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Nine Best Dog Breeds for Teens

By Wendy Rose Gould
published: March 13, 2018 - updated: May 14, 2021 • 4 min. read

Key Takeaways

  • Pets help adolescents’ mental well-being and reduce feelings of alienation.
  • What breed of dog is best for teen-agers will depend on their own personality and preferences.
  • A teen who likes to be active may prefer a Labrador Retriever or Jack Russell Terrier, while homebody teens may like a pug or a corgi.

Whether you’re adopting a dog for your family with teens or specifically seeking out a pup for your teenager to take care of and be his or her “own” — it’s important to find one that’s patient, even-tempered, and eager to form a bond. You should also consider the personality of both the breed and the teen in question; For example, quiet teens who enjoy a good reading nook or the privacy of their bedroom may get along best with lounge-prone dog. For teens who are active and love hanging out at the park, a dog with lots of energy is probably a better fit.

For all teens, it’s comforting to know that studies report that pets help adolescents’ mental well-being and help reduce feelings of alienation; for more positive benefits, check out US News & World Report’s article, Could a Pet Improve Your Teen’s Well-Being? And to help you in your search for a new four-legged family member, we’ve got some suggestions for the best dog breeds for teens.

Labrador Retriever

Labs are great for the entire family and noted for their playful spirit, loyalty, affection, and steadfast temperament. They’re definitely more on the active side and therefore require consistent activity. A game of fetch delights them, as will running in the park or a yard, so an active teen who loves to play outdoors or hit the trail will get along well with this breed. Labs are also highly trainable and make superb therapy and assistant dogs.


There’s no denying the sweetness of a smooshy-faced pug. They’re known for their friendliness and “happy go lucky” nature, and are considered a great dog breed for new or young owners thanks to their easy-going personality. They do love lounging around and thrive with constant companionship, but exercise is important because they have a tendency to gain weight. They also need to be in moderate climates versus overly hot or humid ones because of their short muzzle.

Jack Russell Terrier

Depending on your age, you may remember the TV show, Wishbone, which featured an adventurous Jack Russell Terrier (of which the show as named after) and his teenage owner and companion, Joe Talbot. The TV show did a great job characterizing this breed. Jack Russell Terriers are regarded as highly affectionate and friendly toward children, teens, adults, and fellow pooches. They’re also known for their wit, fearlessness, intelligence, and athleticism. They have loads of energy, require a lot of exercise, and love to learn tricks.

German Shepherd

Some have referred to German Shepherds as “part cop, part babysitter” and we’d say that’s a pretty accurate assessment. They’re certainly a companion breed, but very much play the role of “trustworthy guardian on a mission to protect and love their owners.” Because of their extreme intelligence and high energy levels, they’d do best with a dedicated dog-loving teenager who’s excited to train, exercise, and spend time with them.


Collies are super friendly, affectionate, and playful dogs that do very well with families and children. They have moderate energy levels and the ability to adapt well to a variety of settings. Additionally, this breed is considered a trustworthy watchdog who looks after her owners and closest companions. Like Labs, Collies are also superb therapy and assistant dogs when appropriately trained.

Welsh Corgi

Undeniably photogenic and downright adorable, the welsh corgi makes a fine — and selfie-tastic — dog breed for teenagers. They are considered great dogs for new and young owners, do very well in small living spaces, and their intelligence makes them easy to train and very playful. They also enjoy hanging out with other dogs and aren’t prone to barking, which means they’re easy to control and look after when out in public. The Welsh Corgi comes in two breeds, Pembroke and Cardigan, and the primary difference is that the Pembroke is larger with a more compact tail.


If you’re seeking a giant-sized pooch for your teenager, a Newfoundland is perhaps the perfect choice. Weighing in at 100 to 150 pounds, they’re essentially the same size as another human and have just as much — if not more — love to give. This breed is highly loyal and lovable with her pet parent, and gets along well with children, adults, dogs, and strangers. They have moderate energy levels and exercise needs, and are generally laid back with a playful spirit. Because of their size and all that fur, they really need to be in a large living space and a cool environment. Word to the wise, though: Newfoundlands require a consistent grooming schedule.

Saint Bernard

Another large breed to consider for teenagers is the Saint Bernard, which weighs in between 120 to 180 pounds. Though definitely one of the more slobber-prone of all the breeds, the Saint Bernard is a fastidiously loyal and protective companion that makes a wonderful family pet. This gentle giant has moderate energy levels, doesn’t like being alone, needs a large space to live and roam, and prefers cooler climates. Snow days will be epic with your own Beethoven!

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Any teenager seeking out a lap dog will find a true winner in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. This small to medium-sized pooch loves a good belly rub and prefers to be cozied up next to — or on top of — its owner. When not indulging in a snugglefest, the Cavalier loves to run around and play games, ideally with their human, and is keen on learning new tricks. They’re sensitive dogs who are very “attached” to their family and don’t respond well to aggressive or angry commands – but who does? Like all pups, they do best with gentle, patient owners ready to throw down some genuine love and adoration.

And don’t discount rescues and shelter pets. Any dog (or cat) can make a great family member, they just need to be given a chance. With millions of pets being euthanized at the shelter level every year, taking a moment to check out your local animal organization may mean you’ve saved not just one life, but two (your pet gets a forever family and there’s room for another at a foster.) – perhaps even three when you consider the emotional and physical health benefits of being a pet parent.

wendy gould
By Wendy Rose Gould

Wendy Rose Gould is a freelance lifestyle reporter based in Phoenix, Arizona. She has been in journalism for over a decade, and has been freelancing almost that entire time. In addition to lifestyle reporting, she also works with brands to create marketing content for their websites and blogs.

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