9 of the Easiest Dogs to Add to Your Family

Group of dogs frolicking in water
Photo: Susan Schmitz/Shutterstock

Some dogs are a lot of work. Maybe they're psychologically challenging and require a lot of training because they are stubborn or just need to be learning all the time. Others are physically demanding because they need a ton of exercise or an inordinate amount of grooming.

If you're looking for a more hassle-free pup, there are certain breeds that might be appealing. Here's a look at some dogs that may be easier to own — and keep in mind that we're talking about breed traits to look for. (We stick by our mantra that rescue dogs are the best dogs.) Every dog is different, but when you're thinking of adding a pet to your family, you may want to look for some of this DNA in the mix.

of 9

Labrador Retriever: The Perfect Temperament

Photo: Nick Chase 68/Shutterstock

There's a reason the Labrador retriever has been the most popular dog breed in the U.S. for more than two dozen years, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). The breed is "famously friendly" and is good around people and other dogs. With their easygoing personality, Labs tend to bond with all members of the family.

The Labrador retriever temperament is friendly, active and outgoing. They're playful, energetic and smart. Labs are charming, happy and eager to please.

These good-natured and friendly dogs come in three colors: yellow, black and chocolate. They are sturdy, medium sized and relatively easy to train. But they do have a lot of energy so they require lots of daily exercise like long, daily games of fetch.

of 9

Poodle: The Low-Shed Companion

Photo: Lim Tiaw Leong/Shutterstock

The poodle is so much more than just a pretty face. They're very intelligent, easy to train and incredibly athletic. Because they're smart and versatile, they excel in agility, sports and obedience competitions.

The breed comes in three sizes — standard poodle, miniature poodle and toy poodle — so there's sure to be a model that fits every family. Their popular curly coats also come in a rainbow of colors.

There's lots of interest in this breed for hypoallergenic reasons because people often wonder if poodles shed.

Poodles have a relatively non-shedding coat, so they are popular for people who suffer from allergies. In fact, they are so popular that the poodle is often crossed with other breeds, resulting in lots of designer hybrids like goldendoodles (golden retriever), Labradoodles (Labrador retriever), schnoodles (schnauzer), sheepadoodles (Old English sheepdog) and whoodles (soft-coated wheaten terrier).

But having a non-shedding coat also means that poodles usually need professional grooming and clipping every four to six weeks unless you learn how to care for the dog's coat yourself.

of 9

Golden Retriever: The Loyal Sidekick

Photo: David Sokoler/Shutterstock

Like its relative the Labrador, the golden retriever is another of the most popular dogs in the U.S. The breed is known for its friendly, happy nature and how quickly and easily the dogs pick up training. That's why the dogs so often excel as service and guide dogs and perform so well in competitive events. But they will need daily exercise.

Vetstreet polled more than 200 veterinarians, asking them their opinions for the best pets for first-time dog owners and goldens were the No. 1 pick. They cited the dog's loyalty, affection, playfulness and good looks.

If there's one downside to these playful pooches, it's their tendency to shed a lot. The AKC points out that although they shed their thick coat heavily once or twice a year, they continue to lose hair year-round, requiring at least weekly grooming.

of 9

Goldendoodles and Labradoodles: The Hypoallergenic Duo

Photo: Joe Hendrickson/Shutterstock

A cross between several of the friendliest dogs on this list, it's a no-brainer that these doodles would also be popular, easy pets. Goldendoodles are mixes between golden retrievers and poodles, while Labradoodles are crosses between poodles and Labrador retrievers.

Although people with allergies often opt for doodle breeds hoping to get the low-shedding coat of the poodle, genes can be unpredictable. However, overall the doodles tend to have pleasant dispositions as a result of their genetic combinations and make good family dogs. Most need regular clipping and grooming, whether they are allergy-friendly or not.

of 9

Papillon: The Butterfly-Eared Playmate

Photo: Enna8982/Shutterstock

If you're looking for a pint-size playmate, the papillon dog breed is a happy choice. And as Rover.com points out, the breed has "a high chill factor" for such a small dog. Unlike some other tiny breeds, they're outgoing and not shy or aggressive. Papillons love kids, so they make great family pets.

Papillons have a reputation for being incredibly easy to train, and they excel in obedience events. They have long, silky coats, but they need very little grooming and shed very little. Plus who can resist those incredible butterfly ears!

of 9

Boxer: The Family-Friendly Guard Dog

Photo: Michael Lofenfeld/Shutterstock

The boxer is one of the AKC's top picks for first-time dog owners. Boxers love to be with their people and make a great family dog.

"One of the breed's most notable characteristics is its desire for human affection, especially from children. They are patient and spirited with children, but also protective, making them a popular choice for families," according to the AKC.

Boxers have a happy and playful temperament. They're also athletic and fun with a lot of energy. They enjoy racing around the backyard and playing fetch. The other good news? With their slick coat, boxers need very little grooming.

of 9

Bichon Frise: The Allergy-Friendly Fluff Ball

Photo: Vladimir Nenezic/Shutterstock

These cute little dogs were originally bred to be companions so it's no wonder they typically love everyone. The AKC says the bichon frise pretty much follows the mantra that, "there are no strangers, just friends they haven’t met yet."

This dog is only somewhat active. He needs an average amount of activity, but is content to just hang out most of the time. The bichon responds well to training and loves to show off what he's learned. The breed is very loving and sweet.

But probably the most popular thing about the bichon frise is the hypoallergenic nature of his curly coat. The breed is popular for people with allergies because the dog sheds very little. However, that pretty coat does require some significant care beyond daily brushing. You can learn to do it yourself, but it's probably easiest to take your pup to the groomer every four to six weeks.

of 9

Boston Terrier: The Masked Funny Man

Photo: Kellymmiller73/Shutterstock

These people-oriented pups are friendly and funny, always looking to charm their families. Nicknamed "the American gentleman" for his impeccable manners, the cute Boston terrier is considered relatively laid back and easy to train. The AKC describes the Boston terrier as, "A bright dog with a natural gift for comedy, the dapper Bostonian is a steady source of smiles."

The Boston's coat is short and smooth, so it doesn't require much grooming. And the activity level depends on the dog, but many are happy being couch potatoes the majority of the time, as long as they're with their people.

of 9

Shih Tzu

Photo: Yarnawee Nipatarangkoon/Shutterstock

Originally bred to be the companions of Chinese royals, these friendly lap warmers are pint-sized snugglers. They love to be cuddled and would have no problem spending all day just hanging out curled up in your lap.

They're known to be especially good with children and can adapt to pretty much any size environment. They'll wander around a huge backyard, but they are fine with apartment or condo living because they don't need a ton of exercise.

That silky coat does, however, need a lot of grooming. To keep work to a minimum, you can keep hair in a "puppy cut" so your cute friend isn't high maintenance.