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The 12 Best Medium-Size Dog Breeds for 2024

The 12 Best Medium-Size Dog Breeds for 2024

If you're considering bringing a new canine companion into your home, you want to make sure you choose a size and breed that fits your needs and lifestyle. Medium dog breeds are like the goldilocks of the dog world—they perfectly bridge the gap between compact lap dogs and giant breeds.

For those of us who find comfort in the middle ground, medium-size dog breeds offer the best of both worlds. They're big enough to join us on our favorite outdoor activities—think hiking, swimming, and camping—yet, they're also compact enough to comfortably curl up with us on the couch to binge-watch our favorite shows. (Life is all about balance, right?!)

Whether you're an avid adventurer seeking a sidekick, a family in search of a gentle and patient playmate, or someone looking for a loyal companion to share quiet moments with, there’s a medium-sized breed out there waiting just for you.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Medium Size Dog

As you consider which breed will be best for you and your family, think about your lifestyle: are you an outdoorsy type who dreams of epic adventures with a canine companion, or are you more of a homebody who cherishes quiet evenings with a pup by your side?

Next, consider the space you call home. While medium-sized dogs generally adapt well to a variety of living situations, some may require more room to roam or play than others. Also think about the long-term commitment, from training and socialization to health care and expenses, ensuring you're prepared to offer your furry friend a lifetime of love and care.

Here are some other factors to consider:

  • Activity Level: What activity level are you comfortable with? Can you commit to giving a dog the level of exercise they need? Some breeds, like the Border Collie, thrive on mental and physical challenges, while others, like the Basset Hound, are more laid-back.

  • Grooming Needs: Some dog breeds require more complicated grooming routines than others. Breeds with a double coat like the Shetland Sheepdog require regular grooming, while those with a smooth coat like the Bull Terrier are more low maintenance. Do you plan to DIY your dog's grooming needs, or will you have them professionally groomed? If you plan to use a groomer, make sure it fits within your budget.

  • Temperament: Are you looking for a dog with a protective nature, or would you prefer a friendly and sociable pooch who greets everyone with wagging tails and kisses? Breeds like the Australian Shepherd exhibit strong loyalty and protective instincts, making them excellent watchdogs, whereas breeds like the Kerry Blue Terrier are known for their sweet and affectionate disposition, making them the perfect family dog.

  • Size: Even within medium-sized breeds, size can vary, and there's a big difference between a 20 lb. dog and a 60 lb. dog; both are considered "medium-sized." Ensure your choice fits comfortably in your living space and that you have plenty of room for the dog to have its own bed and comfortable space.

  • Health Issues: You also need to consider the potential health issues associated with various breeds, as certain conditions can be prevalent in medium-sized dogs. Including pet supplements in your dog's diet can help reduce health risks and maintain well-being by providing key nutrients for joint health, coat condition, and digestive system support.

  • Training: Consider whether you can provide proper training. Some breeds may have a stubborn streak, requiring more patience and consistency.

Now that you've considered how a dog will fit into your lifestyle and what you're prepared to take on in terms of caring for a dog, it's time to find the perfect pup for you and your family.

1. Labrador Retriever: Man's Best Friend

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers will forever top the list of the best medium sized dog breeds. They're loyal, friendly, super smart, and have infectious energy. Known for their beautiful coat, which comes in chocolate, black, and yellow shades, these medium dogs are instantly recognizable.

  • Ideal Owner: Families, active singles, and service work candidates

  • What We Love About Them: Their boundless energy and eagerness to please make them excellent companions for all sorts of adventures.

  • Things to Consider: Their love for food can lead to obesity, so be sure to balance their diet and exercise. Lab puppies can also be chewers, so make sure the toys and dog bed you choose can stand up to their chewing.

2. Golden Retriever: A Heart of Gold

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are the epitome of a good-natured dog. With their sleek golden rust coat, they're as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside. Goldens are known for their friendly nature, making them excellent companions for families and individuals.

  • Ideal Owner: Families, those in need of a therapy dog, and individuals looking for a loyal friend.

  • What We Love About Them: Their unwavering loyalty and affectionate nature turn every day into a joyous adventure.

  • Things to Consider: They require regular grooming to manage shedding and are prone to certain genetic health issues.

3. Australian Shepherd: An Agile Mind and Active Spirit

Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds are the brainiacs of the dog world. This medium-sized herding dog is known for its intelligence and trainability. Aussies have a striking appearance with their beautiful coat and piercing gaze. They are also known for their loyalty, making them protective and loving family members. Their energy levels are high, so they're well-suited for active owners who can provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

  • Ideal Owner: Active individuals or families who love the outdoors and have plenty of time for activities and mental stimulation.

  • What We Love About Them: Their versatility and intelligence make them standout athletes in dog sports and reliable companions.

  • Things to Consider: They need a job to do or plenty of exercise to prevent boredom and destructive behaviors.

4. Border Collie: Intelligence Unleashed

Border Collie

Border Collies are known for their remarkable energy and working abilities. They're a medium-sized herding breed that never seems to tire. With their sleek black markings and piercing gaze, Border Collies are instantly recognizable and endlessly admired. They excel in mental and physical challenges, making them perfect for active pet owners who enjoy outdoor adventures.

  • Ideal Owner: Those with an active lifestyle or an interest in dog sports, who can provide the mental and physical exercise these dogs crave.

  • What We Love About Them: Their problem-solving skills and agility are simply awe-inspiring.

  • Things to Consider: Without enough stimulation, they can become anxious or exhibit unwanted behaviors. Consider calming chews for extra anxious pups.

5. Standard Poodle: Beauty and Brains

Standard Poodle

Standard Poodles carry themselves with an elegance unmatched by other dog breeds. But don't let their posh appearance fool you; these dogs are incredibly versatile. Known for their curly, minimal grooming coats, Standard Poodles are well suited for allergy sufferers thanks to their hypoallergenic fur. Beyond their elegant appearance, they're highly intelligent, easily trained, and eager to please.

  • Ideal Owner: Anyone looking for an intelligent, adaptable, and active dog. Great for those who suffer from pet allergies.

  • What We Love About Them: Their intelligence and versatility make them excellent in various roles, from family pets to service dogs.

  • Things to Consider: Their coat requires regular professional grooming to avoid matting and other issues.

6. Boxer: The Playful Protector


Boxers are known for their playfulness and unwavering loyalty. With their broad heads and muscular build, they present a striking figure, but their joyful disposition truly wins hearts. Boxers are incredibly loyal to their families, often forming a special bond with children.

  • Ideal Owner: Active families or individuals seeking a fun-loving and protective companion.

  • What We Love About Them: Their joyous demeanor and loyalty make every moment a delight.

  • Things to Consider: They are prone to health issues such as heart conditions and require regular exercise to stay healthy.

7. Cocker Spaniel: Silky Ears and Soulful Eyes

Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniels are the embodiment of an affectionate and gentle nature. With their beautiful coat and friendly, wagging tails, they're a sight of pure joy. These medium-sized dogs have a way of melting hearts with just one look. Their silky fur, which comes in various colors, requires regular grooming to keep them looking their best. But it's their personality that truly stands out. Known for their gentle demeanor, Cocker Spaniels make excellent family dogs and are typically good with other animals, too.

  • Ideal Owner: Families, seniors, or first-time dog owners looking for a sweet and gentle companion.

  • What We Love About Them: Their affectionate nature and beautiful appearance make them beloved pets.

  • Things to Consider: Their ears require regular cleaning with specific products made to prevent infections, and they benefit from consistent grooming.

8. Bulldog: The Lovable Lounger


Bulldogs, with their broad heads and distinctive appearance, bring a unique charm wherever they go. They are known for their laid-back attitude, content with lounging around the house and spending quality time with their families. Their calm demeanor is a huge plus for pet owners looking for a less active dog. Despite their minimal exercise needs, Bulldogs enjoy short walks and playtime sessions.

  • Ideal Owner: Those living in apartments or with a more laid-back lifestyle who appreciate a dog with a big personality.

  • What We Love About Them: Their loyalty and easygoing nature make them wonderful companions, especially for children.

  • Things to Consider: They can suffer from breathing problems and are sensitive to heat; careful monitoring during exercise is important.

9. Beagle: The Eternal Explorer


Beagles are driven by profound curiosity and an unbeatable sense of smell. Their distinctive appearance, complete with expressive eyes and floppy ears, effortlessly captures hearts. Beagles are incredibly sociable animals, thriving on interaction with both humans and other dogs. Their friendly nature makes them fantastic family pets, always ready for a game or an adventure.

  • Ideal Owner: Active families or individuals who enjoy spending time outdoors and can provide a secure environment.

  • What We Love About Them: Their curiosity and happy-go-lucky attitude add a sense of adventure to everyday life.

  • Things to Consider: Their strong prey drive and tendency to follow their nose can lead to wandering; secure fencing is a must.

10. Shetland Sheepdog: Loyal Heart and Quick Wit

Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdogs, or "Shelties," are the epitome of agility paired with protective instincts. This breed, a marvel of the herding group, embodies the spirit of medium-sized dogs with its keen intelligence and graceful demeanor. Shelties thrive on mental exercise, ensuring they're as sharp mentally as they are physically agile. Their loyalty is unmatched, making them more than just pets; they're guardians of their home.

  • Ideal Owner: Those who value a smart, energetic dog that enjoys learning and being part of family activities.

  • What We Love About Them: Their loyalty and intelligence make them protective and affectionate companions.

  • Things to Consider: Their thick coat requires regular grooming, and they can be vocal, alerting you to anything they deem important.

11. Whippet: Graceful Speed, Gentle Companion


These medium-sized sighthounds have a sleek, muscular build that allows them to achieve impressive speeds, making them the athletes of the dog world. Despite their racing capabilities, Whippets are calm and affectionate, making them excellent companions.

  • Ideal Owner: Active individuals or families looking for a low-maintenance but loving pet.

  • What We Love About Them: Their sleek appearance and sweet demeanor make them a joy to have around, both in action and at rest.

  • Things to Consider: They have a high prey drive and need a safe area to run freely, as well as a warm spot to snuggle up in due to their thin coats. Make sure to offer them a cozy blanket to call their own!

12. Vizsla: The Velcro Dog With a Golden Touch


Vizslas are the essence of an active lifestyle paired with natural hunting instincts. This medium-sized breed, originally bred for companionship and work, excels in both fields and home environments. With their golden-rust coat and lean build, Vizslas are strikingly beautiful and hardy. Vizslas require a commitment to regular, vigorous exercise and training, but they reward their families with unwavering companionship and love.

  • Ideal Owner: Outdoorsy types and active families who want a dog that is as much a part of the family as any human member.

  • What We Love About Them: Their "Velcro" nature means they're always close by, offering companionship and love.

  • Things to Consider: They need lots of exercise and engagement to stay happy and healthy, thriving on being involved in family activities.

Other Medium Dog Breeds We Love

Other Medium Dog Breeds
  1. American Staffordshire Terrier: Known for their strength and courage, these dogs are incredibly loyal to their families. Despite their tough appearance, they're affectionate with their loved ones.

  2. Australian Cattle Dog: Also known as the Blue or Red Heeler, Australian cattle dogs are energetic and thrive on having a job to do, making them perfect for active owners.

  3. Airedale Terrier: The largest of the terrier breeds, Airedale terriers are known for their wiry coats and keen intelligence. They are versatile dogs that excel in various dog sports.

  4. Portuguese Water Dog: Originally bred to help fishermen, these dogs love water. They're known for their swimming ability and their hypoallergenic coat.

  5. Bearded Collie: With their shaggy coat and boundless energy, Bearded Collies are cheerful herding dogs that bring joy to any household.

  6. Standard Schnauzer: These medium-size dogs are known for their distinctive beard and eyebrows. They're smart, protective, and have a strong sense of family loyalty.

  7. Boykin Spaniel: These dogs originate from South Carolina and are friendly and eager to please. They're excellent hunting dogs and family companions.

  8. Australian Kelpie: A popular breed in the upper midwest, Kelpies are known for their incredible work ethic and agility. They're perfect for herding and other dog sports.

  9. American Pit Bull Terrier: Despite their controversial reputation, Pit Bulls are affectionate and intelligent, and with proper training and socialization, they make excellent companions.

Choosing the Right Medium Sized Dog Breeds

When it comes to medium dog breeds, there truly is a companion for every type of owner. From the boundless energy and intelligence of the Border Collie to the gentle, loving nature of the Golden Retriever, each breed brings its own unique blend of joy, challenges, and rewards to our lives.

Whether you're drawn to the elegance of the Standard Poodle, the adventurous spirit of the Beagle, or the loyal heart of the Labrador Retriever, the perfect furry friend is out there waiting for you. As you consider welcoming one of these remarkable breeds into your home, remember that each dog is an individual, with its own personality and needs. Choose the one that best fits your lifestyle and be prepared for a world of adventures, cuddles, and unconditional love that only a dog can provide.

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