Best Low Maintenance Dogs for First Time Owners: Top Breeds

Best Low Maintenance Dogs for First Time Owners.

The Best Low Maintenance Dogs for First Time Owners

Choosing a new pup for the house can often be an overwhelming experience for many first-time dog owners. How many times a day will your new pup need walking? Will they be easy to train? How often will your pooch need grooming? Will the pup be ok left alone? So many questions….

Sound familiar? 

The best low maintenance dogs for first time owners could solve your doggy dilemma. These dogs are easier to take care of, which is ideal if you’re new to the whole pet parent scene. 

For first-time dog owners, finding a low-maintenance breed can be crucial to ensure a smooth transition into pet ownership. Join us as we focus on the dogs that will bring joy to your home without too many demands of a new four-legged family member.

What Makes a Dog Low Maintenance?

The definition of “low-maintenance” can be very subjective, especially when talking about breeds that are suitable for first-time dog owners. It basically boils down to how little or how much effort you’re able to put into taking care of your four-legged friend.

In general, when choosing low maintenance dogs for first time owners, most would agree that the pup:

  • Should be straightforward to train for someone with zero doggy experience.

  • Won’t have over demanding grooming requirements.

  • Will have lower exercise needs. 

A dog will rarely meet all the criteria. For example, the Standard Poodle is one of the most hypoallergenic breeds, intelligent and easy to train, even for first-time dog owners, but also quite active, and their grooming requirements can be high maintenance. 

Therefore, you must find the right balance — decide which factors are most important for you before choosing your new pet.

And, remember — if you’re looking for a no-maintenance dog, you’ll be looking for a long time. All canines need walkies, coat care, and love — it’s just some are more ‘needy’ than others.

10 of the Best Low Maintenance Dog Breeds for First Time Owners

Bringing a furry friend into your life is an exciting adventure, and finding the right breed that aligns with your lifestyle is essential for a happy and harmonious companionship. Here are our favorite easy-to-care-for first-timer breeds.

1. Brussels Griffon

low maintenance dog for first time owners brussels griffon.

Height: 7-10 inches

Weight: 8-10 pounds

Although they may be small, the Brussels Griffon is big on personality — many owners would argue they have enough for 10 normal dogs.

A sensitive soul mate for discerning adults, they have a playful nature. However, they only have moderate exercise needs, with just half an hour a day to keep them happy and healthy.

The Griffon comes in a choice of two coats, smooth or rough. For a low maintenance pup, the latter is best — this Griff doesn’t shed and requires minimal grooming. The smooth-coated kind needs a little more attention, with weekly brushing and daily during their twice-annual shedding seasons.

Plus, Griffs have a very high level of intelligence, which makes them easy to train, and they bond strongly with their owners. These Ewok-like dogs constantly want to be with their humans — with a Brussels around, you’ll feel like you have a permanent shadow.

2. Bergamasco Sheepdog

low maintenance dog for first time owners bergamasco sheepdog.

Height: 22-23.5 inches

Weight: 57-84 pounds

With a fully grown male Bergamasco often weighing in at over 80 pounds. As long as you have the space in your home, this Sheepdog is easy to look after.

Surprisingly, the Bergamasco only needs a moderate amount of exercise every day. Although, because of their close bond with the owner this should be some mutual activity. 

A calm and incredibly smart breed, this Sheepdog has a strong urge to please, hence is easy to train. That said, they still have a dash of that “mountain dog” independence, which may make them think they’re an equal to their human. However, getting the Bergamesco to understand what is expected can be easy to achieve for an ultra-loyal and obedient pooch.

What makes this canine a low-maintenance marvel is their hallmark coat, which is virtually self-cleaning. The coat is made up of three types of hair — dog, goat, and wool — with the latter two only appearing once a pup reaches a year old. Once the coat is “ripped” to prevent matting, it doesn’t need to be done again. The Bergamasco doesn’t need brushing, and only needs a bath a couple of times a year.

3. French Bulldog

low maintenance dog for first time owners french bulldog.

Height: 11-13 inches

Weight: under 28 pounds

The French Bulldog is friendly, curious, and a wrinkly little clown of a dog. Who can resist those smiling little faces with the ever-alert pointy bat-like ears

With a short coat, the grooming needs of the Frenchie are minimal, making them perfect for busy first-time owners. They don’t shed too much and only require occasional brushing to keep their coat in good condition. 

This breed has an average energy level, yet they don’t possess much endurance. Hence, they won’t require too much exercise. And, because they’re a flat-faced breed, breathing difficulties are likely from overexertion — particularly in hot conditions. Exercise needs are easily met with short walks or indoor playtime.

As one of the best low maintenance dog breeds for first time owners, the Frenchie ticks many boxes — low exercise needs, minimal grooming, affectionate, and easy to train.

4. Greyhound

low maintenance dog for first time owners greyhound.

Height: 27-30 inches

Weight: 60-70 pounds

One of the fastest dog breeds in the world, it may seem strange to be suggesting the Greyhound as a low-maintenance dog. However, this sighthound is a couch potato at heart. 

Although they enjoy daily walks and the odd burst of high-speed running, they don’t always need hours and hours of daily exercise. A secure yard will often give them an outlet for any unspent energy. 

The Greyhound tends to be easy to handle for first-time owners and can respond well to basic training. And, they’re happy to be left alone, making them ideal for new-dog newbies who work full-time. 

Plus, with a short, smooth coat, the grooming of the Greyhound is minimal — it doesn’t go beyond occasional baths and a weekly rubdown with a damp cloth or hound glove.

5. Pug

low maintenance dog for first time owners pug.

Height: 10-13 inches

Weight: 14-18 pounds

Adored for their playful and affectionate nature, Pugs also make great low-maintenance dogs for first time owners.

Their small size and moderate exercise needs make them suitable for various living situations, including city life. Pugs aren’t overly active dogs — you’ll have to encourage them off the couch — but a daily walk or play session is usually sufficient to meet their exercise needs. And, as they’re prone to obesity, don’t skip it. 

People-pleasing pooches, Pugs are generally easy to train and have a friendly and adaptable personality, making them great companion canines for novice dog-owning families. 

With a short, smooth, glossy coat, the Pug needs minimal maintenance, but they do shed. A weekly once-over using a brush or grooming mitt can help to remove the loose hair. Although if you should need to clean up their fur, it’s bound to be where you were last sat — the Pug is never far from your side.

6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

low maintenance dog for first time owners cavalier king charles spaniel.

Height: 12-13 inches

Weight: 13-18 pounds

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a popular choice for first-time owners with kids. Due to their contagious friendly nature, it's hard not to smile when in the presence of such a regal little dog. They seem to want to share their love with everyone they meet.

An intelligent pooch who is eager to learn, the Cav isn’t a challenge to train, especially when there’s a reward involved. Just be careful not to be too harsh with them, their gentle demeanor means they will often run and hide from you.

Their lustrous, silky coat needs little more than regular brushing and the occasional bath. However, the little Spaniel loves grooming sessions, which can be a great way of enhancing the dog-owner bond.

Cavaliers are known for their adaptability and are comfortable in various living environments, including apartments. They have average exercise needs and enjoy daily walks and playtime, but aren't overly demanding in terms of physical activity — they love to lounge.

7. Boston Terrier

low maintenance dog for first time owners boston terrier.

Height: 10-12 inches

Weight: 12-25 pounds

A lively, yet little companion, the Boston Terrier is instantly recognizable by the tight tuxedo jacket-like coat and a friendly glow in those big round eyes.

The sleek, fine coat of the Boston is short and does shed, but not excessively. And, grooming is usually a weekly affair — by brushing or using a grooming mitt.

Training Boston Terriers is a joyful experience! Their intelligence and eagerness to please make them quick learners. Positive reinforcement techniques, like treats and praise, work wonders. Keep training sessions short and fun to maintain their interest, and you'll have a well-behaved and happy Boston Terrier by your side!

This little “American gentleman” (as they’re often called) is polite and well-mannered, especially when playing with children. Although they won’t need to take walks too often, this Bostonian will likely become very attached to their family and want to follow them everywhere.

8. Papillion

low maintenance dog for first time owners papillion.

Height: 8-11 inches

Weight: 5-10 pounds

The Papillon is a highly intelligent breed that’s always eager to learn and one of the easiest dogs to train — even for novices.

While lively and energetic, it's on a toy-size level, which means about 30 minutes a day should be enough to keep them happy. First-time owners can make a game of basic obedience training and teach them new tricks, which they can work into those daily exercise sessions.

What makes Papillons truly great low maintenance dogs for first time owners is just how clean they are. The little guy has virtually no doggy odor and practically self-grooms. Hence, monthly grooming is fine — just keep a check on the matt-prone areas — the legs and those butterfly ears.

9. Chihuahua

low maintenance dog for first time owners chihuahua.

Height: 5-8 inches

Weight: not exceeding 6 pounds

If you're looking for a tiny pocket-sized lap dog, the low-maintenance Chihuahua could fit the bill. 

The smooth-haired Chihuahua needs only minimal grooming with occasional brushing. Although, the longer-haired variety will need brushing at least once a week to avoid any tangles or mats. Regular bathing can help keep their fashion accessory looks, but due to their smaller size and playful nature will be a quick and normally enjoyable task.

The Chihuahua is an above-average energy breed, but given their size, they soon wear themselves out and require carrying home. Simply trotting around behind their owners all day is normally enough exercise for this breed. 

An alert pup with high intelligence, the Chihuahua is eager to please and will respond well to positive reinforcement training practices. However, the Chihuahua knows just how cute they can be and will learn to use this to get their own way at times. You must let your pup know who’s in charge, and don’t spoil the little cutie too much — only occasional trips in your purse.

10. Japanese Chin

low maintenance dog for first time owners japanese chin.

Height: 8-11 inches

Weight: 7-11 pounds

With their silky, flowing coats, Chins may seem high-maintenance, but fear not! A little brushing here and there will keep them looking fabulous without the need for a personal stylist.

These Japanese Spaniels can also be left alone for a few hours at a time —– not that you’ll want to leave this cuddly pup alone too often!

Exercise-wise, they prefer strolls over marathons, making them the ideal couch potato companion. Training? They'll have you wrapped around their dainty paws in no time, as they're born charmers who know how to get what they want! Using reward-based methods and keeping it fun are the way forward for the Chin.

These pint-sized companion canines are perfect for apartment living and have a knack for fitting into the tiniest of spaces. Plus, their regal demeanor will make you feel like royalty!

low maintenance dog breeds.


We mustn’t forget that no dog breed is truly maintenance-free — your new little pooch will still need your attention and love. Yet, less grooming time and less demanding exercise needs mean more time for cuddles and getting used to living with your adorable new best friend.

From the large Greyhound all the way down to the toy-sized Papillon. The best low maintenance dogs for first time owners can be the perfect introduction to the canine world for those with limited experience.

Best Low Maintenance Dogs for First Time Owners FAQs

Which Is the Most Low-Maintenance Dog?

Lapdogs like the Brussels Griffon, with their low exercise needs and minimal grooming, will be more low maintenance than larger, more energetic dogs who may have longer coats.

Which Dog Is Best for First Time Owners?

Some breeds like the Golden Retriever, the Poodle, or the Labrador may seem like the best breed for a new dog owner with their easy-to-train and friendly natures. However, often the grooming needs and higher energy levels can make them more high maintenance. It really depends on what you’re prepared to commit to and your lifestyle.

Should I Get a Dog If I Live Alone?

Although a low maintenance dog can be easier for a single person to look after, some dogs may not enjoy being left alone for long periods. Unless you have a standby dog sitter, you should consider a dog that’s quite independent — such as the Beagle or Basenji — to avoid returning home to a scene of mayhem and destruction. 

Do Low-Maintenance Dogs Still Need Regular Exercise?

While low-maintenance dogs may require less exercise compared to high-energy breeds, they still need regular physical activity to stay healthy. Daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation are essential for their overall well-being.

Which Dog Breeds Are Considered High Maintenance?

Not all dog breeds are suitable for first-time owners, and some can be considered high maintenance, no matter how cool or adorable they are. Whether it's because of their needy grooming demands, super-charged energy level, or both, these include: 

  • Huskies. 

  • Border Collie.

  • Afghan Hound.

  • Puli.

  • Old English Sheepdog.

What Dog Breed Can Be Left Alone for 8 Hours?

The knowledge you can leave a dog alone for longer periods definitely adds another plus to their low maintenance status. Breeds who are content to be home alone include: 

  • French Bulldog.

  • Basset Hound.

  • Chihuahua.

  • Pug.

  • Boston Terrier.

  • Japanese Chin.

  • Greyhound.