Special Report

America's Most Popular Dogs

Pet ownership continued to climb in the United States even during the pandemic, according to the National Pet Owners Survey, conducted by the American Pet Products Association. The 2021-2022 edition found that 70% of American households had at least one pet — the highest level ever reported and up from 67% in 2020. About half of the people who got a new pet during the pandemic got a dog. 

Families own many different dogs, from mixed-breeds to purebreds, but which are the most popular? Purebred dog registry American Kennel Club lists about 280 breeds on its website, and nearly 200 have made it into the organization’s popularity ranking. 

To identify the 50 most popular breeds in the United States, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from the American Kennel Club released on March 15, 2021, based on 2021 AKC registration statistics.

Some breeds have been consistently popular over the years, with golden and Labrador retrievers and German shepherds regularly dominating popularity rankings. 

In fact, the Labrador retriever reigns No. 1 and has been the most popular since 1991. Golden and Labrador retrievers are especially popular among families, and for good reason. These are the best family-friendly dogs.

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

The lifespan of the most popular dogs in the U.S. varies from as few as seven years to as many as 18, though the life expectancy of most breeds on this list is in the 10-15 years range. These are the dogs with the shortest lifespan.

Click here to see America’s most popular dogs this year

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