Expert Insights on Choosing The Right Dog Size


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Looking to adopt a canine companion? Are you a fan of small sized dogs? Perhaps you’re more in to medium dog breeds or big dogs? Before you run out and find the first dog that falls in your lap, consider the size of dog that will fit into your family and lifestyle.

Dog size

How do I choose the right size dog?

There are many factors to consider when choosing the size of dog to get. You want it to fit into your family and lifestyle. If you live in an apartment, you want to make sure the dog isn’t too large and active to be a good fit. So before running out to adopt the first dog you fall in love with, take time to consider these things.


Are you single, married, or have children? Even if you don’t have children, do frequent visitors have children?

Often small sized dogs like Yorkies and Dachshunds aren’t always good with children and tend to be nippy. Medium to large breeds like Beagles, Labradors, or Boxers works better for active children.

DACHSHUND - Small Sized Dogs	small to medium dog breeds ; small to medium sized dogs ; small to medium size dog, medium dog breeds, big dogs, Dog Size

Veterinary consultant, Claudine Sievert, highly recommends Boxers and Labradors out of medium to large size dogs because both of these breeds are incredibly patient and will happily play all day.

Living Space

When considering the size of dog you want, you’ll want to think of your living space and the size of your yard.

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If you live in an apartment or the city, a Boxer might not be a good choice because they have a lot of energy and may become bored. A bored dog is a destructive dog.

Small to medium sized dogs are great if you live in an apartment.

Some calm big dog breeds such as Afghan Hound, Clumber Spaniels, Shar Peis are also great for apartment living.

Boxer Large Dog Breeds


This one may not be as easy as you think. No matter what a breed’s reputation, each dog will have their personality. Smaller doesn’t always mean more laid back, and larger doesn’t always mean harder to deal with.

The best thing you can do is visit with different dogs, ask to take them on a walk, and play with them until you find the right one for you.

Puppy vs. Full-grown

Often, when you ask someone if they want a puppy or grown dog, they’ll instantly say puppy before considering how much more work they are.

French Bulldog - Best Medium Sized Dogs - Medium Dog Breeds

A puppy is super cute but isn’t trained. If you don’t have the time or patience to train a dog, it may be best to get an adult dog, or at least one that’s at least potty trained. Rescues often have behavioral training and can let you know how trained a dog is before meeting them.

Exercise and Activity Level

Small to medium dog breeds like Dachshunds, Beagles, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel require a lot of exercise. They get bored easily and may develop bad habits such as digging or barking without enough mental stimulation.

Medium Dog Breeds for seniors - beagle - Medium Sized Dogs

Larger dogs like Boxers require less exercise but more play time. They get all the exercise they need chasing you around the yard, but they still love to play catch and tug-of-war just as much as a smaller dog does.

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Other Considerations When

With size comes consideration of several things including

  • cost of feeding
  • cost of medications
  • veterinary care

What Are the Different Dog Sizes?

Let’s look at the three main size categories – small or toy dog breeds, medium sized dogs, and large dog breeds.

Small Sized Dogs

They weigh up to 30 pounds.

Some examples of small sized dog breeds include Yorkshire Terrier, Pomerian, Maltese, Boston Terrier, Beagle, Cocker Spaniel.

Medium Sized Dogs

They weigh between 30 to 60 pounds.

Some examples of medium sized dog breeds include Boxer, Basset Hound, Bulldog, Border Collie, German Shepherd.

Large Dog Breeds

They weigh more than 60 pound.

Some examples of large sized dog breeds include Great Dane, Doberman Pinscher, Saint Bernard and Irish Wolfhound.

Thinking of the size of a dog is an important consideration when choosing a new canine friend to bring home.

  • Small to medium sized dogs often need more prophylactic dental cleanings.
  • Large dog breeds need more space, are more expensive to feed, cost more in terms of medications simply because of dose size.
  • Big dogs are also more likely to injure people, whether on purpose or accident. Big dog breeds can jump on people and knock them over. They can pull people down when they are trying to leash-walk them.
  • Large dog breeds do tend to live shorter lives as well, a realization that some owners may struggle with when choosing a companion.


Claudine Sievert, DVM | Veterinary Consultant at CatPet.Club

Justin Padgett, DVM | Associate Veterinarian at Branchville Animal Hospital

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