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Most popular mid-size dog breeds

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Most popular mid-size dog breeds

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but some dogs may be better friends than others. When it comes to selecting the right dog for you and your family, there are several factors you need to take into account. These include your location, your schedule, your budget, your family dynamics, and your ideal pup personality. If you live in a studio apartment in New York City, for example, it probably doesn’t make sense for you to get a pointer that thrives with a lot of space and activity. If you have young kids, it might not make sense to get shar-pei, which may require a little tact in how you interact with them. And if you live in Florida, where the weather is mostly hot and humid, you’re probably best steering clear of a bulldog.

It’s key to become familiar with some specifications before taking the leap to owning a pet. A good place to start is by looking at some of the most popular dog breeds out there––they’re popular for a reason, right?––and working backward from there.

To help break it down, Stacker pulled data from the American Kennel Club dog profiles and compiled a list of the 30 most popular mid-size dog breeds. To be considered for the list, each dog’s maximum height had to be 25 inches, and its maximum weight had to be between 50 and 80 pounds. Upon meeting those criteria, the dogs then were evaluated based on their 2018 AKC popularity rank, released in 2019. In this story, we explore each of the top 30 dog breeds, what some of their most notable characteristics are, and what a few of the key specifications are for aspiring owners to take into account.

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#30. Entlebucher mountain dogs

- Height of dog: 17-21 inches (male), 16-20 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 50-65 pounds (male), 40-55 pounds (female)
- AKC popularity rank: #157 of 191
- Temperament: loyal, smart, enthusiastic
- Life expectancy: 11-13 years

Entlebucher mountain dogs (Entles for short) are fiercely loyal and energetic, and they’re happiest when they’ve got a task at hand (or, in this case, paw). Entles are natural problem-solvers and, in their original home of the Swiss Alps, they were widely used to herd cattle and livestock. Though they possess an impressive work ethic, Entles are also loving, protective, and playful. Be prepared, though: these dogs are pretty self-confident and spirited, which could be hard to deal with for first-time owners.

 

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#29. Spaniels (field)

- Height of dog: 18 inches (male), 17 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 35-50 pounds
- AKC popularity rank: #149 of 191
- Temperament: sweet, fun-loving, sensitive
- Life expectancy: 12-13 years

Field spaniels have a warm spirit and tend to exhibit a pretty wide range of energy levels depending on what they’re doing. They can be calm, docile, and even shy, if dealing with unfamiliar people. However, once socialized and comfortable, field spaniels have a deep love for people and make excellent family dogs. Their nurturing nature makes them great for being around kids, as does their playfulness. Though they can be easily trained, it’s important to be mindful of field spaniels’ sensitive temperaments and focus on positive reinforcement when training them.

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#28. Berger Picards

- Height of dog: 23.5-25.5 inches (male), 21.5-23.5 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 50-70 pounds
- AKC popularity rank: #144 of 191
- Temperament: loyal, good-natured, observant
- Life expectancy: 12-13 years

Berger Picards were originally herding dogs, and as such, they’re energetic, strong, and strategic, though they bring a bit of lightheartedness to the table, as well. While these dogs are inherently good-natured and affectionate, they can be stubborn, so it’s important to begin training them early. Also know that Berger Picards can become restless without frequent activity, and that can result in destructive behavior. 

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#27. Spaniels (Welsh springer)

- Height of dog: 18-19 inches (male), 17-18 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 40-55 pounds (male), 35-50 pounds (female)
- AKC popularity rank: #128 of 191
- Temperament: happy, reserved, upbeat
- Life expectancy: 12-15 years

Welsh Springer spaniel, or Welshies, are among the oldest British sporting breeds. These beautiful red-and-white dogs were originally bred to help hunters find game, like rabbits or pheasants, in hidden spots. Though Welshies are characterized by strength and agility on the hunting field, they are kind, loyal, and gentle as companions, making them perfect for families.

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#26. Bearded collies

- Height of dog: 21-22 inches (male), 20-21 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 45-55 pounds
- AKC popularity rank: #127 of 191
- Temperament: smart, bouncy, charismatic
- Life expectancy: 12-14 years

The shaggy, vibrant bearded collie, or beardie, is a fun-loving dog with a high level of energy; not surprising given that the breed excels at herding. Originating in Scotland, beardies are known for their independent, sometimes stubborn nature, so while they can be trained, they can also require extra patience in the process. Once trained and socialized, these dogs will get along nicely with families and children, especially ones that like to keep active.

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#25. Norwegian elkhounds

- Height of dog: 20.5 inches (male), 19.5 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 55 pounds (male), 48 pounds (female)
- AKC popularity rank: #97 of 191
- Temperament: friendly, confident, dependable
- Life expectancy: 12-15 years

When it comes to dependability, you can count on the Norwegian elkhound. Though slightly shy and reserved at first, once an elkhound grows comfortable with you, the dog will be trustworthy and loyal. Originally, these dogs were used in Norway as watchdogs, flock guardians, and big-game hunters, so it’s important to give them a good deal of exercise as an outlet for their energy. Though training can be complicated—you have to keep training sessions fun, as the dogs bore easily—a well-trained pup can be an excellent family watchdog.

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#24. Retrievers (flat-coated)

- Height of dog: 23-24.5 inches (male), 22-23.5 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 60-70 pounds
- AKC popularity rank: #91 of 191
- Temperament: cheerful, optimistic, good-humored
- Life expectancy: 8-10 years

The rambunctious flat-coated retriever, or flat-coat, was originally a dual-purpose receiver, meaning that this dog would retrieve game from both land and water. Though they’re particularly energetic and require a lot of exercise, flat-coated retrievers are also pretty easy to train and eager to please, which makes them great pets. Flat-coats are known as the Peter Pan of dog breeds, as they’re notably slow to mature and can maintain a level of puppyish behavior for longer than usual.

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#23. Standard schnauzers

- Height of dog: 18.5-19.5 inches (male), 17.5-18.5 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 35-50 pounds (male), 30-45 pounds (female)
- AKC popularity rank: #89 of 191
- Temperament: fearless, smart, spirited
- Life expectancy: 13-16 years

Originally bred to be ratters, guard dogs, and all-purpose farm dogs in Germany, standard schnauzers don’t shy away from hard work. These dignified dogs, which may be all black or have salt-and-pepper coats, also make excellent companions because of their protective and alert nature. When it comes to training, standard schnauzers are smart and easy to train, so long as you go about it firmly. These dogs are not overly sensitive, so it’s important to approach training with a combined sense of gentleness and structured discipline.

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#22. American Staffordshire terriers

- Height of dog: 18-19 inches (male), 17-18 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 55-70 pounds (male), 40-55 pounds (female)
- AKC popularity rank: #85 of 191
- Temperament: confident, smart, good-natured
- Life expectancy: 12-16 years

The American Staffordshire terrier is confident and intelligent, but also loving and affectionate. A notably strong breed, the American Staffordshire terrier is well meaning but can sometimes get a little rowdy and carried away with its strength, such as during walks or when playing with children. It’s important to impose rules early and to train then with a firm––but not harsh––hand. With the right socialization and training, this breed can be a fantastic family dog, and may even have the potential to be working dogs in fields like police work and athletic competitions.

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#21. Retrievers (Nova Scotia duck tolling)

- Height of dog: 18-21 inches (male), 17-20 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 35-50 pounds
- AKC popularity rank: #83 of 191
- Temperament: affectionate, intelligent, outgoing
- Life expectancy: 12-14 years

On the smaller side for a retriever, the smart and loving Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever has a boundless amount of energy, which served it well in its original role of luring and retrieving waterfowl. As households dog, though, it’s important for tollers to be part of a family that has the time and energy to keep up with them. Tollers like hiking, hunting, and swimming. While they get along well with children and other dogs, they may not necessarily do well with a lot of other pets, like cats, since their hunting instincts might take over.

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#20. Chow chows

- Height of dog: 17-20 inches
- Weight of dog: 45-70 pounds
- AKC popularity rank: #75 of 191
- Temperament: dignified, bright, serious-minded
- Life expectancy: 8-12 years

Don’t let its fun name fool you; the chow chow is a particularly dignified, serious, and aristocratic breed that was once an all-purpose dog in ancient China. These dogs are characterized by a catlike demeanor and level of cleanliness, and some of their notable features include a kind of lion-like mane around the face and a bluish-black tongue. They’re not particularly cuddly and warm, so it’s important to know what you’re getting with a chow chow before you commit. Without early training and socialization, it can be hard for chow chows to distinguish between safe humans and threats, so this breed must get the right kind of attention early to ensure appropriate long-term behavior.

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#19. Wirehaired pointing Griffons

- Height of dog: 22-24 inches (male), 20-22 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 50-70 pounds (male), 35-50 pounds (female)
- AKC popularity rank: #65 of 191
- Temperament: friendly, devoted, trainable
- Life expectancy: 12-15 years

Wirehaired pointing Griffons make excellent gundogs, and were originally used to help hunters retrieve game like birds and hares. Beyond that, though, Griffons also have a delightful sense of humor and generally happy disposition that makes them excellent family dogs. Though one of the perks of Griffons’ rough coats is that they don’t shed a lot, the bristly look of their fur tends to make them appear unkempt.

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#18. Chinese shar-pei

- Height of dog: 18-20 inches
- Weight of dog: 45-60 pounds
- AKC popularity rank: #64 of 191
- Temperament: loyal, independent, calm
- Life expectancy: 8-12 years

Originally developed to guard, hunt, herd, and, at one point, fight, the Chinese shar-pei makes a particularly reliable guard dog, among other things. Thanks to the breed’s calm and devoted nature, the shar-pei is especially loyal to the family it belongs to, though it may be a little standoffish and suspicious when it comes to strangers and other dogs. Shar-peis have several notable physical traits that set them apart from other dogs, including a rough, bristly coat; wrinkled skin; sunken eyes, and a bluish-black tongue. Though the right training makes the shar-pei a good family dog, this particular breed does best with older children who can interact with the dog according to its personality.

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#17. Bull terriers

- Height of dog: 21-22 inches
- Weight of dog: 50-70 pounds
- AKC popularity rank: #62 of 191
- Temperament: playful, charming, mischievous
- Life expectancy: 12-13 years

Known for their one-of-a-kind “egghead” appearance, bull terriers are particularly muscular, endearing dogs that thrive on a lot of activity and love. Originally used as a fighting dog in the 1800s, the bull terrier later became something of a statement companion for gentlemen before becoming a family dog. Because bull terriers have a lot of energy and can find themselves getting into mischief, they need to end up with families that are active and alert enough to keep up with the restless breed.

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#16. Airedale terriers

- Height of dog: 23 inches
- Weight of dog: 50-70 pounds
- AKC popularity rank: #60 of 191
- Temperament: friendly, clever, courageous
- Life expectancy: 11-14 years

The Airedale terrier has been dubbed the King of the Terriers, largely thanks to the breed’s strong spirit, size––it’s the largest of the terriers––and adaptability. Excelling as a hunter, athlete, and family companion, the Airedale terrier was originally used in its home of Yorkshire to catch otters and rats between the Aire and Wharfe rivers. It’s important to note that Airedale terriers are smart and have independent spirits. When paired with their intolerance for aggression, this can make them a little hard to temper when they’re feeling intimidated. Anyone with an Airedale needs to be prepared for their occasional stubborn attitudes.

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#15. Samoyeds

- Height of dog: 21-23.5 inches (male), 19-21 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 45-65 pounds (male), 35-50 pounds (female)
- AKC popularity rank: #59 of 191
- Temperament: adaptable, friendly, gentle
- Life expectancy: 12-14 years

Resilient cold-weather dogs thanks to their thick white coats, Samoyeds, or Sammies, were originally bred by Siberia’s Samoyede people to hunt, pull sleds, and herd reindeer. In addition to their thick fur to keep them warm, other key Sammy features are intended to help the breed cope with cold conditions. For example, their signature smile helps prevent drooling, which keeps icicles from forming on their faces. While Sammies are loving and warm (both literally and figuratively), they are working dogs at their core, and can be destructive when not kept active. It’s key to give Sammies many outlets for their energy, but also to train them early through non-repetitive tasks.

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#14. Dalmatians

- Height of dog: 19-24 inches
- Weight of dog: 45-70 pounds
- AKC popularity rank: #56 of 191
- Temperament: dignified, smart, outgoing
- Life expectancy: 11-13 years

Known primarily for their signature spots, Dalmatians were originally used to guard horses and coaches, thanks to their strong protective instincts. Dalmatins are muscular and like their fair share of physical activity, making them excellent companions for active owners. While they’re not necessarily the warmest with strangers, Dalmatians tend to be loving and loyal to their owners and families.

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#13. Australian cattle dogs

- Height of dog: 18-20 inches (male), 17-19 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 35-50 pounds
- AKC popularity rank: #55 of 191
- Temperament: alert, curious, pleasant
- Life expectancy: 12-16 years

The Australian cattle dog has earned the nickname “the heeler,” because of the breed’s original role in herding cattle by nipping at their heels. Proper training is critical to curbing an Australian cattle dog’s natural biting instincts, as is socialization and reliable supervision—especially because this breed is intelligent enough to outsmart its owners. When it comes to activity, the Australian cattle dog is energetic and needs to move, so it does best in the charge of active owners.

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#12. Portuguese water dogs

- Height of dog: 20-23 inches (male), 17-21 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 42-60 pounds (male), 35-50 pounds (female)
- AKC popularity rank: #50 of 191
- Temperament: affectionate, adventurous, athletic
- Life expectancy: 11-13 years

Bred to help fishermen and fishing crews, the Portuguese water dog, or Portie, is one of the more fun-loving family companions. Characterized by tight, low-shedding curls, Porties are eager to please, which makes them easy to train.

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#11. Border collies

- Height of dog: 19-22 inches (male), 18-21 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 30-55 pounds
- AKC popularity rank: #35 of 191
- Temperament: affectionate, smart, energetic
- Life expectancy: 12-15 years

Border collies are intelligent and are most content when they have work to do, a characteristic left over from their original role as sheepherders in Scotland. For owners without a lot of time to keep border collies busy, this could spell an unfit match. However, for the right owner with the time and energy to dedicate to keeping a border collie occupied and working, this breed can make a great companion. For families looking for a laid-back, cuddly pooch, this won’t be a match.

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#10. Vizslas

- Height of dog: 22-24 inches (male), 21-23 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 55-60 pounds (male), 44-55 pounds (female)
- AKC popularity rank: #31 of 191
- Temperament: affectionate, gentle, energetic
- Life expectancy: 12-14 years

The red-coated Vizsla, which comes from Hungary, is an active sporting breed, having served largely as a gundog and bird hunter throughout history. As a family companion, though, Vizslas are gentle and sweet and prefer to have a lot of interaction with their owners. As a sporting breed originally, Vizslas requires a good amount of physical activity, so they must live with active families.

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#9. Spaniels (English springer)

- Height of dog: 20 inches (male), 19 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 50 pounds (male), 40 pounds (female)
- AKC popularity rank: #27 of 191
- Temperament: friendly, playful, obedient
- Life expectancy: 12-14 years

The English springer spaniel is loving and playful, not to mention quite smart. Originally bred for hunting, the English springer spaniel was bred to work closely with humans, which makes it eager to please and easy to train. Because they have a lot of energy, English springer spaniels need owners who can regularly exercise them. Otherwise they can become nervous or destructive.

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#8. Australian shepherds

- Height of dog: 20-23 inches (male), 18-21 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 50-65 pounds (male), 40-55 pounds (female)
- AKC popularity rank: #17 of 191
- Temperament: smart, work-oriented, exuberant
- Life expectancy: 12-15 years

Australian shepherds, or Aussies, are a top-notch herding dog. The breed has earned a reputation as an ideal ranch dog and is often associated with cowboys. Contrary to what their name suggests, Aussies are native to California, where they were mostly used to herd livestock around Gold Rush. Today, Aussies make for excellent family dogs, but they require owners that can keep them busy and active, as they are happiest and most fulfilled when they’ve got work to do. That said, these dogs are also affectionate, and like cuddling with their owners when work is done.

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#7. Siberian huskies

- Height of dog: 21-23.5 inches (male), 20-22 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 45-60 pounds (male), 35-50 pounds (female)
- AKC popularity rank: #14 of 191
- Temperament: loyal, outgoing, mischievous
- Life expectancy: 12-14 years

The Siberian husky is a loyal, beautiful breed, characterized by its thick, multi-colored coat and its striking blue or multi-colored eyes. The dog was originally bred to work in packs and to masterfully pull sleds and light loads over ice. Siberian huskies are good with families and are inherently friendly (in fact, they’re so friendly that they’re pretty indifferent watchdogs). This is not an easy breed to work with; Siberian huskies are notoriously mischievous, with tendencies to dig, run, and abscond when you’re not watching. And while training can help control some of the Siberian husky’s behavior, a lot of the breed’s innately troublemaking behavior can’t be taught away.

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larstuchel // Shutterstock

#6. Boxers

- Height of dog: 23-25 inches (male), 21.5-23.5 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 65-80 pounds (male), females are about 15 pounds less than male
- AKC popularity rank: #11 of 191
- Temperament: bright, fun-loving, active
- Life expectancy: 10-12 years

Boxers are an endearingly interesting mix of intelligence, alertness, and silliness. Despite their name, boxers are far bigger lovers than they are fighters, though they do move with a kind of athleticism and grace characteristic of the athletes from whom they get their name. Originally bred to be guard dogs, boxers are excellent watchdogs for families. They’re also energetic and require a good amount of exercise to keep them satisfied.

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#5. Pointers (German shorthaired)

- Height of dog: 23-25 inches (male), 21-23 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 55-70 pounds (male), 45-60 pounds (female)
- AKC popularity rank: #9 of 191
- Temperament: friendly, smart, willing to please
- Life expectancy: 10-12 years

Pointers are first and foremost hunting dogs, tasked with pointing out game birds during a hunt. The highly energetic dogs need plenty of activity, so owners must be willing and able to bring them along on hikes, camping trips, runs, and hunting trips as often as possible. When it comes to family life, pointers do well with families, including children, particularly when they’ve been raised with them. That said, pointers aren’t necessarily the best pick for homes with babies and toddlers since they tend to be rambunctious and could accidentally hurt younger children.

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#4. Poodles

- Height of dog: Over 15 inches (standard)
- Weight of dog: 60-70 pounds (male), 40-50 pounds (female)
- AKC popularity rank: #7 of 191
- Temperament: active, proud, very smart
- Life expectancy: 10-18 years

Though poodles are most recognized for their sense of class and refinement, what often goes unnoticed is their goofy sense of humor beneath the polished exterior. Indeed, poodles are quite intelligent and proud, but there’s also silliness innate to their personalities that makes them fun, entertaining family companions. However, obedience training is necessary for poodles, as it’s crucial to keep their brains active and engaged to keep these smart pups well-behaved.

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Angyalosi Beata // Shutterstock

#3. Bulldogs

- Height of dog: 14-15 inches
- Weight of dog: 50 pounds (male), 40 pounds (female)
- AKC popularity rank: #5 of 191
- Temperament: friendly, courageous, calm
- Life expectancy: 8-10 years

One of the popular mid-size breeds that isn’t in the sporting group, bulldogs are thicker-set––albeit still quite muscular––dogs known for their scrunched-up faces and sweet, chilled-out temperaments. While these dogs were once used to drive cattle, they now make excellent family companions for low-key families, preferably with children. This breed appreciates a slower pace, and a nice walk with some follow-up relaxation is pretty much the kind of activity that an owner would be in for with a bulldog. If you live in a hot climate, this might not be the breed for you, though, as bulldogs tend to overheat easily.

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#2. Retrievers (golden)

- Height of dog: 23-24 inches (male), 21.5-22.5 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 65-75 pounds (male), 55-65 pounds (female)
- AKC popularity rank: #3 of 191
- Temperament: friendly, intelligent, devoted
- Life expectancy: 10-12 years

Originally bred in Scotland to be a gundog, the golden retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the country when it comes to finding a family pet. These loving dogs have a friendly temperament, but they also know how to work hard, including performing service-dog duties or helping with search-and-rescue operations. Because of their high level of intelligence, golden retrievers are pretty easy to train, making them great dogs to have around the house. They’re also fantastic with children and can be excellent guard dogs, as they tend to be protective of their loved ones.

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Mikayla E // Shutterstock

#1. Retrievers (Labrador)

- Height of dog: 22.5-24.5 inches (male), 21.5-23.5 inches (female)
- Weight of dog: 65-80 pounds (male), 55-70 pounds (female)
- AKC popularity rank: #1 of 191
- Temperament: friendly, active, outgoing
- Life expectancy: 10-12 years

Bred to be both a hardworking dog and a friendly companion, it’s no wonder that Labrador retrievers can strike a balance when it comes to work and play. These friendly pups are known for their consistently high spirits, and they get along well with owners and strangers alike. They are intelligent and capable of performing many jobs, including as service dogs, show competitors, and search-and-rescue dogs. Because they were bred with demanding jobs in mind, Labs require 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity each day to keep them well behaved and healthy. And because Labs are generally pretty easygoing, it’s possible to assume they don’t need training. But even if Labs aren’t as naturally mischievous as some other breeds, it’s still important that they are trained to ensure consistent good behavior.

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