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9 Most Popular Dog Breeds in the USA


We often get questions like “what’s a good dog breed for a beginner?” or “what’s a smart dog that can do tricks?” The truth is, there is no right or wrong breed that can do this or that. Dogs breeds are unique to each other just as much as the dogs within the same breed. Although there can always be generalizations, there is never certainty. Your best bet is to familiarize yourself with the dog first (whether you’re doing this before or after you’ve taken Fido home).

However, some dog breeds are definitely more popular than other breeds- no doubt about that. This is a good indicator of what breeds are generally more agreed upon to “be able to do this” or “are well-known to do that.” Another positive is getting a breed that everyone has means you can join support groups or talk with other owners who likely have the answers you’re looking for.

So, that’s why we made this list of the top 9 most popular dog breeds in the United states- to give prospective dog owners some ideas of what dogs are popularized and… “well-documented” (for lack of a better term). Note that this list fluctuates due to trends or new discoveries, so it’ll change constantly.

Thinking about what dog breed to get? Well, take a gander:

1. Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Retriever ranks in at #1 for dog popularity.
Labrador Retriever ranks in at #1 for dog popularity.

Marc Dalmudler via Flickr

The crowd favorite since forever. Movies, books, and even music have been dedicated to the Lab. It’s impossible to not hear about this breed. Do you live in the US? Then you’ve either heard of them or seen them. Maybe you didn’t know the name of the breed, but you’ve seen the bright yellow dog with the floppy ears. No doubt about it. Labs are known to be extremely intelligent and loyal dogs. They’ve been reported to learn tricks in as few as 3 repetitions (meaning you teach them 3 times and they get it). Some Lab owners even say their dog learns tricks by himself (such as fetching a drink from the fridge!). Labradors are active dogs and they need constant exercise. They’re known to love water and the outdoors. With a friendly attitude and unlimited willpower, you can take your Lab out for multiple exercise sessions daily. They’re a medium-sized dog with an otter tail. Perfect for the beginner.

2. German Shepherds

German Shepherds are ranked at #2.
German Shepherds are ranked at #2.

Pete Bellis via Flickr

German Shepherds rank in at second place in terms of popularity. That doesn’t mean they’re lacking anything though. Given their propped up ears, you might say they have the exact opposite ear-setting compared to a Lab. With a strong, agile body and the alertness of a watchdog, they’re appearance doesn’t go unnoticed. Known to be confident and intelligent, they make loyal, caring dogs. German Shepherds are a large dog and require good amounts of exercise, both physical and mental. They require at least weekly grooming to keep their coat smooth, as they have a double coat. They’re a medium energy dog with a steady and calm demeanor.

3. Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers have always been up in the rank in popularity.
Golden Retrievers have always been up in the rank in popularity.

RD_Elsie via Flickr

Golden Retrievers, or Goldens, have risen slightly in popularity. For some, they’re known as the alternative to the Labrador Retriever. With similar floppy ears and a happy, friendly appearance, they can be mistaken for a Lab to the amateur. Goldens are loyal and devoted to their owner, with a caring and friendly demeanor. Goldens are very active. They’re a large dog built for hunting, so they need to be exercised physically and mentally. With a double coat, they need to be brushed at least weekly. They’re a large-sized dog with medium energy. Golden Retrievers make a loyal companion for the experienced dog owner.

4. Bulldogs

Bulldogs may scare some, but theyre super mushy.
Bulldogs may scare some, but theyre super mushy.

Rob Witcher via Flickr

Bulldogs have an appearance that demands attention. With a heavy and stocky, thick, and short-faced head, they’re unforgettable. Built with a sturdy and strong, low-swing body, these dogs look buff and tough. Although they look mean, they’re anything but. Bulldogs have a friendly, yet amusing attitude. They have a courageous and calm demeanor towards their owners. As a medium energy dog, they don’t require as much exercise as the former 3. They’re generally more of a lazy dog, and prefer to sit on your lap rather do rounds. They also require minimum grooming and don’t shed as much in comparison to the previous dogs. If you dig the indoors, consider the Bulldog.

5. Beagles

Beagles are a fan-favorite.
Beagles are a fan-favorite.

Gmeger via Flickr

Beagles are a small dog with an astute appearance. Alert and curious, they stride with tail up and ears flopped. With the same floppy ears as the Lab and Golden, Beagles have gained popularity with their appearance. Beagles have a curious and friendly personality, generally being joyful and happy. They’re a medium energy dog in a small frame, which means they need to be exercised often. They’re activeness requires both physical and mental exercise. With a short coat, they’re easy to groom and don’t need to be groomed constantly. WIth moderate care, Beagles make an excellent choice for moderately experienced owner.

6. Yorkshire Terriers

Yorkshire Terriers have risen in popularity.
Yorkshire Terriers have risen in popularity.

Itarife via Flickr

Coming in at 6th place are Yorkshire Terriers. These little toy dogs have slightly dropped in popularity, but remain in the top 10 overall and is 1st place for toy-sized dogs. These dogs have a distinct appearance, with hair parting over the face draping all the way down to the neck. With such hair, Yorkshires require regular maintenance of hair care. Although they’re small in size, they have medium energy and require moderate levels of exercise. A daily walk will do. These dogs don’t require too much space and many Americans have taken advantage of it. From bringing them along in purses to shopping carts, you’ll find Yorkshires in the strangest of places.


Poodles have always been a popular dog breed.
Poodles have always been a popular dog breed.

Nicki Mannix via Flickr

Poodles have risen in popularity and it’s not hard to imagine why. With their fluffy coats in scattered patches, they have an appearance that’s unmatched. Active and intelligent, Poodles require both mental and physical exercise daily. They’re excellent runners and even swimmers, despite their elegant looks. Poodles do require regular grooming by a professional, unless you’re highly skilled. Their coat can’t be simply brushed over. It requires proper technique and tooling (feel free to ask your groomer for tips so you can do it yourself). They have a medium frame with medium energy. Be sure to exercise them- disregard the princess-y elegance.

8. Boxers

Boxers are a crowd favorite.
Boxers are a crowd favorite.

Luke Price via Flickr

Boxers may look like Bulldogs’ cousins at first glance, however they’re anything but. With a friendly, active, and happy demeanor, Boxers make excellent dogs for experienced keepers. They have a medium frame with high energy, thus they require regular exercise. With a steadfast appearance, Boxers are known to make good guard dogs. Boxers have a short, shiny coat which requires easy grooming. Once every other week is good enough. They’re extremely active dogs. You have to be able walk and run them daily, as they’re considered a work dog. Keep them mentally and physically nourished. If you an outdoors person, your Boxer will be right alongside as a happy companion.

9. French Bulldogs

French Bulldogs are gaining popularity in the US
French Bulldogs are gaining popularity in the US.

via Pixabay

French Bulldogs have skyrocketed in popularity. Simply irresistible with a cute and playful appearance, these dogs can’t be ignored. Intelligent and alert, French Bulldogs make excellent lap dogs. Frenchies are loyal companions and don’t require much to stay happy. They don’t need much exercise and would gladly stay at home. They require little grooming. And they don’t require much space. Frenchies have a small frame with medium energy. You can keep them happy simply by giving them attention. Playful, adaptable, and easygoing, French Bulldogs make a good dog choice for beginners. Easy to maintain with lots to give, these dogs are just mobile happiness machines.

Well, there you have it. The top 9 most popular dog breeds in the US. If you’re a beginner or advanced dog owner looking for a new breed to venture into, this list is a great start for consideration. Like said, “it’s popular for a reason.” Dog on!

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