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Dogs that can be considered of medium size can be found in most of the AKC’s seven groups. Whether it’s the energetic Shetland Sheepdog, the sporty spaniels, or the laid back Bulldog, there is a range of temperament and appearance within this size category.

When considering getting a dog, size is a factor, but only one of them. The dog’s personality, activity needs, and grooming requirements are some of the other things to decide before you begin your research. Below are some of the breeds that fall into this size range.

No matter what size dog you’re looking for, you’ll be sure to get big love from them!


The Brittany was named for the French province in which it originated as early as AD 150. While it is generally concluded that the basic stock for all bird dogs is the same, most of the actual facts concerning the development and spread of various breeds is lost to us, and early written records are unclear and confusing.

However, it seems likely the dogs of Brittany and Wales had the same progenitors and developed along similar paths, quite possibly interbreeding since the lands are close and conducted much commerce. Good evidence for this supposition lies in the inherent resemblance existing between the Brittany and the Welsh Springer Spaniel.

The first accurate records to pinpoint the actual Brittany-type dog are the paintings and tapestries of the 17th century, in which the Brittany appears fairly frequently, such as those of Oudry and Steen.

The dogs pictured in these renderings are similar to the dogs that developed along the Atlantic coast into the Wachtelhund, a modern breed much like the Brittany in appearance and ability.

Legend has it that the first tailless ancestor of the modern Brittany was bred about the mid-1800's at Pontou, a small town in Brittany province.

In 1850, the first verifiable written record of the Brittany surfaced with the writing of Reverend Davies, who described hunting with a small bobtailed dogs not as smooth coated as the Pointer, that worked well in the brush, who pointed, retrieved well, and that were particularly popular with poachers (the profession requiring easily handled dogs).

It was speculated that matings of the native spaniels of Brittany were made around 1900 with English pointing dogs whose owners vacationed in France for sporting purposes, intensifying the Brittany's natural sporting ability.

The Brittanys became a recognized breed in 1907, when “Boy,” an orange-and-white, was registered as the first Brittany Spaniel in France (they had previously been registered under the heading of miscellaneous French Spaniels).

The first standard was outlined in 1907, and the breed was introduced to the US in 1931, receiving approval from the AKC in 1934.

To this day the Brittany is recognized as both a superb shooting dog and show dog, in addition to being a wonderful house dog and companion.


The Bulldog, to the best of our knowledge, had its origin in the British Isles.

The name “bull” was applied because of the dog's use in the sport of bull baiting, which was extremely cruel.

The original Bulldog had to be very ferocious and so savage and courageous as to be almost insensitive to pain.

In 1835 dog fighting as a sport became illegal in England. Therefore, the English Bulldog had outlived his usefulness and his days were numbered.

However, there were dog lovers who felt deep disappointment at the passing of the breed, and they set themselves the task of preserving it.

They proceeded to eliminate the undesirable fierce characteristics and to preserve and accentuate the finer qualities.

Within a few generations, the English Bulldog became one of the finest physical specimens, minus its original viciousness.

We may be justly proud of the Bulldog we know today, and we must express our gratitude to our British cousins, who realized the value of the English Bull sufficiently to preserve him for posterity.

Cocker Spaniel

The Spaniel family is a large one of considerable antiquity. As far back as the 14th century we have mention of the Spanyell, which came to be divided into water and land spaniels, with further divisions in land spaniels based on size.

“Cockers” were the smaller of the two types of spaniels and are to this day the smallest in the Sporting Group, their name deriving, apparently, from especial proficiency on woodcock. Not until 1883 were classes provided for the breed at English bench shows, and not until 1892 was the breed given breed status in England's Kennel Clubs stud book.

The Cocker has been exhibited in the US since the early 1880's. As developed here, however, the American Cocker has evolved somewhat differently in type, size, and coloring from the breed now recognized as the English Cocker Spaniel.

Field trials for the breed in the US were started by the parent Field Trial Club in the 1920s, and the Cocker's inherent desire to hunt renders him a capable gun dog when judiciously trained. The Cocker covers all territory within gun range speedily, flushing game and retrieving only when under command, as a rule taking to water readily.

From the moment it hit the show ring, however, the Cocker has engaged audiences and remains one of the most popular AKC breeds.

English Springer Spaniel

The name “springing spaniel” included in one classification the ancestral stock from which many of our present-day land spaniels emanated. In the 1880's, Springers and Cockers were often born in the same litters, size alone being the distinguishing factor.

In 1880, the American Spaniel Club was founded, and anything over 28 pounds was classified as a Springer. In 1902, the Kennel Club (England) finally granted Springers and Cocker separate breed status.

Though several individuals in America pursued hunting with Springers, it was not until 1924 that the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association was formed, eventually becoming the parent club of the breed.

The breed's AKC standard, formed in 1927 and revised in 1932, was made as nearly as possible to foster the natural ability of the Springer as a hunting dog.

They are admittedly great sporting dogs whose one purpose is to hunt and find game, but the inherent elegance and economy of movement is unmistakable.

Unquestionably, the present standard has helped to make the Springer much more uniform as a breed, and as a result the dogs as individuals have become much more uniform at bench shows and field trials.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Although all evidence seems to point to the fact that the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a much younger dog than the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, it is still true that the Corgi from Pembrokeshire is a breed of considerable antiquity.

No breed that traces its origin back to A.D. 1107 can be regarded as an especially new type of dog.

The direct ancestors of the Pembroke were brought across the Channel by the Flemish weavers who had been induced by Henry I of England to take up their abode in Wales. This occurred in 1107, and it stands as a sturdy cornerstone upon which the development of a breed has been built.

While weaving was one of their occupations, these Flemish people were also of an agrarian nature, and they soon had transferred to the southwest corner of Wales, at Haverfordwest, the replicas of the model homes and farms in their native land. The dog fitted into this scheme.

In relation to the Cardigan, the Pembroke is shorter in body; the legs are straighter and lighter boned, while the coat is of finer texture.

Two of the most noticeable differences are in the ears and the tail. Cardigan ears are rounded, while the Pembroke's are pointed at the tip and stand erect. The Cardigan has a long tail, and the Pembroke a short one.

In disposition, the Pembroke is more restless, more easily excited. If one could see specimens of the early members of both breeds at the same time, the differences would be very marked. In modern times they have become more similar.

The whole development of the Pembroke evinces a desire on the part of its breeders to produce a lower, stockier dog.

The manner in which the Pembroke and the Cardigan have approached each other in appearance is not merely a matter of chance or of selective breeding. It is known, rather definitely, that the two were crossed before the middle of the 19th century.

The Pembroke is one of the most agreeable of small house dogs. It has an affectionate nature, but does not force its attentions upon those unwilling to accept them. Its intelligence is undoubted, and it is a remarkably alert, ever-vigilant guard of the fireside.

Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog, as its name implies, is a working Collie in miniature. There is little doubt that the small working Collie, from which came the modern show Collie evolving on larger lines, was likewise the progenitor of the Shetland Sheepdog evolving on smaller ones.

The first Shetland Sheepdog registered by the American Kennel Club (1911) was “Lord Scott” who was imported from Shetland by John G. Sherman, Jr. of New York. The American Shetland Sheepdog Association, parent club of the breed, was organized at the Westminster Kennel Club show in 1929, and held its first specialty show in 1933.

It was assisted in the process by the environment of the Islands, which produced diminutiveness in all its stock, and by crosses with other breeds residing in, if not indigenous to, the Islands.

The breed characteristics common to all Shelties can be used for two purposes pertaining to their working propensities or their companionship qualities. It is their nature to obey, willingly and naturally, with few or no lessons needed, an instinct coming no doubt from the many generations of obediently trained dogs behind them.

As the Islands were isolated from the trend of travel, the little dogs were a long time coming to the ken of dog-loving folk. Thus the breed did not take its place on the show bench until well along in the present century. The year 1909 marked the initial recognition of the Sheltie by the English Kennel Club.

This responsiveness has helped to make them one of the most successful of all breeds in Obedience trial competition. The instinct to guard property or places and to give watchdog warning makes them invaluable for work as farm helpers or home protectors, a heritage of the constant vigilance required to protect the crofters' cottages, flocks, and herds from invaders of all kinds.

Not until 1914 did the breed obtain separate classification as Shetland Sheepdogs, and not Shetland Collies, because of pressure brought to bear by the Collie breeders.

Their ability to run swiftly and gracefully, and jump with agility over obstacles, makes them a delight in fields and woods as well as in farm work.

The first Challenge Certificate was awarded to the breed in 1915, after which World War I put a stop to all progress for the next few years.

But what most endears them to everybody is their devoted, docile natures and their keen and all but human intelligence and understanding.


The Whippet, an English Greyhound in miniature, is the fastest domesticated animal of his weight, capable of speeds up to 35 m.p.h.

As a breed the Whippet is not one of our oldest, having evolved for over a hundred years it was not until 1891 that official recognition was given by the English Kennel Club. It is said that when barbaric pastimes such as bull baiting, bear baiting and dogfighting began to lose favor, a “milder” entertainment of coursing rabbits in an enclosure called “snap-dog coursing” came into play.

As well as an animal of beauty, grace of outline and smoothness of action, he is also a very charming, affectionate and intelligent pet.

At first the breed was known as “snap-dog”, named for the dog that snapped-up or caught the most rabbits. It will be noted that this ignoble pastime in which the rabbit had absolutely no chance of escape, differed greatly from legitimate coursing in the open with Greyhounds and was purely a gambling proposition.

The Whippet is extraordinarily keen when racing or coursing, though in the living room he is quiet, dignified, unobtrusive and above all highly decorative.

Later they were used primarily for straight racing, then the Whippet was nicknamed “the poor man's racehorse.”

Contrary to external appearances, he is by no means delicate or difficult to care for. He makes an ideal dual-purpose small dog for an owner of discrimination.

Whippets were first brought to America by English mill operators of Massachusetts, which for many years was the center of Whippet racing in this country.