Ultimate Guide to Medium Dogs | Pupford
August 21st, 2023
Filed under Pet Parenting
For everyone with a medium dog, or who is looking to bring one into their family, this guide is for you.
This ultimate guide will cover everything you need to know about medium dogs, including:
- Medium dogs: the basics
- Training medium dogs
- Medium dog lifestyle and needs
- Additional tips and tricks for life with a medium dog!
There’s a lot of info to cover here, so let’s get right into it.
MEDIUM DOGS: THE BASICS
WHAT DEFINES A MEDIUM DOG?
Since “medium” is often a relative term and can cover a wide range of sizes, it’s only natural to wonder what we really mean by a medium dog breed.
Medium dog breeds are between 20-60lbs and typically stand under 27 inches in adulthood. You’ll find medium dogs in many different heights, weights, and proportions, but they generally meet those guidelines.
WHAT BREEDS ARE CONSIDERED MEDIUM DOGS?
If you’re thinking to yourself, “wow that description sounds like it encompasses a lot of different breeds,” you’re 100% right.
The American Kennel Club currently classifies 45 breeds as medium size, with many more coming in under “medium-large” and “medium-small.”
Here are some of the most popular medium dog breeds:
This list is by no means exhaustive. If there’s a medium-sized dog breed that you love that’s not on this list, it doesn’t mean they don’t make wonderful family pets! We just picked a few popular ones, but we don’t play favorites. Tell us more about the medium breeds you love in the comments!
PROS AND CONS OF LIFE WITH A MEDIUM DOG
Like with any classification of dog breed, there are things to consider when adding a medium dog to your family – both good and not so good.
- They are adaptable and can often do well in smaller living situations, as long as they are given exercise opportunities.
- The lifespan of medium dogs is generally pretty long, although it does vary from breed to breed.
- Most medium breeds are good with children and make great family dogs.
- With some exceptions, medium dogs require moderate exercise which is easily attainable for most families.
- They are less fragile than many small dog breeds, which makes it easier for them to withstand child play.
- Some apartments and travel accommodations have weight limits for dogs, which medium dogs may surpass.
- A handful of medium dog breeds are prone to skin and ear infections and require special care.
- Many Terrier breeds fall into the medium breed category – Terriers can be and tunneling.
For the most part, what you consider a pro or con depends on what you’re comparing to since they tend to land, well, right in the middle. For example, the food cost for medium dogs is far less than that of a giant breed, but would still be more than a small or toy breed.
When it comes to medium dogs, it may be helpful to make a list of priorities (e.g. low food budget, active lifestyle, good with children etc.) and measure their characteristics against that to determine if it is a pro or con for you.
TRAINING MEDIUM DOGS
Most medium dog breeds are intelligent and respond well to training. But there are things you can consider and keep in mind to make training even more effective and enjoyable.
TRAINING TOOLS FOR MEDIUM DOGS
Great training starts with having the right tools on hand. For medium dogs, we recommend having:
- A short () and long () lead
- A collar with identification tags
- A well-fitted
- A clicker
- High-value, low-calorie treats like
- Breed-specific tools like a or (more on that coming soon)
- Expert-led resources like videos and checklists give step-by-step instructions for training certain behaviors. You can find these in the .
WHAT BEHAVIORS TO TRAIN
Regardless of breed or size, every dog should know basic skills to keep them safe, happy, and healthy. Before starting any other training, be sure to have a solid foundation that includes:
Once your dog aces the basics, it’s important to introduce training that’s specific to their size and breed. What this could look like:
- Impulse control for working and Terrier breed dogs that tend to chase, dig, or bark
- for dogs that have watchdog tendencies
- Separation anxiety
BEST TREATS FOR MEDIUM DOGS
Treats play a super important role in training, especially positive reinforcement training.
But all treats are not created equal.
Since you’ll be giving your dog quite a few treats each training session and throughout the day, make sure they meet the following criteria:
- Small in size or easily breakable
- Low calorie
- Minimal, natural ingredients
- Delicious flavors that your dog will be motivated by
MEDIUM DOGS LIFESTYLE AND NEEDS
Training is only part of the picture, there are other lifestyle factors that needs to consider when making a medium dog part of your family.
HOW MUCH PHYSICAL ACTIVITY DOES MY MEDIUM DOG NEED?
You might think that since these dogs are medium in size, their exercise needs will be moderate. While that’s not necessarily wrong, it’s not necessarily right either.
Physical activity needs will depend strongly on the specific breed. For example, Bulldogs and Beagles are fine with moderate walks and play sessions, but Border Collies and Whippets need longer/more intense exercise that challenges them.
To make sure you are providing an appropriate amount of exercise for your dog, research their specific breed or talk to your veterinarian.
WHAT ACTIVITIES DO MEDIUM DOGS ENJOY?
Many medium-sized breeds are highly intelligent, which means that exercise alone isn’t enough to keep them happy and healthy. You’ll need to provide an exciting mix of physically and mentally engaging activities to keep your dog happy and healthy.
To choose an activity for your dog, take a look at their breed’s history. Were they originally herding dogs? Hunting dogs? Watchdogs? Knowing their background can help you pick an activity that plays into their natural instincts, which will provide mental stimulation along with physical exercise.
If you’re not sure where to start, most medium dogs will usually enjoy one of these activities:
- Moderate-length walks or hikes
- Retrieval games like fetch or frisbee
- Flirt poles
- Agility and obstacle courses
- Nose work like hide and seek with treats
It may be a good idea to chat with a vet or certified dog trainer to make sure the activity is the appropriate intensity and safe for your dog.
FOOD AND MEDICATION FOR MEDIUM DOGS
When it comes to food and medication, your medium dog’s needs will be, well, medium.
They will require less food and lower doses of medication than large and giant breeds, but more than small and toy breed dogs. Makes sense right?
Just be sure to select high-quality dog food that’s designed for medium dogs, so you can provide the nutrition they need without going above their suggested calorie intake. Be sure to follow the specific brand’s guidelines for how much food to give your dog, since a 20lb dog will have different needs than a 50lb one.
As for medication and supplements, always follow your vet’s recommendation for dosing. Again, it will fall somewhere between that of a large and small dog’s needs, but it could vary based on the weight of your individual dog.
GROOMING MEDIUM DOGS
We’re sure you’re sick of hearing “it depends on the breed,” but when it comes to the grooming needs of medium dogs, it really does.
Medium dogs do have a bit more to maintain than many small dogs, especially those with long and/or thick coats.
Breeds with long coats require frequent brushing and trims to avoid matting, infections, and disrupting vision.
Other medium breeds, like Basset Hounds and Bulldogs, require special care for their skin folds and ears since they are prone to infections.
THE HAPPY MEDIUM
It’s called the “happy medium” for a reason. Many families find that a medium dog fits “just right” in their family – not too big and not too small, not too loud and not too quiet, etc.
While they’re medium in size, they’re big in love and affection, which is what really matters when adding a new dog to your family!