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Getting your first dog? Here’s a guide.

by Higooga Team on May 12, 2022
Getting Your First Dog? Here's A Guide. | Higooga Blog

You want to meet new people and make new friends. Perhaps, you wish to feel loved and happy and have a great company. A dog can help you achieve all that.
Getting a dog is one of the most enjoyable things in life. However, taking care of dogs for a long time is an enormous responsibility that takes time, energy, effort, and money.

What should you consider if you are ready to own a dog for the first time? 
The idea of picking your first dog is overwhelming. With over 300 dog breeds, you don’t want to start with just any breed. In this post, we’ll help you make a choice on your first dog as well as recommend the best breeds to start with.


What to Consider Before Getting a Dog

Before bringing your dog home, you’ll want to make sure you’ve considered the following. 


Do you have space for your dog?

The amount of space available determines which breed to start with. Some breeds are ideal for small spaces while others require plenty of space. For example, a chihuahua is not ideal for a family living in a small apartment as it loves barking. If that's the case, you might need to find a less energetic breed that requires moderate exercise. Some excellent dog breeds would be Shih Tzu, French bulldog, or Bichon Frise. An ideal breed for you should be calm, peaceful, and content throughout the day.

However, if you have enough outdoor space, you might want to opt for dog breeds such as Labrador, Retriever, or Golden Retriever, which require a lot of play and exercise. Based on your location, research the most suitable breeds of dogs for homes in suburban areas, apartments, or country homes to ensure that you select one that fits your lifestyle.


Getting Your First Dog? Here's A Guide. | Higooga Blog

Your living environment

As a first-time dog owner, you need to understand that the relationship with your dog will last for an extended period. You won’t just own it for a day, week, or month. Thus, you’ll need to adhere to certain living conditions, especially if you’re renting an apartment. Be sure to ask for rules for your rental property or the neighborhood you live in before bringing your dog home.

Many apartments do not allow for pets. It's best to ask beforehand or discuss with the landlord to redo the agreement to be on the safe side.  Furthermore, if the apartment allows for dogs, you’ll need to consider having liability insurance, especially if you are planning to own aggressive breeds such as German Shepherds. Also, check with your insurance provider to ensure your dog's breed is covered. 


Research your dog's breed

When choosing a dog as a first-time owner, one overlooked factor is the breed. First-time dog owners often pick dogs based on recommendations rather their own thorough research.

As a first-time dog owner, you need to understand better the dog breed you’re bringing home. You need to consider your lifestyle, whether you are living on your own, with a spouse, children, or older parents.

For instance, if you have a small family with kids, you need to look for friendly dog breeds. Labrador Retriever, Burmese Mountain dog, or the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeds are excellent for a family with kids. It’s essential to allow your children and the dog to meet each other and see how they get along before finally taking your dog home.

Also, older dogs, at least 5 months old, will be ideal for a family with young children. Energetic puppies with sharp teeth could accidentally scratch or bite your young ones. Whichever dog breed you choose, it should be compatible with your family’s lifestyle.


Getting Your First Dog? Here's A Guide. | Higooga Blog

Do you have time to take care of an animal?

The life expectancy of a dog is about 12 years. So before deciding on buying or adopting your first dog, you should be prepared to commit for a long time to socialize, train and learn about your pet. 

This is the time to decide if you need a puppy or a mature dog. Your dog's needs will vary a lot with its age. If your live a busy life and don't have prior experience with pet care,  go for a dog that is at least an 8-week-old.

Also, you have to decide if you want an energetic dog or not.  Highly active dog breeds such as Border Collie, Pitbull, or Australian Shepherd, require additional walking and playing time on a daily basis. If you cannot give your dog enough attention, choose a less energetic breed such as Shih Tzu. If you job requires a lot of travel, you will also have to think about how your dog will be looked after while you are away.


Your Budget

How much are you willing to spend on your dog and dog supplies matters a lot. The cost also depends on the type of breed you opt for. Chihuahua and Bichon Frise are breeds to consider if you are on a tight budget. It is essential to visit the vet regularly and have plenty of water, food, lead, collar, bed, and other equipment to ensure your pet is happy and secured.


Best dog breeds for a first-time owners 

Getting Your First Dog? Here's A Guide. | Higooga Blog

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu is one of the best dog breeds for beginners. It's a perfect dog for a young, busy couple as it doesn’t require much outdoor exercise. Also, Shih Tzus are friendly and polite to people. Shih Tzu rarely gets into mischief despite his aristocratic manner, stubborn streak, and distinct likes and dislikes. Shih Tzu is an excellent pet for families with elderlies or living in small apartments. Choose Shih Tzu if,

  • you are too busy to take your dog for exercise;
  • you live in the city with a relatively small living space;
  • you want a small and strong dog



Getting Your First Dog? Here's A Guide. | Higooga Blog


If you’re looking for a charming and friendly dog, whippet ticks all the boxes. Whippets are medium-sized and easy to groom. Whippet puppies can be naughty and destructive, but adults are quiet, undemanding, and calm indoors, making them ideal for busy people. Whippets enjoy running games and need daily bursts of rigorous exercise. A whippet will be ideal if, 

  • you have a small family and are looking for an affectionate dog
  • you are a busy person with limited time to groom your dog
  • love playing outdoor with your pet and have enough space in the surrounding area
  • you want an energetic, intelligent and easily trainable dog


Getting Your First Dog? Here's A Guide. | Higooga Blog

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain dog is another excellent choice to start with if you have kids. The Bernese Mountain Dog enjoys going on walks, especially in the cooler months. It doesn’t do well in tropical climates because of its thick black coat. However, the Bernese mountain dog can be excessively shy, only getting attached to one specific person. Bernese Mountain Dog could be ideal for you as it is

  • gets along well with other pets;
  • a patient family dogan
  • an intelligent dog with a great sense of humor 



Getting Your First Dog? Here's A Guide. | Higooga Blog

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever is another great first dog for a beginner. It’s always full of energy and loves to play. Beware that too much confinement combined with insufficient exercise might cause rowdy behavior and destructive chewing. Some Labs have bull-like necks and don’t sense leash tugs. The labrador retriever will be a great dog for you if,

  • you want a family dog that is good with children
  • have an ample space for the dog to run and play
  • have limited time to groom your dog
  • have time to exercise your dog