Which of These Most Popular Dog Breeds Is Your Favorite?

See if your dog made the list!
By Kristi Valentini
November 13, 2020
  • Labrador Retriever (Lab)

    Labrador retrievers, or Labs as many know them, are an ideal combination of friendly and active, making them one of the most beloved family pets. Read on for more information about this most popular dog breed.
  • German Shepherd

    The ever-loyal German shepherd consistently ranks at the top of the most popular dog breeds in America, and it's easy to see why. With their calm, confident demeanor, these protective pups are eager to please and quick to learn.
    By Abby Gilman
  • Golden Retriever

    Golden retrievers are smart, loyal dogs that are ideal family companions. With their gentle nature, shining coats, and charming smiles, they are considered one of the most popular breeds in America. Learn more about living with these people-pleasing pups.
  • French Bulldog

    Bred primarily as companion dogs, Frenchies crave all the love and affection we humans have to offer. They’re just as satisfied playing with kids and other dogs as they are being a couch potato. Goofy, yet intelligent, French bulldogs make an easygoing best friend for any dog lover.
    By Sierra Burgos
  • Bulldog (English Bulldog or British Bulldog)

    Found in schools and businesses all across the country, the bulldog is a worldwide symbol for tenacity. They are courageous, but also incredibly gentle, and they have a special fondness for children. Learn more about the timeless bulldog here.
    By Sierra Burgos
  • Poodle (Standard)

    Standard poodles are energetic, intelligent dogs who thrive with lots of activity, learning, and time with their human. Learn more about these cute, curly companions.
    By Hilary Braaksma
  • Beagle

    Beagles are gentle, fun-loving hounds who require plenty of exercise and companionship with their owners. Learn more about living with beagles.
    By Abby Gilman
  • Rottweiler

    Rottweilers are smart, hard-working dogs that can be gentle and devoted when trained well. Learn more about living with Rottweilers.
    By Kate Silver
  • German Shorthaired Pointer

    German shorthaired pointers are agile, athletic dogs who are always up for an outdoor adventure. Learn more about German shorthaired pointer puppies and dogs.
    By Hilary Braaksma
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi

    The Pembroke Welsh corgi is an active, intelligent, and beloved breed that has become extremely popular in recent years. Find out why people love corgis (and their little legs).
    By Sonja Swanson

The stats are in: Americans love dogs. Nearly 40% of homes have at least one pup, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. But which breed is the favorite? Well, that’s a much tougher question. Ask one person and they’ll tell you there’s no better dog than a cocker spaniel while another swears that Russell terriers are truly man’s best friend. 

But according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), who tallies breed registrations each year, some dog breeds have stolen the top spots in pet lovers’ hearts. These are the most popular dog breeds in the United States and a great place to start your search for a new four-legged friend!

Credit: Tara Gregg / EyeEm / Getty

1. Overall Most Popular Dog Breed: Labrador Retriever (Lab)

For the 29th year in a row, Labrador retrievers have claimed the top spot as America’s most  beloved breed and it’s easy to see why. These happy-go-lucky dogs are always up for a good time. Game of fetch? Yep. Swim in the lake? Heck, yeah. Go for a hike? Let’s do it. Cuddle on the couch? For sure. 

Labs were originally bred in Canada to work alongside fishermen on land and sea. But these days, you’re more likely to find them working as service dogs or as family companions. Labs make instant friends with everyone they meet—kids, strangers, and other pets—which makes them a pleasure to be around.

Credit: Jody Trappe Photography / Getty

2. Most Popular Protector: German Shepherd

German Shepherds often work as police and military dogs for good reason. They’re loyal, brave, and incredibly smart. Alert dogs, German shepherds watch over their people just as their ancestors did with flocks of sheep—the job the breed was originally developed for. But they’re happy to play with kids, too, especially during their puppy years. Their calm demeanor and patient attitude makes a well-socialized German shepherd an excellent family pet. Just make sure you’ll be able to give them plenty of exercise!

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3. Most Popular Family Dog: Golden Retriever

The people pleasers of the dog world, golden retrievers have long been an American favorite. Originally bred to be duck hunters in Scotland, these pups are easy to train and share their countrymen’s same jovial attitude. They love to play fetch, and even better if it’s in the water. Because of their mellow friendliness, goldens are particularly popular among families looking for a dog to be an all-around awesome pal.

The French bulldog's compact, muscular frame makes them look quite formidable, but they are generally not an aggressive breed.
| Credit: Fernando Trabanco Fotografía / Getty

4. Most Popular Apartment Dog: French Bulldog

Let’s be honest: Seeing a French bulldog walking down the street could put a smile on anyone’s face. Their burly little bodies coupled with big bat ears make them one of the most recognizable breeds anywhere. And Frenchies welcome the attention, easily making friends with people and other pets. In the 1800’s, these jaunty dogs were favored by the Parisian elite, and today, continue to be loved by city dwellers. They rarely bark, don’t need a lot of exercise, and their small size means they won’t take up too much space on the couch!

Credit: liliya kulianionak / Adobe Stoc

5. Most Popular Couch Potato: Bulldog

Bulldogs may look intimidating, but you’re more likely to get a sloppy kiss than a snarl from these guys. Often associated with Winston Churchill and England’s steadfast perseverance during World War II, bulldogs are perfect if you’re looking for a super-chill companion. They don’t ruffle easily and also love to lounge, making them an ideal pet for anyone who has time for shorter jaunts rather than long walks.

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6. Most Popular Low-Allergen Dog: Poodle

Poodles have a long resume having served as duck hunters, truffle sniffers, performers, and companions of French aristocrats. Probably best known for their poof-ball haircuts—developed by hunters who wanted to make it easier for poodles to stay warm while swimming—poodles are some of the smartest dogs around. These sharp pups are easy to train and a favorite among those with allergies since their hair doesn’t shed like other dogs. And, you can take your pick of how big of a poodle you want since they come in standard, miniature, and toy sizes!

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7. Most Popular Hound Dog: Beagle

You’d be hard-pressed to find a face more adorable than a beagle’s mug. But when it comes to hunting rabbits or squirrels, it’s serious business to this breed. Because beagles were bred to sniff out wild game for hunters, their spectacular sense of smell means they're obsessed with following scent trails, so a fenced yard and on-leashed walks are an absolute must for these eager pups. The curiosity of these clever hounds can sometimes get them in trouble inside the home, too, since they'll follow their nose wherever it takes them. But these sensitive souls are loyal and lovable like none other—and when a beagle gives you those famously sad puppy eyes, it’s impossible to stay mad!

everydoghasastory / Adobe Stock
| Credit: everydoghasastory / Adobe Stock

8. Most Popular Big Dog: Rottweiler

Rottweilers are popular dogs with roots going back to the Roman empire. Devoted to their people, Rottweilers are sometimes slow to warm up to strangers. They’re hard workers with a history as herders and protectors, but at the end of the day, they definitely enjoy a good cuddle. Because of their size and strength, this breed is best for experienced dog owners who have the time and patience for continued training and socialization throughout their lives—both essential activities for keeping these intelligent pups happy and healthy.

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9. Most Popular Hunting Dog: German Shorthaired Pointer

Outdoorsy folks couldn’t ask for a better furry friend than a German shorthaired pointer (GSP). This pup lives for adventure, from swimming to hunting to going for a run around the neighborhood. GSPs have a ton of energy, so they pair best with active households, especially those who like to spend a lot of time in nature.

Credit: Irina / Adobe Stock

10. Most Popular Small Dog: Pembroke Welsh Corgi

With a mighty bark and brave stance, the Pembroke Welsh corgi looks like a big dog stuffed into a small-dog body. And they act that way too. After all, these spunky guys were made to herd cattle. With a cute fox face and enough energy to be a great walking companion, corgis have a lot of fans (and for good reason—they're very talented). But you should know that although they do well with kids and families, they typically prefer to be the only four-legged friend in the house.