First Time Dog Owners

First Time Dog Owners: These are breeds that are easy to care for and train and make ideal first time dogs. You still have a commitment to train and care for your pet.

To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they’re free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.

Labrador Retriever

Sweet natured these dogs make great family dogs, they have also been successfully used as therapy dogs, dogs for disabled, search & rescue, gun dog to name but a few. If your looking for a “watch dog” forget it, this breed will welcome everyone into the home. These dogs are very easy to train as they love food, so care must be taken that they do not put on weight. They have quite high energy so must be given mental & physical stimulation daily. Can be quite exuberant at least for first 5 years, then mellow a little.

Size: Medium

Height: 1 foot, 9 inches to 2 feet tall at the shoulder

Weight: 55 to 80 pounds

Coat care: The coat comes in three colors: chocolate, black, and yellow. Not lots of grooming, but does shed coat a lot.

Brittany Spaniel

Another gun dog breed and loves chasing birds! Energetic but good family dog if you exercise its mind and body daily. Brittanys have an irrepressible joy of life and a high level of enthusiasm for everything they do, whether that’s playing with the kids, seeking out birds, or simply enjoying life with a good, stretched-out, no-holds-barred run. If you don’t have the same energy and enthusiasm, it can be difficult to keep up with a Brittany. You can’t leave your Brittany home alone all day while you go to work and then expect him to be mellow and want to lie at your feet when you come home. Not going to happen with this dog! They have a happy, friendly nature and respond well to positive training use food, praise, toys etc. Agility or fly ball classes are a good outlet for this dog.

Size: Medium

Height: 1 foot, 5 inches to 1 foot, 8 inches tall at the shoulder

Weight: 30 to 40 pounds

Coat care: Brittanys are easy to groom. They don’t shed a great deal. Check the ears weekly for signs of infection such as redness or tenderness, as well as for foreign objects, especially if your Brittany has been out in rough or brushy terrain.

Boston Terrier

Maybe a small breed, but not a lap dog. The Boston Terrier is gentle, alert, very intelligent, well-mannered and enthusiastic. Without the proper amount of mental and physical exercise it can become rambunctious and a bit high strung. Loves playing ball games and running around, but not a very high energy dog breed. Quite a sensitive dog so not ideal for families with small children. If socialised as a puppy gets on well with other dogs and other animals. Can have health problems due to unnaturally short face that have breathing difficulties when stressed by exertion in hot or cold weather and can overheat if they are pushed too hard. They may also snore or drool. Can be prone to eye problems. Only get through a reputable breeder.

Size: Small

Height: 15 – 17 inches

Weight: 10 – 25 pounds

Coat care: Coat is easy to groom, average shedder but does not have a strong dog odour. Wipe the face with a damp cloth every day and clean the prominent eyes carefully.


Bred as a companion dog and wants to be with his owners, so not good at being left alone for long periods. Very trainable and reasonably energetic for a small dog so needs quite a lot of exercise and game playing. Early socialisation is a must if you want a good friendly companion as these are affectionate dogs and do like a lap to sit on. The Havanese is a lively toy dog, not in any way delicate, but well able to stand up for himself in boisterous play.

Size: Small

Height: Males and females stand 8 1/2 to 11 1/2 inches tall

Weight: 7 to 13 pounds.

Coat care: The Havanese coat is thick but silky, soft, and light, and it doesn’t shed easily. Many owners clip the Havanese coat short to make it easier to care for. But if you want to do Showing, you will need to keep the coat long, so then expect to do lots of grooming!

Silky Terrier

Use to hunt small prey, a small dog with a big bold personality. Very loyal and loves to be with his owners so not good at being left alone for long periods. Has a true “terrier” mentality and can often be seen playing with dogs much bigger, digging, barking & chasing. Needs daily physical & mental exercise, can get up to mischief if not given. Positive training and socialising as a puppy is needed. Will not tolerate young children that prod and poke him about, he should be treated carefully and kindly. Although has quite a high energy, can live in an apartment providing he is walked daily. Prone to bark so if flat/apartment living you will need to teach a “quiet” response and reward it.

Size: Small

Height: Males and females stand nine to 10 inches tall

Weight: eight to 10 pounds.

Coat Care: A thorough brushing and combing two to three times a week

Golden Retriever

A very popular breed that has made good assistance dogs, therapy, drug sniffer as well as hunting, tracking and field sports. Intelligent, sociable & loyal along with quite a high energy. Slow to mature so often acts like hie is still a puppy to about 4-5 years of age. Needs a job to do (as do all working breeds) so physical & mental exercise is important for this breed. A good family dog and loves water and playing retrieve games. Agility, flyball and obedience are other outlets this breed would enjoy. Only get from good reputable breeder that tests for Hip Dyplasia.

Size: Medium/large gun dog

Height: Males are 23 to 24 inches tall – Females are generally 21.5 to 22.5 inches tall

Weight: Males 65 to 75 pounds – Females 55 to 65 pounds

Coat care: Golden Retrievers have a dense, water-repellent outer coat with a thick undercoat. Some coats are wavy, some are straight. Golden Retrievers shed moderately in the winter and summer, and heavily in the spring and fall. If you live with a Golden, you’ll need to adapt to a certain amount of dog hair in your house and on your clothes. Daily brushing is advised.


Descendants of Toy Spaniels. Highly active and intelligent these dogs excel in agility & obedience. The word Papillion comes from the French word for butterfly as in the shape of this breeds ears. The breed also comes in a drop-eared variety called the phalene, which means “moth” a cousin of the butterfly that folds its wings at rest. Outgoing and energetic needs training and socialising positively whilst a puppy and if his mental and physical needs are met, he will be happy to be a lap dog at times. gets on well with other dogs & animals if introduced as a puppy in socialisation periods. Papillons love children, but the combination of a tiny dog and a young child can be a recipe for disaster. A Papillon may leap from a child’s hands and injure himself if he’s not being held correctly, and he won’t hesitate to defend himself if he’s being mistreated. No matter what the breed, dogs and children must always be supervised when they’re together. Some lines can be nervous, high-strung, and timid. This is not appropriate for the breed. Avoid puppies with these characteristics or puppies from parents with these characteristics. Papillons are among the breeds sensitive to anesthesia. Keep this in mind when scheduling any surgical procedure.

Size: Small

Height: 8 inches to 11 inches tall at the shoulder

Weight: 4 to 9 pounds

Coat care: The coat isn’t prone to matting but should be combed and brushed once or twice a week to distribute the natural skin oils and keep the hair and skin healthy. The Papillon doesn’t have a doggie odor.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels 

This breed is not a working breed, it was bred as a pet companion. Gets very attached to his owners so does not tolerate long periods alone. Very sweet natured with a very waggy tail. Intelligent and keen to please, but needs early socialisation and some training, which it does very well due to being quite intelligent. Can tend to put on weight easily, so be careful about feeding. Not good with young children as quite a sensitive dog, but well behaved children 10 years + is fine. Daily walk needed, but not in very hot conditions. They might or might not bark when someone comes to the door, so they’re a poor choice as a watchdog.

Size: Small

Height: 12 to 13 inches at the shoulder

Weight: 13 to 18 pounds.

Coat Care:

Cavaliers come in four colors:

Blenheim, a rich chestnut on a pearly white background. Some Blenheims have a thumb-shaped chestnut dot on top of the forehead, called a lozenge.
Tricolor, black markings on a white coat with tan markings over the eyes, on the cheeks, and on the underside of the tail
Black and Tan, black with tan markings over the eyes, on the cheeks, inside the ears, and on the chest, legs and underside of the tail
Ruby, a solid rich reddish-brown with no white spots or markings.
Cavaliers are average shedders. The feathered hair on the ears and legs is prone to tangling, so check those areas frequently for mats that need to be gently combed out. Trim the hair between the pads on the feet and clean your Cavalier’s ears regularly.


Originally bred to as hunting dogs so have a high prey drive and will often chase small animals. They also participate in many other dog sports, including lure coursing, conformation, obedience, and agility. Beyond their grace and speed, people love them for their sweet, mild nature. Normally friendly to both people and dogs, early socialising and some positive training is ideal or can become aloof to strangers. What many people do not realise is this breed is ideal for an older person as generally docile and quiet, and they’re world-class nappers and like warmth. If getting a puppy make sure it is with a reputable breeder but Greyhounds are available for adoption after their racing days are over. Every year, many “retired” racing Greyhounds are abandoned, euthanized, or sold to laboratories, but they can adapt wonderfully to home life and give you many years of companionship. Before you put your name on a waiting list for a Greyhound puppy, check out the world of Greyhound rescue.

Size: Large

Height: There are two types, which vary somewhat in size: Racing Greyhounds are usually 25 to 29 inches tall, and show Greyhounds are slightly larger, at 26 to 30 inches in height.

Weight: males typically weigh 65 to 85 pounds, females 50 to 65 pounds,

Coat care: Greyhounds have a short, smooth coat that’s easy to care for. Despite their name, they can be any color, including fawn, black, red, blue, gray, or white. They do shed the coat so a quick, daily grooming helps to minimise this.


The are three sizes of Poodle – Toy, Miniature and Standard – all in a wide range of beautiful solid colours. The Poodle’s coat does not shed, but regular grooming is essential. A very intelligent dog that needs a job to do and positive training, otherwise you, the owner, will be trained by them quite quickly! Originally a water retriever, a job that requires jumping in the water to fetch waterfowl for hunters. Excels at sports such as obedience, agility, flyball, hunting etc. Despite his regal air, the Poodle is no snob. These are people-friendly dogs who want to stay close to their families — they get lonely when left by themselves for long periods — and are always up for a good game.

Size: Toy, Miniature & Standard.

Height: Toy Poodle stands up to 10 inches tall – The Miniature Poodle stands 11 to 15 inches tall – The Standard Poodle stands 15 inches and taller.

Weight: Toy six to nine pounds – Miniature 15 to 17 pounds – Standard males weigh 45 to 70 pounds and females weigh 45 to 60 pounds.

Coat care: The Poodle is a non-shedding breed, and a good choice for people with allergies. Many allergic people are able to keep a Poodle with no reaction. The coat comes in many colors, including blue, black, white, gray, silver, brown, café-au-lait, apricot, and cream. Grooming a Poodle isn’t for the faint of heart. Poodles are high-maintenance dogs. He requires regular grooming, every three to six weeks, sometimes more often, to keep the coat in good condition. If you are considering a Poodle, consider the upkeep of the coat and expense of grooming. Many Poodles have weepy eyes that stain the hair under their eyes. The lighter your dog’s coat, the more noticeable the tearstains. To cut down on staining, wipe around the eyes and face every day with an alcohol-free pet wipe or washcloth dampened with warm water.


Pugs are playful dogs and loves games, they are affecionate and if treated kindly bond closely to there owners, but do not do well if left alone for long periods as love to be the centre of attention. They are very intelligent, however, they can be willful, which makes training challenging, so join good reward based classes early which can help. If trained and sociaised early can be a good dog for familes. Not a yappy dog which will please your neighbours! Bred originally as a companion dog, so no good at guarding, retriving or hunting, this is a lap dog! The Pug is a low-maintenance companion, making it ideal for older owners. Pugs are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions so if getting a puppy make sure it is from a reputable breeder. Pugs can’t tolerate high heat and humidity because of a short muzzle (air cools down when it passes through the noses of dogs with longer muzzles before entering the lungs). When your Pug is outdoors, watch him carefully for signs of overheating. Pugs wheeze, snort and snore, loudly due to flat nose.

Size: Small

Height: 10 to 14 inches tall at the shoulder.

Weight: 14 and 18 pounds

Coat care: Despite their short coats, Pugs shed a lot. Regular brushing is needed.

Shih Tzu 

Bred solely as a companion this is an affectionate, happy and outgoing dog that will love his owners but dislikes being left alone for long periods. Very friendly to everyone, likes children but due to his smaller size care should be taken and no unsupervised children. Get on well with other dogs and if socialised early can do well with other animals in household. One unique characteristic of the Shih Tzu is his undershot bite. His lower jaw is slightly wider than the upper, and the upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth, rather than outside, when his mouth is closed. The flat shape of the Shih Tzu’s face makes him susceptible to heat stroke, because the air going into the lungs isn’t cooled as efficiently as it is among longer-nosed breeds. He’s alert and lively and may bark at newcomers to his home. Don’t worry, though; he’ll make friends with your guests the minute they walk inside.

Size: Small

Height: 9 to 10 1/2 inches tall

Weight: 9 to 16 pounds.

Coat Care: The long, silky Shih Tzu coat is gorgeous, and it comes in many colors: black, black and white, gray and white, or red and white. Keeping the Shih Tzu coat gorgeous is demanding. Daily brushing and combing is necessary to prevent tangles, as is frequent bathing (as often as once a week). In fact, many a Shih Tzu lover gives up and hires a professional groomer to clip those long locks short. Gone is some of his beauty, but so is the chore of daily brushing. If you trim the coat short and want to keep it that way, plan on grooming appointments every six to eight weeks.