According to the American Kennel Club, there are a whopping 192 registered dog breeds currently in existence, and if you read these reasons Why Dogs Are Better Than Cats, you’ll discover why some breeds stand out more than others. With that many breeds, obviously some are more popular than others. For instance, when was the last time you saw someone walking their Puli, their Bergamasco Shepherd, or their Azawakh through the neighborhood? Exactly. Golden Retrievers, however, are a different story.
As of 2017, it is estimated that there are around 89.7 million dogs living as pets in the United States, spread among approximately 60 million households—and those numbers are on the rise. So which of the almost 200 dog breeds are the most popular? Here are the 25 most popular dog breeds in the United States.
#25 BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG
Coming in last on the list is also one of the largest—the Bernese Mountain Dog. This breed originates in the Alps of Switzerland—the Bernese Alps, to be exact—and was bred as a strong working dog capable of pulling 1,000 pounds. This breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1937.
The Bernese Mountain Dog can grow up to about 115 pounds and has a life expectancy of 7-10 years. This breed thrives in cold environments—no surprise there—and will get along with the entire family.
#24 SHETLAND SHEEPDOG
Shetland Sheepdogs—also known as Shelties—were bred in the Shetland Islands of Scotland as herding dogs of, you guessed it, sheep. They’re known to be incredibly loyal, intelligent, and eager to please making them great companions.
Shetland Sheepdogs were officially recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1909 and still today make great farm dogs. Unlike the Bernese Mountain Dog, this diminutive breed only reaches about 25 pounds but has a life expectancy of up to 14 years.
The Havanese, as you may have guessed, is the national dog of Cuba and is sometimes referred to as the “Havana Silk Dog”. These small dogs are known for their long, silky coat that comes in all colors. They are a highly spirited breed that requires plenty of socialization and, therefore, also make great companions.
The Havanese is said to have descended from the now extinct Blanquito de la Habana (“little white dog of Havana”) that itself was descended from another extinct breed, the Bichon Tenerife.
Pomeranians, though quite popular in the United States, originated in the Pomerania region of northwest Poland and northeast Germany. This friendly dog breed is popular for its playful disposition and small size.
Pomeranians have one of the higher dog life expectancies but can encounter some serious health issues. They require a lot of exercise and a healthy diet but make great pets in urban environments. They were officially registered as an AKC breed in 1898.
#21 BOSTON TERRIER
As its name would suggest, the Boston Terrier is a breed that also makes a great urban companion. They were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1893 and have life expectancies that average around thirteen years.
This breed is known to be very intelligent and therefore easy to train. They rarely tip the scales more than 25 pounds and most often come with a black and white coat though brindle and dark brown can be found as well.
#20 SHIH TZU
Though it’s one of the most popular dogs breeds in the United States, the Shih Tzu breed actually originated in China. The name Shih Tzu is Chinese for “lion” as this dog was bred to resemble a lion (as was the Pekingese breed).
This popular breed has a life expectancy averaging twelve years and is known to be affectionate and loyal, outgoing and alert. The Shih Tzu gets along with other pets relatively well but can be possessive if not properly trained as a puppy.
#19 CAVALIER KING CHARLES SPANIEL
As its fancy name would suggest, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog breed originated in the United Kingdom and is classified as a toy breed. They’re known to be affectionate and friendly and great with children—obvious reasons for their popularity.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels typically don’t reach 20 pounds or a height above 13 inches and have an average life expectancy of up to 14 years. Though they’re just at #19 on this list, the popularity of this breed continues to rise.
#18 MINIATURE SCHNAUZER
The first of many breeds on this list originating in Germany, the Miniature Schnauzer was bred from the standard size Schnauzer for the purpose of catching rats. They’re said to make great guard dogs with more bark than bite and typically come in all black, salt and pepper, or a black and silver coat.
One of the newer breeds on this list, the Miniature Schnauzer wasn’t recognized by the American Kennel Club until 1926 – just two years after the breed was brought to the United States. This miniature version typically doesn’t surpass 15 pounds and has a lifespan of about 14 years.
#17 AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD
Australian Shepherds were actually developed for ranch work in the western United States, not in Australia, as its name would suggest. Like the closely related Border Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs, Australian Shepherds are intelligent and active and eager to please.
This tailless breed became popular in the United States due to an increase in interest in rodeos, horse shows, and other similar events. Australian Shepherds excel at agility competitions and make great search and rescue dogs.
#16 DOBERMAN PINSCHER
The Doberman Pinscher was originally developed by German tax collector Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann in the latter part of the 1800s. Dobermans are known to be highly intelligent, driven, and easy to train as a result.
Doberman Pinschers can reach 100 pounds with a lifespan between 9 and 12 years. Though they were officially recognized by the AKC in 1908, Dobermans didn’t really became popular until being used as guard dogs during World War II.
#15 PEMBROKE WELSH CORGI
Having originated in Pembrokeshire, Wales, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi was bred as a cattle herding dog whose lineage can be traced back to about 1107 AD. In addition to being one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States, this breed has also been popular among British royalty for decades.
This breed is known to be highly affectionate and easy to train as they’re also the eleventh smartest dog breed in existence. Though they typically come in a reddish coat, Pembroke Welsh Corgis can also be black and tan, black and white, and sable.
#14 GREAT DANE
Great Danes are another German dog breed on this list and are known for their massive size (the world record tallest dog was a Great Dane). This breed, undoubtedly the largest on this list, can grow to an unbelievable 180 pounds. Sadly though, their lifespan is among the shortest at just 8-10 years.
Great Danes were bred as hunting dogs though today are known as friendly and affection companion animals. They’re said to be great with other family dogs due to the fact they their hunting days are far behind them.
Dachshunds—commonly referred to as “wiener dogs”—were initially bred to flush out small burrowing animals like rabbits and badgers. Today, they’re one of the United States’ most popular breeds among urban residents and apartment dwellers.
Dachshunds come in both standard size and miniature, both with a median age of almost thirteen years. They originated in Germany which explains their name—the German word for “Badger Dog”.
#12 SIBERIAN HUSKY
The Siberian Husky is a medium size breed originating from Northeast Asia that looks more like an arctic wolf than a common household pet. Siberian Huskies are an active breed—they make great sled dogs—with tons of energy and who thrive in extremely cold and harsh environments. If you’re considering adding one to your family, it’s also important to keep in mind factors like their exercise needs, grooming requirements, and the price of dog sitting in the UK.
The Siberian Husky made its way to the United States via a Russian fur trader named William Goosak who brought them to Nome, Alaska during the Nome Gold Rush in the early 20th century.
Boxers are a breed out of Germany that were bred for the purposes of hunting, namely wild boar, bear, and deer and they have the bite strength to prove it. The breed was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1904 but didn’t become popular in the U.S. until after World War II.
Today, boxers are still energetic and playful and known to be great with and protective of children. Their weight tops out at about 70 pounds and they have an average life expectancy between 9 and 15 years.
#10 GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTER
Also bred in Germany for the purpose of hunting is the German Shorthaired Pointer, a breed that excels both on land and in water. This breed is highly intelligent, enthusiastic, and tremendously affectionate.
The German Shorthaired Pointer was recognized as an official breed by the American Kennel Club back in 1903 and they’re still used as versatile hunting dogs today. Because of this, these Pointers need a lot of space to run and require constant exercise.
#9 YORKSHIRE TERRIER
Yorkshire Terriers were first developed in their namesake Yorkshire, England in the 1800s and are known to make great companions. Often called “Yorkies”, this breed was first introduced into North America in 1872 and registered with the American Kennel Club just eight years later.
Yorkshire Terriers are small dogs that tend to be curious, active, and constantly in need of attention. They’re easy to train and naturally quick to learn when food and praise are involved.
Rottweilers are another very large breed on this list, typically topping out at about 130 pounds. They were originally bred in Germany as livestock herders and for pulling carts of meat to the market. Today, Rottweilers are primarily used as guard dogs and search and rescue animals.
The Rottweiler was officially recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1931. Their popularity hit an all-time high in the mid-1990s when it became the #1 most registered breed in the U.S.
Poodles have been an American Kennel Club registered dog breed since 1887 and actually come in three varieties: Standard Poodle, Miniature Poodle, and Toy Poodle.
The entire Poodle breed is ranked second in intelligence just behind the Border Collie and makes a great breed for agility sports, tracking, and obedience training. They have long lifespans, are said to be highly sociable, and make great family pets.
Beagles are a breed that has been around more or less for about 2,500 years, though the breed as its known today originated in Great Britain around the mid-1800s.
Beagles typically have long lifespans of between 12 and 15 years and make great detection dogs due to their superior scent tracking. Its popularity no doubt stems from its good temper, small size, and relative lack of serious health issues.
What’s known popularly as a Bulldog is actually an English Bulldog or British Bulldog. They’re a muscular, hefty, short-legged breed that have often been likened to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Bulldogs are typically friendly and patient and nothing like their aggressive ancestors. They were first registered by the American Kennel Club in 1886 however, in contrast to many others on this list, bulldogs are listed among the least intelligent of the dog breeds.
#4 FRENCH BULLDOG
The French Bulldog, the result of breeding between full size bulldogs and other small dogs from Paris in the 1800s, are not just one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S.—they also rank highly on similar lists in the United Kingdom and Australia.
French Bulldogs, today, are mostly bred as companion dogs and therefore are susceptible to separation anxiety long into adulthood. However, they are known to be great with children and other dogs.
#3 GOLDEN RETRIEVER
Like the German Shorthaired Pointer, the Golden Retriever was also bred as a hunting dog, primarily to retrieve ducks and other game birds that had been shot. Because of this, Gold Retrievers still have a fondness for water and a coat with the ability to repel water.
The average life expectancy for a Golden Retriever is about 12 years though obesity is a real danger with this breed. Their typical full grown size is between 65 and 75 pounds and they can come in any shades of cream or gold, hence their name.
#2 GERMAN SHEPHERD
Unlike many others on this list, the German Shepherd is a relatively new breed whose origins date back to just 1899. Though the German Shepherd is now one of the most popular dog breeds in the country, its popularity suffered a serious decline during the years following World War II due to anti-German sentiments.
Today, the breed is known for their protectiveness and willingness to learn and be trained. They are often seen being utilized as police and military dogs, detection dogs, and guard dogs for civilians. They have an average lifespan between 9 and 13 years. If you are interested with German Shepherds, you may want to look for german shepherd puppies for sale.
#1 LABRADOR RETRIEVER
Like others at the top of this list, Labrador Retrievers are another retriever in the hunting world. Today, they’re known for their work in the area of disability assistance as guide dogs for the blind, therapy dogs, detection dogs for law enforcement, and more.
Labrador Retrievers have a relatively long lifespan with pleasant and outgoing dispositions. They have an excellent sense of smell, an even-tempered reputation, and are known to generally make great companions. They’ve been registered as a breed with the American Kennel Club since 1917. However, since they’re big dogs, they need twice the dog grooming.