Once upon a time, medium and large-sized dogs were the most popular types in the country. But a few years ago, small dogs surpassed both large and medium-sized ones in popularity.
That doesn’t mean medium-sized dogs aren’t still popular. According to the American Kennel Club, the Labrador Retriever, a medium-sized breed, was the most popular dog breed in 2017, and has been for the past 27 years. That’s because Labs are friendly, active, eager to please, and highly trainable, just like a lot of medium-sized breeds.
Table of Contents
- They’re Perfect for Families
- They Can Live Almost Anywhere
- They’re Playful and Loyal
- They’re Great for Active People
- They Have Fewer Health Problems
Introduction: What Is a Medium-Sized Dog?
Technically, there are four sizes for dogs: small, medium, large, and giant. Small and giant breeds are generally easy to spot (think Chihuahuas and Tibetan Mastiffs). Medium and large-sized dogs are a bit harder to distinguish by size alone. But they can be distinguished by breed.
Examples of medium-sized dog breeds include Bulldogs, Poodles, Boxers, Siberian Huskies, Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, Beagles, Basset Hounds, Cocker Spaniels, and others. Although size is a main differentiating factor between these breeds and larger ones, life expectancy and lifestyle are also things that set them apart.
The average lifespan for medium-sized dogs is 10 to 13 years, while the average lifespan for large-sized dogs is 8 to 12 years. Typically, medium-sized dog breeds weigh between 21 to 50 pounds, while large breeds weigh between 51 to 90 pounds. Any dogs that that weigh over 90 pounds at full growth are considered giant, or extra-large breeds. No one is quite sure why larger dogs don’t live as long, but scientists believe it has something to do with how rapidly they grow.
The Best Treats for Medium-Sized Dogs
Medium-sized dogs can enjoy almost every type of treat on the market. But they go particularly ga-ga for bully sticks, bones and antlers, jerky treats, pig and cow ears, and other natural chews. As with any bully stick or tough chew, you should supervise your dog while they eat it to make sure they don’t break it into small chunks and swallow.
Bully sticks and large natural chews are perfect as a big reward for good behavior. Smaller treats, like beef cubes and jerky strips, can be used as small training treats. If you want to keep your house smelling fresh, try giving your dog naturally odor free bully sticks. If you want to give them more time-consuming chew, you can try braided chews or chews in other shapes.
5 Reasons People Love Medium-Sized Dogs
Why else do so many people love medium-sized dogs? Here are five reasons:
1. They’re Perfect for Families
Medium-sized dogs are ideal pets for families, even for those with small children. If you adopt a puppy, your kids will be able to grow up with them, but they’ll never get so big that they’re difficult to handle.
Medium-sized dogs might be a better choice for your family if you are worried about the raw strength of a large dog. If you’re concerned about temperament and energy level, you may wish to go with a medium-sized dog instead of a small one.
Some of the best medium-sized breeds for families and kids are:
- Bull Terrier
- Cocker Spaniel
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retriever
- Shetland Sheepdog
If you adopt a puppy, they may want to nip, gnaw, or chew on your family members’ arms and fingers. This is typically playful behavior and not aggressive. But you can direct this behavior toward something healthy instead, like a natural chew, bully stick, or a chew toy. It’s a good idea to start this training in puppyhood. If left untrained, they may continue this behavior into adulthood.
Good family dogs are sturdy and loyal, have consistent energy levels, and are naturally friendly. Parents with children may want a dog that isn’t too high-maintenance (you’ve got enough on your plate raising those kids!) and usually want dogs that are loyal and affectionate.
Regardless, if you go to an adoption center and fall in love with a specific pup, take them home! With the training and affection, pretty much any breed can become a part of your family.
2. They Can Live Almost Anywhere
Whether you’re living in a small apartment or a palatial estate, a medium-sized dog will fit right in. A lot of people are living in apartments these days, so the issue of apartment-friendly dogs has become a hot topic. Some breeds may be better suited to apartments than others, but you won’t have to worry about as many spatial issues as you would with a large or giant-sized dog.
Some of the best medium-sized breeds for apartments are:
- Basset Hound
- Bull Terrier
- Standard Schnauzer
As with any dog, you’ll need space for them to exercise. If your apartment isn’t very large and doesn’t include an outdoor pet area, you may have to go searching for a dog park, or at least a public space that allows dogs. However, medium-sized dogs don’t need quite as much exercise as larger breeds. In fact, some of them are regular old couch potatoes. If you’re a couch potato, too, you’ll get along swimmingly!
In an apartment, you’ll be sharing most of your space with your dog. That means they’ll be socializing with people who come to the door and any other pets you have. Barking is also an issue when you’re living close to others, but you can train your dog to stop barking by using positive reinforcement and other methods.
If you’re living in a small house or apartment, you should consider odor free bully sticks and other low odor natural chews for your pet. They’re a great way to keep your home smelling fresh while also keeping your dog satisfied.
Regardless of your living situation, you can feel at home with almost any breed. Just make sure you take the time to train, socialize, and exercise your dog, and be aware of breed restrictions in your apartment building.
3. They’re Playful and Loyal
It’s a bit of an urban myth that small dogs are more aggressive, more temperamental, and less well-behaved. There’s actually some science to back this up, but it suggests that this has more to do with the way owners interact with smaller dogs than anything to do with the size of the dogs themselves.
Regardless, medium-sized dogs are generally playful, loyal, and well behaved if you train them properly. A great way to build love and trust during your training sessions is to use treats effectively. It’s best to use treats in between meals, when your dog is more likely to see them as an incentive. Save high-reward treats like bully sticks and natural dog chews for last. For small rewards, use jerky strips, cubes, or puffed meats.
Many medium-sized dog breeds are trained as working dogs, although most “working dogs” are large. Medium-sized dogs a common fixture on farms, where they are used to herd livestock. But you’ll also find them helping police, working on search and rescue teams, or guiding and providing companionship to disabled people.
Most dogs that fit under the “working” umbrella don’t perform jobs anymore and are instead household pets. But you can still find the same playfulness, intelligence, and loyalty in your medium-sized companion. If you love playing with dogs but you don’t want to get bowled over in the process, a medium-sized dog might be a good choice.
4. They’re Great for Active People
Medium-sized dogs make great pets – and even better fitness partners. If you’re an active individual, a medium-sized dog might be your best choice for a workout buddy. They typically have more endurance than small and large dogs, but still have plenty of energy to spare.
In fact, just keeping up with your dog may be enough exercise in and of itself!
Some of the best medium-sized breeds for active people are:
- Labrador Retriever
- Golden Retriever
- Border Collie
- Australian Shepherd
- Siberian Husky
- Cocker Spaniel
- Australian Cattle Dog
Whether you like to jog, run, or hike, consider bringing your canine friend with you. They’ll challenge you and keep you company, and you’ll be doing them a favor by giving them good exercise. After you take your pup for a long excursion, don’t forget to reward them for their good behavior. They’ll be more excited to exercise with you if they know a fresh bully stick is waiting for them at the end.
Of course, play is one of the best ways for both you and your medium-sized dog to get the exercise you need. First, find a toy that your dog loves. It could be as simple as a tennis ball, or you could use a stuffed animal or rope toy. Games like fetch, frisbee tossing, soccer, or hot potato are a fun way for both of you to work out!
5. They Have Fewer Health Problems
When it comes to canine health, there are a lot of factors to consider. Some breeds are more prone to specific types of illnesses than others, but size plays a big role as well. Large and small dogs are more prone to certain health issues than medium-sized dogs. Nonetheless, most canine health issues can be addressed through proper nutrition, exercise, observation, and quality veterinary care.
Large dogs are more likely to develop issues like dysplasia of the hip and elbow. Although most large dogs can live long, happy lives with this problem, others may need expensive surgeries to correct the issue and enable mobility. Large dogs are also more likely to suffer from issues like bloat, torsion, Wobblers, and certain heart conditions.
Small dogs have smaller bladders, making them more difficult to house train. They’re also more fragile than medium and large-sized dogs, so they are more prone to breaks and bone fractures. Other ailments to watch out for are pancreatitis, upper airway problems, ectropion (upper eyelid exposure), and intervertebral disk disease.
Medium-sized dogs can still get sick, but they are less prone to those conditions that typically affect small and large breeds. No breed is completely immune to health issues, so make sure you have a good veterinarian if you intend to adopt a dog.
Conclusion: Living with your Medium-Sized Dog
Whether you live in an apartment or a house, whether your active or not, there’s a medium-sized dog out there just for you! Remember, training, care, and lots of love are the keys to building a successful relationship with your canine companion.
If you’re getting a puppy, make sure to start training your puppy early. The older your dog gets, the harder it will be to instill good behavior in them. You can use training treats as small rewards. Bully sticks and natural chews make great rewards for larger accomplishments.
If you spend a lot of time away from the house for work or for other reasons, train your medium-sized dog to grow accustomed to it. Once your dog is socialized, you can also find a great doggie daycare center to take care of you pup while you’re away. Most importantly of all, make sure you have a good vet and bring your dog for regular checkups. If you can do that, you’re well on your way to a great relationship with your new medium-sized dog!