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Get To Know Medium Dog Breeds

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A black and white border collie lies on a gray couch.

Not too big, not too small. The definition of a happy medium, these pups are just the right size. From Cocker Spaniels to Collies, Bulldogs to Basset Hounds, some of the most loyal and loving dog breeds happen to fall into this category. Let’s dig into what makes these mid-sized canines so great!

What Makes a Medium Dog Breed?

The meaning of “medium-sized dog” can vary depending on who you ask. Since their sizes can be quite diverse, we can sort different breeds into specific groups, generally extra-small, small, medium, large, and giant categories.

In the middle of the pack, you'll find the medium-sized group, made up of a staggering 195 breeds. Medium dog breeds typically weigh between 20 to 60 pounds when they reach adulthood and are shorter than 27 inches. While they can (and do) vary in terms of height, weight, and proportions, most mid-sized breeds tend to fall within these guidelines.

Medium Size Variations

When it comes to medium breeds, the size variations within this specific category can be further divided into medium-small, medium-medium, and medium-large dogs, each possessing distinct characteristics and physical attributes.

Medium-Small Breeds

Medium-small dogs are the perfect blend of small and medium-sized breeds. They make awesome family members thanks to their smart personalities and compact size, and they're super affectionate and always ready for some fun. The smallest of the medium-sized breeds typically weigh no more than 20 to 40 pounds and stand around 15 to 18 inches at the shoulder. Some popular medium-small breeds include:

  • Beagles
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgis
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Whippets

Medium-small dogs are a hit with families who want a lovable and spirited pet. Their smaller stature and friendly demeanor make them a top choice for those seeking an energetic and playful canine companion.

Medium-Medium Breeds

Medium-medium dog breeds are slightly larger, standing at 18 to 22 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 35 and 50 pounds. Well-known medium breeds include:

  • Basset Hounds
  • Border Collies
  • Bulldogs
  • Samoyeds
  • Welsh Springer Spaniels

What sets medium-sized breeds apart are their adaptable temperaments. They're often a great fit for families, singles, or seniors, easily accommodating different lifestyles with their moderate to active energy levels.

Medium-Large Breeds

In general, the larger medium dog breeds can weigh between 40 and 60 pounds and stand anywhere between 22 and 27 inches at the shoulder. Examples of medium-large dog breeds include:

  • Bearded Collies
  • Boxers
  • Dalmatians
  • Irish Setters
  • Standard Poodles

Although all dog breeds have a standard weight range, the exact number can vary based on lots of factors including your dog’s age and whether they are male or female. Of course, not every dog will fall into their breed standard’s weight range.

Caring for a Medium-Sized Dog

Most mid-size breeds were originally intended to carry out specific tasks such as hunting, herding, and working as full-time farm dogs. That means pups that fall in the middle can be athletic, smart, and easy to train, making them the perfect choice for many lifestyles. And while these dogs may cost a little more to manage than small breeds, they’re less expensive than large-sized and giant breeds.

Exercise and Training

Medium-sized dogs can range from low energy to athletic, depending on the breed. Whether you own a small, medium, or large dog, your pooch needs to have a way to release all the energy they have stored. Many medium breeds need more exercise and stimulation—generally about 40 to 80 minutes of exercise each day, such as walking, outdoor sports, or interactive games. These pups thrive on engaging activities that challenge them both physically and mentally.

Medium dog breeds are loyal, smart, and active, which tends to make them adaptable, easy to train, and, if raised right, obedient listeners. Appropriate dog training and socialization are essential pillars of their overall well-being and, when done correctly, can be an enjoyable and rewarding journey for both pets and pet parents.

Grooming

Medium dog breeds have their own set of unique traits, but luckily for dog owners, their differences when it comes to grooming can be easier to handle than a toy breed or a giant dog breed since they typically have a mixed coat. But whether it is short fur or long hair, curly-coated or wire-coated, or somewhere in between, regular brushing is an important part of maintaining your dog’s overall health and well-being. Typically, long-haired breeds need more frequent brushing and detangling, while short-haired breeds benefit from routine coat maintenance. However, your dog’s specific needs really depend on the breed, coat type, and day-to-day living. Ask your veterinarian or groomer if you’d like more information about your medium dog breed’s specific grooming needs.

Health

Medium dog breeds require regular exercise, balanced nutrition, routine health care, and mental stimulation, and like dogs of any size, they have a chance of developing particular health issues. The most frequently seen health problems of medium-sized dogs may involve the joints, eyes, skin, or heart, including:

  • Hip or elbow dysplasia

    Hip dysplasia is a condition that affects dogs, especially those on the larger side of medium. It happens when the hip joint doesn't form properly, causing problems with stability and making movement uncomfortable. Some common signs include difficulty standing, walking, or going up stairs. On the other hand, elbow dysplasia affects the elbow joint, leading to lameness in the front legs, reduced mobility, and discomfort.

  • Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

    IVDD in dogs is a condition that occurs when the cushioning discs between the bones of the spinal column either bulge or burst into the space containing the spinal cord. It can cause pain, nerve damage, and even paralysis. Certain medium dog breeds that have a long back and short legs are more prone to IVDD, including Beagles, Corgis, Basset Hounds, and Bulldogs.

  • Epilepsy

    A seizure is caused by a sudden surge of uncontrollable electrical activity within the brain. Epilepsy in dogs is a neurological condition that leads to recurring seizures or convulsions. These seizures happen unexpectedly and can vary in intensity or how often they occur. Left untreated, seizures tend to get worse, which can lead to permanent neurological damage or death. But with appropriate care, many dogs who have seizures can live long and happy lives.

  • Entropion

    Entropion is when a dog’s eyelid grows inward, so their eyelashes rub against their cornea (clear part of the eye covering the iris). It is the most common eyelid abnormality in dogs. Entropion may affect any part of the lower eyelid, upper eyelid, or both. It causes discomfort due to the constant irritation of the cornea resulting in eye damage and vision loss.

  • Hypothyroidism

    Hypothyroidism in dogs happens when their thyroid gland doesn't produce enough essential hormones, causing a hormonal imbalance. This can lead to weight gain, tiredness, hair loss, skin problems, and a slower metabolism. Hypothyroidism is common in middle-aged dogs, with medium-to-large breed dogs being more frequently affected.

Although these are the most common conditions for this size, there is no guarantee that your dog will develop any or all the ones listed above. As with every dog, a healthy diet, adequate exercise, and regular visits to the veterinarian are important to help them stay healthy.

Lifespan

The lifespan of a dog is influenced a lot by feeding habits and care. However, genetics, size, and even breed do play a crucial role. The general rule of thumb is the smaller the breed, the longer the life expectancy.

Much like their size, medium dog breeds often fall in the middle of the canine longevity spectrum, aligning with the general average canine life expectancy of 10 to 13 years, although some of the breeds can live much longer. For example, breeds like Beagles, Whippets, and Corgis can reach 15, and English Pointers can even reach their 17th birthday depending on their diet, exercise, veterinary care, and overall health.

Best Medium Dog Breeds for Different Lifestyles

Whether a purebred or mutt, a medium size dog breed is much more compatible to family and home environments and will adapt quickly to his surroundings. They are less fragile than small dogs and don’t take up as much space as large breeds—they usually possess some traits of both and will have similar maintenance requirements. Here are some of the best medium-sized breeds for different types of lifestyles.

  • Families with kids: Bulldogs, Cocker Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels
  • First time pet parents: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Airedale Terriers, Cocker Spaniels
  • Active lifestyle: Australian Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, Border Collies
  • Apartment living: Corgis, Standard Schnauzers, Whippets
  • Low exercise needs: Basset Hounds, Bulldogs, Chow Chows
  • Outdoor enthusiasts: Welsh Springer Spaniels, Samoyeds, Bearded Collies
  • Single dog household: Airedale Terriers, Shar-Pei, Collies

Medium dog breeds strike a sweet spot - not too big, not too small - making them the Goldilocks of dogs, perfect for different living spaces and lifestyles. These canine companions give you the best of both worlds and show us that great things can come in medium-sized packages.

An ASPCA® Pet Health Insurance plan can help you with eligible costs for covered conditions like surgery expenses for accidents and help provide peace of mind that your pet can receive the care they need. Check out our online resources to learn more about your insurance options and get a free quote today. The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.

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