The Top 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds

Labrador retriever

The American Kennel Club publishes a list of the top 10 dog breeds for each year. This list is compiled based on the records of AKC registrations of the various breeds annually as well as a general survey requesting respondents identify their favorite dog breed. Though many of the dog breeds are regularly included on this list year after year, they sometimes jockey for position, and sometimes, they are even a few surprises.

Here is the list of the top 10 most popular dog breeds today: 

  1. Labrador Retriever

Picture of a Labrador RetrieverThe smart and friendly Labrador Retriever continually tops the chart of the American Kennel Club’s most popular dog breeds year after year. A hardy breed that was built to be active, the Labrador Retriever is fit, muscular, and very strong. A natural athlete, the Labrador Retriever is an extremely versatile dog, excelling at nearly any active pursuit.

The Labrador Retriever, sometimes referred to only as a Lab, possesses a double coat that is short and that has very low grooming requirements. The breed is well renowned for its happy nature, sociability, high energy levels, and sharp intelligence. Loyal to their core, the Labrador Retriever is a devoted dog that bonds very deeply to its family.

The Labrador Retriever traces its roots to the Canadian province known as Newfoundland and Labrador found on the east coast of the country. Their original purpose was to assist the fishermen with such tasks as pulling in nets, retriever ropes, and catching fish that fell outside the nets. Another important role for this sweet-natured breed is that of a cherished family companion.

A very energetic breed, the Labrador Retriever requires a family that is committed to an active lifestyle… more

  1. French Bulldog

Picture of French BulldogsThe French Bulldog is well renowned worldwide for its distinctive bat ears and compact body. A dog that is very comical, the French Bulldog excels as a family companion as well as in the show ring and several different performance sports.

Muscular and substantial, the French Bulldog possesses a short coat that is easy to care for. The breed can be very playful but also very much enjoys every opportunity to be a lap dog.

A breed that is quite smart, the French Bulldog, or Frenchie, can easily pick up new skills. However, Frenchies can be quite obstinate and may require some convincing that training sessions can be fun. The breed is well renowned for its independent spirit, making the French Bulldog less likely to succeed in activities like competitive obedience or agility.

Affectionate and loving with their families, Frenchies do best when in the company of those they love most. The breed does not do well when left alone for long periods of time. French Bulldogs are quite social, enjoying the company of friends, family, and strangers. However, the breed can be territorial, particularly of their family members.

A dog breed that needs only minimal daily exercise, the French Bulldog can thrive in nearly any living condition but is particularly well-suited to apartment life. The French Bulldog is a brachycephalic (snub-nosed) breed, and thus, struggles in extreme temperatures whether hot or cold… more

  1. German Shepherd

Picture of a German ShepherdOne of the most beloved dog breeds worldwide, the German Shepherd is referred to as an Alsatian in Britain. The breed first rose to prominence through a heroic puppy found in France during World War I who went on to become the world-renowned Rin Tin Tina, a popular movie star.

A very versatile breed, the German Shepherd was bred to be a working dog. Though its primary job is to herd livestock, the German Shepherd excels at many other roles including police and military work, tracking, scent detection, and therapy assistance. 

A breed of immense courage, the German Shepherd was one of three dog breeds selected to assist with search and rescue efforts at Ground Zero following the attacks of September 11th, 2001. In addition to helping unearth survivors, the German Shepherds at work during those days also helped to provide comfort to the rescue workers and families of those lost during the tragic events of that day.

The German Shepherd has a lot of energy that must be properly expended each day. If sufficient exercise is not provided for the GSD, the dog may become bored or neurotic and may resort to nuisance behaviors such as chewing, barking, and digging.

Naturally aloof with strangers, the German Shepherd makes a good guard dog. The breed is devoted to its family with whom the dog displays love and affection with eager abandon... more

  1. Golden Retriever

Picture of a Golden RetrieverConsistently finding a place on the list of America’s most popular dog breeds, the Golden Retriever is well known for its intelligence, friendliness, beauty, and loyalty. A spirited dog, the Golden Retriever remains puppy-like well into what is considered mature for other breeds, approximately three or four years of age. 

The Golden Retriever is a water retriever whose original purpose was to pull ducks and other waterfowl from bodies of water on hunts. The Golden Retriever is a high energy breed that requires vigorous daily exercise to remain physically and mentally content. The breed excels at many different activities including conformation, obedience, Rally, agility, tracking, scent detection, and therapy work. A dog type that is very athletic, the Golden Retriever is happy to join its family on any active pursuit and particularly enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and swimming. 

An extremely friendly dog, the Golden Retriever gets along well with people of all ages including young children. The breed also does well with other pets and is well suited to life in a multi-pet household. This breed thrives when with its family members and will suffer if kept isolated from people… more

  1. English Bulldog

Picture of English BulldogThe national dog of England as well as the mascot for such popular institutions as the Marines, Yale University, and the University of Georgia, the English Bulldog is a pooch with international appeal. This dog type is sometimes simply called a Bulldog or a British Bulldog. Though the breed does hail from Britain, its origins are rather unpleasant: the Bulldog was put to work in a sport known as bullbaiting. A cruel activity, bullbaiting has long been banned in England.

The Bulldogs used for bullbaiting bear very little resemblance to the Bulldog of today. The fierce nature displayed by this early Bulldog prototypes has been replaced by a sweet and gentle nature that makes this dog well suited to life with families with children.

A dog breed that is medium in size, the Bulldog has a body that is powerful and set low to the ground. A brachycephalic breed like the French Bulldog, the English Bulldog also does best in moderate temperatures and requires only minimal activity to remain in good body condition. The breed is easily identified by its large, block-like head and broad chest.

The Bulldog’s bite is quite distinctive. Its upper lip droops revealing a bite that is undershot. The Bulldog possesses powerful jaws, a trait that was useful during its days as a bullbaiter.

A breed that is brave and determined, the Bulldog is also sweet-natured and kind. Though the breed can learn new skills, the English Bulldog can be surprisingly stubborn. Their favorite activity is spending time with family and friends and enjoying a good snooze on the couch… more

  1. Poodle

Picture of a white poodleThe Poodle exudes charm and elegance. A dog of surprising versatility, the Poodle was originally bred to function as a water retriever. Today, this beautiful dog comes in three difference sizes: toy, miniature, and standard, making it possible for families to select a Poodle that is the ideal size for their lifestyle and needs.

A dog that carries itself with a regal air, the Poodle is self-assured and confident. The breed takes its name from the German term “pudel” which translates to “to splash in the water.” In France, the Poodle is known as caniche, a name that traces its origins to chien canard, a term that means duck dog.

The Poodle’s show trim is about far more than simply good looks. This type of trim keeps the dog’s body light in weight and prevents debris from becoming tangled in the coat. The areas that are covered in pompoms are designed to provide added protection to keep the joints and organs safe when the dog was working in cold water conditions. 

A playful breed, the Poodle makes for a wonderful family companion. The breed is well-suited to many different activities including obedience, agility, and hunting trials. Though many mistakenly think the Poodle is an arrogant dog, nothing could be further from the truth. The Poodle loves nothing more than spending time with people, and especially, their families. If left alone for too long, the Poodle will become distressed and bored.

An active breed, the Poodle requires regular daily exercise and does best in a home with a fenced in yard… more

  1. Beagle

Beagle breed profileThe Beagle is a charming family companion that is especially fond of children. The breed is well known for its sweet natured, happy ways. Exceptionally loving and deeply affectionate, the Beagle is a lover of people of all ages. However, make no mistake, the Beagle is a true hound and is driven by its nose.

Beagles are particularly food driven and will eat far beyond the point of satiation if the opportunity presents itself. With this in mind, it is important to measure and monitor all of the Beagle’s intake to prevent obesity from occurring.

Naturally very curious, the Beagle has a strong penchant to explore and must be kept safely contained at all times. The breed can be quite vocal and has three vocalizations that are unique to the Beagle: a bark, a baying howl, and a half-baying howl.

The Beagle’s original purpose was to assist its owner on hunts for small game which often included rabbits or hare. The breed has high energy levels and requires daily exercise to remain content. If not properly exercised each day, the Beagle may become extremely vocal and/or destructive. The breed is best suited to life in a home with a fenced yard… more

  1. Rottweiler

Rottweiler laying downThe Rottweiler is a powerful dog with a deeply affectionate heart. The breed traces its roots to Germany where its roll was driving cattle to market and pulling carts laden with supplies. The Rottweiler is a dog of great endurance, possessing a well-muscled body that enabled it to do its work well.

The ideal Rottweiler temperament is calm, cool, and collected. The breed is self-assured yet remains standoffish with strangers. Rottweilers are not quick to react to novel situations, preferring to observe before making any judgments. Ideally suited to life as a guard dog, the Rottweiler does well in police and military work while still maintaining a loyalty and sweetness that makes it an excellent companion dog.

Natural protectors of those they love most, the Rottweiler will respond aggressively if feeling its family is under attack. Care must be taken in training the Rottweiler so the dog does not cross the line from protective into aggressive when it is unwarranted. 

The Rottweiler requires an owner that is committed to providing consistent leadership and to establishing and expecting boundaries to observed and maintaining. The breed can and will assume the position of authority in its home in the presence of a weak leader.

Rottweilers with a proper temperament should be sweet-natured, gentle, and affectionate with their family members. The breed can learn new tricks with ease and should be trained using positive reinforcement methods only.

Like many sizeable breeds, the Rottweiler needs vigorous daily exercise to remain physically and mentally content… more

  1. German Shorthaired Pointer

German Shorthaired Pointer HuntingThe German Shorthaired Pointer is a sporting dog that is well suited to many different activities. An elegant dog breed, the German Shorthaired Pointer or GSP was bred to function as a hunting dog. Well, suited to hunting in water and on land, hunters highly prize this dog for its immense versatility.

The German Shorthaired Pointer is smaller in size than the Pointer. The breed has a short coat that is solid liver or liver and white in color and that is very easy to care for. An extremely energetic dog, the German Shorthaired Pointer possesses an enthusiasm for life that is quite endearing. The breed is very intelligent and playful. Though the GSP is a very social dog and gets along well with children, it can be too exuberant in play with small kids.

The GSP requires vigorous daily exercise and will resort to nuisance behaviors if sufficient activity is not provided for the dog each day. A breed with a deep love of making its family happy, the German Shorthaired Pointer will happily work for praise, food, or play with a favorite toy. During training, the breed can bore very easily, and thus, it is important to include a lot of variation during training sessions to maintain interest levels… more

  1. Dachshund

Picture of a brown DachshundThe Dachshund is a dog type that hails from Germany. Available in three different varieties, smooth, wirehaired, and long haired, the Dachshund also comes in two sizes: mini and standard. In Germany, there is an even greater variation in sizes. There, Dachshunds fall within three categories: Standard, Miniature, and Kaninchenteckel with the determining classification dependent on a chest measurement done when the dog reaches 15 months of age. 

The Dachshund is a wonderful family dog and has many nicknames to its credit including wiener dog, hot dog, sausage dog, Doxie, and even Teckels, Dachels, or Dachsels. Confident and proud, the Dachshund moves with a natural self-assuredness. The breed is very courageous and possesses a broad and strong chest, long body, and short legs to assist with moving through tunnels to corner and attack badgers on hunts. The breed is renowned for its obstinate nature and independent attitude, making this dog type a challenge to train.

The Dachshund loves to play and enjoys spending time close to those it loves most. The breed is very intelligent and will establish its own rules in its home if permitted to do so. The breed needs a strong owner that is committed to establishing boundaries, and expecting them to be heeded.

Comical by nature, the Dachshund is a dog breed that often selects one family members as their own. When this occurs, the Dachshund can become very possessive of their “person.” … more

Looking to add a dog to your family and thinking one of the “top 10” is the dog for you? Learn more about your chosen breed by contacting reputable breeders in your area or searching for more information on the American Kennel Club’s website.

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