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6 Best Small Dog Breeds for First Time Owners

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Pets bring immeasurable joy to our life. Regarding adopting a pet, dogs and cats are the most popular choices. Due to a shortage of space, many apartment owners now look for small dogs. It also helps first-time owners to take better care of them, as managing a large dog can be overwhelming for many.

Whether you’re adopting a dog for the first time or already have a large dog and want a small one, you need to research well to understand each breed, their size and weight, how much maintenance and groom they require, and whether they are hypoallergenic. Below are our best six picks for small dogs for first-time owners.

Poodles and Doodles

Poodles are gorgeous, and the newest addition to the lineage is doodles. A doodle dog is a cross between a poodle and any other purebred dog, such as a Golden Retriever, Bernese mountain dog, Labrador Retriever, etc. There are also whoodles from a breeder like My Whoodle Poodles need to walk at least two times a day, and they also need to spend a lot of time with their owners. Some poodle mixes – or doodles – don’t need as much exercise and can be happy and playful on their own. Some doodle dogs are hypoallergenic and can be easily trained. Websites like Poodles2Doodles have details of various Doodle breeds listed so you can compare them before adopting or buying the most compatible one.


The pug is one of the most popular dog breeds. They are loyal and affectionate, need little grooming and exercising, and are very easy to care for. These qualities make them the perfect breed for first-time dog owners.

You have to take your pug for walks every day. But other than that, they don’t need too much exercise. You need to take care of their diet because they tend to gain weight very fast. They also develop respiratory problems because of their small muzzles, so regular visits to the vet are also required.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu is one of the most adorable dog breeds out there. Their innocent looks and affectionate nature makes them ideal for first-time dog owners. They love spending time indoors, but they need walks every day. Shih Tzu might be the best option if you’re looking for a companion dog that is good with elders and children alike.

Shih Tzus are easy to train. But they require quite a bit of grooming. They can also grow an attitude problem if they’re spoilt – which often happens because the owners love them a lot. They are also prone to certain health diseases, such as hip dysplasia and eye problems, so you might need to run to the vet more frequently.


Originating in the Mediterranean, Maltese dogs are best known for their gorgeous, silky coat and gentle persona. They love staying indoors, but you need to take them out for a walk every day for at least 30 minutes. 

As with every other dog breed, Maltese need a nutritious diet that can help them grow. Feed them 3-4 times a day and take them out for playtime or exercise. The Maltese are extremely intelligent and, therefore, are easy to train. Spend lots of time with them, give them plenty of love, and they will be free from any separation anxiety.


Havanese puppy
Image by JackieLou DL from Pixabay

If you’ve always dreamed of owning a long-haired dog but are afraid of regularly taking care of their coat, a Havanese might be the perfect fit for you. They are tiny little furballs that don’t take up much space and need little exercise to lead a happy and healthy life. This makes them ideal for first-time owners, especially if you live in a small apartment.

Since the ownership costs of these dogs are very small, you can easily spend the money on a healthy diet for your pet. Havanese usually don’t have health conditions. But they are prone to obesity. So paying attention to their diet is mandatory. Take them for 30-minute long walks daily to keep their weight in check.

Given the long-haired nature and the closed ear structure of the Havanese breed, dog ear wipes should be an essential part of your pet care routine. These dogs are more susceptible to ear infections and mite infestation due to their hair falling into the ear canal and creating a warm, moist environment that is ideal for bacterial or yeast growth.

Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is one of the gentlest dog breeds, and they mesh very well with family members of all ages. They are affectionate, loyal, and can stay in small spaces. These dogs also don’t need a lot of exercise and need walks of around 30 minutes daily. They are generally happy and need lots of cuddles and attention to stay happy. Bichon Frise is easy to maintain, so they are ideal for first-time dog parents.

This breed is highly intelligent and therefore is easy to train. They’re good with children and other pets in the house. Because they have a curly coat, they don’t shed as much. But brush them at least once a day to prevent excessive shedding. They usually don’t have serious health complications other than obesity, dental problems, and allergies, so owning them will cost you much less than some other breeds.

No matter what breed of dog you get, taking care of them is absolutely necessary. Pay close attention to their emotional needs, provide them with a healthy diet, check if they are injured or sick, and take them to the vet immediately for treatment. If you can care for them well, your dog will lead a long, happy, and healthy life.

Featured Image by Satoshi Kawaguchi from Pixabay