As an avid dog lover and owner for most of my life, I am often asked what some of the best breeds are for the average first-time owner.

By “average” first time dog owner, I mean someone who is willing to take the basic steps with dog ownership. Someone responsible and sensible enough to consider going to a registered breeder or animal shelter that can help them recognize. Also someone willing to train for the basics but not planning on participating in a dog sport. The dog will primarily be a companion animal.

With that said, I realize that almost any breed could be a match if a first-time owner is extremely dedicated, well-researched, and well-suited to a breed (personality and lifestyle). Too often, people choose a breed of dog based on looks, which can be a recipe for disaster. When this cute pooch does not suit your lifestyle and you are unwilling to meet the needs of a particular breed, such as exercise, things can go downhill very quickly.

There are many different breed selectors on the internet that can help narrow the gap between what your home, personality, and lifestyle would mean to that wonderful new canine companion. A simple Google search will bring up several selectors, often detailing the different races.

Personally, I think breeds like Labradors and Golden Retrievers are “easier” breeds for a new dog owner. They are intelligent, strong-willed, extremely food-motivated, have moderate exercise requirements, and are generally happy and friendly with people and other dogs. English bulldogs, greyhounds and basset hounds round out my top 5.

There really is a lot more, and your lifestyle and skills will open or close many options. Also, don’t go around the many guard dogs who would also be a perfect first companion.