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Home > Dogs > 20 Best Dog Breeds for Teenagers & Reasons Why (With Pictures)

20 Best Dog Breeds for Teenagers & Reasons Why (With Pictures)

man petting a bernese mountain dog puppy

We all have that classic image in our heads of a boy growing up and getting through those often traumatic teen years with their best canine friend by their side. The benefits of having a pet are well-documented in the scientific literature for people of all ages. Students have found that we experience stress relief from interacting with dogs, and teenagers can especially benefit from these rewards.1

Understanding a breed’s behavior and a particular dog’s background is essential for choosing the best pet for teenagers. Meeting at least one parent and preferably some of the littermates will give you valuable intel for making an informed choice. So, if you’re considering getting your stressed-out teen a new furry companion, which breed is the best option? There are quite a few to choose from.

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The 20 Best Dog Breeds for Teenagers

1. Labrador Retriever

black labrador retriever dog bowing ready to play
Image by: Natalia Fedosova, Shutterstock
Size: Large
Trainability: High
Energy Level: High
Tolerance for Being Alone: Low

It’s no surprise to anyone who has met a Labrador Retriever that it is the American Kennel Club’s second most popular breed, but they were in first for years before the French Bulldog recently took over.2 This dog is big enough to tag along to almost any activity. They are very friendly with just about everyone, and they have the energy to keep up with a teenager’s lifestyle. This breed is intelligent and can learn new tricks and commands. They are also a lovable and affectionate pet. The must-know about this pup, however, is their low tolerance for being alone.


2. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese mountain dog
Image by: david muscroft, Shutterstock
Size: Extra large
Trainability: Moderately high
Energy Level: Moderately high
Tolerance for Being Alone: Low

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a sweetheart. They are lovable canines that are affectionate with everyone, including children. This pup will be a hit with the teens, whether camping, hiking, or even going to the beach. The breed is moderately active but not as intense as some dogs that take their play very seriously. They are about as easy going as it comes.

The must-know about this breed is their relatively short lifespan. That’s not unusual for dogs this large. Their bodies live at a faster pace in a shorter period, so make the most of the time with your canine BFF.


3. Samoyed

white female samoyed dog standing on a fallen log in the snow
Image by: Monika Hodanova, Shutterstock
Size: Large
Trainability: Moderately high
Energy Level: Moderately high
Tolerance for Being Alone: Moderately low

The Samoyed has a long history as a sled dog with a strong relationship with their human companions. That makes these pups affectionate and playful with all family members. They are active animals that are well-suited to long walks. Of course, the breed is highly cold-tolerant but not as happy during hot weather.

The pup’s coat requires more grooming to prevent mats and keep their shedding under control. The other must-know with this breed is its barking, so be sure to consider this.


4. Great Dane

black pregnant great dane
Image by: mkzdillon, Shutterstock
Size: Giant
Trainability: Moderate
Energy Level: Moderately high
Tolerance for Being Alone: Low

The Great Dane embodies the term “gentle giant.” While these dogs are moderately active, they still appreciate time hanging around with their family and living in the moment. They are intelligent animals that need mental stimulation to be happy. A giant canine such as this one can give a shy teenager the confidence they need. Their protective nature is another benefit.

Their shedding level isn’t horrible, but some may drool. The other thing to know about this breed is that they have much shorter lifespans compared to other breeds.


5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel adult
Image by: kate-amos, Pexels
Size: Small
Trainability: Moderately high
Energy Level: Moderate
Tolerance for Being Alone: Low

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the dog that always smiles. They are some of the cutest pups you’ll find. That may explain why the breed ranks 15th on the AKC popularity radar.3 Teenagers will appreciate this dog’s lovable personality that will fit in with any group. They are even good choices for teens new to pet ownership. The Cavalier will make everything as easy as possible.

This breed can sometimes be a barker—a bad habit you must get in check early. They are also prone to obesity, undoubtedly because they look so adorable and worthy of too many treats.


6. French Bulldog

fawn french bulldog walking on grass
Image by: Irina Nedikova, Shutterstock
Size: Small
Trainability: Moderately high
Energy Level: Moderate
Tolerance for Being Alone: Low

The French Bulldog is something of a surprise among popular dog breeds, shooting up to the top spot in the AKC. They have many qualities that make them an excellent choice for teens. They are playful dogs with moderate energy to match. They are also highly adaptable and well-suited to apartment dwellings. However, they are intolerant of cold and hot weather and being left alone.

The French Bulldog is one of many brachycephalic dog breeds characterized by their flat faces. That also makes them prone to respiratory conditions.


7. English Springer Spaniel

English Springer Spaniel walking on grass
Image by: Chiemsee2016, Pixabay
Size: Medium
Trainability: High
Energy Level: Moderately high
Tolerance for Being Alone: Low

The English Springer Spaniel is an excellent choice for a teenager who wants to take the lead in dog training. This breed is highly intelligent and eager to please. They are also well-suited to active teens who want a pet to keep up with their activity. This dog loves people and will enjoy meeting new friends. The breed can be sensitive, requiring positive reinforcement during training.

The must-know with this dog applies to any canine with high intelligence. They need mental stimulation to prevent boredom and the destruction that sometimes accompanies this condition.


8. Siberian Husky

siberian husky dog standing on grass
Image by: Edalin Photography, Shutterstock
Size: Medium
Trainability: Moderate
Energy Level: High
Tolerance for Being Alone: Low

The Siberian Husky is one of the best dogs you can get for a teenager who wants an active pet. This one fits the bill to the tee! They may even outpace your child. This pup is well-suited to kids who have experience with pets and want to take it to the next level. They are also good choices for teens who enjoy the outdoors and winter activities.

This pup is adaptable and open to making new friends. However, they are barkers, which isn’t unusual, given their job as sled dogs.


9. Newfoundland

Newfoundland dog
Image by: Pandas, Shutterstock
Size: Giant
Trainability: Moderate
Energy Level: Moderate
Tolerance for Being Alone: Low

You’d be hard-pressed to find a sweeter dog than the Newfoundland. This pup adores people, even children. Their gentle nature makes them great family pets. They are easy going animals that take life as it comes. They are protective of their family but aren’t barkers. However, when they speak, it’s time to listen. The breed is relatively healthy with moderate exercise needs. They’re long-lived for their larger size.

Positive reinforcement is vital for this sometimes-sensitive dog. They are adaptable, yet they don’t like to be left alone for long stretches.


10. West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier
Image by: anetapics, Shutterstock
Size: Small
Trainability: Moderately high
Energy Level: Moderately high
Tolerance for Being Alone: Moderately low

The West Highland White Terrier is adorable with an entertaining personality to boot. This pup proves that wonderful things can come in small packages. They are happy dogs, as is apparent when looking at their smiling faces. However, a vein of toughness runs deep in these dogs, making them good choices for teenagers. Active teens will appreciate this breed’s playfulness.

This breed is good with children and other family members. With other dogs, though, not so much. They do, however, require regular grooming to keep their coats white and mat-free.


11. German Shorthaired Pointer

Brown German Shorthaired Pointer hunting
Image by: Vitalii Mamchuk, Shutterstock
Size: Medium
Trainability: High
Energy Level: High
Tolerance for Being Alone: Low

The German Short-Haired Pointer is an excellent choice for a teen who wants to hunt. This pup succeeds at this kind of task, whether on land or water. They have the energy and intelligence to make superb companions in the field. They are nothing short of canine athletes. These dogs are also eager to please, although they are best suited to a teenager with pet experience.

Pointers need a job, so they are better choices for teens who are willing and able to put them to work. Mental stimulation is also imperative for their well-being.


12. Pug

pug dog standing in the grass
Image by: Antin82, Shutterstock
Size: Small
Trainability: Moderately high
Energy Level: Moderate
Tolerance for Being Alone: Low

If a teen wants an animal companion that will entertain them and shower them with boundless love, look no further than the Pug. This pup takes cocking its head to a new level that is sure to make you laugh. Everyone is their friend, both canine and human. They make it so easy to fall in love with them. The Pug is an excellent choice for families with small children.

The Pug is an ancient breed that endeared itself to royalty with their unwavering affection. However, the dog is another of the many brachycephalic dog breeds that may require special care.


13. Cairn Terrier

cairn terrier in grass flowers
Image by: OlgaOvcharenko, Shutterstock
Size: Small
Trainability: Moderate
Energy Level: Moderate
Tolerance for Being Alone: Low

The Cairn Terrier always seems to be alert, undoubtedly a carry-over from their days as ratters. This pup succeeds admirably at this task with their weather tolerance, trainability, and intelligence. The breed is a good choice for teens new to pet ownership, although diligence is necessary to reinforce canine manners and keep their barking under control.

Like many dogs, Cairn Terriers love to dig. It comes instinctively with them. It’s worth keeping this trait in mind if your teen leaves your dog in the backyard for extended periods.


14. Weimaraner

weimaraner dog standing in the grass
Image by: VKarlov, Shutterstock
Size: Large
Trainability: High
Energy Level: High
Tolerance for Being Alone: Low

The Weimaraner is an obedient dog that will respond well to responsible training. They are highly intelligent and need a strong owner who uses positive reinforcement, so while some teens can handle them, not all can. The breed’s history is intertwined with hunting and sportsmanship, although it’s unlikely many use this dog for big game hunting as in the past. Unsurprisingly, they are high energy and must have mental stimulation.

Understanding this breed’s unique needs is essential to make sure it’s a good fit for your teenager. This pup requires a commitment to training and reinforcement.


15. Boxer

female boxer dog on sand
Image by: Photobac, Shutterstock
Size: Large
Trainability: Moderately high
Energy Level: High
Tolerance for Being Alone: Low

The most important thing to understand about the Boxer is that they are full of energy. This pup needs regular activity to stay healthy both mentally and physically. They are indeed a commitment. We all think they are like big kids who have never grown up, making them good choices for teenagers. A teen must understand this dog’s needs before getting one for a pet.

You’ll never have a dull moment with a Boxer in your household. However, this pup needs their playtime to stay happy and prevent boredom.


16. Portuguese Water Dog

portuguese water dog standing outdoor
Image by: Brook Robinson, Shutterstock
Size: Medium
Trainability: High
Energy Level: High
Tolerance for Being Alone: Moderately low

A Portuguese Water Dog is a bundle of energy, always ready to play. This pup is synonymous with play and fun. They are high energy and eager to please. That can make it easy for a teenager to own and train one. Despite their dense coats, these dogs don’t shed a lot. However, they require regular grooming, which adds to their care and maintenance.

We consider these dogs a rewarding energy commitment because they always want to play and interact. They also don’t like to be left alone, meaning they could easily take to your teenager.


17. Airedale Terrier

Airedale-Terrier
Image by: PROMA1, Shutterstock
Size: Large
Trainability: Moderate
Energy Level: Moderate
Tolerance for Being Alone: Moderately low

The Airedale Terrier is a dog you can’t fail to notice. Their intelligence and fearless disposition command attention. They began life as hunters of waterfowl and rodents. That accounts for their independent streak. It also explains their moniker as the “King of Terriers.” These dogs more than exceeded their capacity to take on various jobs.

Regular grooming is part of the maintenance a teenager owning one will face. This pup needs an owner who can appreciate the animal’s intelligence and requirements for mental stimulation.


18. Vizsla

vizsla standing in a white sand desert
Image by: Barna Tanko, Shutterstock
Size: Medium
Trainability: High
Energy Level: High
Tolerance for Being Alone: Low

The Vizsla is one of many European breeds that almost became a casualty of the world wars because of their association with royalty. The breed’s history is as an all-purpose hunting dog, although its speed and endurance are other defining traits. A teenager owning this pup must commit to regular exercise and mental stimulation. Doing so will create a formidable bond between the two.

You probably won’t find a dog more affectionate and loyal to their family. This dog isn’t just a time commitment; it’s an emotional one.


19. Standard Poodle

standard poodle at the beach
Image by: everydoghasastory, Shutterstock
Size: Large
Trainability: High
Energy Level: High
Tolerance for Being Alone: Low

The Standard Poodle is the Swiss Army Knife of dogs. It’s not a matter of what this dog can do but rather what it can’t accomplish. This breed is a far cry from the image of the perfectly groomed canine. This pup hunts and swims like nobody’s business. It is one of the most intelligent breeds, second only to the Border Collie. This dog requires a highly committed teenager willing to work with this pup.

While the Standard Poodle sheds minimally, they require regular grooming to stay mat-free. Mental stimulation is imperative to keep this pup mentally fit.


20. Golden Retriever

A happy Golden Retriever adult male dog relaxing in a park
Image by: Neelsky, Shutterstock
Size: Large
Trainability: High
Energy Level: Moderately high
Tolerance for Being Alone: Low

The Golden Retriever is the quintessential kid’s dog. They are cute and friendly while being very tolerant of roughhousing during play. Those are all good reasons for the breed being number three on AKC’s list. This pup loves everyone, which makes them popular at dog parks. Their intelligence makes them easy to train as house pets or hunting companions.

A teenager considering this breed must understand the dog’s energy needs. This pup wants to run and play, and they are not animals to leave at home alone.

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Conclusion

As you’ve seen, many dog breeds make great choices for teens, no matter what their personality, social needs, or activity levels. You’re sure to find a pup that can step up to the plate. Pet ownership is also an excellent way to teach your kids about responsibility. All canines require daily care. Therefore, we suggest supervising your teenager to ensure your family pet gets what they need.


Featured Image Credit: Oleg Mitkevych, Shutterstock

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