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  • Writer's pictureMary Puppins

Best Small Dog Breeds For First Time Owners

Updated: Feb 21

Fawn pug ideal for first time dog owners

Selecting the best small breed dogs for beginners is a decision that hinges on various factors.

At Mary Puppins Luxury Dog Home Boarding, situated amidst the serene landscapes of Cheshire, we understand the importance of finding the perfect canine companion for those new dog owners.


“The best breed for a first-time dog owner is the dog that matches your energy and attention level. If you want a dog that can go running with you, choose an athletic dog with endurance. If you prefer a calm lap dog, then it’s best to avoid high-energy dog breeds. You may lean toward a lower-maintenance dog breed as your first one, especially if you do not have time for lots of grooming.” Dogs Trust


One small breed that often makes an excellent choice for beginners is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

These dogs are known for their friendly and affectionate nature, making them perfect for beginners and first time dog owners.

They're adaptable to various living situations, making them suitable for both apartments and houses.

Their gentle temperament and eagerness to please make dog training relatively straightforward.

Pugs are another charming option for beginners.

These dogs are known for their sociable and playful personalities.

They tend to get along well with children and other pets, making them a great addition to first time dog owner family households.

However, they can be prone to obesity, so monitoring their diet is crucial.

French Bulldogs are beloved by beginners

for their compact size and affectionate nature.

They require minimal exercise compared to some other small breeds, making them well-suited for first time dog owners, individuals or families with a more relaxed lifestyle.

Their adaptable nature and low grooming needs make them a convenient choice for beginners.

The Shih Tzu is ideal for beginners

- a small breed known for its friendly disposition and beautiful, long coat.

While they require regular dog grooming, their sweet and gentle temperament makes them great companions for first time dog owners.

They are well-suited to indoor living and tend to adapt easily to new environments.

For those who prefer a slightly larger small breed, the Cocker Spaniel is an option worth considering.

They are known for their intelligence and trainability. Cocker Spaniels are generally good with families and enjoy both indoor and outdoor activities.

The best small breed dogs for beginners often possess traits such as adaptability, a friendly disposition, and ease of training.

While these breeds can be excellent choices, it's important to remember that each dog is an individual with its unique personality.

Ensuring a good match between your lifestyle and the dog's needs is key to a successful and rewarding companionship.


What are the best small breed dogs for first-time owners? 

Some of the best small breed dogs for first-time owners include the Poodle (Miniature or Toy), Yorkshire Terrier, and Maltese.

These breeds are known for their friendly temperaments and relatively easy training capability.

Why are small breed dogs good for first-time owners? 

Small breed dogs are often a good choice for first-time owners because they are generally easier to manage due to their size.

They are also frequently more adaptable, adjusting to various living situations and conforming to their owner’s lifestyle.

What should first-time dog owners consider when choosing a breed? 

First-time dog owners should consider their lifestyle, energy level, grooming needs, and the breed’s typical health concerns.

It’s also important to remember that each dog has its own personality, so don’t rely on their breed type alone.

Are small breed dogs high maintenance? 

The maintenance level of a dog can vary greatly by breed and individual dog.

Some small-breed dogs require a lot of grooming and exercise, while others require lower maintenance. It’s essential to research and consider these factors when choosing a dog.

What are some challenges of owning a small breed dog? 

While small breed dogs have many advantages, they also have their own set of challenges.

They can be more fragile by nature, so it may be easier to be injured by rough play or even dropped. They also might require more frequent feeding schedules due to their smaller size.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. For specific veterinary dog health advice, contact a veterinary pet healthcare provider

BOOK NOW via our website. We have limited places and get booked up super fast. Give your little dog the five-star VIP holiday they deserve, while you enjoy yours.

mary puppins small dog breeds uk

Mary Puppins, first time owners

mary puppins small dog breeds uk

Kate Phillips, Chief Editor

BSc (Hons), MSc

Kate is the UK's very own Mary Puppins, a professional Dog Nanny and expert in small breed dogs. With over 30 years' experience and successfully helping high profile celebrity pet parents raise their furry families, Kate shares her top tips with you. Kate guides readers on small breed dogs, dog health, dog training, dog nutrition, dog food, dog walks, dog accessories, dog enrichment, rescue dogs, dog behaviour, dog grooming and the best products for dog mums and dog dads to create the ultimate luxury lifestyle for their small dogs.



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We provide free, useful information for pet parents of small dog breeds UK. 

Please be aware that our opinions may differ to yours and that's ok. We encourage healthy, positive discussion. 


We all love our small dogs! And want them to live a long and happy life. 

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