Medium Dog Breeds You Might Want to Add to Your Family

Take a look at this list, which also provides some information on the dogs’ specific traits and lifestyle needs.

You finally gave in to your kids’ constant begging for a pet and decided to get a dog. For those lacking space, you can opt for a smaller pooch. If you’re lucky to have a bigger house and an even bigger backyard, you might want to consider a larger dog. But for those who want something in between, think about a medium dog breed.

Each dog has its own personality and needs. It’s important to consider a dog’s common characteristics and how it may mesh with your own family life. Some are very energetic and need to live with an active family so they can exercise daily and interact with other dogs. Others need their coat regularly groomed (and may shed a lot). Other pups need firm or patient, encouraging training.

Take a look at some medium-size breeds recommended by the American Kennel Club below—the AKC Ranking is based on the organization’s most popular dog breeds list of 2016. Discuss with your family and get ready to welcome a new member to your household.



Photo by Purple Collar Pet Photography/Getty Images

A chiseled head dominated by a wide, blunt nose and mouth is the defining feature of these dogs. They are strong, fearless, and fun loving.

How big they grow: 55-71 pounds; 21-25 inches
Good for: Children
Care tips: A boxer’s short, shiny coat requires little grooming, including occasional brushing with a soft bristle brush to control shedding and bathing. They are very active and need a lot of exercise.
Fun fact: Boxers have long been watchdogs and family guardians (this originated in Germany).
AKC ranking: 10
Life span: 10-12 years



Known for their patterned coat in various color combinations (including orange and white), Brittanys are upbeat, gentle, and bright.

How big they grow: 30-40 pounds; 17½ - 20½ inches
Good for: Children, outdoorsy families, dog show enthusiasts
Care tips: Less hairy than most sporting dogs and average shedders, they need relatively little maintenance—twice-a-week brushing will do. Brittanys need plenty of exercise as they have high energy. Patient, encouraging training is recommended.
Fun fact: Named after a French province, they appear in 17th century paintings and tapestries.
AKC ranking: 25
Life span: 12-14 years



Distinguished by a huge, jowly, short-faced head atop a low-swung, heavy-set body, bulldogs are mellow and friendly.

How big they grow: 40-50 pounds; 12-16 inches
Good for: Children, apartment dwellers
Care tips: A bulldog’s short, smooth coat needs once-a-week brushing. Not very active, they need regular moderate exercise and a careful diet. Their short snouts can hamper breathing during hot humid weather, while their wrinkly faces need daily wiping between folds.
Fun fact: Bulldogs are named after the animal they attacked during “bull-baiting”—a blood sport banned by England in 1835. The dogs’ viciousness was eliminated through breeding.
AKC ranking: 4
Life span: 10-12 years


Cocker Spaniel

With silky hair flowing down floppy ears and a compact torso, sweet-faced cocker spaniels are pretty, gentle, and playful.

How big they grow: 24-30 pounds; 14-15 inches
Good for: Children, dog show enthusiasts
Care tips: A cocker spaniel’s medium coat needs weekly grooming, but you can still expect hair on your furniture. They have medium energy and need some exercise, including a twice-daily brisk walk.
Fun fact: The smallest sporting dog, cocker spaniels are named after the bird they hunted—the woodcock.
AKC ranking: 29
Life span: 13-15 years


English Springer Spaniel

A gentle expression, dangling ears, and wagging tail are hallmarks of the English springer spaniel. They are outgoing, obedient, and athletic.

How big they grow: 40-50 pounds; 19-20 inches
Good for: Children
Care tips: The English springer spaniel’s moderately long coat needs occasional grooming. They have medium energy and daily exercise is needed, from long walks to chase-and-fetch games. Very attached to their owners, springers need positive training.
Fun fact: Springers were classified with cocker spaniels (and often born in the same litter) before becoming a breed in 1902.
AKC ranking: 26
Life span: 10-12 years


Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Low, long, and sturdy with short legs and upright alert ears, Pembroke Welsh corgis are smart, bold, and affectionate.

How big they grow: 25-30 pounds; 10-12 inches
Good for: Children, farmers
Care tips: A Pembroke Welsh corgi’s medium coat needs regularly weekly grooming and an occasional bath. Medium-energy, they need regular exercise and basic obedience training.
Fun fact: A favorite of the British royal family, they have no tail.
AKC ranking: 18
Life span: 13-15 years



Poodles are very active, very smart, and come in three varieties: toy, miniature, and standard (the medium-to-large size).

How big they grow: 40-70 pounds; over 15 inches (standard variety)
Good for: Children, allergy sufferers (A poodle’s curly-haired coat is low-shedding and hypoallergenic)
Care tips: A poodle’s long coat needs regular professional clipping and the occasional bath. Medium-energy, poodles need daily exercise and are easily trained.
Fun fact: Although they are regarded as France’s national dog, poodles may have originated in Germany, according to the AKC. In Germany they are known as the “Pudel,” which means to splash in the water.
AKC ranking: 7
Life span: 10-18 years


Portuguese Water Dog

Sporting a lavish curly or wavy coat that covers a large head and rugged body, Portuguese water dogs are smart, athletic, and strong.

How big they grow: 35-60 pounds; 17-23 inches
Good for: Children, allergy sufferers (Their thick coat is low-shedding and hypoallergenic)
Care tips: A Portuguese water dog’s long coat needs regular weekly grooming and the occasional bath. High-energy, they need daily vigorous exercise and positive training.
Fun fact: Portuguese water dogs were once avid swimmers and divers that herded fish into nets along Portugal’s coast. They have webbed feet and a waterproof coat.
AKC ranking: 51
Life span: 11-13 years


Shetland Sheepdog

A sturdy and agile working breed, Shetland sheepdogs (also known as Shelties) are playful, emotional, and energetic.

How big they grow: 14-27 pounds; 13-16 inches
Good for: Children
Care tips: A Shetland sheepdog’s dense, double coat needs regular care beyond weekly grooming and the occasional bath. Medium-energy, they are prone to chasing moving things, so owners should have an enclosed yard.
Fun fact: Hailing from Scotland, they were originally known as Shetland collies.
AKC ranking: 24
Life span: 12-14 years


Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Known for their silky, wavy wheat-colored coat, they are cheerful, spirited, and loyal.

How big they grow: 35-40 pounds; 17-19 inches
Good for: Children, allergy sufferers. (Soft Coated Wheaten terriers are low-shedding and hypoallergenic)
Care tips: A Wheaten’s long coat needs regular weekly brush-and-comb grooming and an occasional bath. Medium-energy, they need lots of daily exercise, human interaction, and firm consistent training.
Fun fact: Wheatens were bred in the Irish countryside as farm dogs.
AKC ranking: 50
Life span: 12-14 years



Svelte and golden rust-colored, Vizslas (also known as Hungarian pointers) are gentle, athletic, and loving.

How big they grow: 40-64 pounds; 21-24 inches
Good for: Children
Care tips: A Vizsla’s short coat needs regular weekly grooming and the occasional bath. High-energy, they need lots of exercise.
Fun fact: Technically a pointer, the Vizsla also acts like a retriever.
AKC ranking: 31
Life span: 12-14 years



Skinny by design, whippets are elegant sporting hounds, known as racers but happy to also relax with the family.

How big they grow: 29-34 pounds; 18-22 inches
Good for: Children, apartment dwellers (Whippets rarely bark and do well in small spaces if they get proper exercise.)
Care tips: A whippet’s short coat needs little maintenance beyond regularly weekly brushing and the occasional bath. They have medium energy and need regular exercise such as ball retrieving, walks, and playtime with other dogs.
Fun fact: Very fast sprinters, whippets can run up to 35 miles per hour.
AKC ranking: 60
Life span: 12-15 years