Medium Dog Breeds

Medium dog breeds are a good compromise for those new dog owners that like larger dogs but may not feel able to handle large dog breeds.

Choosing the right medium dog breed for you and your family

Don’t make the mistake that many new dog owners make. Too many fall in love with a particular dog breed and just purchase one.

This can sometimes lead to problems when unexpected and unwanted characteristics show up. These surprises can usually be avoided if you just do a bit of research beforehand.

If you know the breed you’re interested in, you can quickly see what characteristics that breed generally expresses. Click here to view our comparison chart of Medium Dog Breeds.

This chart can also be useful if you just want to check out the characteristics of the most popular medium sized dogs without investing too much time.

Medium dog breeds by Characteristic

The categories below will help you find a breed for any category that’s particularly important to you.

Please note that these can only be generalities. That means that any particular dog could vary somewhat from a characteristic that the breed normally displays.

There’s no guarantee what genes are going to do in an individual dog. It’s just that the chances are good that these characteristics will win out.

Energy Level

Puppies generally have a ton of energy, but what will the adult version be like? Does a dog with lots of energy sound like fun to you, or does it sound like a nightmare?

Most people actually prefer dogs with lower energy levels. These are the medium dog breeds with the lowest energy levels:

  • Chow Chow
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Saluki
  • Basset Hound
  • Afghan Hound
  • Black and Tan Coonhound
  • Clumber Spaniel
  • Borzoi
  • Greyhound

Exercise Needs

All dogs need some exercise each day. If you choose a breed that requires a lot of exercise, will you have the time and energy to provide it? If not, choose a breed that doesn’t need much exercise.

The medium dog breeds with the lowest exercise needs are:

  • Bulldog
  • Chow Chow
  • Basset Hound
  • Clumber Spaniel

Other good choices with slightly higher exercise needs are:

  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Saluki
  • Afghan Hound
  • Borzoi
  • Greyhound
  • Glen of Imaal Terrier
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Sussex Spaniel
  • Keeshond
  • Welsh Springer Spaniel
  • Samoyed
  • Plott
  • Ibizan Hound
  • Chinese Shar-Pei
  • Vizsla
  • Redbone Coonhound
  • Collie
  • Golden Retriever
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Curly-Coated Retriever
  • Flat-Coated Retriever
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Spinone Italiano
  • Komondor
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Standard Schnauzer
  • Dalmatian
  • Bull Terrier
  • Airedale Terrier
  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Boxer

Playfulness

Some breeds require more interaction with people than others. They may be constantly dropping a ball at your feet, begging you to play with them. You might ask yourself:

Will I get annoyed with a dog that always wants to play? How much am I interested in playing with a dog?

The medium dogs that are typically most playful are:

  • Glen of Imaal Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Golden Retriever
  • Bull Terrier
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Boxer
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Irish Setter

Other playful medium dog breeds are:

  • Bulldog
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Samoyed
  • Vizsla
  • Flat-Coated Retriever
  • Airedale Terrier
  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Siberian Husky
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Poodle (Standard)
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Polish Lowland Sheepdog
  • Field Spaniel
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Bearded Collie
  • PointerWeimaraner
  • Brittany
  • Belgian Tervuren
  • Belgian Sheepdog
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Border Collie
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • German Short-haired Pointer
  • German Wire-haired Pointer

Affection Level

Some dogs will jump all over you and lick your face every chance they get. How do you like a wet face with dog slobber all over it? Other dogs will show their devotion to you with less outward affection.

Which would you prefer?

The most affectionate of the medium dog breeds are:

  • Keeshond
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Dalmatian
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Bulldog
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Vizsla
  • Flat-Coated Retriever
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Field Spaniel
  • Brittany
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Boxer
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
  • Irish Setter

Good with other Dogs

Almost any dog may fight with a strange dog or even a familiar dog at times. This is especially true when they invade each other’s territory.

Do you have other dogs? Will your new dog need to get along well with other dogs?

These medium sized dogs tend to do the best with other dogs:

  • Ibizan Hound
  • Pharaoh Hound
  • Redbone Coonhound
  • Pointer
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Irish Setter
  • Harrier
  • American Foxhound
  • English Foxhound
  • Golden Retriever
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Good with other Pets

Some breeds have been bred to chase and kill smaller animals. These breeds are much more likely to chase the family cat or other small animals.

Therefore, you should carefully consider this if you have other pets in the house.

These dogs usually do the best with other pets, but most dogs can learn to live with other pets if raised with them:

  • Samoyed
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Field Spaniel
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Golden Retriever
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Other good choices are:

  • Komondor
  • Bulldog
  • Gordon Setter
  • Collie
  • Curly-Coated Retriever
  • Canaan Dog
  • Poodle (Standard)
  • Clumber Spaniel
  • Sussex Spaniel
  • Spinone Italiano
  • English Setter
  • Polish Lowland Sheepdog
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Keeshond
  • Vizsla
  • Flat-Coated Retriever
  • Pointer
  • Irish Setter
  • American Foxhound

Good with Strangers

Depending on your situation, you may not want a dog that’s overly friendly with strangers. But then again, you might.

If you frequently have visitors and don’t want to keep your dog locked away, you might want to choose one of these medium dog breeds:

  • Siberian Husky
  • Brittany
  • English Setter
  • Vizsla
  • Irish Setter
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Golden Retriever

Other good choices are:

  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Harrier
  • English Foxhound
  • Bulldog
  • Spinone Italiano
  • Keeshond
  • Flat-Coated Retriever
  • American Foxhound
  • Samoyed
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • English Springer Spaniel

Easy to Train

All dogs can be trained. But, some dogs require more repetition and patience than others. If you love spending time with your dog, this won’t be a problem.

If you’re looking to get a “good dog” with the least amount of effort on your part, choose one of these medium dog breeds:

  • Beauceron
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Belgian Tervuren
  • Belgian Sheepdog
  • Border Collie
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • German Shepherd Dog
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Poodle (Standard)
  • Flat-Coated Retriever
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Golden Retriever


Other easily trained breeds are:

  • Weimaraner
  • Canaan Dog
  • Polish Lowland Sheepdog
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Field Spaniel
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
  • Brittany

Good Watchdog

This category rates whether a breed is alert and barks when something is wrong. You may find that some dogs that rate highly in this category bark a lot. If barking annoys you, choose a breed that rates lower for this characteristic.

These dogs tend to make the best watchdogs:

  • Chinese Shar-Pei
  • Chow Chow
  • Briard
  • Bull Terrier
  • Harrier
  • Samoyed
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Standard Schnauzer
  • Komondor
  • German Wire-haired Pointer
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • German Short-haired Pointer
  • Bouvier des Flandres
  • Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
  • Collie
  • Keeshond
  • Weimaraner
  • Canaan Dog
  • Polish Lowland Sheepdog
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Beauceron
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Belgian Tervuren
  • Belgian Sheepdog
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • German Shepherd Dog
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Poodle (Standard)

Good for Protection

Does this medium breed dog have the desire to protect as well as the physical ability to protect you and your family? The idea of having a dog that will protect you and your family sounds great on the surface, but these dogs can be dangerous if not properly trained.

You should also be aware that owning such dogs can disqualify you with some insurance companies for a homeowners policy. They consider the risk too high that the dog could hurt someone.

If you’re sure that you want or need a dog for protection (and if you’re prepared to train the dog properly), consider one of these:

  • Boxer
  • Briard
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Standard Schnauzer
  • Komondor
  • Bouvier des Flandres
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Beauceron
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Belgian Tervuren
  • Belgian Sheepdog
  • German Shepherd Dog

Grooming Needs

A dog breed can have one of several different coat types. Some coats require more grooming than others. If grooming a dog is not your idea of fun, consider one of these medium dog breeds:

  • English Foxhound
  • American Foxhound
  • Pharaoh Hound
  • Vizsla
  • Brittany
  • Harrier
  • Greyhound
  • Redbone Coonhound
  • Curly-Coated Retriever
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Black and Tan Coonhound
  • Pointer
  • German Short-haired Pointer
  • Canaan Dog
  • Plott
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Bull Terrier
  • Weimaraner
  • Boxer
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Beauceron
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Belgian Malinois

Can take the Cold

Do you intend to keep your dog outside a lot and do you live in colder climate? The medium sized dogs that can best tolerate the cold are:

  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Siberian Husky
  • Samoyed
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Chow Chow

One of these medium dog breeds could also be a good choice for colder climates:

  • Curly-Coated Retriever
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Keeshond
  • Borzoi
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Komondor
  • Bearded Collie
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Polish Lowland Sheepdog
  • Bouvier des Flandres

Can take the Heat

None of the medium dog breeds do well in excessive heat. That’s why you should never leave them unattended in a hot car.

You should also take care on hot days. Make sure they always have access to fresh water and that they can always get out of direct sunlight.

These breeds are the least tolerant of heat in the group:

  • Bulldog
  • Boxer
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Keeshond
  • Siberian Husky
  • Samoyed
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Chow Chow
  • Greyhound

Gallery of Medium Dog Breeds

The following are links to individual breed pages. More pages will be coming soon...

German Shepherd Dogs -  Strong, agile and substantial, with an outline of smooth curves. Because of their protective nature, they make excellent guard dogs.


Return from Medium Dog Breeds to the Homepage

New Dog Owner? Check Out These Pages First...

Selecting a Dog

Type of Dog

Choosing the right Dog

Naming your new Dog

Finding the right Food

House Training your Dog

General Dog Care Tips


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