America’s Most Popular Dog Breeds

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.