Ranked: Most Popular Dog Breeds in the U.S.
How popular is your dog? Outside of your household, that is.
Puppers come in all shapes and sizes, but some of those shapes and sizes are in higher demand than others. (Just ask Lady Gaga's poor French bulldogs, who survived a brazen dognapping in 2021.)
Some breeds are known for being stoic and serious, while others are goofy and playful well into their senior years.
Each year, the American Kennel Club ranks the most popular dog breeds in the country. We ranked the top 50 here.
So, which breeds are you most likely to see out for an afternoon walk when you step outside your home? Keep going to find out.
50. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Historians believe that the Chesapeake Bay retriever, or Chessie, for short, is descended from two Newfoundland puppies who survived a shipwreck off the Maryland coast in 1807.
Those shipwrecked puppies were bred with local dogs, resulting in an affectionate, water-loving breed capable of hunting ducks in the chilly and choppy waters of the North Atlantic.
49. Portuguese Water Dog
This is Bo Obama, dog to 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. Bo wants you all to know it's "ruff" work being America's first dog.
He would also like to know if this microphone is a snack. It looks like it might be a snack.
Akitas were originally bred to guard royalty in Japan, and these loyal guardians will treat your family as just that, royalty.
47. English cocker spaniel
This is a friendly and adaptable breed that makes an easy companion for families in apartments or those with big yards to romp in. English cocker spaniels are affectionate with people, even the smallest humans.
The English cocker spaniel breed is larger and longer-snouted than the American variety.
This large breed is well known for its powerful sniffer. A bloodhound can track a scent for up to 130 miles.
They're also incredibly gentle, mild-mannered and good with children.
45. Bichon frise
The puffy bichon was bred purely as a companion animal, so they are genetically predisposed to love attention. This breed is intelligent and mischievous, but they're also little, so their mischief potential is mostly proportionate to their size.
The bichon is a great option for new dog parents, or people without a ton of space.
44. West Highland white terrier
Yes, the Westie was bred to hunt rodents on farms, but this pint-sized pup is no barn cat.
West Highland terrier friends report that this silly and social breed packs a big-dog personality into a little-guy frame.
43. Shiba Inu
The Shiba Inu is the smallest of Japan's six spitz breeds.
This Shiba took in a rousing game of baseball at Dodger Stadium's 2019 Pups at the Park event.
42. Rhodesian ridgeback
The intelligent ridgeback was originally bred in Africa to hunt lions.
In 2020, this ridgeback named Bahari enjoyed a warm summer day at the lake in Saxony, Germany.
Newfoundland dogs often eclipse 100 pounds. They are strong, deft swimmers.
Personality-wise, Newfies are often likened to massive teddy bears. Nana, the attentive Darling family dog from J. M. Barrie's "Peter Pan," is a Newfoundland.
You may recognize this sensitive herding breed from the 1950s television hit "Lassie."
Collies make fantastic family pets, and are happy to spend their days herding kids in the yard.
Weimaraners were bred as hunting dogs in Germany — in the Court of Weimar — to track small prey like rabbits and foxes.
These days, you're more likely to find these sleek silver pups curled on the couch next to a favorite human companion. Snuggly as they are, you'll want to make sure your Weimaraner gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
The people-oriented Maltese will be the life of any puppy kindergarten class. It's easy to spoil these furry friends — and not just because they're cute.
Maltese dogs can be demanding when they want something, cycling through an amusing routine of foot tapping and vocalizing, until you figure out what it is they are after.
37. Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois is best known for working as military or a police dog.
Here, a Belgian Malinois named Timsah wears fashionable shades at his retirement party, after 11 years of service as a police dog in Turkey.
36. Basset hound
Like the bloodhound, the basset hound is known for a powerful sense of smell. Those long, droopy ears actually help sweep smells into the dog's powerful sniffer — no kidding.
Basset hounds are famously laid back and get along with kids and adults alike. Since they are hounds, they can make a habit of howling at the postal carrier.
These Hungarian hunting dogs just want to follow their humans, wherever they roam. Going for a stroll? Your vizsla will happily accompany you. Going to the bathroom? Guess who's there? Going nowhere at all? That vizsla is by your side.
This sporting breed needs plenty of exercise to stay content. A bored vizsla is prone to mischief and recreational barking.
Paris Hilton posed for photos with fans with her teacup chihuahua, Diamond, outside Universal Studios Hollywood in 2018.
Chihuahuas often bond closely with a single human and contentedly ride along in purses for all of life's adventures.
These gentle giants are courageous and dignified. Mastiffs are usually good-natured and calm, but they'll willingly step between family members and a perceived threat.
This 200-plus pound mastiff is Ringo. Ringo is such a big boy, he gets his own hotel bed whenever he travels with his human companion.
32. Border collie
Border collies need a lot — and we mean a lot — of exercise to stay happy and balanced.
A couch potato, the border collie is not. This herding breed loves to have a job. And, if he doesn't have one, he'll invent one.
31. Miniature American shepherd
The mini American shepherd has a big intellect packed into a little frame. They can also keep up with an active lifestyle usually reserved for bigger dogs.
These minis grow to between 20 and 40 pounds with a silky double coat.
30. Cocker spaniel
The fun-loving cocker spaniel is the smallest of the AKC's sporting breeds. They are cheerful, adaptable and even do well in apartments.
Cocker spaniels like to keep close to their human pack and can become anxious if left alone for long stretches of time.
This is Dibs, an animal performer at Universal Studios Hollywood.
His trainer, Jasmine Versales, brought him to the park grounds in March 2021 so he could have... first dibs... on all the sniffing before the park reopens to the public.
28. Brittany dog
Brittanys are energetic and joyful. This sporting breed is always ready to run, fetch, jump or chase the neighborhood birds.
Brittanys are generally friendly with children, but their unbridled enthusiasm can sometimes prove a lot to handle for younger kids.
27. Shetland sheepdog
No, those aren't collie puppies. Those are shetland sheepdogs, or Shelties.
Shelties were originally bred in Scotland to keep birds and sheep from snacking in gardens. These days, you can find them dominating agility courses and herding neighborhood squirrels.
26. English springer spaniel
Love hiking and camping and looking for a four-legged companion to join you on your adventures? Look no further than the English springer spaniel.
This sporting breed is anything but a lazy apartment dog — he lives for adventure and wide-open spaces.
25. Cane corso
This giant breed descended from ancient Roman war dogs. They were intended to guard property and hunt large game.
These dogs are famously strong-willed and require consistent and firm leadership, with plenty of positive reinforcement, to reach their potential.
This four-year-old Havanese named Mojito made the most of the snowy weather in January 2021.
These furry friends have "lap dog" in their DNA. Havanese were originally bred as a companion dog for wealthy families in Cuba.
These Pomeranians got all dressed up to celebrate Lunar New Year in February 2021. These women carried the dogs through Bangkok's Chinatown.
Poms are known for having big, feisty personalities, challenging much larger dogs without regard for the difference in size.
22. Bernese mountain dog
Big and gentle, Bernese mountain dogs are genetically predisposed to be friendly. They are also sensitive; too harsh a correction can hurt their feelings.
Their long, silky coat inevitably ends up all over the floor, so Berner dog parents will want to invest in a high-quality vacuum.
21. Boston terrier
Rockey the Boston terrier dressed up as Batman for Halloween in 2017.
As the "Boston" moniker suggests, these smart and sometimes-stubborn dogs were first bred in Boston, Massachusetts in the late 1880s. By 1915, they were the most popular breed in America.
20. Shih Tzu
To know a Shih Tzu is to know a real ham. These dogs love to be the center of attention.
This precocious breed appears in Buddhist mythology. As the story goes, Buddha was traveling India with his Shih Tzu dog when he was set upon by thieves. Fortunately, the little dog morphed into a fearsome lion and scared the would-be bandits away.
19. Miniature schnauzer
Here, a mini schnauzer leaves his mark on a sandcastle at Barry Island Beach in southern Wales.
Extroverted, high-energy and loyal to the core, the mini schnauzer will keep you furr-ever entertained, and follow you wherever you go.
18. Doberman pinscher
These sleek, athletic dogs have a reputation for being vicious, but they can be trustworthy and loyal family dogs.
Sure, a Doberman will let his family know if he senses danger near their turf (watch out, garbage truck). But a well-socialized Dobie is just as soon called off if mom and dad say the coast is clear.
17. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Suckers for puppy eyes, beware. This angelic face and feathery tail can win treats from even the toughest subjects, just by being cute.
This toy breed is friendly with everyone — kids, strangers, dogs. Only the neighborhood birds need worry about this gregarious spaniel.
16. Siberian husky
Siberian huskies were bred to run, and, consequently, they have energy for miles. And, because they're large, bored huskies have a talent for making large-scale mischief (think chewing through walls and digging up yards). But it's not all bad news...
A well-exercised and well-trained husky can be a loyal and gentle friend, even with children. In fact, huskies love just about everyone who crosses their paths.
15. Great Dane
Scooby Doo is a Great Dane, and he sure does act like one. Like Scooby, real-life Danes are affectionate, eager to please and easily coaxed with a snack.
Many Great Danes love nothing more than a nice nap on a lap. And at 200 pounds, that's one mighty large lap dog.
Boxers might look quite serious with their short, wrinkly snout and furrowed brow, but they actually have one of the longest puppyhoods of any dog breed in the world. Boxers aren't considered fully mature until they are three years old.
Even after three years of age, these dogs remain playful and mischievous.
13. Yorkshire terrier
These born-and-bred companion dogs are very affectionate toward their human families, but they can be suspicious of strange humans and dogs. Good socialization can help a young Yorkie distinguish between actual danger and a little harmless variety.
These stylish Yorkies are enjoying a sunny bike ride around Marseille, in the South of France.
12. Australian shepherd
This super-smart dog breed is happiest when they have something to occupy their busy mind.
Because of that, Aussies often enjoy success in search-and-rescue or service dog careers.
11. Pembroke Welsh corgi
Aargh, matey! Corgis dressed as pirates hit the high seas (Ocean Beach in San Francisco) during the 2019 Corgi-Con.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is a big fan of the Welsh corgi. She might even grant clemency to this swashbuckling pair, if they crossed swords with the British Navy.
Dachshunds are a favorite for city-dwelling dog lovers, since they're small and can get plenty of exercise on a neighborhood walk or a romp around the living room.
Personality-wise, Dachshunds are cuddly yet headstrong. They are more than willing to curl up next to their respective humans, assuming they've had just enough to eat and the couch pillows are in their preferred position.
9. German shorthaired pointer
This large sporting breed would happily spend the entire day fetching sticks out of a lake. That activity includes all three of the pointer's favorite things: high-octane exercise, splashing in water and spending time with you.
The German shorthaired pointer is highly intelligent and enthusiastic about life in general.
This large dog breed was created to herd cattle and pull butchers' carts. These days, Rotties are loving family dogs who are protective without being aggressive.
A well-socialized Rottweiler is an easygoing companion who confidently knows the difference between a new friend and a dangerous stranger.
These little hound dogs grow to be between 18 and 30 pounds. They are fun-loving, silly and full of creative ways to make mischief around the house.
Beagles, scenthounds, are driven by their noses. Each beagle has approximately 220 million scent receptors in the nose.
6. Standard poodle
This poodle enjoys an afternoon nap with her hind legs propped up on the wall.
Poodles are the "straight-A students" of the dog world; they're famously skilled at obedience training.
This is Jack. He's the mascot for the Georgetown Hoyas. There have been seven Jack bulldogs since 1962.
Three are still living. In this photo, Jack is cruising around the Hoyas' basketball court during a 2019 game against Syracuse.
4. Golden retriever
Sociable and tolerant, the golden retriever is frequently in the top 5 most popular breeds in the United States.
Despite their sweet nature, goldens are still an active breed. Veterinarians suggest about an hour of exercise each day to keep these dogs healthy and content.
3. German shepherd
These large, intelligent dogs thrive in roles like guide dog or police dog.
German shepherds can also be loyal family pets who keep a watchful, protective eye on any rambunctious kids.
2. French bulldog
Frenchies make great apartment dogs — they're small, quiet and content to play in the air conditioning on a hot day.
1. Labrador retriever
Labrador retrievers top the list of America's most popular dog breeds. They love to swim, fetch and play with kids, which makes them a perfect family dog.
Labradors are often trained as guide dogs and therapy dogs.