AKC’s Top Dog: Labrador Retriever Reigns, But These 8 Medium Breeds Are Pawsome Too

Are you looking for a canine companion that’s not too big, not too small, but just right? Then look no further than medium dog breeds! These versatile pooches offer the perfect balance of size and personality, making them a popular choice for many dog lovers.

In fact, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC)1, the Labrador Retriever, a quintessential medium-sized breed, has topped the list of most popular dog breeds in the United States for the 32nd consecutive year in 2023.

While the Labrador Retriever is undoubtedly a beloved choice, there are many other popular medium-sized breeds that offer unique characteristics and traits to suit various lifestyles and preferences.

What Defines a Medium Dog Breed?

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Medium dog breeds typically weigh between 35 to 65 pounds (ref) and stand under 27 inches tall at the shoulder when fully grown. It’s not a hard and fast rule though— there can be some variation within this range, with breeds further categorized as medium-small, medium-medium, or medium-large.

1. Labrador Retriever

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America’s favorite dog breed, the friendly and outgoing Labrador Retriever is a classic medium-sized breed known for its trainability and versatility. 

Labs are intelligent, eager to please, and make wonderful family pets. They have a short, dense coat that comes in three colors: black, yellow, and chocolate.

2. Australian Shepherd

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Intelligent, energetic, and loyal, the Australian Shepherd is a herding breed that thrives on mental and physical stimulation. 

Aussies are highly trainable and excel in various dog sports and activities. They have a medium-length double coat that can be straight or wavy and comes in a variety of colors and patterns, including blue merle, red merle, black, and red.

3. Border Collie

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Another herding breed, the Border Collie is often considered the smartest of all dog breeds and excels in obedience and agility. Border Collies are extremely driven, loyal, and hard-working. They have a medium-length double coat that can be rough or smooth and comes in a variety of colors and patterns, including black and white, red and white, and blue merle.

4. Brittany

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Compact and athletic, the Brittany is a sporting breed that loves to run and play, making it a great choice for active families. 

Brittanys are friendly, intelligent, and easy to train. They have a medium-length, dense coat that is either flat or wavy and comes in combinations of white and orange, liver, or roan.

5. Bulldog

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With its distinctive wrinkled face and gentle demeanor, the Bulldog is a medium-sized breed that’s known for its calm and affectionate nature. Bulldogs are loyal, courageous, and make great family pets. They have a short, smooth coat that comes in a variety of colors, including brindle, fawn, and white.

6. Cocker Spaniel

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The Cocker Spaniel is a small to medium-sized breed with a beautiful coat and a friendly, outgoing personality. Cocker Spaniels are intelligent, playful, and make great companions. They have a medium-length, silky coat that requires regular grooming and comes in a variety of colors, including black, buff, and parti-color.

7. Poodle (Standard)

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The Standard Poodle is a highly intelligent and elegant breed that’s known for its hypoallergenic coat and trainability. Poodles are active, athletic, and excel in various dog sports. They have a curly, dense coat that requires regular grooming and comes in a variety of solid colors, including black, white, and apricot.

8. Vizsla

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Athletic and affectionate, the Vizsla is a versatile hunting breed that loves to be active and close to its family. Vizslas are intelligent, trainable, and make great companions. They have a short, smooth coat that is a solid golden rust color.

Where Are Medium Sized Dogs Best Suited For?

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Medium dog breeds can be suitable for a variety of living situations, including apartments, houses with yards, and urban or rural environments. However, it’s important to consider the specific needs of the breed you are interested in, as some may require more exercise or mental stimulation than others.

Medium dog breeds also offer several benefits that make them an excellent choice for many pet owners. Some of these benefits include:

  • Adaptability: Medium dog breeds are often adaptable and can do well in various living situations, as long as they are given exercise opportunities.
  • Lifespan: The lifespan of medium dogs is generally pretty long, although it does vary from breed to breed.
  • Good with Children: Most medium breeds are good with children and make great family dogs.
  • Moderate Exercise: With some exceptions, medium dogs require moderate exercise which is easily attainable for most families.
  • Less Fragile: Medium dogs are less fragile than many small dog breeds, which makes it easier for them to withstand child play.

Finding Your Perfect Medium Dog Breed

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From the friendly and outgoing Labrador Retriever to the intelligent and energetic Border Collie, there is a dog breed to suit every lifestyle and preference. By considering the benefits of owning a medium dog breed and researching related topics, potential pet owners can make an informed decision about which breed is right for them.


  1. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/news/most-popular-dog-breeds-2023/
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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.