6 Medium Sized Dog Breeds that Make Great Pets

These medium-sized dogs are a great combination of energy and affection. They include Border Collies, Whippets, and Boxers.

May 1, 2024By Sara Payne
medium sized dog breeds that make great pets

If you are looking for a dog to adopt that is in that Goldilocks zone–not too big and not too small–there are many medium-sized dog breeds to pick.

Whippets, Border Collies, Cocker Spaniels, Boxers, Australian Shepherds, and Dalmatians are six, popular, medium-sized dogs.

Read on to learn more about these medium-sized breeds and what makes them great pets.


whippet running
Image credit: pixabay.com

Resembling a smaller greyhound, Whippets are independent, athletic dogs. They stand at around 19-22 inches tall and weigh around 25-40 pounds. They are great family dogs who get along well with other pets. They also are calm and gentle with young children.

While Whippets come in many colors, among the most common is gray or black. These sighthounds sport a sleek, streamlined body with a deep chest and trim waist. They have long, arched necks and slim, sturdy legs––making them familiar faces in breed-specific sports, like agility.

Whippets are high-energy dogs that need lots of exercise and mental stimulation. Thankfully, however, they don’t need a lot of space, making them perfect dogs for people who live in apartments.

Border Collies

happy border collie
Image credit: pixabay.com

This amazing dog breed has tons of energy. They are smart dogs that stand about 18-21 inches tall and weigh around 30-55 pounds. Known for their biddability (willingness to take direction), Border Collies are easily trainable.

Border Collies have medium-length, wavy, double coats. They come in two coat types: smooth and rough. Both need frequent grooming to keep them under control. These dogs shed a lot.

To truly thrive, these dogs need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. While they may initially be a bit wary of strangers, Border Collies warm up quickly to people they frequently see. They are great companions for people who have active lifestyles.

Cocker Spaniels

red cocker spaniel
Image credit: pixabay.com

Part of the sporting group, the Cocker Spaniel is an energetic and joyous medium-sized dog. They weigh about 26-34 pounds and are 16-17 inches tall. These dogs are incredibly affectionate with their family and good with young children and other dogs.

They are playful dogs who are fairly easy to train. They handle changes well and enjoy lots of mental stimulation and exercise. They are also beautiful dogs with adorable, soft ears.

If you have or get a Cocker Spaniel, they need weekly brushing to prevent tangles. A slicker brush or comb is ideal. They come in various coat colors and can be ticked or have white or tan markings.


boxer sniffing
Image credit: pixabay.com

Boxers are muscular, playful dogs. Here’s what to know:

  • These dogs love their families and have a reputation for being good around children.
  • They have smooth, short coats that don’t require a lot of grooming and come in fawn or brindle colors.
  • They can have white markings and a black mask.

These dogs are brachycephalic (flat-faced), which means they drool more than others. With their alert nature and muscular build, these dogs make excellent watchdogs. Bright, active, and fun-loving, these unique dogs are perfect for active families.

Australian Shepherds

aussie with tulips
Image credit: pixabay.com

Another herding group favorite, the Australian Shepherd is a smart, energetic dog. It sports a medium-length double coat that needs frequent grooming. They come in many colors with white markings and tan points. These dogs are between 18-23 inches tall and weigh around 40-65 pounds.

Aussies are great with children and tolerate other dogs well. They also have tons of energy to burn, and if they get bored, they may get destructive. As an intelligent dog breed, they’re easy to train, so you can put them to work around your house or farm and teach them a myriad of tricks.

As the 12th most popular breed in America in 2022, this dog is synonymous with American ranches. These dogs try to herd whatever is around them. So, if you have a cat or small dog, introduce them slowly. Aussies have incredible prey drives and will stop at nothing to herd or capture prey.


dalmation walking
Image credit: pixabay.com

Associated with fire departments, Dalmatians are medium-sized dogs with a famous spotted coat. They have smooth, short, white coats with either black or liver-colored spots. They are graceful dogs originally bred to guard horses and coaches. They are playful and need lots of mental stimulation.

These spotted canines are excellent watchdogs who are loyal and wary. With their owners, they are extremely affectionate and can learn to open up to strangers. They are athletic dogs with lots of stamina, which makes them ideal companions for people who run and hike frequently.

Dalmatians stand at about 19-23 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh around 45-70 pounds. They are a part of the non-sporting group and are considered dignified, outgoing, and smart canines.

A Medium-Sized Dog Doesn’t Mean Medium Commitment

fawn and white dog
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

A medium-sized dog does not mean low commitment. In fact, many of the dogs on this list need lots of training, attention, and grooming! If you’re looking for a low-maintenance dog that thrives in small spaces, you may enjoy adopting a(n):

  • Great Dane
  • French Bulldog
  • Greyhound (especially an ex-racer)
  • Basset Hound
  • Boston Terrier
  • A mixed-breed dog suited to your lifestyle

Senior dogs need love, too! These dogs typically don’t need as much exercise and space requirements. They’re generally content just to lay on the couch.

What Medium Dog Is Right for You?

chow chow
Image credit: pixabay.com

These six medium-sized dogs are energetic and fun. They make great companions for people with active lifestyles, and some are also a good size for living in apartments or smaller homes. If you are looking for a dog that has the watchfulness and energy of a large dog, but the affection and more compactness of a smaller dog, medium dogs are for you.

Sara Payne
By Sara Payne

Sara is a mother of two and a high school English teacher who rediscovered her love of writing during the pandemic. She has 5 rescue cats: Neville and Luna, who are white cats with black and grey spots, and Ginny, Blue, and Fairy, who are calicos. Besides taking care of humans and fur babies, Sara enjoys gardening, crafting, and spending time in nature.