Top 5 breeds for first-time dog owners

So, you’ve decided to get your first dog and want to choose the right breed to make it a success. Here are our top five dog breeds for first-time owners.

Owning a dog is rewarding and fun. But it is also a big responsibility that requires dedication, and it can be difficult at times. Because – no matter what type of dog you have – it will need consistent care and training to ensure it makes a great pet for you and be sociable with people and other animals.

Some dogs are easier to train and more easy-going than others, which makes them a great option for first dog owners. Here are our top picks for the best dog breeds for new dog owners:

Golden Retriever

“They say money can’t buy happiness. But it can buy a golden retriever. And have you ever seen an unhappy person with a golden retriever? I think not” - Tiktok

These lovable pooches are the quintessential family dog. They’re super easy-going, easy to train, eager to please, and are great with kids. The only thing to note is that they do need regular exercise to stay in shape, and regular brushing to keep their coat in tip-top condition.


Labradors are New Zealand’s favourite dog. And it’s easy to see why. These pooches are loyal, great with kids, and love people, so they easily bond with their human family. They’re active and intelligent and easy to train. And, unlike the golden retrievers, they have a shorter coat, meaning they don’t need quite as much grooming.

Mixed Breed

A great thing you can do as a first dog owner is to adopt a dog from your local shelter or SPCA. These dogs are often of a mixed breed, but that makes them no less loveable. While there’s no common trait between one mixed-breed and the next, they’re a great way to kick-start a lifetime of dog ownership, especially if you can’t decide on which breed is right for you. They often also don’t come with the same breed-specific illnesses you’ll find with some of the more popular breeds.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

If you’re after something a bit smaller (but with plenty of spunk) a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel might be what you’re after. They’re affectionate little pooches and make a great lapdog, but they also love the outdoors and coming along on walks. They’re easy to train and great with kids and strangers alike. And, while their coat is on the longer side, they don’t need as much grooming as you may think.


This is a slightly unusual dog breed to add to the list, but these mini-greyhound looking pooches are an absolute delight. They love being around people and are a great family pet. And, while they love to run, they’re just as happy curled up on the couch with their people. Because they love people, they can suffer from separation anxiety, so may not be ideal if you’re away from home a lot.

While all of the above breeds make great pets for a first-time dog owner, this list is not exhaustive. Just because they’ve made our cut, they may not be quite right for you. It’s important to keep your own preferences and habits in mind, as these can influence the dog you want to get.

If you’re an active person, you’ll want to find a dog that can come along on walks, runs, or hikes. But, if you’re not as active, a dog that requires less exercise would be a better match.

No matter what dog you get, it’s worth considering pet insurance to cover any unexpected injuries and illnesses. You can learn more about our insurance options here.