What Size Dog is Best for Your Family?
If you are thinking of adopting a puppy, hopefully, you have read the different adoption options to choose from and some things to consider before adding a puppy to your family. If you have done so, then you are ready to move onto picking your breed. BUT! Just because I like to keep you all on your toes, there is actually one more step you need to think about before picking out a breed. What is that you may be asking? Well, that is thinking about the SIZE of the dog you may want.
Let’s say for example you are wanting a small lapdog, fall in love with this mastiff puppy and are frustrated when your little lapdog is the size of you! If you are adopting a puppy, you want to not only consider the size of the puppy but also the size that the puppy will be full size. It is important to research the different breeds with the size you are wanting in a dog.
If you are someone (like me) where the size of the dog really doesn’t matter as long as they are a healthy, happy puppy, then this will just be a fun, interesting and educational topic for you. I know it was for me to learn about. But if you have a particular size in mind, or can only handle a particular size, then keep reading. You don’t want to go falling in love with a breed only to be disappointed when they are no longer puppies.
When categorizing dogs, I personally categorize them in four different sizes: Small, Medium, Large, and Extra-Large. In this article, I will explain some of the positives and negatives of each size, some criteria that make them that size as well as a few popular breeds in each of the sizes
Let’s start with small dogs. What is considered a small dog? A small dog breed is considered any breed that is 22 pounds or less (on average, sometimes our puppies like to eat a little more than others). The way that I like to think about whether a dog is considered a small breed is if they pretty much stay the size of a normal puppy when they are fully grown. They are like a puppy forever!
That’s one great thing about small dog breeds! You get to keep your puppy the size of a puppy forever! (That could also be a negative reason for some people). Smaller dogs also tend to live longer than medium and large dog breeds. This is not to say that they live forever but the average lifespan of a small dog breed is between 10-15 years. Small dogs also require less exercise than larger dogs so they are perfect for a smaller home, an apartment, or someone who doesn’t like to take the dogs to the park all of the time.
This is not to say that they don’t need ANY exercise. Dogs should be walked every day! Regardless of size. Small dogs, with smaller legs, don’t usually need to go on as long or as many walks in order to get their exercise in. This also applies to their home. A large dog is a small apartment will not have as much room to run around like a small dog in a small apartment. Small dogs are still able to run around and get a little exercise in a small apartment.
Small dogs vary in ‘smallness’. If you are wanting a dog that can fit in your purse, there’s a dog for that. If you want a small dog that is on the verge of small-medium, guess what, there’s a breed for that too. Luckily, there are over 90 different small dog breeds (mixed breeds not included) that will help find the dog breed that is best for you, your family, and your life. One of the most popular small dog breeds that have a lot of variety added to them is the dachshund. The dachshund breeds can be long-haired, short-haired, and wire-haired breeds. If you want a small dog with longer hair but look like a little wiener, you are still in luck.
I have a soft spot for small dogs as my first two dogs were small breeds. One was a Maltese and the other was a Yorkshire Terrier. They were perfect for our family as we were little when we got them and needed small dogs to fit our family needs. These breeds are still a fairly popular breed in dogs because they are great for families. As I said before, since they are smaller dogs, they require shorter walks than that of large dogs. Shorter walks mean the perfect amount of time for a child to take the dogs on a walk (I see what you did there mom!). Additionally, smaller dogs are a little easier for small kids to handle on a walk. Large dogs that weigh more can be harder for children to walk on their own. Larger dogs can overpower them and drag them, thus having the dogs “walk” the child instead of the other way around.
One last perk of small dogs are small dogs mean smaller animals which mean smaller piles in the yard for you to clean up. That’s a potential game changer for a lot of you
Medium Sized Dog Breeds
So we talked about small dogs and yes, they seem great. But what if you don’t WANT a puppy forever. What if you want a dog that is a little bit bigger, a little larger of a cuddler and more of a ‘dog’ rather than a puppy? And what if you don’t want a large dog? Then a medium dog could be the right fit for you. Medium sized dog breeds are perfect because you get some benefits of both small and large dogs. You get to see your puppy grow from a puppy to an adult dog. But your dog is not too big to where you feel like you can’t have a dog and an apartment. Medium sized dogs usually have shorter lifespans than small dogs but longer than the larger dogs.
If you really want a larger dog but are heartbroken with the idea of a shorter lifespan, then medium dogs can help with a few years! Medium sized dogs are also great for families because while they are not as small as small breeds, they are still small enough where children are able to walk the puppy once they are a certain age.
The criteria for what is considered to be a medium-sized dog is that they usually weigh more than 22 lbs (more than a small dog) but weigh less than 60 pounds. They require more exercise and longer walks than smaller dog breeds. A lot of times a breed will teeter being considered large versus medium.
One example to point out is the Dalmatian. The Dalmatian typically is considered a medium-size breed but there are instances where some would consider them a large breed. Another popular breed is the bulldog. Now some people will see a bulldog and its height and consider it a small dog breed. But by the technical definition, both breeds are considered ‘medium’. It all gets down to the technical aspect of it all.
I personally like to place a majority of dog breeds into the medium category because they are small, but they are not quite in tow with the large dog breeds. The perfect example that I like to use is a Collie. You look at a typical Border Collie and think ‘well standing next to a golden retriever it’s definitely not a large dog, but next to a Yorkshire Terrier, doesn’t seem to fit into a small category either.
Medium dogs are not too big, not too small. In the words of Goldilocks, they are just right.
Large Dog Breeds
So now you’ve looked at small, you’ve gone through medium and still wanting more. You are wanting a dog who can run with you and be a herder of the family. That is where large dog breeds come in. Large dogs are perfect for being protectors of the household and are known to be great service animals!
One of the most popular breeds of large dogs is a golden retriever. Golden retrievers are amazing dogs because they are ADORABLE puppies and are known to be extremely gentle and well-trained dogs. A lot of large breeds are easier to train than most so are great for things like the police force, service animals, and therapy dogs!
There are many stories of instances where there is a large dog breed in the family, the family is in danger and the dog leaps to the rescue and saves the day! They are amazing for families and people who are willing to provide them the care and love they need. Large dogs also mean more responsibility. They require more exercise and longer walks because they are larger in size. They also need to be taken out to play more often than small dogs. While the golden retriever puppy is so precious you could just melt, one thing to remember is that they grow up into a grown large adult. If that does not want you to want, maybe consider finding a breed that is the size of the puppy forever. And in keeping with the previous sizes, larger dogs mean larger piles in the yard.
Extra Large Dog Breeds
So if a large dog is what you are looking for but you want to go above and beyond when it comes to ‘large’ then the ‘Extra-Large’ Dog breeds will be perfect for you. Now, I know what I said before about loving all size dogs. And while that is true, I have a soft spot in my heart for extra-large dog breeds. (Hence making sure they had their own section to be called out separately from large dogs).
So what is considered an extra-large dog breed? Simple, they are larger than your average dog. I like to base it on one simple thing. They are the same size if not bigger than a grown woman. Typically they weight about the same and reach the same height when standing up as a woman, if not even an average man.
What?! A dog that’s the size of you?! Who would want that? Actually, the better question is, HOW AWESOME IS THAT? All you single ladies out there, you don’t need a man you need an extra-large dog! They will cuddle you and love you and listen to every story you have! I have always wanted an extra-large dog but as I will explain, larger dog means larger responsibility.
While large dogs the size of humans are amazing and all the cuddles are everyone’s dreams. They do require more responsibilities than most dogs. A lot of times these breeds were bred in order to be working dogs. Working dogs, in general, have more energy than most and need to have that energy harnessed in some way. They need exercise, interaction, play time and lots of park visits in order to really be happy.
If you are someone who lives on a farm, has a lot of lands or are ALWAYS outside on the move, then these breeds are perfect for you. If you are someone who just wants to sit on the couch all day and hates the outdoors, don’t get these dogs. They will be unhappy and potentially wreak havoc on your house trying to use up all their pent up energy. Neither you nor the dog will be happy and that’s just not fair to your new guy.
Some popular dogs that are considered extra-large are the Mastiffs and Newfoundlands. These dogs are large and in charge and their face and fur just make you want to hug them like a teddy bear and never let go. (Sorry guys, I’m a little biased on extra-large dogs). The biggest downfall to these breeds is that they usually have shorter lifespans, and extra fur means extra shedding. If you are a clean freak, I think these dogs have the potential to make you crack. In either a good way or a bad way.
And unfortunately like large dogs, bigger the dog, bigger the cleanup. But just look at their cute faces beforehand and it will all be okay!
Overall, all dogs are amazing in their own way. And fortunately for you, there is pretty much a dog breed out there to fit every family’s needs. Whether it be a farm dog or a lap dog almost anyone can find a dog that would be perfect for them. And while all dogs are perfect in their own way, it is important to research all aspects of adopting so you, and your puppy, are forever happy.