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Adding a dog to your family is an exciting prospect, but it can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never had a dog before.  Since it’s so easy to get attached to adorable, fluffy pups at first sight, it’s wise to go into your dog search knowing what qualities you’re looking for in potential dog breeds.

Spend some time considering what size, energy level, and temperament would fit best with your family. Remember, some dog breeds require more outdoor time, exercise and attention than others. To help you narrow it down further, we’ve put together this list of dog breeds that are typically a good fit for first time owners.

Remember, this is a list of pure breeds that can be good for first time owners.  However, Muts also make a great choice. Will one of these dog breeds become the newest addition to your family?

 1. Golden Retriever

With their beautiful golden coats and lovable, easygoing personality, it’s no wonder the Golden Retriever is considered one of the best dogs for families. This people-pleasing breed is typically easy to train and gets along well with humans and other pets. 

Golden Retrievers need regular exercise to prevent them from becoming destructive, but a daily walk or a trip to the dog park should be sufficient. Additionally, their long coat is prone to shedding and will need to be brushed regularly.  We recommend brushing them outdoors, as large clumps of hair can quickly become a mess.

Overall, Goldens are good-natured dogs who make loyal, loving companions for any family. 

2. Havanese

The Havanese is closely related to the Bichon Frise and the Maltese (two more wonderful dogs for first time owners). Historically owned by Cuban aristocrats, the Havanese is a small dog with a big personality. These pups will steal your heart with their goofy, playful antics and adorable fluffy coats.1

Havanese dogs are lively, outgoing, and affectionate. They are quick to make friends and do well with children and other pets. They are small, but energetic enough to join you on a walk, or play a game of fetch in the backyard. These dogs are also very smart and food-motivated, making them quite easy to train. 

This breed also tends to not like being left alone, so they are ideal for pet parents who work from home and can spend lots of time with them. 

3. Labrador Retriever

Labrador’s are good-natured and athletic. They love kids and typically get along well with other pets. Their low maintenance coat requires virtually no grooming, and makes it easy for the Lab to thrive in any climate or environment.

Labs are lauded for their loyalty and happy-go-lucky attitude. They are also remarkably easy to train, which makes them fantastic pets for first time owners.

Labradors are happy to play couch potato some of the time, but they are an active breed and will become destructive if they don’t get enough exercise. They make fantastic dogs for active families, as they love nothing more than running and outdoor play.

4. Labradoodle

The Labradoodle is a hybrid dog breed that offers something for everyone. A mix between a Poodle and a Lab, these pups are highly intelligent, devoted, and athletic. They will happily lounge with you on the couch, join you on a vigorous hike, or take a leisurely stroll around the block. 

With their teddy-bear-esque appearance and fun-loving personalities, Labradoodles are incredibly adorable. However, their good looks are not without a catch. Labradoodles are a non-shedding breed and need regular clipping and brushing to keep their coats from becoming matted. 

Aside from their grooming needs, Labradoodles are very low-maintenance and adaptable dogs, who will fit in well with just about any lifestyle. As long as they get plenty of quality time with their loved ones, these pups are content.

5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

With big brown puppy dog eyes and a beautiful, wavy coat, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is sure to steal your heart. This dog breed is very people oriented and make exceptional companion dogs.

While they are small, they love to move, and are more than happy to join you for a walk or hike. They also love to play the role of lapdog if given the opportunity. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are renowned for their gentle, affectionate temperament, which makes them a great fit for families with small children. They are intelligent and eager to please, so training should be easy for novice owners. 

 With such long coats, these pups often require regular brushing to keep their fur from becoming tangled or matted.  

 Overall, these dogs make wonderful pets, but won’t enjoy being left alone for long periods. They are best suited for families where someone will almost always be around.

6. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dogs are a fun family dog.  Not only are they adorable, but they have a puppy-like disposition that never fades.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are large, weighing between 70 and 115 pounds, so they are best for families with large homes and the physical strength to handle them.

These fun-loving dogs are known for their goofy, affectionate personalities. They love to spend time with their family members, whether it be out on a walk or lounging on the couch. They are also easy to train due to their eagerness to be included.

One thing to keep in mind though with these dogs though is that they will shed profusely, and often require regular brushing to keep their coats looking sleek. They are adaptable dogs, but due to their thick fur they are most comfortable in cooler climates.

Should I Adopt a New Dog?

Bringing home a new dog for the first time is an exciting prospect and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s easy to fall for a furry face, but taking the time to ensure you find the right dog to fit with your lifestyle should be a priority.

Protect your New Pup with Dog Insurance

Thinking of bringing home a new puppy? Consider protecting them with a dog insurance policy from MetLife Pet Insurance. Our dog insurance policies can provide the coverage and care your furry family member deserves.  Get your free quote today.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions. 

1 AKC: Havanese 

2 AKC: Bernese Mountain Dogs