Medium dog breeds that make perfect pets

Want to give a dog it's forever home? Our guide to medium dog breeds might just come in handy.

medium dog breeds: border collie
(Image credit: Getty)

Proof that the middle ground is often the best place to be, these medium dog breeds make great pets.

Bigger than a lap dog, but not so large that you need a huge home to make space for them, these medium dog breeds are likely to tick all your boxes. They tend to live longer than larger dog breeds too, meaning more years with your precious pet. 

Although they might all be similar in size, their needs, temperament and trainability vary wildly from breed to breed - so do your research first to check your new furry friend will fit with your lifestyle and home. 

As with all pedigree pooches, some of these medium dog breeds do have associated health conditions, so seek expert advice before buying a new puppy. It almost goes without saying, but ensure you’re using a reputable breeder too. If you’re adopting a dog, the animal shelter or charity should be able to provide you with their medical history. 

Beagle

beagle

(Image credit: Getty)
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years
  • How much exercise do they need? 1 hour per day
  • Coat length: Short 

Beagles love to be around people, making them the perfect choice for active households. They’re really adaptable too, and can live in cities or the countryside as long as they’re getting enough exercise. 

Cocker Spaniel

cocker spaniel

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  • Life expectancy: 10-14 years
  • How much exercise do they need? 1 hour per day
  • Coat length: Medium

A lively and loveable breed that make much-adored family pets, Cocker Spaniels do well with plenty of exercise and attention. They’re clever dogs and are keen to learn, which makes training that bit easier. 

Whippet

whippet

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  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years
  • How much exercise do they need? 1 hour per day
  • Coat length: Short 

A smaller version of a Greyhound, Whippet’s also require a good amount of exercise before happily enjoying long nap times. They’re fast, agile and good at digging, so a fenced-in garden is a must. 

Basenji 

basenji

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  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years
  • How much exercise do they need? 1 hour per day
  • Coat length: Short 

Originally bred for hunting, Basenji’s are loyal dogs that need plenty of exercise and stimulation to keep them happy. Unlike other breeds, they don’t bark - instead omitting a yodelling sound when they want something.  

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

staffordshire bull terrier

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  • Life expectancy: 12-14 years
  • How much exercise do they need? 1 hour per day
  • Coat length: Short

Solid and stocky, Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s tough exterior has gained them an unfair reputation, but on the most part they're loveable, cuddly dogs that are eager to please. Just make sure they get plenty of exercise and company to keep them out of trouble - they’re known furniture nibblers. 

Basset Hound

basset hound

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  • Life expectancy: 12 years
  • How much exercise do they need? 1 hour per day
  • Coat length: Short 

Gentle yet social, Basset Hounds thrive on contact, so are well suited to a busy home where there is always someone around. Their kind nature means they get on well with children. 

Chow Chow

chow chow

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  • Life expectancy: 9-15 years
  • How much exercise do they need? 1 hour per day
  • Coat length: Medium

Easy to spot thanks to their mane-like fur, Chow Chow’s are loyal and loving dogs. They can be stubborn though, which makes training a little trickier. There are potential health problems with the breed, so seek advice from The Kennel Club before adopting or taking on a puppy. 

Labrador

labrador

(Image credit: Getty)
  • Life expectancy: 12 years
  • How much exercise do they need? 2 hours per day
  • Coat length: Short 

Labradors are notoriously patient and loving dogs, making them well suited to families with children and other pets. Thanks to their obedient nature, training should be relatively easy. They do tend to have problems with their hips and weight, so make sure you have considered these factors. 

Golden Retriever

golden retriever

(Image credit: Getty)
  • Life expectancy: 11-12 years
  • How much exercise do they need? 2 hours per day
  • Coat length: Medium

Big bundles of energy, golden retrievers require lots of walkies and playtime - perfect for active families. They’re easy to train too.

English Bulldog

english bulldog

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  • Life expectancy: 8-10 years
  • How much exercise do they need? 1 hour per day
  • Coat length: Short 

Gentle giants, English Bulldogs are known for their affectionate nature. Unfortunately, their flat faces can cause health complications, so do your research before taking one home.

Border Collie 

border collie

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  • Life expectancy: 12 years
  • How much exercise do they need? 2 hours per day
  • Coat length: Medium

Intelligent dogs that need plenty of exercise, playtime and stimulation to keep them happy, Border Collies were originally bred for herding. They’re still used on working farms today. 

Welsh Corgi

welsh corgi

(Image credit: Getty)
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years
  • How much exercise do they need? 1 hour per day
  • Coat length: Short 

A favourite of none other than the Queen, Corgi’s were originally bred for herding. They’re gentle dogs, and easy to please. Try to socialise with children at an early age if possible. 

Tibetan Terrier

tibetan terrier

(Image credit: Getty)
  • Life expectancy: 15-16 years
  • How much exercise do they need? 1 hour per day
  • Coat length: Long

Social and friendly dogs, Tibetan Terriers make good family pets. That being said, they can be a little stubborn, so training will take plenty of patience and treats. 

Cockapoo

cockapoo

(Image credit: Getty)
  • Life expectancy: 13-15 years
  • How much exercise do they need: 1 hour per day
  • Coat length: Medium

A mix between a poodle and a cocker spaniel, Cockapoos are easy to train and good natured. Their curly coats will need regular grooming, but shed very little, making them a good choice for allergy sufferers. 

Jess Beech

Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is currently Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC. 


She caught the magazine bug during a stint as Fashion Editor of her university newspaper alongside her English degree, and hasn’t looked back since. As for the fashion bug, that came as part and parcel of growing up in the 90s, but the less said about that the better!


Jess’ average day in the office is spent researching the latest fashion trends, chatting to industry tastemakers and scouring the internet to bring you this season’s must-buy pieces - as well as advice on how to wear them. Weekends are equally fashion-focused, and Jess has been known to visit no less than five Zara stores in a single day in search of the perfect occasion dress. 


The only thing that comes close to a buzz of finally tracking down that much-coveted dress is the joy of discovering a new beauty wonder product or hero ingredient. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.