What Do Hamsters Eat? A Hamster’s Diet From A to Z

A Hamster’s Diet

There are many types of hamsters that you can find at your local rescue or pet shop — Syrian hamsters and dwarf hamsters are just a few common varieties. While all hamsters may be different, their diets tend to look pretty similar across the board.

If you are considering adopting a hamster, preparing to feed them the right food and treats is vital to keep them healthy and happy. Hamsters aren’t able to go out and forage the way they would out in the wild, so they rely on us for everything they need.

Keep reading to learn more about what your hamster should and should not eat.

A Hamster’s Diet

Hamster food is heavily related to the small animal’s native environment, which is very dry. They enjoy eating from a food bowl filled with seeds and even small bugs like crickets and mealworms for protein.

Many assume that hamster pellets and a few sunflower seeds are sufficient for a hamster’s diet, but they really prefer a wide range of different options, including some human food. Your furry friend’s diet should also include fresh fruits like watermelon and vegetables like sweet potatoes, but in moderation and under a watchful eye.

A hamster is unlikely to overeat, so having plenty of food will allow them to eat whenever needed. Opting for fresh can also improve the quality of a hamster’s diet. Changing their bowl out every day would keep their food as fresh as possible. This will also assist in keeping your hamster’s teeth healthy.

Hamster Feeding 101

A pelleted diet is often best for hamsters, but it can get dull. If the dry food in their dish never changes, your hamster might turn up their nose and refuse to eat.

Veggies like romaine lettuce and fruits like blueberries are great to include, as well as ensuring they get protein, fiber, and fatty acids in their daily diet.

Vegetables and Fruit

While vegetables and fruit are suitable for most hamsters, it’s advised not to give them too much of anything as it might oversaturate their diet. Fruits and veggies are high in fiber, which is essential to a hamster’s diet.

Apples, pears, and carrots are good fruits and veggies to include in a pet hamster’s diet. They will provide plenty of fiber and vitamins to your hamster daily. Your hamster would enjoy carefully-sourced and prepared dandelions, timothy hay, or clovers to munch on as an occasional treat. These small pets really enjoy dark leafy greens.

Hay provides fiber as well, so be sure to pick up a bag of it before taking your hamster home.


Some people assume hamsters are herbivores when, in fact, they are technically omnivores.

Hamsters need protein so that they can properly grow and repair their tissues and stay healthy for a longer amount of time. Hamsters are known to eat small insects that are relatively easy to catch when in an enclosure. You can also feed your hamster some dry dog food every now and then to give them a boost of protein.

Again, it’s not advised to do this too frequently, but every few days, the additional protein is much appreciated.

Fatty Acids

For your hamster to maintain healthy skin and fur, they need to be eating enough foods with fatty acids. An easy and enjoyable way for your hamster to get enough fatty acids in their diet is to snack on some seeds and nuts.

You can often get everything you need in a premixed bag from the pet store, but be careful — some of these are too high in sugar and lack essential nutrients.

Fresh Water

Hamsters need access to fresh water at all times. Using a drip bottle is the easiest way for your hamster to access water whenever they need it. They generally catch on quickly about how to use it. Make sure you are checking it daily to see if it needs to be refilled, but get into a habit of changing it every morning.

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What Can’t Hamsters Eat?

It’s unlikely that you’re going to be trying to share all of your snacks with your hamster, but there are some foods you should steer clear of. Some foods can be particularly toxic to hamsters and similar pets like guinea pigs and chinchillas.

If you aren’t sure whether or not your hamster can have a food item, it’s best to play it safe and not feed it to them at all.


Chocolate and sweets are dangerous. While this is pretty much the case with all pets, you have to consider how small your hamster is compared to a dog or even a cat.

One small piece of chocolate can have a more detrimental effect on your hamster. Hamster pet parents should keep all of their chocolate away from their pets for safety.

Processed Foods

In general, any processed foods you might snack on yourself will not be suitable for your hamster. A lot of these foods are very high in sugar and low in fiber — two things that aren’t ideal for your hamster’s health.

There are snacks and treats that you can purchase for your hamster that are specifically made for them to enjoy. These options will provide you with a safe alternative and will definitely boost your fluffy friend’s mood.

Too Much Fruit

Though fruit and veggies are recommended, too much fruit can overload your hamster with too much sugar. Fruits are packed with “healthy” sugars, but this is still too much for your hamster’s small body. Feeding them a moderate amount of fruit and veggies and keeping an eye on them while they snack will ensure you know how much they are actually consuming.

Quick List of Foods To Avoid

Here is a list of some foods (not all) that are not good for your hamster’s health:

  • Acorns
  • Buttercup
  • Bindweed
  • Citrus fruits
  • Elder
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Unripe or overripe fresh foods
  • Muesli-style mixes
  • Dairy products
  • Jam
  • Rhubarb
  • Grapes

Big Questions About Small Pets

Hamsters might be small, but you have a lot of big questions about them. You might wonder why they are biting or how to make their home as enriching as possible — or a thousand other questions.

We get it. That’s why when you join AskVet, you can sign up for a virtual session with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach (CPLC) to ask all the behavioral questions you might have. They can help create a full 360° Lifestyle Plan to attend to every need your hamster might have.

Additionally, with an AskVet account, you can chat on the mobile app with a licensed veterinarian to help put together the optimal diet for your hamster (or any other pet). That’s right — This app is not just for cats and dogs. The AskVet team is knowledgeable about a variety of different animals and is willing to help anyone get to the bottom of an issue.


Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster | NCBI

Hamster Diet | Elmbrook Humane Society

Safe & Unsafe Foods | Ontario Hamster Club

Feeding your hamster | PDSA

Selecting a Hamster | Merck Veterinary Manual

How To Teach Dogs Not To Bark at Strangers (Nicely)

How To Teach Dogs Not To Bark at Strangers (Nicely)

Does your dog like to make sure everyone around them knows they are there with loud, incessant barking? How about when the doorbell rings on the TV or whenever someone comes to your actual door? As much as you love your dog, this behavior is not always wanted.

[To all dogs: we get it. A stranger is a stranger is a stranger. But not every stranger is an enemy!]

Training dogs about the appropriate times to bark will save your eardrums a whole lot of pain and will help you and your home seem more inviting. Whether your dog is in their golden years or in puppyhood with bundles of energy, you can guide their behavior in a variety of situations.

Keep reading to learn more about why dogs bark.

Why Do Dogs Bark? The Different Types of Barking

Barking is a natural behavior that all dogs do — as dog parents everywhere know. When, where, and directed at who is a different question. Regardless, your dog might be one to utilize their voice more than others. You know your dog best, so you will likely be able to pick up on what kind of barking your dog is doing.

There are many types of barking: alert/alarm barking, demand barking, frustration barking, boredom barking, stress barking, play barking, and greeting barking. Additionally, dogs can bark out of a lack of socialization.

Recognizing what kind of barking your dog is doing could help you to examine the situation and know how best to respond to it.

Alert/Alarm Barking

Does your dog bark from the window or porch whenever a stranger or new dog walks onto their property? Do they tense up, hair raised on their backs, with more stiffness in their body language than you are used to?

This aspect of your dog’s behavior could be due to your dog feeling like they need to protect their territory and make their presence known. They might also be trying to get another dog’s attention.

You don’t want your dog to perceive every person or dog that walks by or comes to your door as a threat — especially if you live in a very social and busy setting or have friends and family who frequently stop by. You don’t want the neighbors to start complaining because your dog is ready to yell at anyone who dares enter their domain.

Having a self-appointed guard dog can have its pros, but only if that is what you are seeking. If you’re reading this, you’re likely not interested in having a guard dog and want to learn how to curb the behavior while also teaching them how to trust.


When dogs see other dogs and family members, they might bark out of pure excitement. Many barking dogs are not trying to be threatening or dangerous but instead extremely excited.

Note that not all people or other dogs want to approach a dog who is barking at them, regardless of how friendly the barking is intended to be. Your dog might find they are having trouble making friends when on their morning walks, and barking might be to blame.

Many puppies display this behavior of extreme excitement that they can’t understand how to contain. Puppies learn to communicate through their barks and wines with their siblings and mother.

It’s also a way that they communicate with their new human parents when they first arrive. While it is adorable to hear their tiny baby barks, if you don’t correct the behavior early, you could find it more challenging to do as they form their own barking habits.

Stress Barking

Some dogs might bark out of fear, and there are likely underlying causes for this. Some rescued dogs from not-so-great backgrounds might be more anxious and nervous, becoming scared more quickly when they see strangers or hear loud noises.

Some of this extra fear could be due to separation anxiety or an increased attunement to potential threats. While this bark is unlikely to be aggressive, it could lead to that if a dog feels the need to protect themselves. This kind of bark is more likely to be used to make the dog seem bigger and hope to scare the threat away.

Fear-induced barking can also be a result of a lack of socialization. If you get your dog when they are a puppy, it’s so important to socialize them with a variety of different people and dogs so that they can learn to be unfased in new situations.

New situations can be unsettling for dogs and can therefore lead to barking. So it’s no surprise that a dog that hasn’t been in many social settings would find the existence of other people and dogs startling.

Obedience Training Techniques To Remember

Before we get into some of the methods to stop dog barking, we have a few tips to share:

If you have a puppy, know that starting as early as possible can only benefit you. Regardless of age or background, patience is essential. Our dogs will learn to trust that we won’t put them in dangerous scenarios and will begin to open up.

Redirection Will Be Key 

If you can figure out ways to keep your dog distracted and engrossed in a toy or game, barking out of boredom is unlikely to occur in the first place. They might end up barking at a toy or at you when you come to play, but if they are paying attention to the toy, they aren’t thinking about barking.

Ideally, you want to redirect them from practicing the act of attention-seeking barking or barking out of boredom so that it doesn’t become a habitual thing for them. However, some forms of barking — barking to be let out, for example — can be beneficial. Thus, it’s not recommended to train your dog out of barking in any and all circumstances. Instead, it’s ideal to redirect your dog’s attention away from something that shouldn’t warrant barking.

Remove the Motivation To Bark

Dogs that like to bark at people who walk by from the safety of a window might need to be cut off from window lurking. Closing curtains or making it more difficult for your dog to watch out of the windows eliminates the need for barking. Your dog can’t see the stimulus they are looking for and, therefore, won’t react to it.

After a while, your dog might not consider barking as something they need to do. They might huff and puff occasionally when a stranger approaches. But because they’ve never been allowed to bark non-stop at a person, they won’t think to do it when they make eye contact with a passerby in the future.

Ignore the Barking

This can be tough, especially on days you come home from work and want to relax, but try ignoring the barking. If your dog is staring at you barking, they clearly want your attention, but you shouldn’t reward them for the behavior by giving them what they want.

This goes for crate training too. You don’t need to coddle your dog every time they cry or bark from their crate. Instead, you can work to teach them that being quiet gets rewarded and barking doesn’t — the powers of positive reinforcement.

Give them a treat every time they are quiet in their crate. Ignore them while they bark, and if they quiet down for even a split second, come over and hand them a treat.

Desensitization to Triggers

If there is a specific person, dog, or object that your dog is barking at, you want to desensitize them to it.

Let your dog become accustomed to the trigger on their own terms. At first, the trigger should stay at a far-away distance. When dogs no longer feel threatened, up-close triggers can offer high-value treats. This teaches dogs the lesson that triggers lied to high-value items, and if not, at least they are generally harmless.

Reward them with treats when they don’t bark, and if they do bark, move further away until they stop and reward them again. This may take many days or weeks to accomplish, but baby (or puppy) steps are still steps.

Simple Ways To Teach Your Dog Not To Bark

There are a few different methods that teach your dog how to not bark. These are not something that your dog will master overnight (at least the majority of them won’t), so don’t be discouraged!

1. The Quiet Method

When your dog is barking at the mailman or another dog passing by, interrupt them with a click of your tongue or another similar noise. When they respond to the noise, tell them the command: “Quiet.” Don’t yell at them or even raise your voice a tiny bit. Instead, tell them quietly to be quiet.

Once you’ve done this, reinforce their behavior with a treat. If they remain quiet, you can reinforce with another treat. If they bark, repeat the same action.

Make sure to reward them each time that they are quiet so they begin to see the correlation between being quiet and getting a treat. In order for them to understand that “Quiet” is the command, begin waiting for longer periods of time to reward them once they are quiet. You might start rewarding them immediately after at first, but the verbal cue might not be fully understood yet.

Give them the command. Once they go quiet, wait for five seconds before rewarding, then ten seconds, then 20 seconds. See if they can stay quiet for as long as possible but only reward them when they remain quiet.

2. Distraction Method

If there is a noise or object that your dog is obsessed with or intrigued by, use that to distract your dog when they bark. It should be that the sound or object they see is more interesting to them than a stranger is. Once their attention is on you, you can tell them to sit or lie down and reward them with a treat.

If their eyes begin to wander, keep them preoccupied with the distraction and reward them if they look back at you. If they bark, repeat the same process. This should teach them that barking doesn’t produce a reward but paying attention to their human does.

3. The “Spot” Method 

When new people come into your home, your dog might not know the proper etiquette for greeting behaviors. They might bark because a stranger in their home, or they may bark and jump because they are happy to see someone coming in.

Either way, you don’t want your dog bombarding your guests as soon as they enter. By teaching your dog to go to a specific spot in your house, you can hopefully teach them that when someone comes in, rather than barking, they can be rewarded for calmly waiting.

Start by saying, “Go to your spot,” and tossing a treat wherever that may be. It might be the couch, their dog bed, or settling down next to the living room couch.

Repeat this several times until your dog starts moving to the spot instinctively to receive the treat. Practice doing this from all over your house so that they understand there is a specific place they should be going to each time, and they’ll only get rewarded if they do it right.

4. Divert Attention in Public

Dogs can get really excited, but it’s not always manageable. As your dog grows larger and stronger, the more excitable they get out in public, the more tricky it is to control them.

When your dog notices a stranger or other dog, they may instantly become alert. You will want to turn them away from the person or dog and have them focus on you. As long as your dog doesn’t bark or engage, make sure to give them plenty of well-deserved treats.

Not only will they see that barking is not rewarded, but it also teaches them that when they bark, they don’t get to go say hi to the person they saw. If your dog wants to interact with a human or another dog, they need to do it in a respectful way!

Something Smart To Bark About

Training dogs can sometimes be challenging — which is why experts are here to help.

Sign up for a virtual session with AskVet and gain access to chat with our Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches (CPLCs), who can help craft a personalized behavioral plan for your pet. Questions may arise at any given time during your training process, and having access to our CPLCs makes getting answers easier. Plus, with your AskVet account, you can chat with a vet 24/7 on the mobile app!


How To Get Your Dog To Stop Barking | Humane Society

Decoding Your Dog’s Excessive Barking | Veterinary Medicine at Illinois

Improving Dog Training Methods: Efficacy And Efficiency Of Reward And Mixed Training Methods | NCBI

Helping dog anxiety | The Humane Society of the United States

How to Teach Your Dog to Ring a Bell to Go Outside | AKC


11 Low-Energy Dog Breeds Who Love To Cuddle 

11 Low-Energy Dog Breeds Who Love To Cuddle

Not everyone is cut out for a high-energy dog breed who is going to need several hours of exercise on top of mental stimulation throughout the day. For those of you who are prepared for that, we salute you. Having a high-energy breed is not easy: It takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

Some of us want to enjoy the company of an adorable dog but don’t have the time (or energy ourselves) to keep up with some breeds of dog. Some people feel they are made to own certain breeds, and certain breeds find themselves thriving in particular environments. Similarly, not all breeds are made for everyone.

If you are looking to adopt a low-energy dog whose main goal is to stay cuddled up next to you for the majority of the day, then you have come to the right place. You first need to know which of the most popular dog breeds fit into this category, and then think about how they might exist in your home.

Finding the perfect match is essential, but it might not happen right away. Luckily, everything will always work out in the end.

What Does It Mean To Be Low-Energy?

No matter how chill we are about to tell you the following dogs are, it’s important to note that all dogs still need ample exercise to stay happy and healthy — they’re not content with just lounging around 24/7.

For many of these dogs, that might look different compared to a high-energy dog. Just because you are seeking out a low-energy dog doesn’t mean this dog doesn’t need plenty of exercise.

A lazy dog really just means that they prefer sleeping and snuggling over going on several hour-long excursions, hiking up mountains, or going on mile-long runs. You have to adjust your views on how to exercise your low-energy dog so that they can maintain a proper weight and stay healthy for as long as possible.

Consider Adopting an Elderly Dog

If you are looking for low-energy, the easiest way to find a surplus of any kind of dog is to adopt a senior dog from the shelter. It’s likely that these overlooked beauties are looking for a place where they can enjoy their golden years in complete comfort, surrounded by unconditional love.

Senior dogs are typically lower in energy but don’t be caught off guard when they show you their adorable zoomies. All dogs are puppies at heart!

Low-Energy Dog Breeds for Cuddling

The following is a list of low-energy dogs that range in a variety of different sizes. These dogs are beloved for their calm demeanors, which might be exactly what you are looking for.

1. Greyhounds

Greyhounds are not always thought of as being lazier breeds because they can reach speeds up to 45 mph. But despite their speedy potential, they have perfected the art of the cat nap (dog nap).

These sight hounds will go out on their daily walks, but as soon as you get back inside, they’ll retire to their indented space on the couch and probably need you to cover them up under their blanket.

These dogs are gentle and sweet, only giving off their speed in small bursts of zoomies. These will likely happen daily, but it will be more for your entertainment than it will be a call for you to go out and run with them.

Greyhounds are adaptable and can do good in a variety of settings, including apartment living, despite their large size. They curl up to be a small ball, and only want pets as the night settles in.

2. Great Danes

Similar to greyhounds, Great Danes are called “gentle giants” for a reason. This large dog is one of the biggest breeds out there, yet they don’t require that much exercise to keep them happy. They prefer a more laid-back lifestyle where most of the activity they get in a day is cuddles and scratches.

These dogs are goofy and like to play with their human or animal family members but are happy to settle down whenever they need to. They are great family dogs because of how well they do with children. They love the attention — even more so when it’s from their favorite little humans.

Great Danes can function well in small spaces with enough outdoor time (and enough space on your bed too).

3. Basset Hounds

Basset hounds are famous for their moody eyes, long droopy ears, and being excellent sniffers. They are very laid-back dogs who can be satisfied with a gentle walk every day.

They do love to smell, so expect that your walks will have less momentum than they usually do with a border collie. Your basset hound is going to need to smell everything.

You want to ensure your basset hound gets enough proper exercise so that they don’t become overweight. This can cause problems for their backs and joints later on in life. They will want to spend each night cuddled up next to you on the couch to recuperate from the day they had.

4. Pugs

Pugs tend to have lower energy levels, but some have more energy than one might suspect.

Their adorable flat faces can make it more difficult to breathe, especially if they’re out of breath from playing too hard. Loving pugs — a brachycephalic breed requires constant care.

Pugs are dedicated dogs who love their owners so much that they are never too far behind them. This is actually the main way that your pug will get the energy they do have out. Pugs don’t require too much exercise, and too much can cause issues with their breathing.

Your pug will likely want to go on one walk a day that’s very laid back. Playing in the house and getting lots of love is even better. Pugs have big personalities — similar to the sass of low-energy cuddlers like the Brussels griffon or the chihuahua.

5. English Bulldog

The English bulldog might be one of the most-lax dogs — but some may have medium energy levels. They are known for their snoozing and relaxing, with bursts of bulldozing energy followed by an immediate nap. These dogs are playful and loving; they do great with families who like to make them the center of attention. English bulldogs certainly don’t mind being wrapped up in blankets and snuggled.

English bulldogs still need enough exercise to keep them healthy, so one walk a day with some mental stimulation (not too much) is just the perfect amount. In addition, English bulldogs, like pugs, are brachycephalic, which means they need extra care and attention.

6. French Bulldog

These adorable small dogs love to stay close to their humans and follow them around as much as possible. They are very affectionate and like to play one-on-one with their people. Chasing a toy around, playing tug, and going on nice walks will keep your Frenchie happy and in good shape.

(You won’t want to overexert them because they are prone to breathing difficulties as well.)

7. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are very popular among people with a low-energy lifestyle. If you are looking for a laidback small breed that just wants to sit and enjoy your company, this is the dog for you. They are sociable, friendly, and easily adaptable. They will do as much as you’re willing to do and otherwise are content inside on their favorite lap.

They do have a very special coat that needs to be properly maintained so that it doesn’t become matted. In addition, this is another brachycephalic breed that needs special care and attention. This could become very heavy and weigh on your Shih Tzu as they carry on with their daily life.

8. Whippet

The whippet is often compared to a miniature greyhound. They have a similar look, both being long, thin, and mysterious, but whippets are much smaller. They will have their moments of insanity where they are zooming all over the house, but then they will return back to a curled-up position on the couch.

Whippets do need exercise, but they are happy to go with the flow. They like going on long walks but won’t need more than one solid one a day. If they are getting their needs met, they will be more than happy to spend the rest of their time snoozing away.

9. English Mastiff

The English mastiff is a massive dog with a gentle soul. They are very loyal and loving pups and are some of the best dogs for families. They need proper socialization from a young age to ensure that you can control them when they’re at their biggest size.

They are known to be couch potatoes and need minimal exercise, but they still benefit from at least one leisurely walk a day or some playtime with their pet parents. The rest of their day will likely be spent slobbering on your floors, so be prepared.

10. Irish Wolfhound

Irish wolfhounds are one of the most majestic dogs to see out in the world. They are massive, gentle, beautiful dogs that, despite their size, are quite laid back. Irish wolfhounds may be considered more intermediate when it comes to adopting them because they can be prone to different medical issues as they are so large.

These dogs don’t have excessive exercise requirements and enjoy two peaceful walks a day. They are usually fabulous with children but may have a high prey drive, so smaller animals might pose an issue.


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11. Maltese

Malteses are one of the most popular lap dogs out there. They are known for their affinity for a nice lap to sit in and are the perfect little dog to adopt if you are looking for an easygoing dog that doesn’t need much daily exercise.

Will they go for walks? Yes. More than one a day? If you insist. This pup’s exercise needs and energy levels are very low-key.

Maltese are confident and affectionate dogs who really become bonded to their humans. They are quite fearless, so keeping them stimulated and well-exercised can minimize the barking they might do at anyone that passes by the window. While low-energy, they get powerful bursts that can be calmed down with a short walk, running in the backyard, or playing games inside the house.

For a similar pooch, consider the Bichon Frise.

Get Help From the AskVet Team

When adopting a new family pet, you might have more questions than you even realize.

With AskVet, you can ask your questions whenever you think of them and get answers fast.

When you schedule a virtual session with our Certified Pet Lifestyle CoachesTM (CPLC), you can ask any behavioral questions that might pop up. Our team of CPLCs™ is here to create a full, well-rounded plan so every animal in your family, from your low-energy dog to your high-energy fish, can thrive.

Then, in a quiet moment with your low-energy pup, head over to the AskVet Clubhouse to connect with other loving pet parents for the support and stories all families need!


Shih Tzu Dog Breed Information | American Kennel Club (AKC)

Greyhound Dog Breed Information

What do I need to know about Brachycephalic dogs? | RSPCA Knowledgebase

Basset Hounds: 10 Fun Facts About This Droopy, Dopey Dog Breed | American Kennel Club (AKC)

12 Medium-Energy Dog Breeds Sorted by Size

12 Medium-Energy Dog Breeds Sorted by Size

When looking to adopt a dog, a goal of many dog owners is to match up their intended lifestyle with the future dog breed they’d like to get. Regardless of where you look — shelters, private rescues, or breeders —you can find dogs with mixes of the breeds you are interested in. It’s essential to match up with a dog that will fit in with your lifestyle so that you can ensure you are giving them enough to be happy.

While all dogs (including mixed breeds) are plain adorable, not all of them will be an excellent match for you, and that’s okay!

Suppose you’re a medium-energy person who likes the occasional long hike but prefers sticking to a routine of twice-daily walks and backyard play. In that case, you might want to consider a medium-energy dog rather than one with high or low energy levels.

When you don’t match up your energy, you are more likely to become overwhelmed and anxious that you aren’t doing enough. To avoid these thoughts of guilt, be open with the rescue or your breeder about what you are looking for in your future best fur friend.

An Ode to Medium-Energy Dogs

Many of us humans would describe ourselves as the best of both worlds: easily motivated go-getters who enjoy sinking into the couch and getting comfy late at night.

Having a dog that can keep up with you during your “on” days but also lay low when you are looking for rest is what it feels like to have a true best friend. Medium-energy dogs really enjoy physical activity and are happy to go on multiple walks a day (or just one with some solid playtime and stimulation).

A Note on Age and Size

However, keep in mind that a dog’s age impacts the amount of exercise they need. For example, senior dogs will have lower energy levels and can be more prone to injury. Similarly, puppies should also take it easy to ensure proper bone and growth development.

Many of the dogs listed below tend to match the energy of their humans. If you are feeling lazy, so will they! If you want to burn some steam and go for a mile-long hike, you bet your pooch is right beside you.

Depending on the size of the dog, there might be different exercise requirements that your pup needs. Smaller dogs might need less physical activity than medium-sized dogs, but larger dogs will sleep and recuperate for longer periods after intense play than any other sized dogs.

Keep reading to learn more about different sized medium-energy dogs.

Smaller Breeds With Medium-Energy Levels

Smaller breeds are great for those who live in smaller spaces like apartments or with multiple roommates. If you are someone who is interested in a smaller breed that still wants to socialize and go outside every day, there are a few breeds that might be a perfect fit for you.

1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a small breed that is known to be extremely adaptable. They will pick up on your lifestyle and learn how to become a part of it. They love to exercise, but only if you want to. Otherwise, they are more than happy to snuggle up with you on the couch.

Similar to a cocker spaniel, these dogs will likely need at least an hour of play a day, but that can be incorporated through throwing a ball and playing fetch, chasing after toys in the house, or going on leisurely walks in the neighborhood. These dogs stand approximately 13 inches tall and can weigh up to 18 pounds.

2. Pug

Pugs are a breed that is not necessarily known for their incredible athletic ability and drive. Pugs stand 11 inches tall and can weigh up to 18 pounds at full size.

These pint-sized cuties will burn their energy by following your every move and not leaving your side. They will go on walks, of course, but if you want to chase a toy indoors and then snuggle, they are completely down for it.

They do come with adorable faces, but respiratory issues can arise, so you don’t want to overwork them. Instead, make sure that they get plenty of rest so that they don’t have to worry about getting enough air.

If you adore this small dog, you might also like French bulldogs, Boston terriers, or similar brachycephalic breeds.

3. Dachshund

Another adorable and tiny breed that still has bounds of energy is the dachshund. While these dogs are definitely energetic for their size, their tiny legs and long bodies make it so that they tire a bit quicker than their canine peers.

So yes, they will jump around, chase after balls, go on daily walks, and ask you to play throughout the day, but soon enough, they look to lie down and relax.

Standard dachshunds stand up to nine inches tall and weigh up to 32 pounds. Miniature dachshunds stand up to six inches tall and can weigh up to 11 pounds.

4. Cardigan Welsh Corgis

Last on the small breeds list is the Cardigan Welsh corgi. Corgis are famous for their lovable little bodies, short legs, and large ears. These dogs love to have a nice burst of energy and speed but will tire out faster than the other dogs. (They tend to be slightly calmer than the Pembroke Welsh corgi.)

They are playful and energetic but will be ecstatic to curl up on the couch after a long day. Keep in mind that corgis are herding dogs — and might be inclined to show this off, especially with livestock (or smaller children).

These dogs stand 12 inches tall and can weigh up to 30 pounds. These dogs need enough exercise to keep their weight healthy to preserve spine health.

Note: When it comes to bringing home a herding dog, not all breeds are so chill. Herders like the border collie or Australian shepherd need a ton of mental stimulation to thrive.

Medium-Sized Breeds With Medium-Energy Levels

If you’re able to have a larger dog in your home but still want the same medium-energy levels we’ve discussed above, some of the following are some of the best dog breeds for a more mellow lifestyle.

1. Golden Retriever

Everyone adores the golden retriever, and for good reasons. This lovable, personable, and relatively low-energy dog breed will love you like no other.

These dogs love to get out and play and could ignore you for hours if they enjoy their activity, but they are very friendly and need love too. Basically, if you’re looking for a guard dog, the golden would not be a prime candidate.

After strenuous activity, goldens will need a few days to recuperate, so take advantage of their exhaustion and snuggle up for a nap. These dogs can stand up to 24 inches tall and can weigh up to 75 pounds.

Love a golden? Consider the labrador retriever too.

2. Brittany Spaniel

Brittany spaniels were bred to be hunting dogs who would retrieve birds that were shot from the sky. They have medium to high energy but can be well-exercised with walks, fetch, doggy playdates, and games requiring mental stimulation. These dogs love to explore and will smell the perimeter of your backyard for hours if you let them.

They get up to 20 inches tall and can weigh up to 40 pounds.

Love spaniels? Consider the springer spaniel.

3. English Bulldog

This breed is in the brachycephalic category, a group of dogs with shortened snouts. This unique trait gives them their distinct and iconic appearance, and they’re one of the most instantly recognizable breeds.

English bulldogs are known to be lazy dogs, but they do love a good romp and a bit of daily exercise.

While they prefer to be cuddled up under the blankets with their humans, maybe sharing a snack or two, this breed of dog does have bursts of energy they need to get out. They will go on long walks (until they refuse to move) and love playtime with their dog friends in the neighborhood.

These dogs are extremely good with families and could be a great addition to your medium-energy household. English bulldogs stand up to 16 inches tall and can weigh almost 55 pounds.

4. Shetland Sheepdog

These medium-sized dogs love running around and playing with their family. They will keep up with you for however long you go, but can’t wait to get back inside to sleep. These sheepdogs aren’t always into other dogs and may get a tad nervous, but socialization at a young age can prevent this from happening.

The Shetland sheepdog can get up to 16 inches tall and weigh up to 30 pounds. They are on the smaller side of the medium breeds, but their long and graceful bodies give them extra volume.


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Large Breeds With Medium-Energy Levels

Large breeds are often thought to be more maintenance, especially when it comes to exercising, but this isn’t always the case. The following dogs are major couch potatoes. Don’t let their large size fool you into thinking they will be your marathon running partner (well – maybe the greyhound).

1. Great Dane

Great Danes may seem intimidating because of their massive size, but they are truly gentle giants. They are not overly active dogs and would much rather leave a large imprint in your couch than run around in the backyard for hours. (They are prone to issues with their joints and bones, so harsh activity is not recommended.)

Your Great Dane will do a few laps around the neighborhood before needing a long nap, so don’t be surprised that they sleep more than you do. They can stand up to 35 inches tall and can weigh up to 200 pounds. These guys actually do well in apartments because they need somewhat minimal workouts.

2. Saint Bernard

The Saint Bernard is an extremely lovable goofball who might not fully understand their size. They love to cuddle and get pets from their humans but don’t need that much exercise. They can overheat in the summer if they get too much exercise, so be mindful of when you are taking them on more intense walks.

This breed can get up to 35 inches tall and can weigh up to 180 pounds at full size. They’re considered excellent family dogs.

3. Greyhound

People may think that the greyhound is going to be a wildly high-energy dog that they can’t keep up with, but that’s simply not the case. They will get bursts of energy and show you just how fast they can run, but these skinny little dogs often prefer to be couch potatoes.

These thin, large dogs get a lot of exercise from their occasional runs, but they’re chill family pets overall. They’re some of the most popular dogs for families with lots of land.

Greyhounds can get up to 30 inches tall and weigh up to 90 pounds. They are all lean muscle but can sometimes be intimidating because of their sharp appearance. Trust us — they are not. Greyhounds are big babies who look to their people for confidence, adoration, and to dress them in cute pajamas in the winter — these sleek babies get cold easily.

PS: If you think you’ve spotted a tiny greyhound, think again! You might have a whippet or an Italian greyhound.

4. Newfoundlands

Newfoundlands, or Newfies, are lovingly referred to as “nanny dogs” because of their calm and easy demeanor. This working dog will protect your children and keep a watchful eye on them. They are able to use their large bodies to keep them from hitting their head on sharp corners, crawling away from their designated playpen, and so much more.

This popular breed doesn’t enjoy intense workouts but will go for a long walk every day. Most of the energy is spent on keeping watch over the house, and they would much prefer to be snoozing away all day.

They can stand up to 28 inches tall and can weigh up to 180 pounds. No matter how big this low-maintenance fellow gets, they are always lap dogs in their mind — be prepared!

Have Questions? Get a Fast Response

When you are trying to decide what dog breed might be right for you, consider reaching out to our Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches (CPLC)TM to discuss what your lifestyle is like. Our coaches can point you in the right direction to be matched with the perfect medium-energy dog and then can help come up with behavioral and training plans for them. Schedule a virtual session with a CPLC™ today!

Getting a dog may seem like a lot of work for a new pet parent, which isn’t to say that it’s not, but it’s so rewarding. When you find the dog that fits in with your family, everything seems to just fall into place, and it will be obvious that you have made the right decision. Get started with AskVet to ask any questions that you might have about becoming a new dog (or cat or lizard or fish) parent.


Impact of Dog’s Age and Breed on Dog Owner’s Physical Activity: A German Longitudinal Study | MDPI

Variation In Activity Levels Amongst Dogs Of Different Breeds: Results Of A Large Online Survey Of Dog Owners From The UK | NCBI

Energy Requirements of Adult Dogs: A Meta-Analysis | PLOS ONE

Brachycephalic Breeds Fact Sheet | Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association

How to Tell the Difference: Italian Greyhound vs. Whippet | American Kennel Club (AKC)

Greyhounds and the cold | GAP

Why Do Cats Stare at You? The Truth

Why Do Cats Stare at You? The Truth

One of the creepiest things in the world has to be when you wake up to find your cat is staring at you with their large, unblinking eyes. You may feel a bit awkward being your feline’s primary focus, and perhaps for a good reason! Are they staring as a way to show that they love you, or is their stare one of judgment as you sleep soundly through their breakfast time?

Wondering why our cats do things like this can send you down a rabbit hole, but we’ve got you!

Read on for six reasons why your cat likes to stare at you.

What Is Your Cat Trying To Tell You?

Our cats are great at communicating with us.

They meow, purr, hiss, and use their tails to tell us how they are feeling. We even see our cats rub their faces on our legs, which is also a way for your cat to communicate to other cats that they are your human.

Cat stare-downs can also be used in conjunction with other movements to indicate how they are feeling. You can use these combinations of body language to know your cat’s mood. With this info, you can make the necessary changes if their body language indicates that they are anything but content.

They Love You

Just like humans, making eye contact and holding a gaze can be a signal of affection. Your kitty sees you as a part of their family and them staring at you is a way to show their affection.

Slow blinks also indicate your cat feels connected to you, they trust you, and they want to spend time with you. When your cat is sitting next to you or resting in your lap, make eye contact with them and slowly blink to show them that you enjoy their company. Your cat will likely reciprocate, and you’ll both feel even more bonded to each other. (PS: Cats show affection in other ways, including with licking).

They Missed You

If you have just gotten home from work or returned from vacation, you might find that your cat is staring more intently at you. If you think that your cat is making up for missed time by glaring at you, you may be right.

In a study, cats were found to initiate social contact with their pet parents after a period of separation. This contact was found to be increased the longer the cat’s human was gone.

This is very sweet and shows that our cats care about us and that we are an important part of their life.

They Are Hungry

In true cat fashion, your cat may stare as a hint that it is past their mealtime. We are all aware of the eerie feeling you get when you feel someone staring at you. It is common to experience this with your cat, and your cat may be hinting they want their food bowl refilled.

It’s a safe bet that your cat is hungry if they are eyeballing you while also sitting in close proximity to their food dish. They may also try this move when they want a second breakfast or extra snack during the day, don’t let those kitten eyes budge your resolve.


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They Feel Angry

We all experience bad moods from time to time, and your cat is included in these fluctuations in mood. If your cat exhibits a stiff body and their ears are turned to the side, this may indicate they are angry about something.

One such scenario is taking your kitty for a vet check-up. You’ve gotten them into their carrier just fine, but now it is time to take them out for the vet to take a look. Your cat may have pushed themselves to the back of their carrier, and they are giving you the ultimate stare-down.

Paired with these other tension-filled body gestures, your cat is giving you a warning they are far from feeling pleased. When this occurs, it is probably a good idea to give your cat some space so they can start to relax. You can help break your cat’s icy glare with their favorite treat or toy.

They Feel Scared

Did you accidentally drop a glass? Maybe you started the vacuum cleaner? Do you have extra loud guests over? Any unexpected loud noises can startle your kitty and send them to take cover under the sofa or chair.

Your kitty may stare at you as a way to gauge what is going on and probably a silent plea for the loud noise to stop. Paired with a tucked-in tail, flattened ears, and positioning their bodies low to the ground, your cat may be feeling a little spooked.

If possible, stop the loud noise and distract your kitty with their favorite treat or toy. If you know that you’ll have guests over for a get-together, try moving your kitty to a quiet place if they tend to get rattled easily by loud noises.

They’re Curious

If you are starting a new exercise routine or come home with a new haircut, you may find your cat giving you a good stare-down. While it may feel like they are doing some hardcore judging, your cat’s stares can be just due to being curious.

Cats are naturally curious creatures, and they like to explore new things. If you come home looking different, they will certainly stare to try to figure out what you changed about your appearance. If you start a new exercise routine, your cat may stare as they try to figure out your new moves.

Put More Eyes & Minds on Petcare With AskVet

While we know that our cats can sometimes act a little zany, we may need some help from time to time to decipher their more perplexing behaviors.

This is where our team of veterinarians and Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ can help put some fresh eyes and minds to any pet questions that you may have questions about. Set up a virtual session to get answers to all of your behavior questions and get personalized advice and guidance 24/7 from our experts.

You also have plenty of resources right at your fingertips, like our blog and access to the AskVet Clubhouse, where you can chat and get advice from other pet parents.

Next time when your cat stares you down, slowly blink and smile at your BFFF — best feline friend forever.


Cats and owners interact more with each other after a longer duration of separation | PLOS ONE

How Do Cats Communicate With Each Other | Library Of Congress

The curious character of cats | Phys.org

The role of cat eye narrowing movements in cat–human communication | Scientific Reports

Why Does My Cat Stare at the Wall: 4 Reasons Why

Cat Stare at the Wall

Do you ever catch yourself staring off into the distance when deeply reflecting on something? Your brain is just too busy organizing all the thoughts you have swirling around in your head, and it doesn’t care about looking at something interesting. Your eyes settle on something boring like a chair or the top of a shelf.

It makes you wonder if your cat is experiencing the same thing when you catch them staring off. You can’t count how many times you’ve walked into a room to see your cat staring at a wall. Is your cat lost in their thoughts of catnip, their favorite toy, or wondering when they will get their next treat?

While we may never know the real reason why our cats decide to have a staring contest with the walls, we can think of some logical reasons why this occurs.

Reason #1 Picking Up Sounds

Our cat’s sense of hearing is pretty amazing when compared to humans. Cats can hear much higher sounds than humans and even dogs! Cat’s ears are also specially designed to pick up sounds. Just like when you turn your head to get a better sense of where a sound is coming from, our cats can turn their ears in the direction of a sound.

If you ever see your cat staring off at the wall, pay attention to their ears. You can get a good idea of if they are listening out for something by seeing if their ears are turning. Additionally, if your cat has their eyes halfway (or all the way closed), this may indicate they are focusing on listening rather than seeing.

If this is the case, your cat may simply be facing towards a wall, but they are really trying to listen to a sound that caught their attention, especially if the sound is a high one we cannot hear ourselves. Your cat may also be using the wall as a reflector to help them hear a sound better.

Reason #2 Sniff Test

Just like hearing, cats’ noses are marvels at picking up scents. To help you imagine how strong a cat’s sense of smell is, they can have up to 200 million odor sensors in that cute button nose. Whereas humans only have a measly five million.

Just like hearing, your cat may have caught a whiff of something tantalizing to their nose – or maybe something a little stinky. They may be in the perfect position for full sniff access, and that happens to be by a wall.

You may notice your cat staring off more if you have brought new furniture, rugs, or even a new animal into the home. All of these things can change the odor in a room, and your cat will certainly try to figure out what that new smell could be.

Reason #3 Boredom

If your cat doesn’t seem to be utilizing their hearing or sense of smell while staring off at the wall, they may be a little bored. Cats need plenty of mental stimulation, and you can help keep them focused on things other than the wall.

Cats are curious by nature, and keeping their attention focused on toys or puzzles can help keep them out of trouble. Of course, every cat is different, and you may find your cat enjoys playing with a wand toy rather than a food puzzle.

While we don’t want our cats to be bored, we also don’t want to overstimulate them by having too many options. You can place some boxes around the house with small treats or catnip so your kitty can find fun surprises as they explore box to box.

Treat mazes are great to leave out when you are away from home. Your cat will be occupied with figuring out how to obtain a tasty morsel you have tucked away. Interactive and self-moving toys will also keep your cat busy when you are away from the office.

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Reason #4 Health Issues

While we never want to think about our cat being sick, prolonged staring at a wall or other inanimate object could be a symptom of an issue.

Pay attention to what your cat does before and after the wall-staring episodes. If you see they engage in behavior like yowling loudly, aggressively grooming near the base of the tail, or attacking their own tail, these could be symptoms of feline hyperesthesia. If your cat suddenly stops these behaviors and then stares at a wall like they are in a trance, this could be further evidence of the issue.

Feline hyperesthesia is characterized by muscle contractions that your cat is unable to control. While it is rare, it is still important to bring awareness to this issue. If you suspect this to be the reason for your cat’s behavior, try to document your cat by recording them so your veterinarian can see it.

Look To AskVet for Pet Advice

It’s fair if you have concerns if your cat has been looking at the wall too much. If this is the case, look to AskVet for advice. We are a membership program focused on your pet’s lifestyle and wellness, so they can live a longer and happier life and give you peace of mind.

Anytime you have a question or are looking for suggestions to help keep your kitty busy, schedule a virtual session with a Certified Pet Lifestyles Coach™ who can help you with decoding your pet’s behaviors.

Contacting AskVet is a great way to troubleshoot so you can know if your concern warrants a visit to your veterinarian or if you can simply change up your cat’s routine.

Joining AskVet is easy, and you gain access to 1:1 pet coaching and 24/7 vet support. Not to mention access to the AskVet Clubhouse, which puts you in touch with other pet parents who are likely experiencing the same cat conundrums you are. You can trade stories, advice, and of course, share all the adorable kitty photos.

Don’t keep staring at the link – give it a click and see how AskVet is there for you and your pet.


Do Cats Hear Better Than Dogs? | Virbac

Cat Senses | PAWS Chicago

Mental Stimulation for Cats | Baypath Humane Society of Hopkinton

Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome | CAD Direct

6 High-Energy Dog Breeds Who Love To Play

6 High-Energy Dog Breeds Who Love To Play

Are your weekends packed with trips to the beach, hiking, or hanging out at your nearby park? Do you prefer to camp or explore the outdoors? Do you have kids and love playing outside with them?

If these sound like you, then you have a pretty active lifestyle. If you want a furry best friend to be your companion, but you are always on the go to your next adventure,, then you’ll need a dog with high-energy levels who wants to play.

Take a look at our list of high-energy dogs that would be a perfect fit in your life:

Border Collie

Border collies are fantastic family dogs and are good with children. This breed requires a lot of physical exercise and loves having a job to do for their pet parents, like fetching all the balls and frisbees at the dog park.

They are highly energetic and require more than just a walk around the park for regular exercise. They also need mental exercise from puzzle toys or dog training sessions. In fact, they are some of the most easily trainable dogs.

If you are looking for a breed with which you can do fast-paced, complex sports, then a border collie is perfect. If you’ve dreamed of taking home a big blue ribbon, the border collie is for you — this super-smart breed takes home the majority of agility awards at Westminster.


For many dog parents, beagles are fondly remembered as being their family dog. With great reason, as they are friendly, affectionate, and love to romp around no matter what the activity is. Beagles need plenty of exercise and are great dogs to take on hikes.

A word of warning, though, beagles have a very strong sense of smell and are famous for following their nose. While we’d like to give our beagle pups a chance to run free in the park, they do better in a fenced area where they are prevented from wandering off in pursuit of a too-good-to-pass-up scent.

German Shepherds

German shepherds are fiercely loyal and highly intelligent working dogs. They thrive in training classes and look forward to opportunities to show off. They also excel at catching balls or frisbees, as well as tracking and nose work.

A note on shepherds (and the somewhat similar Belgian Malinois) — some working/herding breeds are best suited for experienced dog owners who can provide the obedience training, guidance, stimulation, and structure these pups need to thrive.

Cardigan Welsh Corgis

Cardigan Welsh corgis may be little, but they are mighty energetic dogs who need lots of physical activity. (If they look familiar, you might be thinking of the more-low energy Pembroke Welsh Corgi, but these two breeds are actually completely separate.)

Like Australian shepherds, corgis were bred to be herding dogs for livestock. Corgis are great at performing jobs and enjoy regular playtime. While they do require daily exercise, their needs are more moderate. Still, they can thrive with walks around the park followed by a fun training session.

Corgis are affectionate and enjoy playing with their family. If your level of activity involves running around after your children in the backyard, then a corgi might be your high-energy dog of choice.


If a marathon is on your bucket list, a dalmatian will be a great companion as you train toward that goal. Dalmatians’ muscular build and history of trotting alongside horse carriages mean that they will enjoy being your running buddy.

Of course, their spotted coat is fantastic to look at, and they are eager to please in the training department. They need plenty of mental stimulation, so doggie puzzles and toys will help keep them from getting into trouble when left on their own.

Jack Russell Terrier

A Jack Russell is the cutest piece of dynamite you’ll lay your eyes on. While many may think of little dogs as mainly lap dogs, Jack Russell terriers break that mold with their tenacity for being good-humored and spry.

This energetic breedadores playing with well-mannered children and treasures exciting activities. They are easily trainable and will enjoy all the dog puzzles and dog sports that will keep their mind ticking.

Choosing the Best Dog Breed for You

It isn’t as easy as simply picking the breed you think is the cutest (although that would be pretty hard as they are all cute as a button).. While we have compiled a list of high energy pups, there are several other considerations to make when choosing the best dog breed for your lifestyle.


It’s crucial to consider the size of your home when choosing a dog breed. . Even if you are very active, your new furry friend will more than likely have to spend some time alone at home. If you live in an apartment or a smaller-sized home, it may feel a little cramped with a larger breed dog like a pit bull or Airedale terrier.

. While larger size breeds are complete sweethearts, they sometimes do not realize their size and may accidentally knock over smaller children.

Grooming Care

While dog coats vary widely, one easy tip to remember is typically, the longer the coat, the more grooming care is involved. That means a sheepdog or poodle will generally need more coat care than a bulldog.

If you delight in being out on the water, then your dog will also be getting wet frequently, especially if they’re a breed like a labrador retriever that loves to swim. Consider a breed whose coat is water-friendly and low maintenance.

Likewise, your pup will probably look forward to getting down and dirty along with you. A breed whose coat is easily rinsed off when you get home will make settling in after an exciting day much easier.

You simply can’t mention grooming and coats without mentioning climate. While dogs can usually thrive just about anywhere, consider if a Siberian husky (bred for pulling sleds) might be happier in colder climates versus somewhere with record-breaking heat.


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All dogs can take to training, but some are more easily trainable than others.

Do you want your dog to be able to hike with you without a leash? Do you want to teach them to skateboard or surf? What about working as a therapy dog in a hospital or public library?

Depending on the type of activities you will involve your dog in may help you determine what breed you pick out.

AskVet: Your Source for Everything Pet

With your active lifestyle, the last thing you want to do is worry about making and waiting for a pricey veterinarian appointment when you have a simple question about your dog. It may not even be a health question, but advice on behavior and training.

With AskVet, you have easy access to the best of the best in the animal world — whether you have a cat, dog, fish, lizard, bird, or more.

For questions on animal behavior and how to help your pet live their best life, join Askvet and schedule a virtual session with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ who can guide you through a Lifestyle Plan and answer any questions you have.

Plus, no matter what time of day your need strikes, if you have medical questions, we are here 24/7 to help you and your furry best friend with a team of veterinarians available to chat in our mobile app.

We want you both to keep enjoying all your fun and exciting times together. Sign up today, and have the peace of mind that you can reach AskVet wherever you are.


Aging of Attentiveness in Border Collies and Other Pet Dog Breeds: The Protective Benefits of Lifelong Training | Frontiers.org

Effects of breed, sex, and neuter status on trainability in dogs | Taylor & Francis Online

15 Most Active Dog Breeds | American Kennel Club

Meet Two Similar Yet Different Breeds: The Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi | American Kennel Club

Westminster agility 2021 winner: Verb the border collie is champion for 2nd time | nj.com

German Shepherd Dog vs. Belgian Malinois: How To Tell The Difference | American Kennel Club