Top 20 Dog Breeds

Top 20 Dog Breeds

According to the American Kennel Club, the following breeds are the most popular dog breeds in the United States:

  1. Labrador Retriever
  2. Yorkshire Terrier
  3. German Shepherd Dog
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Beagle
  6. Boxer
  7. Dachshund
  8. Bulldog
  9. Poodle
  10. Shih Tzu
  11. Miniature Schnauzer
  12. Chihuahua
  13. Pomeranian
  14. Rottweiler
  15. Pug
  16. Pointer (German Shorthaired)
  17. Boston Terrier
  18. Doberman Pinscher
  19. Shetland Sheepdog
  20. Maltese

1. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever has been the most popular breed in the U.S. since 1990. These gentle, intelligent, family dogs were first recognized by the AKC in 1917. Originally from Canada, the breed began as a hunting dog and still makes a good companion in the field. These dogs come in yellow, black, and chocolate colors. In addition to their fieldwork and their place as family pets, Labrador Retrievers excel as guide dogs for the blind and assistance dogs, as search and rescue dogs, and as narcotics dogs with law enforcement.

Labs have a short double coat and shed regularly. They require regular brushing.

2. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier has long been one of the most popular toy dogs in the U.S. These small dogs are quite deceptive in appearance. Although they are toy dogs they are still terriers. They offer a lot in a small package. They were originally bred to hunt and kill rats and other vermin and they are still very active hardy little dogs. They are brave, determined, and energetic dogs. These little dogs were very hard workers and came from the working class in the area of Yorkshire, England, where they were used to kill rats in the clothing mills. It was only later that they became popular with high society.

The Yorkie’s long coat is fine and silky. It requires frequent brushing and combing to look good.

3. German Shepherd

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd Dog was created in the late 19th century to be an all-around working dog. German Shepherds excel at police dog work, guard work, and military K-9 work.` These dogs also make loving companions and family dogs. They are loyal family pets and good guard dogs. Their popularity in the U.S. was firmly established by the early movies starring Rin Tin Tin just after WWI.

The German Shepherd Dog has a full double coat and can shed a great deal. They require regular brushing.

4. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever originated in the Scottish Highlands in the late 1800s as a hunting companion. Today they still work as hunting dogs but they are best known for their intelligence. Their willing attitude and their intelligence have made them well-known as guide dogs for the blind, search and rescue dogs, and assistance dogs. Golden Retrievers are active and energetic. They are devoted to their families and make ideal family dogs.

Golden Retrievers have a double coat that sheds. They require regular brushing and grooming.

5. Beagle


The Beagle has been a favorite hunting companion since the 1500s. These small dogs (they come in both 13-inch and 15-inch varieties) often hunt in packs. They get along very well with other dogs and are usually very independent. They are typically happy-go-lucky and friendly and make very good family dogs. They can tend to “follow their noses,” meaning that they may take off after something that has an interesting scent instead of paying attention to you.

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Beagles have a short coat that is said to be easy to care for. However, Beagle owners and breeders say that these dogs shed a great deal. They require frequent brushing.

6. Boxer


Boxers are powerful, intelligent dogs, popular with families. They are instinctive guardians and love to be with their people. They have worked as couriers during the war and as seeing eye dogs. Boxers are particularly fond of children and seek out affection from them and from their family members.

Boxers have a short double coat that requires regular grooming.

7. Dachshund


Dachshunds, meaning “badger dog,” were originally bred to hunt badgers. These are friendly little dogs with great noses. Dachshunds were first bred in Germany in the 1600s. The idea was to create a fearless, long dog that could dig and go after badgers in their burrows, able to fight the badgers to death. Dachshunds are lovable and playful, requiring moderate exercise. They come in three coat varieties (smooth, longhaired, and wirehaired) and in both miniature and standard sizes.

Depending on their coat type Dachshunds require regular grooming and coat maintenance.

8. Bulldog


The Bulldog has been climbing in popularity year by year. These lovable clowns are quite distinctive-looking. They have a shuffling gait and a short-faced head with an undershot bite. In personality, they are resolute, calm, and dignified. They are perfectly gentle. Originally bred for bull baiting, when bull baiting became illegal in Britain fanciers preserved the breed by eliminating its fierce characteristics. Bulldogs make excellent family pets and are particularly close to children. They are gentle and protective. Their short nose makes them susceptible to overheating so you should take extra care with them in hot weather.

Bulldogs have short, easy-to-care-for coats. Regular grooming is required.

9. Poodle


The Poodle has been one of the most popular dogs in the United States for decades. These highly intelligent, easily trained dogs are perfect for many families. The Poodle also has a coat that is close to being hypoallergenic (no dog has a completely hypoallergenic coat). Poodles come in three varieties: Standard, Miniature, and Toy. Poodles are loving, intelligent, active dogs who excel in obedience and other companion activities.

Poodles usually require professional coat maintenance, whether you keep your dog in a Poodle clip or a pet clip.

10. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu was a prized house pet by Chinese royals for over a thousand years. Today the Shih Tzu remains a wonderful companion for the rest of us. Shih Tzu are lively, alert, and friendly dogs. They are purely companion dogs. That has always been their purpose and they are very good at what they do. These small dogs require minimal exercise.

The Shih Tzu has a long, flowing coat that requires a great deal of grooming and attention so the dog can look his best.

11. Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer is the most popular of the three Schnauzer breeds. These little dogs originated in Germany and are recognizable in pictures from the 15th century. Originally bred to be a small farm dog, the Miniature Schnauzer was likely created from his larger cousin, the Standard Schnauzer, and Affenpinschers and Poodles until he was produced in his present small size. Mini Schnauzers are devoted to their families and have very good temperaments.

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The Miniature Schnauzer has a wiry double coat that is hand-stripped for the show ring. Pet owners usually clip the coat. They require regular visits to the pet groomer or grooming at home.

12. Chihuahua


The little Chihuahua has a very old history, with dogs of this type found in pre-Columbian materials in Mexico prior to 1530. The dogs were probably brought back to Europe by the Spanish during early colonial times. Today these little dogs are alert and highly intelligent. They make good companion dogs for both individuals and for families if the children are taught to be gentle with them.

Smooth-coated Chihuahuas require only basic grooming. Long coated Chihuahuas require a little more brushing but their grooming requirements are still minimal.

13. Pomeranian


Originating in the German/Polish region of Pomerania, these extroverted little dogs were originally used to herd sheep! The dogs originally weighed around 30 pounds and have been carefully bred to become the small companion size that they are now. Pomeranians are active, alert, and intelligent and they can make good family dogs. They require a lot of attention from their people.

Pomeranians possess a very full, thick double coat. It requires frequent brushing and good care.

14. Rottweiler


The ancestors of the Rottweiler were the drover’s dogs that accompanied the herds that went along with the Romans when they conquered Europe. Germans recognized and appreciated the dog’s herding and guarding instincts and selectively bred dogs for these traits. The Rottweiler today is an intelligent dog able to work as a police dog, herder, service dog, and therapy dog. He makes a devoted family companion. Rottweilers love their families and can be very protective of them. Good socialization and obedience training are necessary.

Rottweilers are shorthaired but they have a sleek double coat that requires regular brushing to prevent too much shedding.

15. Pug


Pugs are the original big dog in a small package. They are playful, outgoing, and loving. These little dogs are one of the oldest breeds of dogs. They’ve been known in China for more than 2000 years. They were favorites in Buddhist monasteries and of the Chinese emperors. Coming to Europe when links were forged between China and the West, the Pug became a favorite with many European royals. The Pug today is even-tempered, playful, and affectionate.

Pugs have a shorthaired coat. Black Pugs are single-coated and fawn pugs are double-coated. All Pugs need to be brushed regularly to prevent excessive shedding.

16. Pointers (German Shorthaired)

Pointers German Shorthaired

German Shorthaired Pointers are one of the most handsome of all the Sporting dogs. These dogs are intelligent, loyal, devoted family dogs. Their exact origins are unclear but it’s believed that they are descended from the old Spanish Pointer that was the ancestor of so many pointing breeds, along with a German Bird Dog and other German scenting breeds. German Shorthaired Pointers are a good all-around dogs in the field, able to work pheasant and other game. The GSP is an athlete and needs regular exercise in order to be happy.

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The German Shorthaired Pointer has a close, shorthaired coat. Regular grooming is required.

17. Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier is one of the few breeds of dog that was actually developed in the United States. These companion dogs are lively and very intelligent. The Boston Terrier was developed after the Civil War in Massachusetts as a fighting dog, of all things. They were a cross between an English Bulldog and an English Terrier. Today the breed is far from contentious. They are pleasant and have an excellent, gentle disposition. They are considered easy to train and like to stay next to their owners.

The Boston Terrier has a shorthaired coat and they require minimal grooming.

18. Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher

The Doberman Pinscher is an affectionate, loyal, obedient dog. He is also energetic, watchful, and fearless. A properly bred and trained Doberman makes a great friend and guardian. Dobermans have excelled as police dogs and as war dogs. The Doberman originated in Germany around 1890 and was bred from old shorthaired shepherd-dog stock combined with the Rottweiler, the Black and Tan Terrier, and the smooth-haired German Pinscher. If you are interested in a Doberman Pinscher make sure you are buying from a good breeder. Socialization and good training are important for your Doberman.

The Doberman Pinscher has a close, shorthaired coat and requires regular grooming.

19. Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdogs are devoted, loyal, and extremely intelligent little dogs. They make excellent family dogs. They are not miniature Collies although they do resemble bigger dogs. Shetland Sheepdogs can excel at obedience and agility and are sturdy and highly trainable. It’s thought that the Sheltie is descended from the Border Collie after it was taken to the Shetland Islands in Scotland and bred with local breeds. These little dogs do bark a lot.

The Sheltie has a beautiful, thick longhaired coat. It requires frequent brushing and regular grooming. Lots of grooming.

20. Maltese


The gentle and affectionate Maltese is one of the loveliest of dogs. They have a long, flowing mantle of white hair that circles their entire body. The Maltese are friendly, affectionate, and intelligent. Maltese has been known as a breed for over 2000 years. They come from the isle of Malta in the Mediterranean. They were well-known in ancient times to the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. Today the Maltese is still a dog of refinement and grace.

The Maltese have a long, flowing single coat that requires a great deal of devoted care to keep him looking his best. Daily brushing and combing are necessary as well as frequent bathing and conditioning.

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