Special Report

Most Popular Small (and Big) Dog Breeds in America

Alona Rjabceva / iStock

It’s often said that Americans like things big. Of the most popular dog breeds in the United States, the top dogs are three large dogs — the Labrador retriever, German shepherd, and golden retriever. By contrast, the next three most popular breeds are quite small — the bulldog, beagle, and French bulldog. It seems that we love our dogs regardless of size.

24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of the most popular small dog breeds and the most popular large dog breeds in the United States. The different breeds are popular for different reasons.

Few of the small breeds on our list are working dogs, whereas many of the large ones are herders or hunters. Some breeds need a lot of exercise and space to roam, while others are content to snooze away much of the day indoors.

Whatever the reason, all these dogs have devoted fans across the country and dedicated national clubs — a requirement for American Kennel Club recognition.

Click here to see a list of the most popular small dog breeds in America.
Click here to see a list of the most popular big dog breeds in America.

In order to determine the most popular small and large dog breeds, 24/7 Wall St. used the ranking from the American Kennel Club’s list of the most popular dog breeds for 2016. Breeds were considered for the large category if male dogs in that breed weigh at least 60 pounds, per the information the AKC provided on each breed. Breeds were considered for the small category if male dogs in that breed weigh no more than 30 pounds, according to the AKC. No specific weight was given for the cane corso breed, but it was included in the large dog category as the AKC listed it among the largest dog breeds in the world, and the dogs typically weigh “more than 100 pounds.”

Most Popular Small Dogs

Source: LexiTheMonster / iStock

15. Pugs
> Average weight (male): 18 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 32

Pugs are an ancient breed. They have been with us for thousands of years and were recognized by the AKC in the 19th century. These companion dogs have distinctive wrinkly faces and curly tails. They are even-tempered and playful.


Source: Thinkstock

14. Chihuahuas
> Average weight (male): 6 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 30

Originating in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, these dogs are intelligent, loyal, and loving — but they are distrustful of strangers. Because they were bred for a warm climate, they don’t do well in the cold. Their tiny size makes them easy to carry around, but because they are so small they are delicate.

Source: yanjf / iStock

13. Shetland Sheepdogs
> Average weight (male): 25 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 24

As indicated in its name, this breed originated in Scotland’s Shetland Islands. The harsh climate and rugged landscape there has produced other small animals, including the Shetland pony. Despite its small size the Shetland sheepdog is a working dog. It excels in agility, obedience and herding, and regularly ranks among the top canine competitors in the world.

Source: Dorottya_Mathe / iStock

12. Havanese
> Average weight (male): 13 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 23

The Havanese isn’t just popular in the U.S., but is the national dog of Cuba and the country’s only native breed. It’s a happy dog, outgoing, and eager to please. It has a silky coat, a curly tail, and a unique springy gait.


Source: tsik / iStock

11. Pomeranians
> Average weight (male): 7 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 22

It may be hard to believe, but these toy dogs are descended from the Spitz family, the sled dogs of Scandinavia. They were likely bred down to a small size in the region of Pomerania on the Baltic Coast and became popular companion dogs in the 19th century — Queen Victoria had one. They have a dense undercoat, a longer outer coat, and a plumed tail.

Source: f8grapher / iStock

10. Boston Terriers
> Average weight (male): 25 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 21

The Boston terrier is a U.S. breed, the result of a cross between an English bulldog and a white English terrier, and it has been very popular for more than a century. However, the Boston Terrier Club of America cautions that Boston terriers are not for everyone. They need human contact, time, and attention; they are very active and love to play, but they are not outside dogs.


Source: chaoss / Shutterstock.com

9. Shih Tzu
> Average weight (male): 16 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 20

Shih Tzus originated in China many centuries ago. Although diminutive in size, they take their name from the Mandarin word for lion. They began appearing in the U.S. after World War II, when veterans brought them back to America, and they were recognized by the AKC in 1969. They have a long flowing coat and a proud bearing.

Source: Bigandt_Photography / iStock

8. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
> Average weight (male): 18 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 19

This dog has been popular for a long time. As reflected in its name, King Charles II had one, although the breed fell out of favor for a while after the fall of the House of Stuart in England. Another fan was Charlotte York, one of the characters in the television series “Sex and the City.” Friendly and easily trained, it’s good with young children as well as with other pets.

Source: Laures / iStock

7. Pembroke Welsh Corgis
> Average weight (male): 30 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 18

The Pembroke Welsh corgi is also popular with royalty — it’s Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite. The corgi is a working dog, strong and athletic. And despite its little legs, it excels at many sports. The corgi is an easy pet to have, and its short coat needs little maintenance.


Source: olgaIT / iStock

6. Miniature Schnauzers
> Average weight (male): 20 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 17

In the U.S., the miniature schnauzer is treated differently from other schnauzer breeds in that it is not classified as a working dog and is judged as a terrier. It is intelligent and alert, which makes it a good watchdog, and it excels in obedience trials and agility competitions. The miniature’s eyebrows and beard make it easily recognizable.

Source: Liliya Kulianionak / iStock

5. Dachshunds
> Average weight (male): 11 lbs. (miniature)
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 13

The dachshund was developed in Germany centuries ago to hunt badgers, and its short legs and long body make it good at below-ground work. The dachshund is intelligent and should be kept busy or it will get bored. It comes in miniature or standard size and can have a smooth, wirehaired, or long-haired coat.


Source: Watcha / iStock

4. Yorkshire Terriers
> Average weight (male): 7 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 9

The Yorkshire terrier’s confidence and courage make it a good pet to keep in bustling cities, and those qualities have earned it the nickname “the tomboy toy.” It is also known for its beautiful silky coat, which has a texture similar to human hair. The Yorkshire terrier requires a lot of care and attention.

Source: paylessimages / iStock

3. Toy poodles
> Average weight (male): 6 lbs. (toy) 15 lbs. (miniature)
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 7

Poodles come in three sizes — standard, miniature, and toy — and a variety of solid colors. They are smart and eager to please. They are also energetic and are good runners and swimmers. They require regular clipping and grooming of their hypoallergenic coat.

Source: Thinkstock

2. French Bulldogs
> Average weight (male): 28 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 6

These sturdy little dogs with their bat-like ears are playful, good with small children, and intelligent. They don’t need much exercise or grooming but shouldn’t be left alone for long as they can suffer from separation anxiety. Like other “flat-faced” breeds, French bulldogs are prone to snoring, which can add to their charm — or not.


Source: Kostyazar / iStock

1. Beagles
> Average weight (male): 30 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 5

Bred to live and work in packs, beagles are sociable dogs and like the company of their human families, as well as other dogs. They are scent dogs, which can sometimes get them into trouble and means they should not be left off-leash unless in a secured area.

Most Popular Large Dogs

Source: DevidDO / iStock

15. Cane Corso
> Average weight (male): 100 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 40

Originating in Italy and bred as guard dogs, cane corso are described by the AKC as “peerless protectors.” Notwithstanding their intimidating appearance — they are among the biggest dogs in the world — cane corso are also intelligent, loyal, and docile in the company of their owners.


Source: dageldog / iStock

14. Basset Hounds
> Average weight (male): 65 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 39

Originally bred in France, the basset hound is known for its droopy features, hunting ability, and keen sense of smell, which is second only to that of its cousin, the bloodhound. Bassets are great with kids and, despite their size, think of themselves as lap dogs.

Source: Denise Erickson / iStock

13. Collies
> Average weight (male): 60-75 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 37

Collies have strong herding abilities and protective instincts, as generations who have seen Lassie in films and on television know. They are strong, loyal, affectionate, and elegant dogs, and they respond well to training. Originally bred in Scotland and Northern England to herd sheep, collies make surprisingly good couch potatoes.

Source: SvetaElfimova / Thinkstock

12. Newfoundlands
> Average weight (male): 130 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 35

Newfoundlands were originally bred as working dogs for fishermen in the Canadian province after which they are named. Newfoundlands are big, strong, loyal, and excellent swimmers, with lifesaving instincts in the water. The breed is easy to train and eager to please. It is an excellent companion and is even referred to as “the nanny dog.” Novelist J.M. Barrie specified that the beloved “Nana” in “Peter Pan” was a Newfoundland.


Source: Bigandt_Photography / Thinkstock

11. Weimaraners
> Average weight (male): 70-90 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 34

This handsome, courageous breed originated in Germany as a big-game hunting companion. While they have since thoroughly adapted to family life and love being surrounded by their humans, they are still very energetic and require a lot of exercise.

Source: Okikukai / iStock

10. Mastiffs
> Average weight (male): 160 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 28

This massive breed was developed to guard livestock from predators like wolves. There are also accounts of them being used for entertainment as fighting dogs in ancient Roman arenas, where they were pitted against lions and tigers. Despite their fierce history, mastiffs are good-natured dogs and surprisingly docile.


Source: Thinkstock

9. Bernese Mountain Dogs
> Average weight (male): 80-115 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 27

The Bernese were bred in Switzerland to be all-around farm hands. They were used to guard flocks, haul milk and cheese carts to market, and move livestock over mountainous terrain. While most don’t work quite so hard these days, Bernese love outdoor activities and have been known to pull children around in carts.

Source: OlgaOvcharenko / Shutterstock.com

8. Doberman Pinschers
> Average weight (male): 75-100 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 15

The Doberman pinscher was first bred in Germany in the mid-1800s by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, a tax collector and night watchman. He wanted a dog to protect him in his sometimes dangerous line of work. As well as being one of the smartest breeds, the Doberman ranks high in obedience and trainability. This makes it popular with police and military forces around the world.

Source: RalfWeigel / iStock

7. Great Danes
> Average weight (male): 140 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 14

The great Dane was developed in England and Germany as a boar hound, its long ears often left shredded by the sharp tusks of the wild boar. Today’s great Danes lead much less hazardous lives and can make for great pets. They are dependable, patient, and friendly. But as their name implies, they are huge. Standing on its hind legs, a great Dane can be taller than its owner and weigh up to 200 pounds.


Source: SVPhilon / iStock

6. Siberian Huskies
> Average weight (male): 60 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 12

Bred as a sled dog, the Siberian husky is known for its endurance. Huskies have a great work ethic and love to run, preferring that to walking. In fact, the husky is so energetic that it has to be kept leashed or it will run away. In 1925, a relay team of huskies and other sled dogs saved Nome, Alaska from a diptheria epidemic by running for five days to bring medicine to the town.

Source: Ryan McVay / Thinkstock

5. Boxers
> Average weight (male): 65-80 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 10

Although it was recognized by the AKC in 1904, the boxer did not really gain popularity in the U.S. until after World War II, when returning soldiers brought the dogs home with them from Europe. Its popularity may also have received a boost when actors Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were given one as a wedding present.


Source: Grigorita Ko / Shutterstock.com

4. Rottweilers
> Average weight (male): 95-135 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 8

The Rottweiler is one of the oldest working breeds and may have been herding livestock since the days of the Roman Empire. The breed combines intelligence, strength, and endurance. Unfortunately, the Rottweiler has sometimes been portrayed in the media as aggressive, but according to the AKC, it is “a calm, confident, and courageous dog.”

Source: Bigandt_Photography / iStock

3. Retrievers (Golden)
> Average weight (male): 65-75 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 3

Golden retrievers aren’t just intelligent, they are hard workers, too. They are often used as guide dogs, in search and rescue, and – as their name suggests – for hunting. Their many other endearing characteristics, including patience and playfulness, make them great pets.

Source: Legolin / iStock

2. German Shepherd Dogs
> Average weight (male): 65-90 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 2

The German shepherd is the second most popular dog in the U.S., according to the AKC. Originally bred to herd sheep, it has become the first choice for many roles because of its intelligence, trainability, and obedience. German shepherds are used for disability assistance, search and rescue, and as police dogs.


Source: Thinkstock

1. Retrievers (Labrador)
> Average weight (male): 65-80 lbs.
> Popularity ranking among all dogs: 1

The Labrador retriever has topped the AKC’s list of most popular breeds in the U.S. for years. Labs are friendly, outgoing, and eager to please. They are also one of the most sought-after breeds for challenging work, whether as guide dogs or for search and rescue. When lives are in danger, you want a dog that is smart and dependable.

ALERT: Take This Retirement Quiz Now  (Sponsored)

Take the quiz below to get matched with a financial advisor today.

Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests.

Here’s how it works:
1. Answer SmartAsset advisor match quiz
2. Review your pre-screened matches at your leisure. Check out the advisors’ profiles.
3. Speak with advisors at no cost to you. Have an introductory call on the phone or introduction in person and choose whom to work with in the future

Take the retirement quiz right here.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.