Popular Dog Breeds in the US The USA's Top Dogs

Popular Dog Breeds in the US

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Some dog breeds seem to be everywhere. There are a few popular breeds that are the most common in the US, and all for good reason. Read about these friendly, personable dogs.

Over the years, several breeds have become very popular in the United States. The popularity is visible at dog parks and on sidewalks with plenty of people owning Labs, Golden Retrievers, and Boxers. The American Kennel Club has been recording popularity rankings for breeds through registration statistics and what's amazing is that popularity changes very little from one year to the next. There must be a reason why people love these dogs so much! All of the dogs listed below have been in the top 10 breeds for the past decade, according to AKC rankings.

What most of these dogs have in common is intelligence and willingness to please which make them easy to train. These dogs are also very friendly and love people, allowing for the companionship most people want when they look for a dog. All the popular breeds are historically working dogs (even the Yorkie) who have helped humans catch animals, bring in nets, deliver messages, and find missing people for a long time. 

Labrador Retriever

For at least a decade, the Lab (pictured above) has been the most popular breed because they are loyal and relatively easy to train and groom. Always great swimmers and helpful to masters, Labs came from Newfoundland where they helped fisherman pull in nets. Patient and loving, Labs crave human leadership and always look to their pet parent for advice. Their short coats are easy to brush and comb, as long as the undercoat gets cleaned out during grooming.

German Shepherd

Dependable and brave, German Shepherds are popular because they are more than police dogs, they are also loving family dogs who are great with children. These dogs love to be active and work to please their pet parents. An incredibly smart but obedient breed, German Shepherds are easy to train and naturally protect their human pack.

Golden Retriever

Another talented working dog, Goldens have been bred to be great hunting dogs (retrieving fowl, not killing) and helper companion dogs. Their cheerful and playful temperament is also very popular with families. Because they are smart and easy to train, they are a primary choice as search and rescue or assistance dogs. Goldens love to please their pet parents and tend to get along with just about everybody.


This sweet and happy dog is medium-sized, popular for families who don't have the space for a German Shepherd or Lab. Beagles tend to have a mind of their own, wandering off while following their noses, but can still be trained rather easily. Beagles love being with people and their coat is easy to groom, only needing regular brushing and occasional dry shampooing.

Yorkshire Terrier

The most popular toy breed, Yorkies can become a key member of the family without taking up a lot of space. Great for apartments or people on-the-go, Yorkies are loyal, beautiful, and affectionate, but require firm training so that they know their pet parent is the pack leader. They are easy to train, but some pet parents let them misbehave because they are so small and cute. If they know who the alpha is, Yorkies are obedient and happy with nothing but a daily walk and lots of love.


Another helper dog, Boxers are athletic, instinctive guardians and affectionate pets that are great with children. Their name comes from the tendency to bat at things with their front paws, especially when standing up on their hind legs. Boxers love to play and also to keep the family safe. Their short coat is easy to care for through simple brushing, and some Boxers are even clean enough to groom themselves.


Poodles have recently become fashionable dogs, but they have also have a history as working dogs, primarily as water retrievers. In addition to being helpful, Poodles come in three sizes, standard, miniature, and toy, which makes it more likely for a Poodle to find a home regardless of the space. Poodles are also low-shedding dogs, which can keep homes cleaner, but they often require professional grooming to manage their curly coats.

The 5 Most Popular Dog Breeds Each Year

The placements change a bit from year to year, but you can see there are perennial favorites in the AKC's rankings of the most popular dogs in the US. See the complete lists at the AKC website.




 Labrador Retriever

 Labrador Retriever


 German Shepherd

 German Shepherd


 Golden Retriever




 Golden Retriever



 Yorkshire Terrier

10 Most Popular Dog Breeds and Their Health Concerns

Many pet parents opt for purebred dogs over mutts, however, purebreds are more frequently impacted by inbreeding, which can lead to health issues.

The American Kennel Club compiled a list of the most popular dog breeds of 2013, based on dog registration statistics. Here are the 10 most popular dog breeds in the US, along with the health issues that can potentially affect them.

1. Labrador Retriever

The most popular of all registered breeds in the United States and Canada, the Labrador Retriever is a highly affectionate addition to families with children. The Labrador Retriever is a largely healthy dog, but it can nevertheless be prone to certain conditions:

Hip DysplasiaElbow Dysplasia; Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA); Obesity

2. German Shepherd

Another affectionate family dog, the German Shepherd is also a dependable service dog. German Shepherd show dogs are recurring favorites at the Westminster Dog Show. Conditions that may affect German Shepherds include:

Hip Dysplasia; Elbow Dysplasia; Panosteitis; Von Willebrandโ€™s DiseaseDegenerative Myelopathy; Skin Problems; Dermatitis; Hemangiosarcoma; Pannus; CataractsGastric Torsion (Bloat); Perianal Fistulas

3. Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers tend to be extremely friendly dogs, but donโ€™t let their happy-go-lucky personalities fool you; they are also one of the most intelligent dog breeds. Golden Retrievers work as guide dogs, search dogs, and service dogs because of they are both loyal and easy to train. Golden Retrievers may be affected by the following conditions:

Hip Dysplasia; Elbow Dysplasia; Skin Problems; Heart Problems; Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA); Mast Cell Tumor

4. Beagle

The Beagle is a small hound that was bred to hunt small game. While Beagles have an independent nature, they are intelligent dogs who tend to be very healthy with a lifespan of 12 to 15 years, typical of their breed size. However, they are prone to certain health issues:

Intervertebral Disk Disease; Hip Dysplasia

5. Bulldog

Although Bulldogs pack a lot of power into their sturdy frames, they are known for their gentle temperament, low-energy, and friendly companionship. Bulldogs may suffer from different health problems.

Bulldog: Brachycephalic SyndromeHeart ProblemsHip DysplasiaDry Eye; Eyelid Problems; Internalized Tail; Shoulder Luxation

6. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers, a.k.a. Yorkies, are known for being confident, curious, energetic, and intelligent. Yorkies crave love and affection, and may be prone to:

Patellar Luxation

7. Boxer

The carefree-yet-loyal Boxer can be stubborn, but they still make excellent companions. The Boxer is a playful, medium- to large-sized dog that can be prone to:

Heart ProblemsHip DysplasiaGastric Torsion (Bloat)Tumors

8. Poodle

Poodles are high energy, intelligent, and easy to train. These instinctual hunters and pointers can be subjected to these health conditions:

Eyelid Problems; Legg-Perthes; Patellar Luxation; Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA); Epilepsy; Sebaceous Adenitis

9. Rottweiler

This large breed with a protective demeanor makes excellent rescue and police dogs, as well as wonderful lifelong companions. This hard-working breed can suffer from:

Hip Dysplasia; Elbow Dysplasia; Heart Problems; Bone Cancer; Gastric Torsion (Bloat); Von Willebrandโ€™s Disease

10. Dachshund

Due to their small stature, Dachshunds are popular city pets. The affectionate Dachshund has been known to bond closely to one family member. While typically playful with their families and other Dachshunds, they may have trouble getting along with dogs of other breeds and children whom they perceive as being aggressive.

Intervertebral Disk Disease; Dry Eye

More on Dog Breeds

Dogs That Don't Shed
AKC Recognized Breeds
The Best Dogs for Children

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Beagle Boxer German Shepherd Golden Retriever Labrador Retriever Poodle Yorkshire Terrier

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