Guide to Dog Sizes From Tiny to Gigantic

Knowing your dog's size is key to helping them live a long, healthy life.

Published September 27, 2023
Dogs waiting for command

When you take a glimpse into the dog world, it's jaw dropping how diverse they are. Some breeds are as light as 4 pounds, while others can weigh over 150 pounds.

Usually, when people talk about a dog’s size, they don’t ask about the exact weight. Instead, they use general terms like small, medium, or large. So how does a dog’s weight determine their size category, and how can we figure out what size our dog is? We have some guidelines to help you understand dog sizes. 

Dog Sizes Based on Weight

If you're unsure of your dog's size, you're not alone. A lot of dog owners don't know how to refer to their dog's size. When people used to ask me, "What size is your dog?" whether I was searching for doggy life jackets or developing their raw diet, my response was "Umm... I don't know how to refer to his size, but I know his weight."

Fortunately, it's super easy to figure out if your pooch is very small, extra large, or anything in between. 

Size Weight Popular Breeds
Very small Less than 10 lbs Pomeranian, chihuahua
Small 10-30 lbs dachshund, shih tzu
Medium 30-60 lbs beagle, springer spaniel
Large 60-100 lbs golden retriever, labrador retriever
Extra large Over 100 lbs

great Dane, Newfoundland, Saint Bernard

Quick Tip

If your breed isn't on the list, look for a breed that's about the same size as your dog. 

Very Small Dog Breeds

Yorkshire terrier dog

Very small dogs are under ten pounds, but don't let their small size fool you. Very small dogs often have very large personalities. Have you ever heard of small dog syndrome? It's for real. It's not a medical condition or anything official. Instead, it’s just a way people describe a bunch of behaviors that you usually see in smaller dog breeds.

Little dogs with this syndrome might act overly aggressive, super hyperactive, fearful, or show a mix of these behaviors. It’s like they’re acting out to make up for their small size. If you have any of these very small dogs, you know what I'm talking about. 

  • Yorkshire terrier
  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel
  • Maltese
  • Toy poodle
  • Toy fox terrier
Quick Tip

This size dog isn't recommended for homes with young children because of their fragile nature. 

Small Dog Breeds

American Eskimo Dog

Stepping up a bit, we have our lovely small breeds, weighing between 10 and 30 pounds. These guys are still small enough that you can carry them, and they're often hardier than very small dogs. Small in stature but certainly not in spirit, they’re great companions for both city and suburban living. They still tend to have some of the small dog attitude, but like any other size of dog, they can be well-rounded with enough socialization. The most common small dogs, according to the AKC, are:

  • Bedlington terrier
  • Boston terrier
  • American Eskimo dog
  • Cairn terrier
  • Havanese

Medium Dogs

samoyed sitting on field

Medium breeds, weighing between 30 and 60 pounds, offer the best of both worlds. Most breeds in this category are versatile, equally enjoying a cozy sofa snuggle and an energetic run in the park. They’re a hit with families, fitting well in various living environments. Most can even do well in an apartment, as long as they get enough daily exercise. Medium dog breeds include: 

  • Australian shepherd
  • Border collie
  • Boykin spaniel
  • Keeshond
  • Samoyed

Large Dogs

German Shepherd Looking Away

Now we are getting to the breeds that might push us off the bed in an attempt to show us some love. They aren't the biggest in the dog world, but they aren't far off. Large breeds tip the scales between 60 and 100 pounds. These big buddies often have equally big hearts, offering loads of love, loyalty, and protection. They thrive with space to roam, and as such, they may not do well in small spaces like apartments. Dogs that are considered large breeds include:

  • German shepherd
  • Rhodesian ridgeback
  • Doberman pinscher
  • Greyhound
  • Old English sheepdog

Extra-Large Dogs

Two dogs sitting on a meadow

At over 100 pounds, these are the true gentle giants of the dog world. Although their large size can be quite intimidating, they're usually really big babies. It's like having a giant teddy bear to love and cuddle. While they demand extra space and care, the boundless love and security they offer make every extra effort worth it. Cuddling with one of these big breeds is truly special. These extra-large dogs are sure to pull on your heartstrings.

  • Irish wolfhound
  • English mastiff
  • Komondor
  • Anatolian shepherd
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
Need to Know

Although extra-large breeds still need exercise, they aren't as active as smaller breeds.

Why It's Important to Know Your Dog's Size

Knowing your dog’s size is crucial for various reasons, all centered around ensuring a happy, healthy life for your furry best friend. A dog’s size directly influences their dietary needs, exercise requirements, and living space suitability, which are all vital components of pet care. 

  • Feeding: Smaller breeds often have faster metabolisms. This means even though they don't eat as much food as large breeds, you'll need to feed them more frequently.
  • Lifespan: Small dogs often live significantly longer than large breeds. 
  • Dog beds: Large dog breeds are prone to joint issues and may need an orthopedic dog bed to help support their joints. 
  • Accessories: You can't grab collars and harnesses without knowing what your dog's size is.
  • Travel: Some hotels and Airbnbs will only allow dogs of certain sizes.

What Size Is Your Dog?

Discovering your dog’s size goes beyond mere curiosity. It’s about meeting their unique needs and ensuring a fulfilling and healthy life. Whether your furry best friend is very small, very large, or anything in between, acknowledging their size allows you to tailor their environment, diet, and lifestyle accordingly. Regardless of their size, each dog brings immense joy and companionship, and recognizing their needs is the least we can do in exchange for the unconditional love they offer us.

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Guide to Dog Sizes From Tiny to Gigantic