It’s easy to look at a Great Dane and know he’s a large dog and to see a Yorkshire terrier and know she’s a small dog. But when dogs can weigh as little as 4 pounds or over 100 pounds depending on the breed, it’s not easy to define what makes a dog a medium-size breed. While there are some vague definitions of what makes a dog medium or large based solely on his weight, the distinction mostly comes down to who you ask.

Medium-sized dogs include some of the most popular breeds in the nation, says the American Kennel Club (AKC), and it’s no wonder. Medium-sized dog breeds are the Goldilocks of dogs — not too big, not too small and just right for many prospective pet parents. Learn more about these perfectly sized pooches and whether one of them might be right for you.

From tiny Toy Poodles to Great Danes, our canine companions come in all different shapes and sizes. Breed sizes range between toy, small, medium, large and giant but, as dog sizes can vary greatly even between siblings, there’s no easy way to tell your dog’s sized based only on breed. The most accurate method to determine whether your dog is small, medium, large or something in between is by checking how much they weigh.

Medium And Large Weight Distinctions

Different sources offer different definitions of what makes a breed large or medium based on weight. Royal Canine defines a medium breed dog as 24 to 55 pounds and a large dog to be over 55 pounds. According to Pet Place, medium breed dogs weigh from 35 to 65 pounds and large breeds as those over 55 pounds. On the heavy end, Hills Pet defines small dogs as 20 pounds or less, and dogs over 60 pounds Dogs weighing around 20 pounds or less are generally considered small, and any breed over 60 pounds is usually considered a large dog.

Ask individual dog owners and their definitions will probably vary just as much as the experts, but generally speaking, dogs who weigh 35 to 55 pounds are considered medium-size, and dogs over 60 pounds are considered large by most people. Dogs who weigh 25 to 35 pounds may be called small or medium, and dogs from 55 to 60 pounds are considered medium or large depending on who you ask.

Medium Dog Characteristics

Medium dogs are the most popular breeds in America due both to the sheer number of breeds that fall into this weight range and due to the benefits associated with their breed size. While small breeds are often considered fearful and large breeds are prone to many health problems; medium breeds tend to be more physically and mentally healthy. A large number of medium dogs were bred to be herders or hunters, which means that while they may need less space to live based on their size, they still can be high energy and may need lots of walks.

Examples of medium dog breeds can include the American Staffordshire terrier, the Australian shepherd, the basset hound, the beagle, the boxer, and the whippet.

Large Dog Characteristics

By their nature, large dogs need more space to walk and run. Although they need to be walked regularly to burn off energy, a downside of large dogs is that some people are simply not strong enough to hold back a dog that can weigh over 55 pounds. As a result, large dogs should receive a lot of obedience training while they are puppies, so they learn not to pull when they reach their full size. While many of these dogs look imposing, they are often gentle giants and lovable family pets.

Small, Toy And Miniature Breeds

If your dog weighs between 1kg and 10kg, they will fall into this category and require a food specially formulated for small, toy and miniature breeds to satisfy their high energy levels, dental needs and skin and coat health. Because they mostly live indoors, smaller breeds can be prone to skin irritation and weight gain. Popular smaller breeds include Chihuahuas, Toy Poodles, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Dachshunds and Miniature Schnauzers.

Medium Breeds

Medium-sized dogs usually weigh from 11kg to 26kg and common breeds include Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Australian Cattle Dogs, Border Collies and British Bulldogs. Many medium-sized dogs have high energy levels but are now living more sedentary lives, so they require a healthy diet specially formulated for their size as well as regular exercise in order to maintain a healthy weight.

Large Breeds

Bigger breeds such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers and Rhodesian Ridgebacks are great favourites in Australia, and usually weigh between 26kg and 44kg. Because of their increased size, slower metabolisms and high exercise requirements, large breed dogs require foods specially formulated to promote bone, joint and digestive health.

Giant Breeds

These gentle giants include all dogs that weigh 45kg or more. Giant breeds such as Great Danes, Bullmastiffs, Newfoundlands and Dogues de Bordeaux require foods that are high quality and easy to digest to prevent upset stomach and smelly waste, while attention to their bone and joint health is also required. Typically, these breeds take between 18 and 24 months to reach adulthood and grow very rapidly in the first five months, meaning they need a diet rich in energy and nutrients to optimise growth at this important early stage.

Which Dogs Are Considered Large Breed?

In order to easily tell the difference between breed sizes, dog breeders actually have a whole dog sizing system. Per this measurement method, a dog has to weigh at least 50 pounds (sometimes 70 pounds) and have a height of around 24 inches to be considered a large-breed dog.

How Big Are Medium-Sized Dogs?

Dogs weighing around 30 pounds (14 kg) or less are generally considered small dogs and any breed over 55 pounds (25 kg) is usually considered a large dog. This means that medium dogs span a wide range of body weights. To make it easier to define exactly what size dog you’re looking for

Benefits of Medium-Sized Dogs

Medium dogs include a wide range of breeds from just about every AKC-recognized group except the Toy group, which includes all breeds under 10 pounds (4.5 kg). While their temperaments and traits are as varied as their sizes, medium-sized dog breeds in general come with a number of benefits.

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