.
If you have not set your heart on any particular breed but are still narrowing down your shortlist of potential dogs, there are various breeds of dog that are renowned for being a good pick for the first-time owner. These breeds should not present any unusual challenges or prove particularly hard to handle.
In terms of medium sized dog breeds, there are lots of potential options available that would make an excellent fit for the first time owner. Read on for some of our suggestions.
The English Springer Spaniel is a happy, cheerful breed of dog that is very rewarding to keep, and has the typical open, friendly disposition of the spaniel that makes them very rewarding to train. They are highly affectionate, keen to please and very loving and loyal, as well as getting on well with other dogs, and children of all ages. They are intelligent, lively and exuberant dogs that require active owners, and a fairly busy lifestyle with lots of walks and exercise.
The Labrador Retriever is one of the greatest ambassadors of the canine world, and they are friendly, loving and not afraid of showing affection. They are outgoing, intelligent and very amenable to training, and are very versatile, fitting well into a family situation with children of all ages.
They are also excellent if you like to live an active, outdoors lifestyle, and are an excellent dog to introduce to canine sports such as agility. One point to note about the Labrador is that they do have large appetites and will often scavenge or beg for food, and can run to fat in older age if overfed.
The Cocker Spaniel is slightly smaller than the English Springer Spaniel, and slightly quieter and calmer in temperament too. They are usually quiet within the home but are rather energetic when out working and in the field, and will love being included in play and games with children. Their coats are rather high maintenance and require regular brushing and grooming, or trips to the grooming parlour to untangle their knots!
The Labradoodle is not strictly speaking a breed in its own right, but is a cross breed or hybrid breed, comprising of a cross between a Labrador and a Poodle. Ultimately the goal of this crossing is to combine the best traits of both breeds into one dog, such as the intelligence that both dogs possess, the outgoing, friendly nature of the Labrador Retriever, and the curled, low-shedding coat of the Poodle.
As with any cross breed, the coat of each individual dog cannot be guaranteed, and many Labradoodles have coats that err more towards the Labrador side than the Poodle side. However, if the Labradoodle does possess a more Poodle-like coat, this might mean that the dog is a good pick for people who are sensitive to allergies, as the coat will not shed so much allergenic dander around the house.
The Whippet is a very finely boned, lightweight dog that can best be described as looking like a smaller version of the Greyhound, and like the Greyhound, Whippets are popular dogs for racing within the UK.
However, the Whippet also makes an excellent pet dog for the first time owner, and they are relatively low maintenance and not hard to look after. While they are of course incredibly fast on their feet, they do not require excessive amounts of exercise, and other than a run around a couple of times a day, will be perfectly happy cuddled up on the sofa. They are loyal, loving and very kind natured, and gentle and quiet within the home.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a medium height, stocky dog with a muscular and heavyset appearance. They are one of the most popular dog breeds within the UK, and are calm, quiet and loving towards their families. They require a moderate amount of exercise and calm, fair and firm training, and are certainly within the reach of the first time dog owner looking for an honest dog that is unlikely to present any unusual challenges when training.
They also get on well with children, walk well on the lead, and enjoy playing and running around. Correctly socialised, they are welcoming and calm with both other people and other dogs.