What Size Dog Should You Get? Some Things to Think About

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
Not sure what size dog you should get? Don’t worry – we’ve put together a list of things to think about before you make your final decision.

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, so it can be difficult to choose just one breed. When it comes to choosing a dog breed, there are many factors to consider but one of the most important is size. Dogs of certain sizes come with certain challenges, so you need to think carefully before you make your choice. Here are some things to think about in determining what size dog to get.

Related: Top 10 Medium Sized Dog Breeds

Toy and Small Breeds (Under 20 Pounds)

If you live in an apartment or condo, you may be physically limited as to the size of the dog you can have. Toy and small breeds generally weigh less than 20 pounds which means that they don’t take up a lot space. Generally speaking, small dogs also tend to need less exercise than larger dogs, though there are always exceptions to the rules. In addition to needing less exercise, small dogs also need less food which means that it may cost less to keep a small dog than a large one. Other practical things to think about include portability, training, and health problems.

Related: Top 10 Best Dog Breeds for Families

Here are some of the pros and cons for toy and small breed dogs:


  • They take up less space and are easier to pick up and travel with.
  • They eat less food and require less exercise (for the most part).
  • They have longer lifespans than larger breeds.


  • They may be too fragile for families with young children.
  • They are sometimes more difficult to housetrain.
  • They may require more attention at home.

Medium Breed Dogs (Under 50 Pounds)

If you don’t have enough space for a large-breed dog but you don’t like small dogs, a medium-sized breed might be the best choice for you. Though every breed is different, many medium-sized breeds are energetic breeds that would fit well with an active lifestyle. They may also do well with children because they are not small enough to be fragile but not so large that they might knock a child over.

Here are some of the pros and cons for medium breed dogs:


  • They are a good in-between size for most people.
  • They are often well-suited to an active lifestyle.
  • They generally do well with kids.


  • They may require a significant amount of exercise and attention.
  • They eat more and need more exercise than a small breed.

Large and Giant Breeds (Over 50 Pounds)

If you’re looking for a dog you can cuddle up on the couch with, a larger dog is probably a better fit than a smaller one. Large breeds take up more space and they require a significant amount of food, but they don’t tend to be overly active and they are more low-maintenance than toy and small breeds. The downside is that larger dogs can be a challenge to handle due to their size and they have a higher risk for health problems that can limit their lifespan.

Here are some of the pros and cons for large and giant breed dogs:


  • They don’t tend to be as highly active or high-maintenance.
  • They can be used as guard dogs and watch dogs.


  • They have shorter lifespan and higher risk for health problems.
  • They can be difficult to manage due to their size.
  • They cost more to keep because they eat more.

In the end, it is up to you to decide what type of dog is right for you. To help you make your decision, keep in mind the pros and cons discussed above for the different breed sizes.

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

More by Kate Barrington