The Best Breeds of Medium-Size Dogs


The toy dogs, such as the Chihuahua, are a bit too small, and the big guys, such as the mastiff, are a tad too big. But right in the middle are the medium-size dogs, who are just right. The question is, which medium-size dog is right for you? There are a variety of medium-size dog breeds to choose from. Consider coat, exercise needs and personality traits when you're figuring out exactly which dog is the right choice for you.

Groups of Dogs

The American Kennel Club recognizes seven groups of purebred dogs:

  • Herding.
  • Hound.
  • Nonsporting.
  • Toy.
  • Terrier.
  • Sporting.
  • Working.

Each group offers a variety of breeds that share traits, yet offer characteristics to set a breed apart. If you're on the hunt for a dog who tips the scales somewhere between 20 and 60 pounds, you can cross the toy dogs off the list, because those dogs are too small in stature to be considered medium-size.

Herding Dogs

Herding dogs are known for their ability to direct the movement of other animals. Though some are still used to herd cows, sheep and other farm animals, herding dogs often live a nonworking life with families, perhaps nipping children's heels. These are intelligent dogs who respond well to training and an active lifestyle. Medium-size herding dogs include the Pembroke Welsh corgi, the Cardigan Welsh corgi, the border collie, the Australian cattle dog and Australian shepherd.

Hound Dogs

Hounds are known for their ability to sniff out the object of their search. Whether it's prey on the hunt or assisting with search and rescue, a hound will pick up the scent and follow the trail as far as the scent takes him. The American Kennel Club notes that the hound group is a diverse bunch of dogs and includes a few medium-size dogs, including the basset hound, whippet and beagle.

Sporting Dogs

Sporting dogs are an athletic bunch, suited to water and land, pointing out prey and retrieving it for their masters. These are active, engaging dogs who tend to make affectionate, loyal family members. The cocker spaniel, Brittany spaniel and Irish water spaniel are medium-size sporting dogs.

Working Dogs

Dogs can do more than hunt, swim, herd and track; they can pull carts and sleds and stand watch. Since these working dogs often have big jobs to do, most of them are large or giant breed dogs, however, there are a few smaller breeds that meet the medium-size criteria. The Samoyed, German pinscher and boxer are working dogs who are the right size and potentially make wonderful family members.

Terrier Dogs

The terrier group is home to more than little, feisty dogs. Developed to hunt and kill rodents, these tend to be spirited dogs with engaging personalities. They're often intelligent and require consistent training to ensure they understand they don't rule the roost. If you're looking for a medium-size terrier, consider the American Staffordshire terrier, Kerry blue terrier, bull terrier and Airedale terrier.

Nonsporting Dogs

For many people, a dog's most important job is to be a companion. The nonsporting group has a wide array of dogs with different appearances, sizes and personalities. The bulldog, American Eskimo, Shiba Inu, Schipperke, Chinese Shar-Pei and keeshond are medium-size breeds who vary according to energy level, temperament and coat finishes.

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