23 Best Medium Dog Breeds That Might Be Perfect for You
If you think one of these medium dog breeds might be a good fit for your family, read on to figure out which one suits your lifestyle best.
The best medium dog breeds
One of the best things about dogs (in addition to how stinking cute the cutest dog breeds are, of course) is the fact that they come in so many different varieties and sizes. From these itty-bitty small dog breeds to the hulking bundles of love that are these large dog breeds, there’s a pup out there for every dog lover. In the middle, you have these medium-sized dogs that, for many, are just the right size! And what size is that? “Medium breed dogs are breeds that stay within a 20- to 60-pound weight range in adulthood and are smaller than 27 inches tall,” specifies Katy Nelson, DVM, senior veterinarian at Chewy. Read on to learn more about these medium dog breeds’ personalities and heritages. One of them might be the perfect fit to help grow your family by four paws.
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
These medium dogs have a red coat and look very similar to Golden Retrievers, but they’re a little smaller and less popular. “Tollers are energetic, highly intelligent, and very vocal,” says Nicole Ellis, a certified professional dog trainer and pet lifestyle expert with Rover. “Known for their unique Toller call, they have a high-pitched bark that sounds like a scream, which they produce to express excitement and eagerness.” The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is perfect for someone with an active lifestyle, since it will enjoy participating in dog sports such as noseworks, agility, and swimming. See if you can guess the dog breed based on its puppy picture.
Whippets look similar to Greyhounds, but they are much smaller, measuring about 18 to 22 inches tall at the shoulder. “They’re incredibly fast and they love (and need) several quick bursts of intense activity each day, such as chasing a Frisbee. In between their energetic bursts, they’re couch potatoes and love to snuggle up with their owners,” says Jamie Richardson, Medical Chief of Staff at Small Door Veterinary. “They’re very loving and affectionate, low-maintenance, and rarely bark.” Whippets love having a big yard to run around in, but they are equally happy living in an apartment (as long as they get enough exercise). Here are more of the best dog breeds for apartment living.
“If you love cute wrinkles and don’t mind some stubbornness, bulldogs are a great breed,” says Alex Willen, founder of Cooper’s Treats. Because bulldogs are very stocky, they typically stay relatively small for their weight. “You can find a number of different varieties of bulldogs, including French, English, and American, but they’re all relatively similar in personality. They don’t require much exercise, which is helpful if you’re looking for an apartment dog or generally have a busy schedule.” Here are more great low-maintenance dog breeds for busy people.
Despite the name, Australian Shepherds are actually from the American West and were originally bred for herding sheep. “Australian Shepherds are great for families or single people who live an active lifestyle and have room for them to run,” says Sarah Wooten, DVM, the vet expert at Pumpkin Pet Insurance. “They are a working breed and need at least an hour of exercise every day. If they get exercise, then they tend to be easy to train, low-key, and great companions.” Dr. Wooten warns that if they don’t get enough exercise, they can become destructive and develop bad habits, so if you want an Australian Shepherd, make sure you have the time to get active. Another trait that some people may see as a drawback is that they shed a lot and require regular brushing and grooming. If that’s an issue for you, here are 25 dog breeds that don’t shed (that much).
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Australian Cattle Dog
Here’s a medium-sized dog that is from Australia! “This compact powerhouse of a dog, also known as a Blue Heeler or Queensland Heeler, is actually related to the Australian Dingo!” says Dr. Nelson. Australian Cattle Dogs are incredibly energetic and require regular exercise—they’re “not for the indoorsy, quiet type of pet parent,” she advises. She adds that they’re also herding dogs. This means they might try to “herd” young children like they would sheep, which could potentially include nipping. Translation: They may not be one of the best dog breeds for families. But if you want a pup that loves to play, as well as a dog that’s usually very healthy and can live more than 15 years, the Australian Cattle Dog could be your pick. Find out more dog breeds that live the longest.
Fully grown, the Bearded Collie weighs around 40 to 60 pounds. “Bred originally as a working dog, bouncy, and always up for an adventure, they are a great fit for an active person or family in any climate,” says Ellis. “Their hair does require brushing, but they won’t shed like your average breed.” Because they are a herding breed (like Australian Cattle Dogs), Ellis doesn’t recommend Bearded Collies for families with young children.
Back in the 1950s, the Cocker Spaniel was viewed as the perfect suburban family dog. “Cockers are on the smaller size, topping out at 30 pounds,” says Dr. Wooten. “They require grooming to prevent mats. They are friendly, tend to be good with children, and require 30 minutes of medium exercise per day.” If you’re looking for a dog to defend your home, though, the Cocker Spaniel isn’t it. Instead, these are the best guard dog breeds for protection.
“Salukis are one of the world’s oldest breeds, going back as far as 7,000 BC,” Dr. Nelson says. Their sight is impeccable, and their sleek bodies are crafted for speed. They used to hunt down gazelle, so it’s no surprise that they’re very athletic and love outdoor exercise. They’re smart, too, and are generally happy dogs as long as you provide them with mental stimulation. Another fun fact about Salukis? “Their silky coats require weekly brushing, but they’re known for being very clean dogs, only requiring bathing occasionally,” she says. Here’s more on how often you should wash your dog.
“The Silken Windhound is a sighthound breed that is smaller than the others in their class, such as the Saluki,” says Ellis. “They make fantastic family pets or first-time-pet-owner dogs. They are unique-looking, don’t require much exercise, and are very sweet and cuddly.” If you lead a busy life, these dog breeds can be left alone.
Fully grown Brittany Spaniels weigh around 30 to 40 pounds, making them a perfect medium dog breed that’s not too small and not too big. “They’re smart, loyal dogs who are very trainable, but they don’t require quite the same amount of exercise and time as Aussies,” says Willen. “Brittanys were originally bred in France to help hunters retrieve birds, and they can be found in many French paintings and tapestries that are hundreds of years old.” Learn about the 20 smartest dog breeds.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are a medium dog breed in a small dog’s body because of their short, stumpy legs. Fully grown, they typically weigh around 25 to 30 pounds, maybe less depending on the size of their parents. “Although they are stout in size, their legs are quite muscular and their agility is remarkable. They are known for their friendly, playful, and sometimes a little stubborn personality,” says veterinary technician Sakura Davis, a veterinary consultant at CatPet.club. These are the most affectionate dog breeds that love to cuddle.
Beagles are a great, well-known medium-size dog breed. They are great family pets, but also fit into the lifestyle of single people. Dr. Wooten says they love kids, are easy to train, shed very little, and tend to be healthy. In addition to being one of the best medium dog breeds, beagles also make our list of the best short-haired dog breeds for families.
Portuguese Water Dog
The Portuguese Water Dog was originally bred to help fishermen—hence, the name. And, as their name suggests, they typically love spending time in the water. They’re highly intelligent, very trainable, and love to please their owners. Their curly coats don’t shed much, and they make great family dogs; however, they need lots of exercise and an active household. Here’s how much exercise your dog really needs.
Vizslas, which weigh between 45 and 60 pounds, are known for their reddish-brown coats. Since they were originally trained as hunting dogs, they like to stick close to their humans. “They’re loyal and great companions, but they often don’t do well when left alone for extended periods of time,” says Willen. And here’s an interesting fact: “They are originally descended from the dogs of marauding warlords who needed dogs who could keep up while they were on horseback.” Check out the most popular dog breeds in every state.
The Shetland Sheepdog is one of the medium dog breeds that has a super sweet personality. “Shetland Sheepdogs, also known as Shelties, are docile, friendly, loving dogs that are good with families or single people,” says Dr. Wooten. “They tend to be submissive and a little nervous, but not all of them. They need 30 minutes of daily exercise and are at home in single-family homes or apartments.” Keep in mind that sheepdogs shed year-round and heavily twice a year, so they require regular brushing and grooming. These 15 lazy dog breeds are expert nappers.
Medium-Sized Doodle Mixes
Anything you mix with a poodle makes an amazing medium Doodle breed. “These dogs tend to have hybrid vigor (be healthy) and are good with families and kids,” says Dr. Wooten. “The level of exercise they require and their level of shedding depends on what they are mixed with and how the genetics play out.” Not all Doodles are hypoallergenic, and some of them do shed. Though no dog is 100 percent hypoallergenic, these are the best dog breeds for people with allergies.
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Yes, poodles themselves can be medium-sized dogs, too! Standard poodles usually fall into the medium dog breed category. “These dogs are highly intelligent, extraordinary swimmers, and extremely trainable,” Dr. Nelson says. “Their coats require significant grooming, including daily brushing to prevent matting and monthly trimming to maintain.” One good thing about their coats, though, is that they really don’t shed! Dr. Nelson also adds that poodles of all sizes require quite a bit of exercise. “Swimming, running, and retrieving [are] some of their favorite activities,” she tells potential pet parents.
“Bull Terriers are known for being a little stubborn and mischievous, but if provided with firm training and plenty of exercise, they make wonderful companions,” says Dr. Richardson. “They’re incredibly loyal, loving, and devoted to their owners.” This breed is very playful, so they need an active home. Learn about the dog breeds everyone always confuses.
Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is originally from the farms of Scotland, where it was bred as a working dog. “These dogs love people and have fairly high energy—45 minutes to an hour of exercise and play are recommended daily. They tend to be healthy and shed very little, but do require grooming,” says Dr. Wooten. Here are more of the healthiest dog breeds.
English Springer Spaniel
English Springer Spaniels are another one of the medium dog breeds bred as working dogs. Their original purpose was hunting. “Springer Spaniels are extremely friendly, highly trainable, enjoy activities, and love spending time with their owners,” says Dr. Richardson. “They’re people pleasers, and crave company; they become miserable if left alone too much. They’re well suited for families with children, and they thrive in a highly active household, with plenty of long walks and games of fetch.” These 10 dog breeds get stolen most often.
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Who doesn’t love these cuties?! “These dogs are built more for endurance than for speed, but their extremely powerful noses make up for what they lack in momentum,” says Dr. Nelson. Bred to sniff out rabbits and deer, Bassett Hounds are not quite as energetic as some of these other medium-sized dogs, but Dr. Nelson suggests making sure they get moderate exercise to prevent weight gain. “Their short, thick coats can shed heavily, so regular brushing is required, as is regular overall grooming, [since] their heavy ears can be prone to ear infections,” she adds. “Staying on top of skin and coat issues is a priority with this breed.”
“These confident, athletic, and intelligent dogs were first bred as rat catchers,” Dr. Nelson says. The ancestor of all Pinscher breeds, German Pinschers love activity like nosework and agility training. While they’re low-maintenance grooming-wise, she warns that they might not be the best choice for a first-time dog owner. They are “highly energetic and can use their genius for naughty purposes if not trained properly,” so she says to make sure they get plenty of exercise and are kept busy mentally as well. Here’s how to tell if your dog is bored, why it can be a problem, and what to do.
“If you’re looking for medium-sized dogs, I definitely recommend checking out your local shelters and rescues,” says Willen. “Volunteers there can help you find a dog that’s exactly the size you’re looking for.” Since you’ll most likely be adopting a full-grown, adult dog, you can look for the size that works best for you. Next, find out the cutest mixed breed dogs you’ll want to bring home.
- Nicole Ellis, a certified professional dog trainer and pet lifestyle expert with Rover
- Katy Nelson, DVM, senior veterinarian at Chewy
- Sarah Wooten, DVM, CVJ, the vet expert at Pumpkin Pet Insurance
- Jamie Richardson, BVetMed, Medical Chief of Staff at Small Door Veterinary
- Alex Willen, founder of Cooper’s Treats
- Sakura Davis, a veterinary technician and a veterinary consultant at CatPet.club