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 inchesWeight: 45-55 poundsLife Expectancy: 12-14 yearsSleek 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 inchesWeight: 45-70 poundsLife Expectancy: 12-14 yearsThe 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 inchesWeight: 35-60 poundsLife Expectancy: 12-14 yearsKnown 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. Brittany Height: 17-20 inchesWeight: 30-40 poundsLife Expectancy: 12-14 yearsA 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 inchesWeight: 30-55 poundsLife Expectancy: 12-15 yearsThis 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 inchesWeight: 60-70 poundsLife Expectancy: 12-15 yearsThe 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 inchesWeight: 40-60 poundsLife Expectancy: 12-15 yearsAustralian 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. Canaan Height: 19-24 inchesWeight: 35-55 poundsLife Expectancy: 12-15 yearsThe 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 inchesWeight: 35-50 poundsLife Expectancy: 12-16 yearsThe 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 inchesWeight: 40-80 poundsLife Expectancy: 14-16 yearsA 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.
If you’re considering getting a dog, don’t exclude the smaller and mid-size breeds. While they may have gained a negative reputation for being yippy and possessive, that’s not always the case. Smaller dogs are often recognized for their unique personalities and quirky characteristics. But people tend to forget that small dogs usually live longer and have less of a risk of developing specific cancers. The best way to keep your dog living a long and happy life is to give your dog daily exercise, love, and discipline as well as visiting your veterinarian regularly for checkups.While it is never a guarantee that your dog won’t get sick, some small and mid-sized breeds have less of a chance of developing serious health issues. Check out our list of the healthiest small and mid-sized breeds to see if your pup made the list: English Springer Spaniel Height: 19-20 inchesWeight: 40-50 poundsLife Expectancy: 12-14 years The English Springer Spaniel was bred to work with people, so these dogs are easily trained and people-pleasers. Overall, the English Springer Spaniel stays relatively healthy, but owners should be aware that this breed should be checked for elbow and hip dysplasia and some eye conditions. Owners should also check the Springer’s ears for signs of infection. Shetland Sheepdog Height: 13-16 inchesWeight: 15-25 poundsLife Expectancy: 12-14 years A part of the herding family, Shetland Sheepdogs (Shelties) are active and agile. Their dynamic nature means they need a moderate amount of exercise. Sheltie owners should take their pup to the veterinarian on a regular basis to check for thyroid disease, dermatomyositis, von Willebrand’s disease, and epilepsy. Pembroke Welsh Corgi Height: 10-12 inchesWeight: 27-30 poundsLife Expectancy: 12-14 years It may come as a surprise to learn that the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is actually quick and agile. The breed has small but muscular legs, as they were bred to herd cattle. Pembroke Welsh Corgis do best in an environment where they are given a job to maintain their physical and mental health. Corgi owners should screen their pup for cardiac issues, degenerative myelopathy, and von Willebrand’s disease. German Pinscher Height: 17-20 inchesWeight: 25-45 poundsLife Expectancy: 12-14 years The German Pinscher is an intelligent and energetic dog with a fairly clean bill of health. As a high-energy breed, Pinschers require ample daily exercise. Although the German Pinscher is generally healthy, owners should be aware that the breed is prone to hip dysplasia, eye disease, and von Willebrand’s disease. Bolognese Height: 10-12 inchesWeight: 5.5-9 poundsLife Expectancy: 12-14 years A small and stocky breed, the Bolognese is a calm and inactive pet. They are a reasonably shy breed but extremely devoted to their owners. They are prone to separation anxiety and do not like to be left alone for long periods of time. With their reserved personality and low energy level, the Bolognese is an excellent breed for seniors. Even though the Bolognese is a reasonably healthy breed, owners should check for health conditions like luxating patellas and eye anomalies. "Early training for these dogs is a must to help them develop into a confident dog who can be left alone. Get professional help early if your pup shows signs of separation distress." —Dr. Wailani Sung, Chewy Veterinary Behaviorist Lakeland Terrier Height: 14-15 inchesWeight: 15-17 poundsLife Expectancy: 12-15 years Lakeland Terriers are known for their friendly and bold personalities. This breed needs more mental exercise than physical, but short walks won’t cut it for a Lakeland Terrier. Owners should be prepared to go on long walks or brisk jogs to keep up with this breed. The Lakeland Terrier has very few health conditions specifically related to the breed. Owners shouldn’t neglect to check their ears for signs of infection or brushing their teeth regularly. Border Terrier Height: 12-15 inchesWeight: 11-15 poundsLife Expectancy: 12-15 years Border Terriers are loving, even-tempered pets that get along well with young children. They love exploring the outdoors and require plenty of daily exercise. This breed has an instinct to chase small animals, so keep Terriers on a leash in public areas. Another thing Border Terrier owners should be aware of is the breed’s love for digging. Border Terriers are prone to hip dysplasia, juvenile cataracts, seizures, and heart problems. Some Border Terriers are even less tolerant of hot weather, so keep the outdoor exercise to a minimum in extreme heat. Smooth Fox Terrier Height: 15-16 inchesWeight: 15-18 poundsLife Expectancy: 12-15 years The Smooth Fox Terrier is an independent and friendly breed that requires lots of exercise to stay mentally and physically fit. You might find that a closed off backyard is the best place to play with the Smooth Fox Terrier as they are likely to run off if they see a small squirrel or bird. Owners of this breed should be on the lookout for patellar luxation and cardiac disease. Norwich Terrier Height: 9.5-10 inchesWeight: 11-12 poundsLife Expectancy: 12-15 years Much like the Norfolk Terrier, the Norwich Terrier was bred as a fierce and fearless ratter. However, they are known for their affectionate and curious nature. Having been bred with innate hunting instincts, the Norwich Terrier enjoys ample exercise. Norwich owners should be aware that their pup may develop hip dysplasia, epilepsy, degenerative, myelopathy, and upper airway syndrome. They are also prone to plaque and tartar build-up, so dental care is important. Norfolk Terrier Height: 9-10 inchesWeight: 11-12 poundsLife Expectancy: 12-16 years This breed was first bred to hunt rodents, but don’t let their small size fool you. The Norfolk Terrier is fearless, feisty, and fun-loving. Norfolk Terriers tend to stay close to their owners and can become quite possessive over their master’s attention. This breed loves socializing, so a game of fetch or tug-of-war should satisfy this pup. Overall, the Norfolk Terrier lives a healthy life; however, owners should visit the vet to check for heart and eye issues, and patellar luxation. Cairn Terrier Height: 9.5-10 inchesWeight: 13-14 poundsLife Expectancy: 13-15 years A great family dog, the Cairn Terrier is a shaggy and alert breed. The Cairn Terrier is an excellent all-around breed that can live just about anywhere. They enjoy a moderate amount of exercise and thrive in herding, agility, obedience, and tracking activities. Cairn Terrier owners should visit the vet regularly and receive an ophthalmologist evaluation, cardiac exam, and a patella evaluation. Havanese Height: 8.5-11.5 inchesWeight: 7-13 poundsLife Expectancy: 14-16 years The Havanese is the ultimate city dog. An extremely intelligent and trainable breed, Havanese love to perform tricks for their owners. Surprisingly, this breed makes an excellent watchdog, but won’t keep you up all night with constant barking. The Havanese needs a decent amount of exercise and loves going on brisk walks. However, they can be easily over-exercised, so owners should go home once a Havanese starts panting or is struggling to keep up. These pups often live long, healthy lives but are prone to the following conditions: chondrodysplasia, deafness, heart murmurs, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, and patellar luxation. Shiba Inu Height: 13-16 inchesWeight: 17-24 poundsLife Expectancy: 13-16 years The most popular dog in Japan, the Shiba Inu is an extremely alert and attentive breed. They often boast a confident and bold personality. The Shiba Inu enjoys a good amount of exercise but is not so hyper that they require more than one walk per day. Owners of this breed should be willing to go for long walks or have an adequately sized yard for this breed to run around in. The most common health ailment for a Shiba Inu is allergies. However, the breed should also be screened for hip dysplasia, eye disorders, and patella luxation. "This is a breed that would benefit from early handling and socialization, which should continue through 1 year of age. This a breed that often does not like being handled, which makes nail trimming and any veterinary procedures difficult." —Dr. Wailani Sung, Chewy Veterinary Behaviorist Manchester Terrier Height: 15-16 inchesWeight: 12-22 poundsLife Expectancy: 15-17 years The Manchester Terrier is a sleek looking and observant breed. Owners of this breed should be willing to take their pup on several walks a day to keep up with their active lifestyle. While the breed does enjoy their downtime, they are always up for chasing a tennis ball. Manchester Terriers do tend to live longer than other breeds but are subject to cardiomyopathy. This breed is also affected by patellar luxation or “loose knees.” Chihuahua Height: 5-8 inchesWeight: Typically less than 6 poundsLife Expectancy: 15-20 years This tiny dog comes with a big personality. Chihuahuas are often extremely loyal to their owners and possess an attitude that puts a toddler to shame. Their small size makes them an ideal city pet, as they don’t need a large backyard to get a workout in. They are generally happy to follow their master around, and this usually provides the right amount of exercise. Chihuahuas are known for their long lifespan, but they should be checked for genetic issues, heart problems, eye diseases, patellar luxation, and idiopathic epilepsy. All dogs benefit from mental and physical activity. Daily walks or romps in the yard or parks will help keep them at an ideal weight and help work off excess energy. Providing them their meals in puzzle toys will help them learn to problem solve and keep them mentally active. Both mental and physical activity are very important for dogs of all ages and sizes but especially for our senior dogs. Daily or weekly training sessions will enhance the human-animal bond but also train a dog that is reliable and compliant. —Dr. Wailani Sung, Chewy Veterinary Behaviorist No matter which breed you have or plan on bringing to your home, dog owners should treat their companion to a healthy diet, plenty of love and affection, ample exercise, and routine checkups to ensure their furry friend lives a long and happy life. Not a fan of the smaller breeds? Check out our article about the Healthiest Mid-Sized and Large Dog Breeds.