Special Report

America's Most Popular Dog Breeds

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Dogs are incredibly popular, there’s no doubt about that. According to a recent survey, 60 million American households have a total of almost 90 million dogs as pets. There are many different breeds to choose from — dogs of different shapes and sizes, aptitudes and attitudes, and new breeds are recognized from year to year.

24/7 Wall St. set out to identify the 100 most popular breeds in the United States. We reviewed data from the American Kennel Club (AKC), which currently registers 192 breeds. The AKC registered 88,547 Labrador retrievers in 2017, by far the most of any breed. Labrador retrievers have topped the AKC list of most popular dog breeds since 1991.

Some of the most popular breeds are of fairly recent origin, while others would have been recognizable to Roman soldiers or Vikings.

Click here to see the most popular dog breeds.

Some breeds have been consistently popular over the years, with Golden and Labrador retrievers and German shepherds regularly dominating rankings. Interestingly, all three are big breeds. By contrast, the three next most popular breeds — bulldogs, French bulldogs and beagles — are relatively small in size. (The French bulldog has been steadily climbing the rankings from year to year.) Farther down the list are dogs that were bred to hunt wolves and lions, and dogs that could almost fit in your pocket.

Whatever your taste, your budget or your house size, there’s a dog on our list for you. These are the 100 most popular dog breeds.

100. Leonbergers
> 2016 rank: 95
> 2007 rank: N/A

Leonbergers are large and powerful dogs that can weigh about 150 pounds, but have gentle and playful temperaments. The breed is named after the German city of Leonberg where the breed originated. Leonbergers came to the United States in the 1970s and became part of the AKC Working Group in 2010. One caveat — they have a short life expectancy of only seven years.


99. Wire Fox Terriers
> 2016 rank: 101
> 2007 rank: 82

Wire fox terriers were first bred in Great Britain in the late 1700s to assist in the popular sport of foxhunting (which is now banned in Britain). When a fox went underground, the terrier would force it out, allowing the hunt to resume. There are a number of different fox terriers, including the wire, the smooth, and the toy fox terrier, which was recognized by the AKC in 2003.

98. Boykin Spaniel
> 2016 rank: 110
> 2007 rank: N/A

The Boykin spaniel is named after L.W. “Whit” Boykin, who created the breed in the early 1900s to hunt ducks and wild turkeys in South Carolina’s swampy terrain. Conditions there required a rugged dog that could retrieve birds on land and water and could fit in a small boat. The Boykin spaniel became the official state animal of South Carolina in 1985.

97. Rat Terriers
> 2016 rank: 96
> 2007 rank: N/A

As the name suggests, rat terriers were bred to kill rats, but they are good all-rounders and have also been used as watchdogs and for hunting. In the early 20th century, rat terriers — supposedly named by Teddy Roosevelt — were among the most common farm dogs in the U.S., but became less popular when farmers started using poison to kill rats and other rodents.

96. Flat-Coated Retrievers
> 2016 rank: 89
> 2007 rank: 100

The flat-coated retriever is one of six retriever breeds recognized by the AKC. It was first bred in Britain in the mid-19th century and was known as the “gamekeeper’s dog” because of its widespread use on estates. It is not just distinguished by its lustrous coat, but by its long head, which is unique among retrievers.

95. English Setters
> 2016 rank: 102
> 2007 rank: 93

The English setter’s name says it all — it was bred in England by country gentlemen who crossed spaniels and pointers to create a breed that would would “set” — or crouch low — after finding game birds. English setters have a unique speckled coat pattern that can include such colors as orange, lemon and blue.

94. Brussels Griffons
> 2016 rank: 97
> 2007 rank: 60

The Brussels griffon is an affectionate breed with big black eyes and a beard. It has a noisy bark and makes a good watchdog, despite its small stature — it’s typically less than 10 inches tall and weighs less than 10 pounds. It has a long life expectancy of up to 15 years.


93. Afghan Hounds
> 2016 rank: 113
> 2007 rank: 94

The Afghan hound is instantly recognizable because of its long, silky, elegant coat, which provided protection against the harsh climate of the mountainous regions where it originated. It is one of the oldest pure breeds. Some famous people have had Afghans as pets, including Zeppo Marx and Pablo Picasso.

92. Border Terriers
> 2016 rank: 86
> 2007 rank: 81

The border terrier was bred to hunt foxes in the rugged terrain of the English-Scottish border. It is a very active and tough breed with a weather-resistant coat. It adapts well to city life as long as it gets lots of exercise.

91. Norwegian Elkhounds
> 2016 rank: 94
> 2007 rank: 96

The Norwegian Elkhound is an ancient spitz-type dog. As the name suggests, it was bred to hunt the giant elk, a formidable foe. It was popular with the Vikings and sailed with them on their voyages of exploration and conquest.

90. Standard Schnauzers
> 2016 rank: 85
> 2007 rank: 102

Schnauzers come in three sizes: miniature, standard and giant. The standard is a medium-size dog weighing 35 to 45 pounds. All schnauzers have wiry coats, arched eyebrows and walrus-like whiskers.


89. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers
> 2016 rank: 87
> 2007 rank: 110

The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever is the smallest AKC retriever at 18 to 21 inches for males, and 17 to 20 inches for females. It was first bred in the 19th century in the Little River District of Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia. Tolling refers to its distinctive method of luring waterfowl within range of hunters. Another distinctive feature is its crimson coat.

88. Pekingese
> 2016 rank: 93
> 2007 rank: 50

The Pekingese was bred to be the lapdog for Chinese royalty and to be small enough to fit inside the huge sleeves of ancient Chinese garments. Even so, it was used as a guard dog. The Pekingese is a survivor — one of the two dogs to escape from the Titanic was a Pekingese named Sun Yat-sen.

87. Keeshonden
> 2016 rank: 92
> 2007 rank: 99

The Keeshond is a medium-sized dog with a fox-like face and markings and shadings around the eyes that resemble spectacles. It is cute, friendly, and excels as a therapy dog. The Keeshonden kept Dutch sailors company as they prowled the waters around the Low Countries.

86. Anatolian Shepherd Dogs
> 2016 rank: 84
> 2007 rank: N/A

As their name suggests, Anatolian shepherds originated in the Asian part of Turkey, where they were used to guard livestock. They were brought to the United States after World War II to work on ranches. Anatolian shepherds prefer to intimidate predators rather than to attack them, so they were the right dog for the job after the passage of the Endangered Species Act, which protected wolves.

85. Bouviers des Flandres
> 2016 rank: 83
> 2007 rank: 84

Bouvier des Flandres translates as “cowherd of Flanders,” but it’s a versatile breed and has been employed as a watchdog and to pull carts. The dog is large and powerful, and has a weatherproof coat and a beard and moustache.

84. Basenjis
> 2016 rank: 88
> 2007 rank: 89

The Basenji originated in Africa and is one of the oldest dog breeds. That said, it has some un-doglike characteristics — it doesn’t bark and grooms itself like a cat. The Basenji is good with children, but can also be aloof.


83. American Staffordshire Terriers
> 2016 rank: 81
> 2007 rank: N/A

The American Staffordshire terrier, also known as the AmStaff, is considered a bull type and is bigger than its British cousin, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. It is naturally playful and has a stubborn streak that can make it difficult to train.

82. Staffordshire Bull Terriers
> 2016 rank: 82
> 2007 rank: N/A

Bull terriers were originally bred in England for the cruel sport of bull-baiting and this breed was particularly popular in the county of Staffordshire, hence the name. They were brought to America in the mid-19th century, where the AmStaff was bred.

81. Coton de Tulear
> 2016 rank: 80
> 2007 rank: N/A

The coton de Tulear is also known as the “Royal Dog of Madagascar.” Coton is the French word for cotton, which the breed’s white coat resembles, and Tulear is a town in Madagascar. Coton de Tulear is a companion dog, an AKC designation that certifies a dog is able to perform obedience tasks. It is small but sturdy, with an expressive face and a hypoallergenic coat.

80. Giant Schnauzers
> 2016 rank: 79
> 2007 rank: 83

The giant schnauzer is a larger and stronger version of the standard schnauzer and can weigh as much as 95 pounds. It was developed in the Bavarian Alps in the mid-19th century to drive cattle from farm to market, and has also been used as a military and police dog.


79. Chinese Crested
> 2016 rank: 77
> 2007 rank: 52

The Chinese crested is a toy dog with a distinctive hairdo that gives it its name. It is an affectionate dog with some cat-like traits — it likes to sit in high places. It’s also popular in movies. Kate Hudson had a Chinese crested in “How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days” and the Olsen twins had one in “New York Minute.”

78. Russell Terriers
> 2016 rank: 90
> 2007 rank: N/A

Russell terriers are small, lively, and friendly. They are named after John Russell, a 19th-century English clergyman known as “The Sporting Parson.” The breed was subsequently developed in Australia.

77. Lhasa Apsos
> 2016 rank: 71
> 2007 rank: 49

The Lhasa apso is an ancient breed from Tibet, where it served as a companion and watchdog in isolated monasteries. It can be cute, mischievous, and deeply devoted — and frolicsome as a puppy or adult.

76. Chow Chows
> 2016 rank: 74
> 2007 rank: 63

The chow chow is a member of the AKC’s Non-Sporting Group and does fine without a lot of exercise. Its deep-set eyes give it a serious look. It comes in a variety of colors, including red, black and blue. The chow chow is one of two AKC registered breeds with a unique blue-black tongue, the other being the Chinese shar-pei.

75. Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs
> 2016 rank: 78
> 2007 rank: 90

The greater Swiss mountain dog is descended from war dogs brought across the Alps by Julius Caesar’s armies, but was only fully recognized by the AKC in 1995. It is a large, powerful working dog. It needs regular exercise but does not cope well with hot weather.

74. Italian Greyhounds
> 2016 rank: 72
> 2007 rank: 59

The Italian greyhound is a miniature version of its relative the greyhound. It’s an ancient breed, was popular with European royalty, and is featured in numerous Renaissance paintings. It’s a sighthound — as opposed to a scenthound — and will pursue fast-moving prey.


73. Irish Wolfhounds
> 2016 rank: 73
> 2007 rank: 80

As its name suggests, the Irish wolfhound was used to hunt wolves, which it did very successfully — there haven’t been any wolves in Ireland for hundreds of years. You need space to have an Irish wolfhound as a pet — it’s the tallest of all AKC breeds and can weigh as much as 180 pounds.

72. Irish Setters
> 2016 rank: 76
> 2007 rank: 66

Irish setters are famous for their fine red coats and for their grace and speed. These dogs thrive on human companionship and get along well with children and other dogs. But they may have problems with cats. They like vigorous exercise and lots of it.


71. Miniature Pinschers
> 2016 rank: 68
> 2007 rank: 26

Known as the “King of Toys,” the miniature pinscher is small and athletic and has a big dog personality. Despite its size it makes a good watchdog. Because of the shared name it’s sometimes mistakenly assumed to be a miniature Doberman pinscher.

70. Old English Sheepdogs
> 2016 rank: 75
> 2007 rank: 72

The old English sheepdog is famous for its shaggy double coat and has been immortalized in Disney films such as “The Shaggy Dog” and “101 Dalmatians.” The coat is warm and waterproof and allows the dog to blend in with the sheep it herds. The old English sheepdog makes a great pet, but requires a lot of grooming.


69. Cairn Terriers
> 2016 rank: 70
> 2007 rank: 48

The cairn terrier originated in Scotland, where it was used to catch vermin. (A cairn is a pile of rocks, and a natural habit for rodents and other small creatures.) In “The Wizard of Oz” Dorothy’s dog Toto was a cairn terrier.

68. Cardigan Welsh Corgis
> 2016 rank: 69
> 2007 rank: 78

The Cardigan Welsh corgi looks a lot like its cousin, the Pembroke Welsh corgi, but doesn’t have a tail. It is fond of children and gets on well with other pets. The Cardigan Welsh corgi does require some special care as it can get overweight easily.

67. Dogues de Bordeaux
> 2016 rank: 63
> 2007 rank: N/A

Dogue is French for “mastiff,” and this is a big, muscular breed with a massive head. While it is not aggressive, it is not great with other dogs. Dogue de Bordeaux was featured in the 1989 Tom Hanks movie “Turner and Hooch” but was not recognized by the AKC until 2008.

66. Great Pyrenees
> 2016 rank: 67
> 2007 rank: 57

The Great Pyrenees is a strikingly beautiful breed. However, because it was bred as a guard dog it requires careful training and socialization or it can become aggressive. The Great Pyrenees needs a lot of exercise and has a tendency to bark a lot.

65. Wirehaired Pointing Griffons
> 2016 rank: 66
> 2007 rank: 105

The griffon is a medium-sized gundog — trained by hunters to collect game — with a wiry coat and a pointing instinct, which give it its name. It is a very good swimmer, helped by its webbed toes, and retriever.

64. Chinese Shar-Pei
> 2016 rank: 61
> 2007 rank: 46

Shar-pei have some very distinctive characteristics, including a rough coat and folds of wrinkled skin. They are intelligent but stubborn and need to be trained at an early age. Unfortunately, shar-pei are prone to a range of health conditions, including allergic skin disease, eye disorders, and various bone and joint problems.


63. Dalmatians
> 2016 rank: 62
> 2007 rank: 77

The dalmatian is known for its spotted coat, although puppies are born without spots. It has a unique AKC designation — coach dog — as it was used to accompany and guard horse-drawn coaches. The breed has been known to generations of children as the star of the Dodie Smith book and Walt Disney film adaptation “101 Dalmatians.”

62. German Wirehaired Pointers
> 2016 rank: 64
> 2007 rank: 18

The German wirehaired pointer is somewhat bigger than its close relative, the German shorthaired pointer. A dependable hunting dog, its coat provides protection from rough terrain and bad weather. As a pet it needs a lot of exercise.

61. Whippets
> 2016 rank: 60
> 2007 rank: 61

The whippet looks like a small greyhound and is almost as fast — it has been called “The Poor Man’s Racehorse.” Despite its energy level, it does fine as an apartment pet, as long as it gets regular exercise. City dwellers will be pleased to know whippets don’t bark that often and require little maintenance.

60. Bull Terriers
> 2016 rank: 57
> 2007 rank: 58

Although bull terriers were originally bred for the cruel sport of bull-baiting, they are now regarded as lovable and entertaining companions. They have distinctive egg-shaped heads and piercing eyes. General George S. Patton, who was known for his fierceness as a fighter, had a bull terrier. The bull terrier was also the mascot for the Target store chain.


59. Alaskan Malamutes
> 2016 rank: 59
> 2007 rank: 56

The Alaskan malamute, the official dog of the nation’s largest state, is named after the Mahlemut people of Alaska, a native Inuit tribe whose remoteness helped preserve the purity of this ancient dog breed. Malamutes are true working dogs and have been used to pull sleds, hunt seals, and protect people from bears. They are also friendly, loyal, and make great pets.

58. Scottish Terriers
> 2016 rank: 58
> 2007 rank: 45

The Scottie, steadfast and loyal, is thought to be the oldest of the Highland terriers, and may be the oldest dog indigenous to Britain. Although it’s in the bottom half of our list, it has been incredibly popular with famous people. Owners of Scotties have included Humphrey Bogart, Charles Lindbergh, Franklin Roosevelt and Shirley Temple.

57. Samoyeds
> 2016 rank: 65
> 2007 rank: 73

The Samoyed originated in Siberia, where it was used to hunt and herd reindeer, as a watchdog, and to pull sleds. Its thick white coat provides protection against the harshest conditions. Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole, relied on samoyeds to get him there.

56. Australian Cattle Dogs
> 2016 rank: 54
> 2007 rank: 64

The Australian cattle dog is known for its agility. Bred to herd animals many times its size, it is not easily intimidated. The animal needs a lot of exercise – more than a daily walk – and mental stimulation. If not given enough to do it will not be happy.

55. Airedale Terriers
> 2016 rank: 55
> 2007 rank: 55

The Airedale is known as “The King of Terriers” because of its versatility. It is the largest of all terrier breeds, with males standing 23 inches at the shoulder, and the animal excels as a hunter, herder, guardian, athlete and family dog.

54. Portuguese Water Dogs
> 2016 rank: 51
> 2007 rank: 65

Described as medium sized and robust by the AKC, this breed has an advantage above the other water-loving pups — a waterproof coat. Easily the most well-known of the breed is former “first dog” Bo, who belongs to President Obama and his family. Malia, President Obama’s daughter, is allergic to dogs, which led to Bo’s “appointment.”


53. Papillons
> 2016 rank: 53
> 2007 rank: 36

This toy dog is named for the shape of its ears — “papillon” is French for butterfly. It was developed during the Renaissance by crossing other toy breeds with spaniels. It became popular with royalty and was featured in portraits by Rembrandt, Rubens and other famous artists. A papillion owned by Marie Antoinette waited outside the prison for the doomed queen.

52. English Cocker Spaniels
> 2016 rank: 56
> 2007 rank: 69

The English cocker spaniel is a compact dog with a silk coat that comes in striking colors and patterns. It is famous for its mellow personality and its ability to flush out and retrieve gamebirds. The English cocker spaniel is larger than its cousin, the U.S. cocker spaniel.

51. Bullmastiffs
> 2016 rank: 48
> 2007 rank: 40

As the name suggests, the bullmastiff is the result of bulldog and mastiff crosses. It was bred to guard country estates and game preserves from poachers. It is large, tipping the scale at up to 130 pounds, and is powerful and intimidating. The bullmastiff requires careful training.

50. Bloodhounds
> 2016 rank: 52
> 2007 rank: 43

The bloodhound is famous for its sense of smell and tracking ability. The breed is used by police forces around the world to find missing people and escaped prisoners. It is instantly recognizable because of its wrinkled face and large drooping ears. Unfortunately the bloodhound is one of the shortest-lived dog breeds at 7 to 9 years.


49. Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers
> 2016 rank: 50
> 2007 rank: 62

This sturdy terrier originated in Ireland, where it was used as an all-round farm dog. It has a soft coat that comes in various wheat-like shades and a lot of facial hair.

48. St. Bernards
> 2016 rank: 49
> 2007 rank: 39

Named after a monk who aided pilgrims crossing the Alps on their way to Rome, the St. Bernard is famous as a rescue dog. It is very big — males can weigh up to 180 pounds — and very strong, but has a very gentle and winning expression. Unfortunately it has a relatively short life expectancy of 8 to 10 years.

47. Akitas
> 2016 rank: 46
> 2007 rank: 51

The Akita is a large, powerful breed that originated in Japan. Two distinguishing features are its trademark curling tail and its alert expression. It is wary of strangers, has little tolerance for other animals, and is protective of its owners.

46. Bichon Frises
> 2016 rank: 45
> 2007 rank: 32

Bichon frise translates into English as curly dog. This breed’s most distinctive feature is its white coat, which accentuates its dark, inquisitive eyes. It has been described as a fluff ball of a dog and as a canine comedian, reflecting its winning personality.

45. Shiba Inu
> 2016 rank: 44
> 2007 rank: 67

The shiba inu originated in Japan and is a muscular dog once used as a hunter. It is that country’s oldest, smallest and most popular breed. The shiba inu was first brought to the United States after World War II and has been growing in popularity ever since.

44. Belgian Malinois
> 2016 rank: 47
> 2007 rank: 79

This dog was bred to herd livestock around the Belgian city of Malines. It is versatile and hard working and is also used as a military and police dog. It makes for a great pet but needs more exercise than most dogs. Belgian Malinois bears a resemblance to a German shepherd dog.


43. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
> 2016 rank: 43
> 2007 rank: 47

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is the official State Dog of Maryland, its home state. This family-oriented dog has a waterproof coat that’s oily to the touch. It’s protective of its owners and determined, making it a great watchdog.

42. West Highland White Terriers
> 2016 rank: 41
> 2007 rank: 35

Known as the Westie, this breed originated as a hunting dog in Scotland where the tenacious dog pursued vermin and has retained a strong prey instinct. It has an all-white double coat and an inquisitive expression. It is smart, independent, and energetic, and needs careful training and lots of exercise.

41. Rhodesian Ridgebacks
> 2016 rank: 42
> 2007 rank: 53

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is named for its land of origin, now Zimbabwe and Zambia, and for the distinctive ridge that runs along its back, which is formed by hair growing in the opposite direction from the rest of its coat. Bred to hunt lions, but not kill them, it’s an imposing looking dog. They are devoted to family and affectionate toward children.

40. Collies
> 2016 rank: 37
> 2007 rank: 38

Collies have tremendous 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 respond well to training. Collies are a good fit for families with an active lifestyle, and they can thrive in the city as well as in the country.


39. Basset Hounds
> 2016 rank: 39
> 2007 rank: 31

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.

38. Border Collies
> 2016 rank: 38
> 2007 rank: 54

The border collie is widely considered to be the most intelligent dog breed. In fact, it was bred for its intelligence and obedience and has tremendous herding abilities. It is trainable and has protective instincts. However, it also needs more physical exercise and mental stimulation than many other breeds.

37. Cane Corso
> 2016 rank: 40
> 2007 rank: N/A

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 (100 pounds for males) — cane corso are also intelligent, loyal, and docile in the company of their owners.

36. Newfoundlands
> 2016 rank: 35
> 2007 rank: 44

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.

35. Miniature American Shepherds
> 2016 rank: 36
> 2007 rank: N/A

The miniature American shepherd was developed in California in the 1960s and was originally called the miniature Australian shepherd. It has been used to herd small stock such as sheep and goats, and its own small size and temperament makes it a good household pet and travel companion.

34. Weimaraners
> 2016 rank: 34
> 2007 rank: 30

The Weimaraner is named after the German city of Weimar, where it was bred as a hunting and retrieving dog. It has distinctive silver-gray coloration and bright blue eyes. The Weimaraner is an excellent pet known for its friendliness and obedience, but needs to be kept active.


33. Maltese
> 2016 rank: 33
> 2007 rank: 19

The Maltese is an ancient breed — images of Maltese can be found on Egyptian artifacts — and a classic lapdog. It’s small, like the island from which it got its name, dainty, and proud. It also has a fairly long life expectancy — up to 15 years — and a reputation for being affectionate and perky.

32. Chihuahuas
> 2016 rank: 30
> 2007 rank: 12

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.

31. Pugs
> 2016 rank: 32
> 2007 rank: 14

Pugs have a lot of personality in a small package, and they like attention and affection. They are intuitive dogs and sensitive to the moods of their owners, which makes them good companions. They can be strong-willed but are not aggressive. They like to play with children but some supervision may be needed.

30. Vizslas
> 2016 rank: 31
> 2007 rank: 42

Also referred to as the Hungarian Pointer, the Vizsla may date back over 1,000 years. There are depictions of the Vizsla being used as hunting dogs from the early 10th century, when Magyar tribes invaded Central Europe.


29. Cocker Spaniels
> 2016 rank: 29
> 2007 rank: 17

The cocker spaniel is the smallest of the sporting dogs and packs a lot of cuteness into a small package. With a handsome face, big soulful eyes, and a tail that wags the dog, it’s no surprise it always does well in the AKC popularity rankings.

28. Mastiffs
> 2016 rank: 28
> 2007 rank: 28

Mastiffs weigh up to 160 pounds and are a massive breed developed to guard livestock from predators such as 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.

27. English Springer Spaniels
> 2016 rank: 26
> 2007 rank: 27

This breed is named for its hunting style — it “springs” birds, flushing them into the air, and then points and retrieves them. As well as being a great hunter it is a friendly and playful pet and considered a hunting buddy of hunters. English Springer Spaniels are highly trainable and bred to work with humans.

26. Brittanys
> 2016 rank: 25
> 2007 rank: 29

Brittanys gets their name from their native French province. According to the AKC, the Brittany didn’t officially become recognized as a breed until 1907, when an orange and white colored pup named Boy in France was registered as the first Brittany Spaniel. Prior to this point, the breed was registered as one of many miscellaneous French Spaniels.

25. Bernese Mountain Dogs
> 2016 rank: 27
> 2007 rank: 41

This breed originated in the Swiss Alps, where it was used as a working dog. It has a muscular build and can haul loads as heavy as 1,000 pounds. The Bernese is good for families — it is gentle with children but may become attached to one person in particular.

24. Shetland Sheepdogs
> 2016 rank: 24
> 2007 rank: 20

This breed was originally bred to tend the small sheep of the Shetland Islands northeast of Great Britain. Because of its intelligence, Shetland sheepdogs are quick to understand and obey commands. While it’s loyal and affectionate, which makes it a great pet, it also tends to be reserved towards strangers, which makes it a great watchdog.


23. Havanese
> 2016 rank: 23
> 2007 rank: 37

The Havanese, as its name might suggest, is the national dog of Cuba. It’s small and sociable. A distinguishing feature is its long, silky coat. The Havanese has a long life expectancy of up to 16 years and manages to look like a puppy — even when it has an old-man beard.

22. Pomeranians
> 2016 rank: 22
> 2007 rank: 13

The Pomeranian is the smallest of the spitz breeds, weighing 3 to 7 pounds. It was made popular by Queen Victoria, who was smitten by its puppy qualities. She had as many as 35 Pomeranians in her kennels and died with one by her side.

21. Boston Terriers
> 2016 rank: 21
> 2007 rank: 16

Just as Boston is a historic city with a young population, this dog is a relatively old breed with a young heart. Nicknamed “The American Gentleman,” it’s compact and classy. It excels at canine sports and is eager to please and so is popular as a therapy dog.

20. Shih Tzu
> 2016 rank: 20
> 2007 rank: 9

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 United States 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. Among their owners are Queen Elizabeth II and pop star Miley Cyrus.


19. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
> 2016 rank: 19
> 2007 rank: 25

This breed has been popular since the days of King Charles II in the 17th century. It is small for a spaniel and goes through its puppy stage slowly, staying frisky even when older. It also has big eyes and a big heart.

18. Miniature Schnauzers
> 2016 rank: 17
> 2007 rank: 11

In the United States, 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.

17. Australian Shepherds
> 2016 rank: 16
> 2007 rank: 33

The Australian Shepherd is a very cosmopolitan dog. It started out in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain, was brought to Australia to herd sheep, and then became popular with U.S. ranchers, who thought it originated down under — hence the name. It is an intelligent breed with a strong herding instinct and work ethic. The Australian Shepherd is closely associated with the cowboy lifestyle.

16. Doberman Pinschers
> 2016 rank: 15
> 2007 rank: 21

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 the animal popular with police and military forces around the world.

15. Pembroke Welsh Corgis
> 2016 rank: 18
> 2007 rank: 22

The Pembroke Welsh corgi is popular with English royalty as well as American pet owners — 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.

14. Great Danes
> 2016 rank: 14
> 2007 rank: 23

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.


13. Dachshunds
> 2016 rank: 13
> 2007 rank: 7

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.

12. Siberian Huskies
> 2016 rank: 12
> 2007 rank: 24

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.

11. Boxers
> 2016 rank: 10
> 2007 rank: 6

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.

10. German Shorthaired Pointers
> 2016 rank: 11
> 2007 rank: 18

The German shorthaired pointer is a great gundog and a great pet, although it likes a lot of exercise. It is a natural retriever on land and water, and is one of the finest swimming dogs, aided by webbed feet.


9. Yorkshire Terriers
> 2016 rank: 9
> 2007 rank: 2

The Yorkshire terrier’s confidence and courage make it a good pet to keep in bustling cities, and those qualities have earned the dog 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.

8. Rottweilers
> 2016 rank: 8
> 2007 rank: 15

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.”

7. Poodles
> 2016 rank: 7
> 2007 rank: 8

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.

6. Beagles
> 2016 rank: 5
> 2007 rank: 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.

5. Bulldogs
> 2016 rank: 4
> 2007 rank: 10

The bulldog has long been associated with British culture (note the resemblance to Winston Churchill!), but it’s also one of the most popular breeds in America. Its name belies a friendly personality and gentle disposition.

4. French Bulldogs
> 2016 rank: 6
> 2007 rank: 34

Contrary to its name, the French bulldog actually comes from Nottingham, England — not France.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.


3. Golden Retrievers
> 2016 rank: 3
> 2007 rank: 4

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.

2. German Shepherd Dogs
> 2016 rank: 2
> 2007 rank: 3

The German shepherd is the second most popular dog in the U.S., but is 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.

1. Labrador Retrievers
> 2016 rank: 1
> 2007 rank: 1

The Labrador retriever has topped the AKC’s list of most popular breeds in the U.S. since 1991. 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.

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