These 12 Medium-Size Dogs Might Be Perfect for You, Says a Dog Trainer

a woman snuggling with two puppies
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If you're thinking about bringing home a midsized dog, let us suggest this appropriate name: Goldilocks. "They aren't too big, and they aren't too small; they're just right," says Nicole Ellis, resident dog trainer and celebrity dog expert at Rover.

Meet the Expert

Nicole Ellis, is the resident dog trainer and celebrity dog expert at Rover. Nicole is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), American Kennel Club CGC evaluator and APDT trainer. She believes with love and positive reinforcement we can train any dog.

Ellis knows, of course, that any dog you choose will be just right for you, especially if you take the necessary steps to weigh all of your options. Ellis says that some things to consider include how often you travel, whether you have kids, your apartment's rules for pets, your budget for dog food and health issues, and how active you like to be.

In most of these cases, midsize dogs are the best bet. Large dogs are harder to fly with, and some small dogs are tricky around children. Furthermore, large dogs eat more food and shed more, while smaller dogs can wiggle their way into dangerous spaces. As for exercise? "Medium-size dogs have more endurance than smaller dogs, so if you want a workout buddy, you may want to start with the medium dogs instead of the small ones," she continues.

While this comparison game can stretch on much further than the above outline, we'll keep our tips on a tight leash. We asked Ellis to recommend the 12 best-midsized dogs for most homes so that you can get a general idea of how these potential family members can fit into your routine.

Medium-size dogs have more endurance than smaller dogs, so if you want a workout buddy, you may want to start with the medium dogs instead of the small ones.

"Medium-sized pups are a great middle-ground between huge and small dogs, and by getting a mixed breed you can have the best of multiple breeds, too," she says. "Be sure to do more research on the breed you're interested in to see that it's a fit for you and your household."

For the best medium-sized dog for your home, consider:


Medium Dog Breeds—Poodle
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"A medium-sized poodle doesn't shed and is extremely intelligent, making them fun and easy to train," she says. "They also love joining in on adventures and are a great family dog."

Shetland Sheepdog

Medium Dog Breeds—Shetland Sheepdog
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"Popular from Lassie movies, these dogs make excellent family dogs," Ellis says. "They're very smart, and have enough energy to keep everyone satisfied—from hiking to fetching."

Labrador Retriever

Medium Dog Breeds—Lab Retriever
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"Labs are considered a medium-sized dog, and they're the most popular dog breed in the U.S., according to the American Kennel Club," she says. "Labs are goofy but adaptable, all-around great dogs. They are smart and hard-working but love to play and make everyone laugh."

Wheaten Terriers

Medium Dog Breeds—Weaten Terriers
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"Wheaten terriers are one of my favorite breeds," Ellis says. "These independent dogs are usually quite quiet pups, but they also love to keep a watch over the house. They are affectionate and charming pets—not to mention, unique and adorable."

Welsh Corgi

Medium Dog Breeds—Corgi
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"These pups are very energetic and friendly," Ellis notes. "They love to give their all and succeed in whatever they try, from agility to scent work to therapy work."

Bearded Collies

Medium Dog Breeds—Bearded Collies
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"Bearded collies do require brushing and grooming, but they make up for it with all the fun you'll have," Ellis adds. "These pups are athletic and happy to join in on any family adventures, or stay home relaxing with the kids."


Medium Dog Breeds—Bulldog
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"You won't be running a marathon with a bulldog, but if you're looking for a dog to relax with and bring some character to your house, then a bulldog is a great fit," she says. "They are loyal, determined, courageous, and funny!"

English Springer Spaniels

Medium Dog Breeds—Spaniels
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"These dogs make great family dogs and often love children," she says. "They are very intelligent, too, which makes training fun and easy for everyone. Lastly, these spaniels are playful but big enough to be able to get down with a good game of chase or tug."

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Medium Dog Breeds—Nova Scotia Dutch Retreiver
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"I have a lot of friends who have these dogs and they love them," she continues. "They are smaller than most retrievers and have a crazy 'roller' yell, but they are loyal, hard-working, and lovely family dogs that love to swim and play."

Portuguese Water Dogs

Medium Dog Breeds—Water Dogs
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"Often mistaken for poodles, these curly, fluffy pups are a great addition to any family," she says. "They like to be included in any activity, and they're hypoallergenic."

Cocker Spaniel

Medium Dog Breeds—Cocker Spaniel
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"Cocker spaniels are known to be loving and sweet dogs," Ellis says. "While they are an active breed, they don't mind settling down and relaxing with kids, family members, or other animals."

English Foxhound

Medium Dog Breeds—English Foxhound
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"This dog isn't for everyone, but it's perfect for the active person who wants a companion," she says. "They have high stamina, so they love hiking and running, which is what they were originally bred to do. They make a great partner to hit the trails with."

For more midsize dogs, consider:

American Foxhound

Woman and child on bed, playing with American Foxhound.
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These low-maintenance furry friends are great with kids, though they can be tough to train.

Australian Cattle

Australian Cattle Dog.
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They may be compact, but they’re all muscle; they’re curious, good-natured and wicked smart too.

Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd Dog on picnic table.
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Spirited, lean, and super active… and who wouldn't adore those striking eyes?


Basenji dog on beach.
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These graceful, barkless dogs are charming to the point of mischievous and require diligent owners.


a Beagle with it's head out of a car window.
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Friendly and loving, this easygoing breed makes a comforting companion, yet needs plenty of exercise.

Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois
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Smart and eager, this loyal dog wants a lot to do to stay happy.

Bichon Frisé

Bichon Frisé on grass
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These make happy and curious pups; they’re both playful and peppy.

Border Collie

a Border Collie romps through field of yellow flowers
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One of the most talented and hardworking dogs, they’re known for their intelligence and are often tapped as search and rescue dogs.


a Boxer dog running
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These handsome dogs are playful, yet take watchdogging seriously.


Portrait of Brittany dog
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Sporty and agile, they’ve got energy inside the home and out. 

Bull Terrier

Bull Terrier chases ball on gravel
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Their affinity for kids and naturally spirited nature means they can match older children’s energy.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Portrait of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
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The epitome of a people person, they will gladly join you on your hike or lay around for a Netflix binge. 


Dachshund with tennis ball
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Doxies, as they're known, have no shortage of spunk. They’re brave, vivacious, and curious.


Dalmation on its back on grass
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These spotted friends are smart and outgoing, however, they can be a bit nervous. Just remember to reward good behavior and provide lots of socialization.

French Bulldog

French Bulldog on couch
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Lavish attention on this playful and smart dog breed; they’re known to entertain everyone around.


Keeshond plays with ball.
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Fluffy, amiable, and outgoing describe this Dutch breed best.

Italian Greyhound

Three Italian Greyhounds stand in the grass
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Graceful and swift, this breed is easy to train and laps up affection.


Family gathers around Pinscher to take a selfie
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Exuberant and smart, confident and up for anything.


Portrait of a Rottweiler outside
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They tend to get a bad rap, but this smart dog breed, when properly trained is gentle and protective.

Standard Schnauzer

Portrait of a black Standard Schnauzer sitting on green grass in a park.
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Bold and fearless and unwaveringly reliable.

Scottish Terrier

Black Scottish Terrier in a meadow
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Best for owners who want to be the center of attention and reciprocate affections.

Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu dog lounges on concrete wall in urban setting
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This ancient Japanese breed feels confident at home in both urban and rural environments.


Shar-Pei runs near canal water.
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A more challenging breed, they can be more reserved around strangers, yet are generally low-key and loyal.

Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky stands in river, its coat freshly wet, its tongue hanging out.
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These sled dogs love family life, are personable, trusting, and need lots of exercise.

Tibetan Terrier

a Tibetan Terrier running on grass
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These long-haired friends are sensitive and affectionate, yet clever.


a Vizsla standing near lake
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Originally tapped for long days in the field, these dogs are loyal and energetic, meaning they make great jogging or biking buddies.


a Weimaraner running mid-air with ball in mouth.
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Germany’s “Gray Ghost,” these dogs are obedient, like lots of exercise and quality time with their humans.


Whippet puppy laying in the grass
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These gentle dogs are quick on their feet when they have something to chase. In between bursts of energy, they are the epitome of chill.

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