So, you’re thinking about getting your first dog? The team at Hounds Lounge Pet Resort and Spa is so excited for you, and we’d love to join you on your journey to pooch parenthood! Your first step is learning about the best dogs for first time owners and finding the right fit for you.

Hounds Lounge furry guests come in all breeds, shapes and sizes! While we love them all equally, we’ve seen first-paw how important it is for dogs and their hoomans to be a good match. When you find the right woof for you, then you’ll have a best friend for life – and Hounds Lounge will be there with you at every point, offering the best care in doggy daycare, overnight stays, professional grooming and more.

Before we get into the best breeds for first time dog owners, it’s important to note that, no matter what breed you choose, your dog will be a living, breathing creature with a personality and feelings. Dogs are not toys or accessories – they are a huge responsibility and time commitment. If you’re not ready to be a pet parent, stop reading here. But if you are ready to welcome a loving companion into your home – dig into the details below, and take the best dogs for first time owners quiz at the end to find your match!

Considerations for Choosing the Best Dogs for First Time Owners 

There is so much to consider when bringing a new life into your home! Think of a new pooch like a newborn – except a pooch is mobile. So much about your lifestyle is going to change – and don’t worry, most things will change for the better. Take the following points into consideration when choosing the best dogs for first time owners.

Living Arrangements

Take a look at your living situation. Do you have a yard for a dog to play in? Do you have easy access to green space for bathroom breaks (which is especially important for potty training a puppy)? Are you in an apartment that can only be reached by steep stairs? 

No matter your living situation, there is a dog for you – but where you live will definitely impact your choice! You might be surprised by the breed options that can work for you. For example, you wouldn’t know it from their size, but Great Danes are very content as apartment dogs.


It’s important that your lifestyle and your dog’s energy level are a good match. For example, if you’re gone to work all day and have to leave Fido alone for eight-plus hours, that situation won’t be good for a highly active dog, like a Beagle or Jack Russell Terrier.

If you, like many Arkansans, are an outdoors lover who wants a pooch to bring along for walks, hikes or lake days, you’re going to want a breed that can keep up – so you can rule out “lazier” but lower maintenance breeds like Basset Hounds. On the other paw, if you like to spend your free time relaxing on the couch, a Basset Hound is a fantastic binge-watching buddy!

Ready to Experience Hounds Lounge for Yourself?

Learn more about caring for 10 popular dog breeds.

Time Commitment

The time commitment for the best dogs for first time owners varies greatly. Under this consideration, you have to think about the time required for grooming, exercising and training – and every breed is different. Some breeds, like the Schnauzer, are overall pretty easygoing, with minor grooming needs and adaptable personalities. Others, like the German Shepherd, are bred to work and require lots of attention and exercise with little grooming. Then there’s Poodles, who are smart and easy to train, yet they need daily exercise, as well as daily brushing and combing.

Every breeds’ needs are different, and every breed is the right choice for someone – even if it’s not the right one for you.

Take a look at our dog grooming and style guide for the most popular breeds seen at Hounds Lounge.

Financial Commitment

Not only are dogs a time commitment, but they are also a financial commitment! Some breeds are more costly than others. Doodles, for example, need to be professionally groomed around every six weeks – those appointments add up. Hunting dogs or woofs with obedience issues might require pricey training. You also can’t forget about vet bills, with some breeds more prone to illness and injury than others.

Of course, these costs are on top of the essential purchases for the best dogs for first time owners, including food, treats and toys, as well as a bed, kennel and accessories. Check out our ultimate first time dog owner checklist to learn what else you’ll need to buy.

Allergies and Shedding

Allergies are one consideration that’s somewhat out of your control. For example, if your roommate or partner is allergic to dogs, you can’t just kick them out… However, there are still options for you! Some of the best dogs for first time owners are hypoallergenic breeds, including Poodles. Hypoallergenic dogs also get brownie points for shedding less than other breeds. 

As far as shedding goes, you have to think about the clean-up and maintenance. Fur is not always what it appears, so don’t make the mistake of determining shed-level based on looks alone. For example, one of the best breeds for first time dog owners, the Labrador Retriever, has short fur and basic grooming needs but is a notorious shedder! Even those with buzz cuts, like Bulldogs, can leave a ring of fur wherever they sit. Luckily, weekly brushing can minimize shedding.

Labs and more of the best dogs for first time owners shed a lot thanks to their undercoats, so be sure to consider coat type, including length and texture, when choosing a breed. No matter what, there’s always a solution for shedding – and sometimes, the solution is a super powerful vacuum cleaner. 

Check out our essential house cleaning tips for pet owners.

Temperament and Training Needs

Some breeds are known for being family pets – gentle, friendly and go-with-the-flow. Other breeds are known for being protectors or guardians of the home! You have to decide which temperament best suits your lifestyle, as well as what you want out of a dog.

Do you want a cuddly pet? Maybe a Golden Retriever is your match! Do you want a watchdog (who also cuddles)? A Doberman Pinscher could be the pooch for you!

Tying in with temperament – some breeds are simply easier to train than others. One of the best dog breeds for families, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is eager to please and, therefore, very trainable. Meanwhile, Border Collies are so highly energetic and intelligent – they have the highest IQ of all breeds – that training them can be difficult. They are quick learners and totally loveable but not one of the best dogs for first time owners – unless you’re looking for a real challenge.

Find Out Which Breeds Could Be Your Match!

Now that you know what to consider when choosing a breed, take our quiz to find out which of the best dogs for first time owners might be your pawfect match. Note that your results are just examples of breeds that might fit your lifestyle – not the end-all, be-all list. However, they should still give you a grreat starting point as you research the best dogs for first time owners! Get started below.

Final Thoughts on Best Dogs for First Time Owners

Now that you have an idea of which breeds might be a good fit for you, there are a couple more things to think about. 

1. Do you want a puppy or an older dog?

There are pros and cons to both! With a puppy, you get the opportunity to shape their behavior from a young age. However, you also get to deal with the trials and tribulations of puppy training! An older dog may already be house-trained and have a more settled temperament – but they also might be set in their ways.

Think about which age will work best for you. If you want to leave your mark on your pooch, a puppy is the choice for you. If you don’t have loads of time for training, an older dog could be the answer. If you do get an older dog and they’re lacking social skills, look into our blog on socializing an adult dog.

2. Do you want to adopt a dog?

We love all dog breeds, and we have to admit that mixed breeds are some of the happiest and healthiest woofs we see at Hounds Lounge – we’d even go so far as to say they’re some of the best dogs for first time owners. While there is no guide to a mixed breed’s personality or needs, some Arkansas dog rescues may give you the opportunity to meet their dogs and may even let you take them home for a trial run. 

Do you really want a certain breed? You never know – you just might find one up for adoption, whether it’s at a shelter or being surrendered or rehomed. 

Your Next Steps for Finding Your Pawfect Match

Are you ready to find your dream dog? We hope this blog on the best dogs for first time owners has helped you narrow your search! And keep in mind, while dogs of the same breed have a lot in common, every individual dog is different – just like every person! 

If you made it this far in the blog, you’re clearly taking this decision seriously. We commend you for your research and encourage you to keep it up! If you have friends who own a breed you’re interested in, go to their house for a play date. If you want to adopt a certain type of dog, keep tabs on shelter websites. If you find a reputable breeder, go meet them and their puppies! 

Don’t forget to check out our ultimate first time dog owner checklist for even more tips.

Once you’ve brought your BFF home, Hounds Lounge is here to be your partner, supporting you and your dog for all of their days. We’re here to make a dog’s life extra happy, offering socialization, exercise, play and cuddles to our furry guests, whether they’re with us for daycare, an overnight stay or grooming! While you’re researching dogs, learn more about Hounds Lounge too!

We wish you luck and hope to see you – and your future fur baby – soon.

Experience Hounds Lounge Today!

  • Locally Owned

  • 24/7 Staff

  • 6 Convenient Locations