Medium Sized Dogs: The Goldilocks of Dog Sizes

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Medium-sized dogs include some of the most popular breeds in the nation, says the American Kennel Club (AKC), and it's no wonder. Medium-sized dog breeds are the Goldilocks of dogs — not too big, not too small and just right for many prospective pet parents. Learn more about these perfectly sized pooches and whether one of them might be right for you.

How Big Are Medium-Sized Dogs?

Man petting medium-sized dog on head.Dogs weighing around 20 pounds or less are generally considered small dogs and any breed over 60 pounds is usually considered a large dog. This means that medium dogs span a wide range of sizes. To make it easier to define exactly what size dog you're looking for. Medium-sized dogs can be categorized into three distinct groups:

  1. Medium small, which includes standard dachshunds, corgis and French bulldogs.
  2. Medium, which is where you would find beagles and border collies.
  3. Medium large, which can include Samoyed, shar-peis and female members of larger breeds, such as Airedale terriers and standard poodles, who tend to be smaller than their male counterparts.

Benefits of Medium-Sized Dogs

Medium dogs include a wide range of breeds from just about every AKC-recognized group except the Toy group, which includes all breeds under 10 pounds. While their temperaments and traits are as varied as their sizes, medium-sized dog breeds in general come with a number of benefits.

Medium dog breeds tend to be hardier and sturdier and are large enough to handle vigorous activity better than smaller dogs. If you try to go jogging with a Chihuahua you're likely to end up carrying him most of the way, but a border collie mix would have no trouble keeping up. Medium dogs also require less room, are easier to transport and cost less to feed than large dogs. For many families, this happy middle makes medium mutts the perfect fit.

How to Choose a Medium-Sized Pup

There's a lot more to choosing the right dog than settling on a size. When you're considering welcoming a dog to your family, it's a good idea to factor in his temperament, energy levels and grooming needs to determine whether he will be a good fit. It's also a good idea to make a list of potential dog breeds and then research those breeds to see which will be a good fit in terms of their characteristics.

Keep in mind that mixed breed dogs also come in a wide range of sizes and can make wonderful family companions. If you are looking for a dog of a certain size, talk to a pet adoption counselor at the shelter where you're thinking of adopting. They can help you determine whether a dog's needs and personality are a good match for your living situation.

Best Medium-Size Dog Breeds for Families

American Cocker spaniel puppy with big sad eyes lying at the gardenHere are just a handful of popular medium dog breeds you might want to consider:

  • Cocker spaniel: The AKC's smallest sporting spaniel, these kid-friendly, sturdy dogs stand about 14 inches. Their thick coats require frequent brushing, but when properly groomed they are undeniably pretty pups. Cockers are energetic and friendly and make fantastic playmates for children.
  • English springer spaniel: Slightly larger than the cocker spaniel at about 19 inches tall, this is another beautiful breed with a coat that requires regular maintenance. What springers cost in groomer's fees, they more than make up for in personality. These eager-to-please pups love company, so they're not a good choice for a home where the humans will be gone all day.
  • Dachshund: While the diminutive miniature dachshund might be the first thing you think of with this breed, the 32-pound standard variety is large enough to fit the small end of the medium scale. Dachshunds are smart, brash and have a stubborn streak that is often as endearing as it is frustrating.
  • Basset hound: These floppy-eared scent hounds have the strength and stamina of a large dog packed into a sturdy little body. Bassets are tenacious when tracking prey, but the rest of the time they are laid back, gentle dogs with agreeable temperaments and fierce loyalty toward their humans.
  • Standard schnauzer: Schnauzers come in small, medium and large varieties, with the standard schnauzer falling in the middle at around 40 pounds. These are upbeat dogs who love their humans with a fierce and protective loyalty. They need a lot of activity to burn off excess energy and keep from getting bored. Some schnauzers will also bond strongly with only one person, so these might not be the best dogs to introduce to new partners or children.
  • Corgi: Corgis on their squat little legs come in two varieties: the endearingly tailless Pembroke Welsh corgis, and the slightly larger Cardigan Welsh corgis with long, bushy tails. Both varieties are bright, athletic, easy to train and loyal.
  • Border collie: These medium-sized herding dogs are among the most highly intelligent dog breeds. Athletic and easy to train, border collies are happiest when they have a job to do. If not given an outlet for their energy and instincts, such as agility or obedience training, they might resort to trying to herd people and other pets.
  • Beagle: Reaching up to 15 inches at the shoulder, the sweet-faced beagle's personality is chipper and loyal. They tend to be happy-go-lucky, friendly and loving, and are a great choice for families with children who can provide plenty of playtime.

This is just a small sampling of dogs available in the medium range. All of the medium-sized dog breeds are too numerous to list here, and if you add in mixed breeds, the options are nearly endless. Your local shelter might have a just-right pup waiting for you to find him. To learn more about medium dog breeds, check out the Hill's Pet dog breed primer. With so much variety, you're sure to find the right size companion for your home.

Contributor Bio

Jean Marie Bauhaus

Jean Marie Bauhaus

Jean Marie Bauhaus is a pet parent, pet blogger and novelist from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she usually writes under the supervision of a lapful of furbabies.

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