With a plethora of medium-sized dog breeds to choose from, you’d think it would be hard to pick favourites—but we did it! Here is a roundup of 23 of the breeds that made our cut this year. Though every dog is special in their own way, each of the following dogs would make especially great additions to the family. Come on, check them out for yourself…
Best Medium Dog Breeds
Known to be very loyal, these Terriers are great with children—not only do they love to play with them, but they’re also more than willing to protect them. They were even used as police dogs before German Shepherds became the preferred canine cop. They’re the biggest of all the terrier breeds as well, with males standing as tall as 58cm (23in) at the shoulder. Plus, they have a pretty sweet beard and moustache that gives them a wise yet mischievous look.
Australian Cattle Dog / Blue Heeler
Australian Cattle Dogs are a sturdy dog breed that sports a distinctive (and gorgeous!) blue-grey or red coat with mottling or specking patterns. They have lots of energy—so you should too—and they truly thrive when they’re being active. These dogs are extremely smart and need lots of mental stimulation to keep them happy, so make sure you’re up for it before bringing them into your family.
Australian Shepherds are loyal, dependable, and easygoing—making them a wonderful companion for active/outdoorsy families. They adore being close to the ones they love (really close, like touching your leg close), and they’re usually gentle with children. They’re also quite the regal sight, with beautiful colouring, fluffy coats, and warm, intelligent eyes.
Bassets are almost always described as good-natured, and that’s exactly what they are. This medium dog breed is also known for their large heads, long ears, and big, penetrating eyes—making them hard to resist. Originally bred in France and Belgium, they were popular with aristocrats who loved hunting thanks to their incredibly sensitive noses.
Looking for a fun and sprightly dog? This breed just might be your type. The Beagle is an ideal family dog—they generally like children and form strong bonds with family. And, of course, they’re adorable. They have those big, loving eyes, and are usually lemon, red and white, and tricolour hued. Give them plenty of playtime and affection, and you’ll never want for a merrier friend.
This incredibly smart breed loves having a job to perform—which is why they’re so great at agility and obedience training. They can be a little weary of people they don’t know (making them good guard dogs), but they’re affectionate with trusted friends and family. Try to keep an eye on them around children since they’ll occasionally try to herd them!
Lots of people already know that Boxers are the whole package! These guys love being part of the family, so don’t leave them at home alone too often. But honestly, why would you want to leave them at home? They’re playful and fun, loving toward children (but also protective), and beautiful to behold.
Though initially developed as a fighting dog in the 19th century, this breed is now one of the most loving and curious around. They’re also hard not to notice, with an incredible egg-shaped head, pointy ears, and lots of muscles. Packed with personality, Bull Terriers love active and energetic families. So long as they’re socialised from an early age, trained well, and shown affection, they can become the ultimate family dog.
Though not the most affectionate breed, the Chow Chow is certainly majestic. Their rich history begins in ancient China as hunters, but in modern times they’ve become an excellent companion and guard dog for people all over the world. Smart and dignified, you can’t help but adore their luxurious coat and cleanliness (no doggy smell here!).
American Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniels are highly trainable, so they can excel at whatever they put their minds to—whether that’s something sporty or merely hanging out with the fam. Their distinctive coat makes them a little high-maintenance in the grooming department, but their friendly, loving personality more than makes up for that.
Dalmatians were initially bred to guard horses and coaches, but have since had a whole slew of other jobs! From serving as fire station dogs to acting as shepherds, and inspiring a certain Disney movie, these dogs have done it all.
They also make great guard dogs because they’re loyal and loving to family, but more reserved with strangers. And of course that coat—you’ve got to love those distinctive spots.
English Cocker Spaniel
These eager-to-please dogs may not be in the hound group, but they are great at hunting birds! They are also perfectly happy hanging out as companions to a loving family. The English Cocker Spaniel’s friendly, low-maintenance disposition will make you forget about all of that extra grooming that goes into making their coat look perfect.
English Springer Spaniel
English Springer Spaniels are ideal family dogs with a high activity level—so they’d love to join in on all the fun, whether it’s playing, swimming, hunting, or simply going for a walk. They’re excellent with children and other animals and are not the kind of dog that you’ll be able to just leave home all the time (they want to be with you!).
Happy and eager-to-please, this breed is a delight to have in your home.
German Shorthaired Pointer
This breed is both an excellent hunter and a wonderful family companion—it’s just important that they get plenty of exercise. After all, they’re built for it, with a lean and athletic body, and even webbed feet that make them some of the best swimmers in the dog world.
Though they’re endlessly energetic, they’re also very loving, and bond solidly with their family.
Wire-Haired Pointing Griffon
Wire-haired Pointing Griffons are hardworking sporting dogs known for their harsh, bristly coat that’s generally grey with brown markings. Bred in the 1800s to be excellent hunting dogs on land and in water, this outgoing, intelligent breed adores swimming—and even has the webbed toes to prove it.
The Labrador retriever is always a good bet when it comes to finding a family-friendly dog. Generally calm and easy-going, these dogs were originally bred in Newfoundland as fisherman’s helpers—but today they do everything from work as service animals and rescue dogs to retrieving for hunters to playing with kids at home. You won’t find a sweeter more affectionate dog around.
Poodles aren’t just beloved in France—this amazing breed is celebrated all over the world. The breed actually originated in Germany as a retrieving water dog over 400 years ago. Renowned for their incredible intelligence and stylish coif, this breed makes a wonderful family dog and comes in many colours and sizes.
Portuguese Water Dog
Portuguese Water Dogs once worked as crew on fishing trips along Portugal’s coast, which makes sense considering their webbed feet and love of the water. Incredibly enthusiastic no matter what they’re doing, they make excellent family dogs because of their outgoing and friendly nature.
Their coats are made of hair, not fur, so they’re an excellent choice if anyone in your family is allergic to dog fur. However, this does mean their coats need regular grooming since they don’t shed!
The Shar-Pei is native to China’s southern provinces and the breed dates back more than 2,000 years to the Han Dynasty. Chinese farmers employed them as hunters, herders, and guardians of livestock. This medium size breed is extremely loyal to their family but can be pretty standoffish to strangers—which means early socialisation and training is essential.
Their distinctive looks also set them apart, with lots of folds of loose skin, a blue-black tongue, tiny ears, and a high-set tail.
Shelties were bred on the Shetland Islands to herd sheep, ponies, and poultry. Smart, obedient, and affectionate, these herding dogs come in a variety of hues, from black to blue merle and sable, and always look like they’re smiling. They make wonderful watchdogs since they become devoted to their family—plus they have a big bark that usually deters intruders.
Siberian Huskies stand out in the crowd with their bright eyes and beautiful coat. Originally bred in northeastern Asia by the Chukchi people, Huskies have been used as sled dogs and companions for generations. This breed is smaller than the Alaskan Malamute and tends to be social and agreeable with other dogs. They do need a fairly experienced owner though—they’re independent and good at escaping back gardens.
Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier
Bred in Ireland as versatile farm dogs, the Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier is known to be a happy and affectionate breed. Not only are they hard workers (it’s in their blood), but they’re dedicated family dogs who are content to curl up by your feet at the end of a long day.
Their soft, wavy coats do require some grooming to keep them looking sharp, but otherwise, they’re an easy-to-love breed.
Oh-so-graceful, these dogs were originally bred in Victorian England for racing and rabbit hunting. A lot like the Greyhound, but smaller, the Whippet is slim and elegant, and is able to run up to 35 miles an hour. They can make wonderful pets if you live in a flat since they love to lie around and don’t bark much—just make sure they’re exercised regularly.
Any of these medium-sized breeds would make a wonderful pet for someone who’s looking for a dog that’s not too big but not too small. We hope this list brings you one step closer to finding the perfect pup for your home.