America's Most Popular Dog Breeds

May 11, 2016
Jared Kaltwasser

Americans love their pets, and when it comes to dog-lovers, everyone has their favorite breeds. But which breed is top dog?

The beagle may have reigned supreme at the Westminster Kennel Club’s Dog Show earlier this month, but if the event were a popularity contest, a very different breed would have taken home the top prize.

The American Kennel Club each year releases its list of the Most Popular Dog Breeds in the US. The most recent list covers in 2014. The list is populated by familiar breeds—Golden Retrievers, Poodles, German Shepherds—and others. Most of the entrants in the Top 10 in 2014 were also on the Top 10 list 5 years ago. Only the order of the list has changed for the most part. Just one breed fell out of the Top 10 from 2013 to 2014. The Dachshund slipped to No. 11, having been displaced by the French Bulldog.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates there are 70-80 million pet dogs in the US. The American Pet Products Association says that means 37-47% of US households likely have a pet dog at home. Most of those pets aren’t purebreds. Only about 28% of US dog-owners get their pets from a breeder, according to the ASPCA.

All told, the pet industry in the US (including dogs and other household pets) totaled $58 billion last year, according to the APPA.

So it’s clear Americans love their dogs. But which dog breeds are the most beloved? What follows is the Top 10 breeds in the US in 2014, according to the American Kennel Club. Also listed are the breed’s ranking for 2013, and its ranking for 5 years ago. All photos courtesy of AKC.

2013 Rank: 9

2009 Rank: 13

Fun facts: The Rottweiler was first registered by the AKC in 1931. They’re known for being show-offs who love to please their owners.

9. French Bulldog

2013 Rank: 11

2009 Rank: 24

Fun facts: The French Bulldog has made the Top 10 for the first time in nearly 100 years. The breed is quick-witted and easily adapts to new situations.

8. Boxer

2013 Rank: 7

2009 Rank: 6

Fun facts: Though the German Shepherd is today considered the chief police dog, Boxers were one of the first breeds German police trained as sidekicks. The dogs love to stay active and have high energy.

7. Poodle

2013 Rank: 8

2009 Rank: 9

Fun facts: The regal Poodle is unmistakable with its puffy white or black hair. The hypoallergenic coat makes the dog a good fit for allergy sufferers, though it also requires regular grooming.

6. Yorkshire Terrier

2013 Rank: 6

2009 Rank: 3

Fun facts: These tiny dogs were first registered by the AKC in 1885. Their long hair made them popular in the late Victorian Era, though they also need upkeep in the form of regular brushing.

5. Beagle

2013 Rank: 4

2009 Rank: 5

Fun facts: Beagles are described as happy and curious. The breed was originally a hunting dog, and even today they need plenty of exercise.

4. Bulldog

2013 Rank: 5

2009 Rank: 7

Fun facts: The AKC describes bulldogs as calm and content to avoid exercise. However, just like humans, just because they don’t want to exercise doesn’t mean they don’t need it.

3. Golden Retriever

2013 Rank: 3

2009 Rank: 4

Fun facts: The Golden Retriever wasn’t recognized by AKC until 1925. However, for many Americans the loyal, golden-haired pets have become synonymous with the phrase “Man’s best friend.”

2. German Shepherd

2013 Rank: 2

2009 Rank: 2

Fun facts: The German Shepherd is known as a confident and courageous breed, so it’s no wonder it’s a common police dog. Perhaps that confidence comes in part from the fact that it consistently ranks as one of the most popular dogs in the US.

1. Labrador Retriever

2013 Rank: 1

2009 Rank: 1

Fun facts: Labrador Retrievers are whip smart and family friendly, so it’s no wonder they’ve topped the most popular list for a whopping 24 straight years. Still, AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo suggested the breed shouldn’t get too comfortable.

“The Lab is truly America’s dog,” she said, “but the lovable bulldog breeds are clamoring to dominate. Watch out for an upset next year.”

Click here to read the AKC’s entire ranking of breeds from the Labrador Retriever, to the Norwegian Lundehund.