10 great medium-sized dog breeds for every type of family

3 May 2024 - 6 min read
A woman and a young child hugging a golden retriever on the stairs.

To find the right dog breed for your family, you need to consider both the breed's energy levels and how well they mesh with your family members, especially children.

Of course, you don't have to spring for a pedigree pup. A medium-sized mixed breed from a shelter can also be a fantastic choice. They often possess a combination of traits from several desirable breeds, making them perfect for a variety of households.

That said, knowing more about individual breeds can help you make a better decision. Plus, you may even choose a crossbreed.

Let's get to it. Here's a guide to several medium-sized pedigree and mixed breeds known to thrive in family environments.

Basset Hound

A Basset hound cut out on a light pink-beige background

The charming lounger

Why they’re great: Known for their easygoing and laid-back nature, Basset Hounds make excellent family pets. They adore being part of the family "pack" and are wonderful with kids.

Ideal family: Best for families who prefer a relaxed pace of life. They are perfect for households with either younger or older children, providing a gentle presence in less active homes.

Things to consider: Despite their low-energy, they need regular, gentle exercise. Their distinctive droopy eyes and ears require frequent cleaning to avoid infections.



The friendly explorer

Why they’re great: Beagles are incredibly friendly and curious, making them superb companions for families. Their compact size and gentle nature make them perfect playmates for children.

Ideal family: Beagles are great for active families who can provide a safe environment for this breed's exploratory tendencies (a solid fence, for one thing). They mesh well with older children who enjoy outdoor activities like camping and hiking.

Things to consider: Again, that strong sense of smell and love for exploration can result in some great escapes, so secure fencing is necessary. Beagles are also known to be quite vocal, which might be a factor to consider depending on your living situation. While you can train and redirect some barking behaviours, flat dwellers might want to think twice.

Cocker Spaniel

A happy English Cocker Spaniel with a golden coat panting lightly and looking to the side against a plain light background.

The playful partner

Why they’re great: Cocker Spaniels are sweet and want to be with their families 24/7. They strike a balance between being playful and being cuddly, ideal for interactive play and quiet evenings alike.

Ideal family: Perfect for families seeking a lively yet gentle pet. They adapt well to families with both younger and older children, ready to engage in play or relax by your side.

Things to consider: Their beautiful coats require regular grooming to prevent matting, and they're prone to some potentially serious health issues, so make sure to stay on top of vet visits.

Brittany Spaniel

The gentle bird dog

Why they’re great: Brittanys have a cheerful disposition and love to play. They're smaller than some other hunting breeds, but hold their own in active play.

Ideal family: Best for families with older children who are active outdoors. Their robust nature makes them great companions for adventures!

Things to consider: Brittanys aren't excessively hyper, but as a hunting breed, they need regular exercise to be happy. They're typically pretty easy to train and adapt well to different living conditions.



The gentle sprinter

Why they’re great: While they're always up for a race, Whippets are typically calm indoors and enjoy relaxing. They're friendly with children overall, but their physical structure is fairly delicate, so younger kids should definitely be shown how to be gentle.

Ideal family: While Whippets can work for families with younger children who respect their space, they'll thrive with older kids who can engage them with quick, fun activities outside.

Things to consider: Whippets are pretty low-maintenance when it comes to grooming. But when it comes to exercise, they need space to run. They're also sensitive to cold due to their thin coats, so be prepared to dust off the jackets in cooler temperatures.


The lively companion

Why they’re great: Keeshonds are known for their strikingly fluffy appearance and friendly disposition. They are extremely affectionate, great with children, and known for their loyalty. Their plush coat and expressive face, characterised by spectacles around their eyes, make them quite distinctive.

Ideal family: Keeshonds are very people-oriented and thrive on being part of all family activities, so they're best for families who can provide plenty of companionship. They're also excellent with kids, making them a perfect addition to an active household.

Things to consider: Keeshonds have a thick double coat that requires regular grooming to prevent matting and manage shedding. They are also quite vocal, often using their voice to alert you to anything unusual, so training to manage their barking is key.

Soft-coated Wheaten terrier

Happy go-lucky

Why they’re great: Known for their exuberant personality and affectionate nature, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers offer joyful companionship. They're playful but not overly energetic, which makes them a great match for many families.

Ideal family: A Wheaten's playful nature matches well with older children who can appreciate and match their liveliness. Their energetic greetings, known as the "Wheaten greetin'," may require some training so they don't knock kids over.

Things to consider: Their coats require regular grooming to avoid tangles and mats.


Pug + Beagle mix

Why they’re great: Puggles blend the playful spirit and sociability of Pugs with the curious nature of Beagles. They're friendly, affectionate, and enjoy being part of family activities, making them ideal for homes with kids.

Ideal family: There's a reason why Puggles are a popular pick for families—they're fun, playful, and sturdy pups.

Things to consider: Due to their Beagle heritage, Puggles can be prone to obesity, so it’s important to manage their diet and make sure they get regular exercise. Puggles may also inherit a tendency to be vocal (thanks, Beagle lineage!), which might pose a problem.


A white and grey Schnoodle dog on a beige background

Schnauzer + Poodle mix

Why they’re great: Schnoodles are known for their charming and protective nature. They inherit the intelligence of Poodles and the robustness of Schnauzers, making them both smart and active family pets.

Ideal family: Great for families with older children who are interested in engaging with their pet through training and interactive play.

Things to consider: Schnoodles require consistent training and regular exercise to channel their energy positively. They can be somewhat stubborn, so patience and persistence in training are key. They're not the best pick if you're dealing with toddlers.


A cockapoo sitting

Cocker Spaniel + Poodle mix

Why they’re great: Cockapoos are affectionate and easygoing, inheriting the best traits from both Cocker Spaniels and Poodles. Overall, their friendly nature and moderate energy make them excellent companions for families that are middle-of-the-road when it comes to activity levels.

Ideal family: While they aren't overly clingy, Cockapoos adore spending time with their family members, making them ideal for homes with children who can provide gentle and playful interaction—or just hang out.

Things to consider: Cockapoos require regular grooming to keep their coats healthy and mat-free. They also benefit from regular, moderate exercise and thrive on companionship, meaning they shouldn't be left alone for extended periods.

Even the perfect dog needs protection and training

While all of these medium-sized breeds are solid options for families, there's only so much you can do—beyond opting for a responsible breeder—to have a "perfect" family dog.

That's because choosing the right dog for your family means looking beyond just size or breed. You'll need to consider what time and energy you can commit to your new furry family member. Even the best-bred doggos can get destructive and potentially develop un-family-friendly behaviours when exercise and training are neglected.

And one last thing: managing a household full of both kids and pets can take up a lot of brain space. When you factor in the cost of a pricey accident or illness at the vet's office, it's a lot to take on! Consider buying a dog insurance policy that's designed to reimburse you for covered accidents and illnesses.

Leanna Zeibak
Content Manager

Leanna Zeibak is a Content Manager at ManyPets. In her spare time, she paints pet portraits and bakes far too many chocolate chip cookies.