Top 10 Medium-sized Dogs In Australia
Intelligent, energetic, fun-loving, gentle and loyal, these medium-sized dogs are some of Australia’s favourite companion animals. Most of us have grown up with a medium-sized dog, either as a part of our own family or the one simply known as the ‘dog next door’.
Medium dog breeds typically weigh between 10 and 20 kg and are the perfect pet for active people living in a house with an average sized back yard. If you live in an apartment or haven’t owned a medium size breed before, be sure to consider the amount of daily exercise you are able to provide and your access to parks where the dog can run and play.
There are some fantastic medium breeds that have been popular companions for individuals and families over many generations, and many of these are just as desirable now as ever. Border Collies, Cocker Spaniels and Beagles have long been on the list of top medium dog breeds, while a more recent arrival, the small to medium size designer Cavoodle, has jumped right up to the number 1 position.
Here are the most popular medium dog breeds in Australia at present, listed in no particular order, along with a brief description of each. Perhaps you’ll find your next best friend on the list…
Gentle and loyal
A hunting dog with a small stature and a very keen sense of smell, the Beagle was traditionally employed to track game like rabbits and deer, and is utilised today by security and police services to sniff out contraband. Known as the even-tempered dog, their loyalty and reliability have also made them a popular choice as companion dogs for families with small children as well as the elderly.
Beagles are famously passive and gentle animals, at times almost docile and lethargic in their nature. They need a generous amount of human contact to remain happy. Undemanding when it comes to exercise, it’s a good idea to walk them as often as possible – once or twice a day is great with the odd longer walk or run. The breed is prone to weight problems if not given enough exercise. Being a hound, the beagle is prone to howling when left alone and can suffer from separation anxiety.
Beagles are clever dogs but they can be distracted easily. Their superior nose can often lead them astray when not supervised and their single-mindedness can make them difficult to train. They are eager to please their owners, however, and food-reward style training often proves to be the best route.
Beagles are generally sized between 33 and 41 cm and weigh between 8 and 14 kg. A happy and healthy Beagle will usually live to between 12 and 15 years of age.
Intelligent and affectionate
The Cavoodle (a.k.a Cavapoo), a cross breed of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Poodle, is the most popular small to medium designer breed in Australia. Cavoodles usually have soft, wavy or curly coats which tend to shed a little since Poodles do not shed but Cavaliers do. Cavoodle puppies come in a variety of colours, and as it is not a standardised breed, no two puppies look the same.
The Cavoodle temperament combines the best traits from the Cavalier and the Poodle to create an intelligent, affectionate, playful and eager-to-please family companion. They are highly trainable, obedient and are very easy to teach. They thrive on the company of their family and other household pets, and do not like to be left alone.
As a mix between Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Poodle parents, you can expect Cavoodles to be small to medium, depending on the size of the Poodle parent. Generally, they stand at 30 – 35 cm tall and weigh between 5 and 12 kg, although many are smaller or larger. Their lifespan is around 10 to 14 years.
3. Australian Cattle Dog
Energetic and intelligent
Also known as Blue Heelers and Red Heelers, Australian Cattle dogs are sturdy, medium-sized dogs have been used as working dogs on farms and cattle stations across the Australian outback. As the names Blue and Red Heeler suggest, they come in a variety of colours including black, red, chocolate and blue/grey.
Intelligent dogs who are easy to train, Australian Cattle dogs were bred to work, which means that they can become easily bored and destructive if they are not given an appropriate outlet for their energy. They make good companion dogs for active families who are committed to regularly exercising their dog through long walks or runs and/or by taking part in dog sports such as agility, flyball and herding trials (they have a strong herding instinct and will often herd young children during play!). Regular exercise, mental stimulation and training will usually result in a well-balanced dog.
The male Australian Cattle dog stands between 43 and 51 cm and females stand between 43 and 48 cm and usually weighs around 18 to 22 kg. The average lifespan of a Blue Heeler is 12 to 15 years.
4. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Obedient and loyal
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, affectionately known as the ‘Staffy’, is one of Australia’s most popular medium-sized breeds, and when trained properly, it has proven to be a loving, playful and personable companion pet. They are energetic, enthusiastic dogs that require a good deal of exercise and human attention.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier shares its lineage with the Pit Bull and both of these breeds are renowned for their aggressive and highly loyal characteristics. Firm but fair obedience training and early socialisation are a necessity. Staffies that have been raised in a good environment and have been well trained have largely been very suitable family pets that are loving, playful and great with kids.
The average Staffordshire Bull Terrier will measure between 35 to 40cm and a healthy dog should weigh between 13 and 17kgs. They live to between 10 and 15 years of age.
5. Border Collie
Active and intelligent
The Border Collie is one of the world’s most intelligent – some would say they top the list – and most popular dog breeds. Originally developed as a herding dog, the Border Collie is a medium size working dog with tireless energy, and consequently it needs ample exercise. This makes the breed a perfect working dog and favourite of farmers who need a trusted, helpful and loyal farmhand.
Despite their reputation as devoted, loyal and affectionate family dogs, with their active minds and natures they aren’t suited to every lifestyle. They will thrive when they have a job to do, even if it’s chasing after a ball or extracting food from an interactive dog toy. If not exercised enough, or if left alone too long, they may become bored and destructive.
Border Collies have thick, double coats which vary from smooth to rough and they come in a variety of colours with black and white being the most popular. They require regular brushing or combing to keep a gleaming, healthy coat, and should only be bathed when necessary. Border Collies are average shedders.
Healthy males usually weigh between 14 and 20 kg and stand around 48 – 56 cm tall. Females are usually 12-19 kg and stand at 46 – 53 cm tall.
The average lifespan of a Border Collie is about 12 years, but many live longer than 16 years. In fact, the fourth longest-living dog was a Border Collie.
6. English Bulldog
Affectionate and tolerant
The modern English (or British) Bulldog is worlds apart from the fighting dog it was originally. The English Bulldog we all know today has been selectively bred over a few hundred years to serve as a companion animal. Although to some the Bulldog can appear intimidating, the breed has developed a great reputation for gentle play with children and tolerance for other household pets.
The English Bulldog has fast become a popular family pet and their gentle but protective nature means that they are very personable and loyal family members. The breed requires a great deal of human contact and will show high levels of affection to their owners. If provoked or threatened by a stranger, the English Bulldog will bravely stand its ground and protect loved ones with determination.
The average English Bulldog will grow to between 31 and 40 tall and should weigh in the vicinity of 24 to 25kgs. A healthy and happy English Bulldog will live to between the age of 7to 12 years.
7. Cocker Spaniel
Active and intelligent
The Cocker Spaniel is renowned as a happy, friendly breed that makes an excellent pet. Intelligent and curious, they are a hunting dog who love exercise and will take as much as you can give them. Usually a daily walk and a couple of hours of playtime are sufficient.
Cocker Spaniels have a long, silky coat which is usually straight or slightly wavy, and their legs, chest and belly are covered in longer hair called “feathering”. They do require a lot of grooming and are average shedders. Their coats are either a solid colour (usually black, light cream, red or brown) or multi-coloured (one of the previously mentioned colours mixed with white).
The average weight of the Cocker Spaniel is between 7 and 14 kg, with males standing at 38 cm tall and females at 36 cm. The American Cocker Spaniel tends to be smaller than its English cousin, with a shorter back, shorter muzzle and a domed head.
8. Shetland Sheepdog
Energetic and loyal
The Shetland Sheepdog is an extremely intelligent and highly energetic working dog with a thick, long-haired coat that comes in a variety of colours, including blue merle, sable and tri-colour. This breed is a popular choice for active families with plenty of space for running and exploring. Their working dog heritage means that they will need to run about to deal with their high levels of energy. They love going on long walks, playing fetch and accomplishing just about any task you can set for them.
A loyal, people-orientated dog, the Shetland Sheepdog needs consistent human contact. It requires a dedicated family that will provide continued mental and physical stimulation throughout the dog’s life. If left alone for any extended period of time, the breed tends to develop separation anxiety. Shetland Sheepdogs are generally very patient and good with children; however, their excitability may prove too much to handle for younger children.
On the smaller side of the medium range, the average Shetland Sheepdog will grow to between 33 and 41cm tall and a healthy example should weigh somewhere between 8 and 12kgs. Shetland Sheepdogs will generally live to the age of 12 or 13 years.
9. American Staffy
Intelligent and social
The American Staffy, American Staffordshire Terrier or Amstaff for short, is a bold, intelligent and highly loyal dog with a short silky coat. The breed is very muscular, solid and strong for its size, is highly energetic and enjoys regular exercise.
Confident, courageous, affectionate and outgoing, the American Staffy is a popular choice for families who likes to include their pets in their daily activities. They require consistent training and are best suited to a seasoned dog owner who’ll be comfortable socialising them early.
Although to some, American Staffys have an intimidating appearance, selective breeding has developed their temperament to be friendly and patient with children. A loyal and persistent breed, the American Staffy will courageously protect its owner if threatened and ward off any danger.
The average American Staffy measures between 43 to 56 cm and weighs between 25 and 30 kg. A healthy and well-exercised American Staffy has a lifespan of 10 and 15 years.
Enthusiastic and active
The Australian Kelpie is a medium-sized dog known for its boundless energy, enthusiasm and work ethic. Originally bred for droving and mustering livestock over vast areas of Australia, they are athletic and hardworking dogs. Like all dogs originally bred to work, the Kelpie has inexhaustible energy and needs frequent, vigorous exercise – a long walk or jog for an hour or two at least once a day – though sometimes even this isn’t enough to tire them out! They love dog sports such as obedience, agility and flyball training, which keep their minds and bodies active.
A highly intelligent and independent breed, the Kelpie is fast learner but can be somewhat challenging to train and manage. Be warned that a bored Kelpie can develop behavioural problems, so its important to keep them well occupied. Because they need consistent, daily physical and mental stimulation to be happy, they are not recommended for inactive families or for first-time dog owners. Their strong prey drive means they are likely to chase after everything that moves.
Australian Kelpies have compact bodies with a broad chest, muscular lower body, and a medium-length, low-set tail. They have a double coat made up of a short, dense undercoat covered by a hard, straight, weather-resistant overcoat. They come in a few different colours and patterns, the most common being black and red, with or without tan/fawn, chocolate and blue.
The average Kelpie stands between 43 and 51 cm tall and weighs around 14 – 20 kg and their lifespan is about 11 – 15 years.
If you’re interested in looking at some other medium-sized dog breeds, visit our complete list of medium-sized dog breeds available in Australia.