Special Report

Most Popular Dog Breeds

Source: Thinkstock

30. Chihuahuas
> Rank in 2006: 11
> Rank in 1996: 12
> Typical life span: 14 to 16 years
> Average puppy price: $1,500

Did you know that the Chihuahua has the biggest brain (relative to its size) in the dog world? Despite the breed’s ability to learn tricks quickly, Chihuahuas are infamous for being exceedingly difficult to housebreak. Generally, larger dogs live shorter lives. Perhaps due its small size, the Chihuahua, with an average life span range of 14 to 16 years, tends to live longer than most dogs.

Source: Thinkstock

29. Cocker Spaniels
> Rank in 2006: 16
> Rank in 1996: 8
> Typical life span: 10 to 14 years
> Average puppy price: $1,000

While the continuity of dog breeds cannot be traced back further than early 19th century, the first Cocker Spaniel may have arrived in the United States via the Mayflower in 1620. According to breed authorities, Cocker Spaniels are especially competent hunting woodcocks — the breed’s namesake.

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28. Mastiffs
> Rank in 2006: 32
> Rank in 1996: 43
> Typical life span: 6 to 10 years
> Average puppy price: $1,500

Although these dogs get to be quite large, they don’t officially finish maturing until about three years of age. According to the AKC, this breed has a longer puppy phase than most other breeds. Lucky you!

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27. Bernese Mountain Dogs
> Rank in 2006: 41
> Rank in 1996: 67
> Typical life span: 7 to 10 years
> Average puppy price: $1,500

This particular breed hails from the Swiss Alps. In the 19th century, Bernese Mountain Dogs aided commerce by transporting carts filled with dairy product and loaves of bread to and from farms. These dogs were the perfect fit for such a laborious task because of their muscular build. They were known to haul loads as heavy as 1,000 pounds.

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26. English Springer Spaniels
> Rank in 2006: 26
> Rank in 1996: 25
> Typical life span: 12 to 14 years
> Average puppy price: $2,000

This particular pup is named for its hunting style. Bred to be hunting dogs, the English Springer Spaniels were trained to “spring” game, that is, flushing the birds in the air.