The 7 Best Medium-Sized Dogs For First-Time Owners

dogs with woman

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and adopt a dog for the first time. Congratulations! Becoming a dog owner is thrilling and a little scary. It’s even trickier if you’re looking for a breed that is not too small or too large. In this article, we’ll talk about which medium-sized breeds are best for first-time dog owners so that you can make an informed decision.

How to Choose Your First Dog


Owning a dog is a big commitment, so you’ll want to be sure that your chosen breed is compatible with your lifestyle. If you are a physically active single adult, consider a medium-sized dog with high energy levels such as the Basenji. Families with babies or young children may prefer the exceptionally gentle Golden Retriever.

Both the Golden Retriever and Labrador also make great service dogs, so you may choose one of these breeds if you require assistance for a disability.


Many first-time owners worry about making mistakes with their dog’s food. What if you give them food that causes skin allergies? Ultimately, all dogs need to eat, and you’ll get better at food preparation as you gain more experience with your pup.

Large, highly active dogs generally need more food in each serving. So if you are concerned about the cost and hassle of buying large quantities of kibble, you should think about how big your fully-grown dog will become.


Beginners also tend to fret about how much time and money they will invest in grooming. First, you should ask yourself this question: would you rather have a dog that sheds or a dog that needs regular trimming? With most medium-sized breeds, you will have to do one or the other.

Also keep in mind that some breeds have physical features that require more maintenance. For example, if your dog’s ears are long and floppy, you will need to clean them more often to prevent infection.

dogs with person


It’s a lot of work to keep dogs healthy and happy. For this reason, first-time owners should avoid breeds that are prone to serious medical issues. For example, brachycephalic dogs such as the English Bulldog and Boston Terrier can have problems with breathing and overheating due to their shortened snouts. Other breeds are at risk for more minor issues such as skin allergies which can often be alleviated by dietary changes.

Rescue vs. Breeding

Bringing your dog home for the first time can be a scary and exciting experience. This is why many people choose to adopt their first dog from an experienced breeder who can give advice and provide a health guarantee.

However, others are committed to adopting a dog that has been abused and neglected. There is great satisfaction in adopting one of these pups and nursing it back to health. But remember that nourishing and socializing these dogs can sometimes be a huge investment of time and money, so beginners should consider their lifestyle and priorities before adopting a rescue.

Top 7 Medium-Sized Breeds for First-Time Dog Owners

Now that we understand the concerns of first-time dog owners, it’s clear that some medium-sized breeds are a perfect match for beginners. Here are our top picks.



If you want to own a medium-sized dog that will run and play outdoors with you, consider the Boxer. This breed is generally good-natured, intelligent, and athletic. They don’t shed very much and require little grooming. However, they are extremely loyal and fairly protective of their pack, so we recommend that you socialize them properly as puppies to keep their “watchdog” mentality in check.

Golden Retriever

golden retriever

The Golden Retriever one of the best mid-sized breeds available for first-time dog owners. This dog is very gentle with young children, making it an ideal breed for families. Other breeds are prone to barking and anxiety, which can be exhausting if you’ve never owned a dog before. But Golden Retrievers are calm, only barking when they sense an immediate threat. They are prone to shedding, though, so be prepared for a bit of brushing and cleaning.



Greyhounds are strikingly beautiful dogs. They don’t shed or drool much and they’ll get along well with other pups at the park. The Greyhound was bred for racing and hunting so you should consider this breed if you’re interested in energetic outdoor play. When fully grown, Greyhounds weigh between 60 and 70 pounds and can stand anywhere from 27 to 30 inches tall.



Poodles have many advantages over other breeds. Similar to the hybrid “doodles” (e.g. Labradoodle and Bernedoodle), Poodles are one of the lowest-shedding breeds available. Their coat does require some trimming and grooming, but many beginners grow to enjoy the process of styling their pup. And poodles are highly intelligent and easy to train, which can be a relief if you’ve never housebroken a dog before. If these features appeal to you, you won’t regret choosing a Poodle as your first adopted dog.

English Labrador Retriever

labrador retriever

The English Labrador Retriever receives an A+ grade for personality. Whether you’re single or married with small children, you are sure to appreciate the Labrador’s loyalty and affection. They’ll need a lot of exercise and play, so you should choose the best English Labrador food to provide protein, vitamins and minerals . Labradors have a short double coat and are known to be fairly heavy shedders, but most owners insist that their dog is worth a little extra vacuuming!



Basenjis are a little smaller than other medium-sized dogs on this list, clocking in between 22 and 24 pounds when fully grown. But we can assure you that this breed is great for first-time dog owners. Basenjis don’t drool, shed, or bark much at all. They are low-maintenance dogs that won’t demand your constant attention. Basenjis enjoy a fairly long lifespan of 13 to 14 years, so if you love them and care for them, they’ll be your best buddy for a nice long time!



Whippets are visually quite similar to Greyhounds, but they are about half the size at 25 to 40 pounds. They are smart, adaptable, and not too hard to train. The Whippet’s gentle demeanor is perfect for families with young kids. And it has a short, smooth coat that doesn’t shed excessively. Like all sighthounds, the Whippet is built for speed, so be prepared for some amused looks as your pup races around the dog park!


There are so many dog breeds available! If you’re a first-time owner, it can be difficult to find a dog that has the correct size and personality for you and your family. But as we’ve seen in this article, some medium-sized breeds are perfectly suited for beginners. We wish you the best of luck as you venture into this new and exciting world of puppy parenting.