It's easy to look at a Great Dane and know he's a large dog and to see a Yorkshire terrier and know she's a small dog. But when dogs can weigh as little as 4 pounds or over 100 pounds depending on the breed, it's not easy to define what makes a dog a medium-size breed. While there are some vague definitions of what makes a dog medium or large based solely on his weight, the distinction mostly comes down to who you ask.
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Medium and large weight distinctions
Different sources offer different definitions of what makes a breed large or medium based on weight. Royal Canine defines a medium breed dog as 24 to 55 pounds and a large dog to be over 55 pounds. According to Pet Place, medium breed dogs weigh from 35 to 65 pounds and large breeds as those over 55 pounds. On the heavy end, Hills Pet defines small dogs as 20 pounds or less, and dogs over 60 pounds Dogs weighing around 20 pounds or less are generally considered small, and any breed over 60 pounds is usually considered a large dog.
Ask individual dog owners and their definitions will probably vary just as much as the experts, but generally speaking, dogs who weigh 35 to 55 pounds are considered medium-size, and dogs over 60 pounds are considered large by most people. Dogs who weigh 25 to 35 pounds may be called small or medium, and dogs from 55 to 60 pounds are considered medium or large depending on who you ask.
Medium and large height distinctions
Just like weight definitions, the height distinction between a medium and large breed dog will vary based on who you ask. Your Purebred Puppy describes medium breeds as those 18 to 22 inches tall and large breeds as those over 22 inches tall at the shoulders. When defining a large- or medium-sized dog, height is less likely to be taken into account as dogs can be tall and thin or short and stocky.
After all, bulldogs, considered to be a medium breed by most people since they weigh 40 to 50 pounds, butt hey are only 14 to 15-inches tall according to AKC breed standards. On the other hand, the AKC standards for salukis say they should weigh 40 to. 65 pounds, but the males stand 23 to 28 inches tall. Both bulldogs and salukis would be considered medium dogs by most people but based solely on their height; these two breeds would be considered small and large, respectively.
Medium dog characteristics
Medium dogs are the most popular breeds in America due both to the sheer number of breeds that fall into this weight range and due to the benefits associated with their breed size. While small breeds are often considered fearful and large breeds are prone to many health problems; medium breeds tend to be more physically and mentally healthy. A large number of medium dogs were bred to be herders or hunters, which means that while they may need less space to live based on their size, they still can be high energy and may need lots of walks.
Examples of medium dog breeds can include the American Staffordshire terrier, the Australian shepherd, the basset hound, the beagle, the boxer, and the whippet.
Large dog characteristics
By their nature, large dogs need more space to walk and run. Although they need to be walked regularly to burn off energy, a downside of large dogs is that some people are simply not strong enough to hold back a dog that can weigh over 55 pounds. As a result, large dogs should receive a lot of obedience training while they are puppies, so they learn not to pull when they reach their full size. While many of these dogs look imposing, they are often gentle giants and lovable family pets.
Healthy Paws Pet Insurance points outs that large dogs may have many health problems, often relating to their joints, including arthritis and hip or elbow dysplasia, and digestive tract disorders such as gastric dilatation and volvulus. As a result, owners should be prepared for spending more money on vet bills later on. Many large-breed dogs also die younger than medium-or-small-sized breeds.