Healthiest Mid-Sized and Large Dog Breeds

Carlee Linden

Last Updated: April 1st, 2021


dog breeds

Large breeds may look intimidating, but many have the personality of Ferdinand the Bull. We’ve all seen videos and pictures of these gentle giants lovingly trying to fit in the laps of their owners or adorably sleeping in beds that are much too small. Unfortunately, many of these lovable pups tend to have shorter lifespans and are more susceptible to certain health conditions.

If you’re looking to bring a larger dog home, make sure you’re prepared for any unexpected health conditions by maintaining a regular exercise schedule, providing a healthy diet, and purchasing pet insurance before any major accidents or illnesses happen. Here are the healthiest mid-sized and large dog breeds:

Pharaoh Hound

Height: 21-25 inches
Weight: 45-55 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Sleek and born-to-run, the Pharaoh Hound was built for speed. If you are considering purchasing or adopting this breed, the Pharaoh Hound needs a regular exercise schedule to keep its mind sharp and its body healthy. The Pharaoh Hound isn’t known to have any breed-related disorders or illnesses, but owners should screen for common cancers (hemangiosarcoma, mast cell tumor, and mammary cancer) as their dog ages.

German Shorthaired Pointer

Height: 21-25 inches
Weight: 45-70 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

The German Shorthaired Pointer makes a great family pet as it is generally enthusiastic and easily trained. This breed loves to swim and run and will quickly wear out most moderately active owners. Owners should be prepared to take this breed out for multiple walks a day in the morning and evening. Overall, the German Shorthaired Pointer stays relatively healthy, but breeders and owners should be aware that these dogs are prone to hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and some heart diseases.

Siberian Husky

Height: 20-24 inches
Weight: 35-60 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Known for its thick coat and incredible endurance, the Siberian Husky is loyal but often has a mischievous side. A part of the working breed group, the Siberian Husky needs a great deal of exercise, so an owner who is an active runner is an excellent fit for this breed. Although the Siberian Husky is a moderately healthy breed, owners should screen their dog for juvenile cataracts.


Height: 17-20 inches
Weight: 30-40 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

A great hunting partner and a great outdoorsy family pet, the Brittany is an upbeat and energy-filled breed. Since it was bred to hunt, a Brittany requires lots of exercise and enjoys challenging activities that keep its mind sharp. Long walks and hiking are among some of the best activities for a Brittany. The breed is healthy with few genetic issues, but a responsible owner will be on the lookout for hip dysplasia and eye disease.

Border Collie

Height: 18-22 inches
Weight: 30-55 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

This energetic breed is surprisingly sweet and affectionate at the end of a long day. However, if its master doesn’t have the time or energy to keep up with this lively pup, then the Border Collie isn’t the right choice. Daily exercise is a must for this loyal companion, and when given a job to do, this dog will strive for perfection. The Border Collie is fairly hardy and healthy, but owners should be on the lookout for hip dysplasia, collie eye anomaly, deafness, and trapped neutrophil syndrome.

Irish Setter

Height: 25-27 inches
Weight: 60-70 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

The Irish Setter is known for being an active and loving family dog. A fun-loving redhead, the Irish Setter needs daily exercise, either in the form of long walks or vigorous play sessions. The breed enjoys obedience and agility training to keep its mind clear and sharp. Overall, the Irish Setter is healthy but can experience bloat, which is sudden and can be life-threatening. Also, owners should regularly check an Irish Setter’s ears for signs of infection.

Australian Shepherd

Height: 18-23 inches
Weight: 40-60 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Australian Shepherds are an extremely popular breed. Known for their smart and work-oriented personality, this breed loves outside play and mental challenges. Australian Shepherds need at least one to two hours of outdoor activity and love agility training. A reasonably healthy breed, the Australian Shepherd should be checked for hip dysplasia, cataracts, and epilepsy.


Height: 19-24 inches
Weight: 35-55 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

The Canaan is a medium-sized dog known for being an excellent watchdog as it is often aloof and wary around strangers. A Canaan is clever and territorial, so socialization and early training is key. The Canaan only requires moderate exercise but enjoys advanced training. Very few conditions ever afflict the Canaan, but owners should check ears and teeth for signs of infection.

Australian Cattle Dog

Height: 17-20 inches
Weight: 35-50 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-16 years

The Australian Cattle Dog is an extremely intelligent breed known for its herding skills. With a sturdy build and equipped with a muscular physique, this breed will need more from its owner than a short walk around the block. Overall, the Australian Cattle Dog is one of the healthiest breeds of mid-sized dogs, but owners should check for progressive retinal atrophy and hip dysplasia.

Belgian Malinois

Height: 22-26 inches
Weight: 40-80 pounds
Life Expectancy: 14-16 years

A confident and hardworking breed, the Belgian Malinois bonds closely with its owners. Truly a loyal companion, this breed loves to take long walks or play fetch for hours and won’t settle for playing alone in the backyard. A Belgian Malinois makes a great running or hiking companion. Belgian Malinois owners shouldn’t have to worry about too many genetic disorders with this active, muscular, and healthy breed, but should watch out for hip and elbow dysplasia, and some eye problems.

To ensure your loveable, not-so-small lap dog lives a long and healthy life, provide ample exercise and affection, but don’t brush aside those annual checkups.

If a big dog won’t fit inside your house or you want a lap dog that actually fits in your lap, check out our article on the healthiest small and mid-sized dog breeds.

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