Choosing your first dog is an important decision requiring planning and research. The dog you choose will be with you for an average of 10 to 15 years. Take into account your lifestyle, the size of your family, where you live and your level of activity. Research the breeds that fit your needs according to their characteristics and temperament. Medium-size breeds range from 30 to 65 pounds and range up to 2 feet tall.
The Pembroke Welsh corgi is a popular family dog, ranking in the top 25 of American Kennel Club registrations. The AKC describes the Pembroke as friendly and easy to train. These dogs do well on the farm or in the house as long as they receive daily exercise. They are devoted to their families and good with children although, as herding dogs, they may try to round them up for you. The Corgi is a sturdy dog who enjoys canine sports but also loves to snuggle. The breed stands 10 to 12 inches tall and weighs about 30 pounds.
Golden retrievers are family favorites and good first-time pets. The golden's moderate size and happy temperament makes him a good candidate for most living environments. Goldens are affectionate dogs who love children and get along well with other pets. The golden requires daily exercise and regular brushing. A full-grown golden is 21 to 24 inches tall and weighs 55 to 75 pounds.
A dog on the lower end of the medium range, the cocker spaniel is a top choice for families, according to Animal Planet. Cockers' happy temperament makes them energetic and eager to please. They adapt well to smaller living spaces. Cocker spaniels love children and their petite stature makes them excellent playmates for younger ones. Cocker spaniels require regular bathing and brushing, as well as professional grooming and trimming to keep their coats healthy. They are energetic dogs who benefit from daily exercise. Cockers weigh about 30 pounds and stand 13 to 16 inches tall at the shoulder. (See Ref 3)
English springer spaniels offer the happy, affectionate temperament of the cocker in a larger package. Springers weigh from 40 to 50 pounds and stand 19 to 20 inches tall. They are wonderful family pets who love children and live to please their owners, according to Good Housekeeping. Easily trainable, these dogs enjoy being active and make good companions for outdoor activities. Springers need daily exercise and room to run. Their coat needs regular brushing and professional trimming several times a year.
Whippets' loyal and affectionate temperament makes them good first-time pets, according to Animal Planet. Often mistaken for miniature greyhounds, this breed thrives in apartment living and a quiet lifestyle. Their short coat does well in temperate climates and indoor living; they tend to chill easily. Animal Planet names Brittany spaniels as loyal and devoted family pets who are smart and independent. These dogs are athletic and do well with an owner who has an active outdoor life.
- American Kennel Club: Registration Statistics
- PetPlace.com: Top 20 Dog Breeds
- Animal Planet: 5 Medium-sized Family Dogs
- American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Golden Retriever
- American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- PetPlace.com: Golden Retriever
- Good Housekeeping: 11 Top Medium Size Dogs
- Apple Tree House/Photodisc/Getty Images