The family dog is an icon, dating from Old Yeller and Lassie to Snoopy and modern day pets like the Obama family's canine, Bo. But, assuming you don't need a Lassie to save Timmy from the well or a Snoopy to fly airplane missions against the Red Baron, what should you look for in a family dog?
Medium-sized dogs make great family pets because they have a good mix of attributes. They don't have the high energy level of small dogs or the health issues of large ones. They are active, but can be good armchair companions too. Size-wise, these dogs weigh anywhere between 35 to 65 pounds (15 to 30 kilograms) and range in height from 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 centimeters) paw to shoulder.
When choosing a family dog, consider how the breed acts around people, particularly children, and other animals. Ideally, you want a dog that is loyal and affectionate yet obedient and trainable. Think about the needs of the dog, as well, not just the family. Will the pet need regular exercise and room to roam, or will it be a good house dog, able to be confined for periods of time? What are the breed's maintenance requirements and can you fulfill them? So, with those traits in mind, here are some mid-sized breeds that make great family dogs.