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18 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 fits your lifestyle best.

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The best medium dog breeds

Medium dog breeds are just the right size. Read on to learn more about these dog breeds’ personalities and heritage. One of them might just be the perfect fit to help grow your family by four paws. If you’d rather get a lap dog, these are the cutest small dog breeds.

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Bearded Collie

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 Nicole Ellis, a certified professional dog trainer and pet lifestyle expert with Rover. “Their hair does require brushing, but they won’t shed like your average breed.” Because Collies are a herding breed, Ellis doesn’t recommend a family with young children get a Bearded Collie. Instead, here are some dog breeds that get along great with kids.

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Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

This medium dog breed has a red coat and looks very similar to a Golden Retriever, but they are a little smaller and less popular. “‘Tollers’ are energetic, highly intelligent, and very vocal,” says Ellis. “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 and will be happy to participate in dog sports such as nose works, agility, and swimming. See if you can guess the dog breed based on its puppy picture.

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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 Dr. 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.

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“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.

Australian Shepherd sitting at the lake at sunset waving with his pawJacqueline Anders/Getty Images

Australian Shepherd

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 Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM, CVJ. Dr. Wooten is 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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Cocker Spaniel

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.” These are the best guard dog breeds for protection.

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Silken Windhound

“The Silken Windhound is a sighthound breed that is smaller than the others in their class, such as the Saluki. 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,” says Ellis. If you live a busy life, these dog breeds can be left alone.

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Brittany Spaniel

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, ranked.

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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 Sakura Davis, Veterinary Technician and Veterinary Consultant at These are the most affectionate dog breeds that love to cuddle.

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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.

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Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog was originally bred to help fishermen, hence the name. “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.” See the cutest dog breeds as puppies.

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Vizslas are known for their reddish-brown coats, and they weigh around 45 to 60 pounds. Since they were originally trained as hunting dogs, they like to stick close to their human. “They’re loyal and great companions, but they often don’t do well when left alone for extended periods of time,” says Willen. “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.

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Shetland sheepdog

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.

Labradoodle Puppy Relaxing on Park BenchPurple Collar Pet Photography/Getty Images

Medium-sized Doodle dogs

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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Bull Terrier

“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.

Beautiful and playful white haired Wheaten Terrier happily runs around a traditional English gardenShaun Taylor/Getty Images

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. For something a little larger, check out the world’s biggest dog breeds.

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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 thrive in a highly active household, with plenty of long walks and games of fetch.” These 10 dog breeds get stolen the most often.

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“If you’re looking for a medium-sized dog, I definitely recommend checking out your local shelters and rescues. Volunteers there can help you find a dog that’s exactly the size you’re looking for,” says Willen. Since you’ll most likely be adopting a full-grown, adult dog, you can look for the size that works best for you. Before you adopt, make sure you know about these mistakes people make when adopting a shelter dog.


Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is an Associate Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She writes for, helps lead the editorial relationship with our partners, manages our year-round interns, and keeps the hundreds of pieces of content our team produces every month organized. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine where she lives and works remotely full time and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.