Written by Ella White
If you’re considering introducing a puppy to the family, you’ll need to think about more than just what breed you like best. The size, temperament, and lifestyle of the dog you choose needs to be well aligned with the kind of life you’re able to provide for them. And you’ll also want to consider how easy they are to train.
Of course, we’d never suggest that harder-to-train pups aren’t worth the investment. But if having your dog trained quickly and with as little stress is a priority for you, these are some of the breeds that you might be best suited to.
The Border Collie is known for being intelligent, energetic, and a hard worker – most famously as a sheep herding dog. In fact, they’re considered to be the smartest breed of dog which is useful when it comes to training them. They need a lot of stimulation, so if you’re prepared for an active dog that will reward you with lots of love then this could be the breed for you.
Like Border Collies, Labrador Retrievers are known as working dogs which makes them better at following commands and therefore easier to train. They have the capacity to learn a huge range of skills, and they have a calm temperament despite their boundless energy. All these attributes make Retrievers one of the most popular family dogs in the world. The breed has even won the National Obedience Championship several times, if you needed extra proof.
The Golden Retriever is one of the most family friendly dogs. They might seem dopey and bouncy, but since they’re so keen to make everyone happy they’re actually an easy breed to train. Despite their energy, Retrievers are also very patient and relaxed in their temperament, so they form positive behaviours easily – it’s one of the reasons they make such great service and support dogs. They’re always happy to help.
German Shepherds are often seen working alongside our armed forces and police because they’re such strong, trustworthy and intelligent dogs, which makes them great family pets too. And since they’re brilliant worker dogs, they love to commit themselves to tasks – including obedience training. This breed loves mental and physical stimulation, so doing your sessions outside is a great opportunity to combine exercise, work, and training.
Like German Shepherds, Dobermans are sometimes thought of as dominant dogs that are actually just extremely loyal. Their protective nature comes from a feeling that their home or guardians are their responsibility to protect. But since they’re so loyal and intuitive, they are easy to train and very affectionate. With consistent training early on, Dobermans can be one of the most obedient and loving family pets. They need plenty of exercise and love to be mentally stimulated – which is why they make such great police dogs. But like with all working dogs, their inherent need for stimulation makes them great at following commands.
Smaller dogs aren’t known for being easy to train but there are some that break the mould – and the Papillon is one. Papillon’s don’t seem to realise that they’re tiny, so they have the attitude of a larger dog. They love to play and they love to learn, and like their larger counterparts they need plenty of exercise. They can be trained to follow almost any command and learn best with plenty of positive reinforcement. So if you want a fun, energetic pet that thrives on mental stimulation, but isn’t as large as a retriever or sheepdog, this could be the breed for you.
Another small dog that’s as easy to train larger breeds is the Border Terrier. Traditionally a working dog, they’re wired to take orders so they do well in early obedience training. As hunters, they’re stimulated by ‘earthdog’ practises like tunnelling so they might enjoy cardboard box dens and mazes being made for them. But aside from their motivated working persona, a Border Terrier’s tiny stature makes them perfect for cuddles, and you don’t need a big house to provide them with a comfortable home.
There’s a reason standard, miniature and toy Poodles excel at dog shows. A healthy mix of versatility, intelligence and playfulness makes them ideal competitors who can lead a pack and follow orders. At home they’re incredibly social with both people and animals, mingling well with all ages and species. Yes, poodles have a reputation as snooty show dogs, but trim their hypoallergenic fur and utilize firm commands on the reg and you’ve got a well-trained goofball of a family dog.
A sweet, lively breed that comes in a variety of sizes, the poodle is the national dog of France. But get this: They’re not actually French dogs. They were originally bred in Germany as waterfowl-hunting dogs; the name poodle comes from the German word “pudel,” which means “to splash in the water.”
Curly hair might make poodles the most stylish pups outside the Westminster Dog Show, but they’re also some of the smartest, part of the reason they’re among the easiest dogs to train. With a high level of intelligence, athletic nature, and innate desire to be a companion, the poodle is a very fast learner that loves the challenge of not only training but also learning new tricks and games. They need frequent mental and physical stimulation, though, so give your poodle plenty of toys and games, such as puzzle feeding bowls.
Corgis, especially the taller Cardigan Corgi, was originally trained as a cattle herder and their modern ancestors appear to have retained some of those working instincts. Loyal, affectionate, and relaxed, these huggable pups are obedient and easy to train. And unlike other breeds that need plenty of time outside, Corgis are happy to stay indoors as long as there’s enough mental stimulation to keep them occupied. They love learning new things and are known to be great with children. So if you live in the city or don’t have a garden, this could be the perfect family pet for you.
Hungarian herding dog the Pumi is soft and cuddly and super energetic. Another small working dog, they’re wired to follow orders and pick up new tasks. So as soon as they’ve got the hang of the basics, they’ll be ready to learn their next command. They respond best to reward-based training so make sure you have plenty of treats at the ready when introducing a Pumi to the family.
Whatever breed of dog you’re training, treats will do the trick. Rewards, positive reinforcement, and a tasty snack are the easiest ways to get your dogs to learn quickly. But since they’ll be eating so many treats during training, it’s important to make sure you pick one that’s good for your pup’s health as well as their taste buds. Front of the Pack’s freeze-dried treats are packed with pure animal protein that’s great for their wellbeing, and tasty enough to hold their attention through the toughest training sessions.