9 Great Dog Breeds for First-Time Owners

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel This friendly Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is affectionate and gentle. He's known for being adaptable, good with everyone -- young children to old. The Cav is very friendly and easy to train. They do require regular grooming and moderate exercise but overall they are a low-maintenance breed.

Boxer The Boxer is an instinctive protector, but he also loves being with his family. The Boxer's desire to be loved by humans, especially children, is one of its most distinctive characteristics. They are gentle and patient with children. However, they can also be protective. This makes them a popular choice for families. Although they require very little grooming, the Boxer does need daily exercise.

English Springer Spaniel The English Springer Spaniel has the same "eager-to-please" attitude as most spaniels. Springers are affectionate and friendly and love to be with their owners. These pets make great house pets but need to be exercised regularly and trimmed frequently in order to keep their hair clean and free from mats.

Papillon The Papillon toy dog is a friendly, small-sized and well-built. They are happy, alert and friendly dogs who are not aggressive or shy. They are happy in any environment, whether they live in an apartment or out in the country. They are very active outdoors but can also be exercised and entertained indoors.

Poodle Poodles are intelligent and excel in all types of dog sports activities. There are three sizes of Poodle, which could explain why it is so popular. Although their almost hypoallergenic hair may reduce allergic reactions it is important to groom them.

Shih Tzu The Shih Tzu is a wonderful companion and house pet. They are friendly and lively. To make their life easier, they require little exercise. Their long, luxurious coat can be kept in a "puppy-cut" to reduce the need for frequent grooming.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier The Wheaten Terrier, a medium-sized breed, is calm, stable, self-confident and alert to his environment. Wheatens are less scrappy than other types of terriers, but they are still true terriers. They will get plenty of exercise each day and will be more active than most other breeds. They are good with children and can adjust to urban, suburban, and rural life. Wheaten has a single coat and sheds very little. However, it needs to be groomed regularly to keep its hair mat-free.

Whippet Whippets love to run but they are great house dogs. They can be quiet in their home and spend most of their time sleeping. They are naturally attached to people and they love being house pets. They are friendly with visitors and can be trained to work well with children.

Labrador Retriever For 30 years, the Lab is the most popular breed in America. The Labrador Retriever is a loyal, affectionate, and easy-going dog. Labrador Retrievers thrive in active households where they can run and play together.