What are some good dog breeds for beginner dog owners?

I have three cats in the house now and have never had a dog before. I've been researching things I need to know in advance before getting a dog and I understand that it's quite a step forward and that I'll need to spend a lot of time with the dog and be sure he or she has plenty of food, water, toys, crate, leash, etc. Here are some additional things:

We like small dogs.
I don't mind daily brooming. Actually, I've had a cat before that we had to groom a lot and I actually enjoyed bringing him out on the porch and brushing him.
We have four people and three cats and two of us are children.
We would prefer for him or her to be rather quiet, or as quiet as possible.
We have a big yard with lots of wide open space. It is also surrounded by woods.
All our cats are indoors only.
I am willing to bring the dog out for walks outside and possibly on the sidewalk of our town.

I hope this is enough information for you to answer what breed of dog and maybe some other tips also.

Asked by Member 1013522 on Nov 27th 2010 Tagged breed, newdog in Breeds
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I suggest you take a look at this list of dog breeds:

I did the Dog Breed Finder test based on what you said.
However, I do see some problems here. Its really not a good idea to put a dog in the home with three cats. Some cats and dogs get along, but not all the time.
Plus, you said that your yard is surrounded by woods. Is it fenced? Please know that the dog will have to be leashed outside if you don't have a fence. This can make it difficult if the dog wants to be outside a lot.

Anyways, if you do get a dog, have fun and good luck! Do lots of research and learning!

Brutus answered on 11/27/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Sadie and Oakley

Do a lot of research and before bringing them home for good maybe try to do somewhat of a home visit and see how the dog reacts to cats or have the breeder do it... there are lots of things to consider because of the cats.

Another option i find a lot of people do is to gate off (with baby gates) rooms or sections of house that the cats can escape to away from the dogs

Try looking through your local shelter for some dogs. I am sure you can find a perfect match!

Sadie and Oakley answered on 11/27/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Bruno CGC

Any breed can be a good first dog if two conditions are met:
1. the dog's personality and yours are a good fit

2. You are willing to put in the work to exercise and train the dog

My first dog was a Husky, one of those "not for beginners" breeds. She was a breeze to take care of! The individual dog's personality is more important than the breed in my opinion.

I would suggest going to the Dogster forums, section called "Choosing the Right Dog" which is all about helping people decide what kind of dog to get. Then we can have more back-and-forth conversation about what you want and need. Hope to see you there!

Bruno CGC answered on 11/27/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I would recommend a Bichon Frise, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, or a Cocker Spaniel.

The Bichon Frise is a happy go lucky dog, loves children, other animals, and family. They do need to be groomed often. They are intelligent, outgoing, and playful. They are quiet dogs.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a sweet and loving dog. They get along with people and other animals. They are not usually yappers.

The Cocker Spaniel is highly intelligent, active, and loving. They make good family dogs, they are good with other animals.

In my opinion, it really depends on your lifestyle. Would you be willing to train this dog? Not every dog is the same as it's description. Every dog needs training to be a good dog. I highly recommend Cesar Millan's techniques.

Member 930032 answered on 11/27/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Whatever breed you decide on doesn't really matter too much.Most breeds have similar traits but within the breed each dog can differ in personality across the board. I would suggest a puppy because the cats will have an easier time training a pup compared to an adult. The pup in turn will learn how to respect a cat and get along with it better. Go to a reputable breeder and tell them what type of temperament u are looking for. Do u want a high energy dog, a submissive dog, outgoing...? Most breeders do temperament tests on their litters and can offer pet quality(lower cost) if available. I would recommend a medium size dogs with kids. Kids tend to be rough and tumble and a small dog may get injured. Females are usually smaller and unless you plan to breed having her spayed will prevent any unwanted litters. Realize that as a dog owner the average cost to keep a dog is about $2000 a year, cost of vet, groomers,food, toys,etc. does add
up. Do the dogster test to choose a breed.

Alikazam answered on 11/27/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Small dogs don't always go well with children or cats. Your cats have not been raised with a dog so they will surely not be fond of the dog no matter the size or breed.

All members of the family should go to dog training class. It's important to know how to communicate with your dog.
You will need to know how to crate, potty and basic training, like walking well on the leash.

Your best bet is a mid size 1-2 year old rescue that has been in a foster home so his behavior is already known. Tell rescue groups what your needs are and let them match you with possible dogs, you will have final approval, of course.

Be prepared to provide some sort of fencing, invisible or physical, so you can enjoy the yard with the dog. We have 2 acres, invisible fenced.

Basic dog expenses with medical, food, etc. starts at $1,000 a year. Fencing can be very pricey, invisible being less expensive.

Snickers answered on 11/28/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


If you go over to the forums section and post in the "Choosing the Right Dog" forum, you can respond to other people's comments, give more information, ask additional questions, etc. It might be more helpful for you.

You have listed a few features you are looking for, but you haven't really mentioned what you are expecting from a dog, why you want a dog, or what you would like to do with a dog. Those things are all important in choosing the right breed. You should discuss these things with your family and determine what everyone in your family wants, and then you can choose what might be a good fit.

How small is "small?" What is "small" depends on who you talk to. My dog Zack weighs 50 lbs., I consider that pretty small. But maybe you have a much smaller dog in mind.

I suggest you talk with your family and decide together:
a) why you want a dog; and
b) any "deal breakers" - things you absolutely do not want in your dog
That will give you a good start.

Good Luck!

Zack answered on 11/28/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer