When it comes to furry family members, some folks adhere to the “go big or go home” philosophy, and adopt an exceptionally large dog breed (think: Great Dane, English Mastiff, and St. Bernard). Others prefer the itty-bitty varieties, like Yorkies, Chihuahuas, and Pomeranians. But what about those who want something between these two extremes?
Enter medium-sized dog breeds. At 25 to 70 pounds — although some can certainly grow bigger or stay smaller than that — they’re ideal for those who want a pooch with a moderate to high activity level. Thinking about adopting a medium-sized furry companion? Here are some of the friendliest breeds to consider.
1. Australian Shepherd
Despite their name, these adorable high-energy Aussies aren’t actually from Australia. In fact, they originated in Spain. Extremely loving and well-tempered, these family dogs will shower you with companionship and devotion, which is why they are among the best medium-sized dog breeds on the planet. Their admirable intelligence and alertness make them exceptional Seeing Eye Dogs for blind dog owners. Similarly, their extraordinary sense of smell makes them perfect for search missions.
Australian Shepherds are very active family pets that love going on hikes and catching a frisbee at the park. Having regular playtime keeps these working dogs content, and they often seek something to do instead of lazing around — they were originally a herding breed, after all. They love to deliver the daily paper to their owners and fetch items from around the house, making them one of the best dog breeds for those with limited mobility. They can also be trained to clean up their toys. When provided with enough mental stimulation, this highly intelligent dog will truly become your best friend.
2. Siberian Husky
Don’t be deceived by the intimidating, wolf-like appearance of a Siberian Husky. These pups are actually extremely loving and friendly — and one of the most popular dog breeds in the US. They warm up to people they meet for the first time almost instantly. Rather than launching into a barking fit, your Siberian Husky will shower your friends with love and affection. According to the Chukchi people of Siberia (who developed this wonderful breed), two Siberian Huskies are employed as guard dogs at the gates of paradise, and they refuse entry to anyone who was ever mean to a furry friend during their life on Earth.
3. Standard Poodle
Poodles are not just attractive, they’re also fiercely affectionate, making them wonderful pets for families with small children. These fluffy friends are also perfect if you have other pets at home. They are pleasantly social and tend to treat their fellow pets like family. In addition, some poodle owners report that they are hypoallergenic dogs.
4. Bearded Collie
Of all the medium-sized dogs, these adorable pups have the most welcoming body language. Bouncy and high-spirited, Bearded Collies are super active and playful. They love running around in the open chasing butterflies and, of course, their tail. This breed is a great companion on a morning run or at the beach.
We’ve arrived at the firefighter’s companion: the Dalmatian. Known for its distinctive spots, these loving, spirited pups are fast learners, making them relatively easy to train. That said, Dalmatians are also known to be natural watchdogs, meaning they have a tendency to be reserved with strangers and aren’t thrilled when other pups encroach on their territory. With this in mind, training and socializing is of the utmost importance if you’re considering this breed.
6. Pyrenean Shepherd
Dating back almost 6000 years, Pyrenean Shepherds are cheerful sweethearts that develop a strong and loyal bond with their humans. The breed has an amazingly friendly nature, but be warned: It does not extend to strangers. This is a useful trait, however, as you can rely on them to protect your family. Towards the family members themselves, the dog exhibits gentle behavior and extreme fondness.
With their coat of curly hair, barbets are one of the most adorable medium-sized dog breeds. They possess a peaceful personality with a loving and affectionate nature. The breed originated in France, possibly as early as the 14th century. These fur babies are excellent swimmers and have been used as water-hunting companions for years. What’s more, barbets are especially great with children. In fact, they get so attached to their humans that they sometimes suffer from separation anxiety when they leave for anything more than a few hours. Return their love with the same affection and care they provide, and you’ll be bosom buddies.
8. Cocker Spaniel
This charming pooch is an energetic and friendly creature that wouldn’t hurt a fly. Highly affectionate with a penchant for play, the Cocker Spaniel is friendly towards his fellow dogs. If you have more than one pet at home, you can rest easy knowing that your Spaniel will live in harmony with them. The Cocker Spaniel is also the perfect pup for a household with kids, thanks to their sweet nature, high spirits, and amazing energy. They would love nothing more than to run and play in the yard with the kids. That said, these medium-sized pups adjust well to smaller spaces. If you live in a small apartment, for example, having a Cocker Spaniel as a pet shouldn’t be an issue.
9. French Bulldog
Contrary to their somewhat mean-looking mugs, French Bulldogs have an extremely loving nature. This adorable breed loves to play and exhibit non-stop affection, and they’re the perfect pet for those living in tight spaces, as they don’t grow beyond 28 pounds. Plus, Frenchies are considerably quiet and peaceful, so you won’t have to worry about a neighbor complaining about a boisterous pet.
Throughout history, the Beagle has been one of the most beloved dogs — and it’s easy to see why. This medium dog breed is unbelievably loyal, perfectly active, and super cuddly. Plus, beagles are low-maintenance, happy, and affectionate, making them amenable to every human personality. That said, these pooches have a strong hunting instinct and require fairly rigorous training — meaning they might not be the best choice for first-time owners. Beagles have an unlimited supply of energy and need a lot of exercise, so an active owner or family that loves to spend time outdoors is ideal.
11. Australian Cattle Dog
Searching for an intelligent herding dog to add to your family? Look no further than the Australian Cattle Dog, also called the Blue Heeler or Queensland Heeler. This medium-sized breed is uncannily smart and alert, with strong herding instincts — they’ll always be by your side. Devoted to their humans and full of boundless energy, they make fantastic running partners. Just keep in mind that if your cattle dog isn’t challenged, there’s a good chance they will get bored and find mischief. In other words, regular exercise and play are key.
The following are a few breeds that would have made this list — if not for a few caveats:
The Golden Retriever: These dogs are incredibly popular, loving, and energetic, but they can grow to an impressively large size.
The Border Collie: Another popular breed, the high-energy Border Collie is friendly and loving, but requires a lot of exercise.If you want to stay active, it’s an ideal mate.
The Airedale Terrier: Airedales can grow so large that they can barely fit in a city apartment. If you adopt an Airedale, make sure you have a yard.
The Basset Hound: This pup is known for its sad, pleading eyes. Basset Hounds were originally bred as hunting dogs, but unlike the foxhound or whippet, they’re more often more couch potato than Olympic sprinter. That said, Basset hounds make terrific pets if you live a calm life.
Man’s Medium-Sized Best Friend
All furry friends are wonderful — from small dog breeds to large — but when it comes to the best of both worlds, medium-size dog breeds can’t be beat. If a traditional dog-by-your-side companion is what you seek, consider the 11 breeds listed above. Whether you decide to bring an intelligent Aussie into your home or a loveable Collie, you simply can’t go wrong.