Dog breeds

What are the most popular dog breeds in the United States?

NEW YORK (AP) — Labrador retrievers still tug the hearts of American dog lovers the hardest, but poodles just made it back to the American Kennel Club’s five most popular dog breeds for the first time in near a quarter of a century.

The club’s annual popularity rankings are released on Tuesday, drawn from more than 800,000 purebred puppies and older pooches who joined the nation’s oldest canine registry last year.

With 197 recognized breeds, the list ranges from those familiar furry faces like Labs – No. 1 for an unprecedented 31 consecutive years – to the new Biewer terrier (debuting strongly at No. 82) and unusual puppies like the Hairless Xoloitzcuintli (#119).

For dog fans, there’s plenty to dig into (like a dachshund, #10) and point out (like a pointer, #120). So we’ve put together (like a border collie, #31) some highlights:

AP Photo/Jason DeCrow, file

EJ’s CC Rider, a 1-year-old Smooth Dachshund, waits in the ring to be judged at the 132nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden, February 11, 2008, in New York City.

TOP 10

After Labs, the top 10 are: French Bulldogs, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Poodles, Bulldogs, Beagles, Rottweilers, German Shorthaired Pointers and Dachshunds.

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AP Photo/John Minchillo, File

Daniel, a golden retriever, wins the sporting group at the 144th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on February 11, 2020 in New York City.


Poodles reigned as the top dog from 1960 to 1982 before waning somewhat in popularity. But in the new stats, they reclaimed fifth place for the first time since 1997. (Standard, miniature, and toy sizes are all counted as one breed.)

With their proud demeanor and elaborate cut in the show ring, “they have a reputation in some circles for just being frilly,” says Page Hinds-Athan, longtime poodle owner and sometimes breeder, of Roswell. , Georgia. “There’s definitely more for them.”

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AP Photo/John Minchillo, File

Siba, a poodle, competes for Best in Show at the 144th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Feb. 11, 2020, in New York City.

Poodles were historically water scavengers, and they remain sporting animals renowned for their intelligence, not to mention their allergy-friendly coats. Hinds-Athan Poodles have made therapy visits to hospitals and compete in obedience. Other poodles work as guide dogs for the blind, hunt, or compete in agility competitions or other canine sports.

With their intelligence comes high expectations, says Hinds-Athans: In training, “if you want to annoy them, you better be really right. Because if you’re not really fair with them, they remember.

AND Doodles?

Poodles are also part of several popular hybrids, such as Labradoodles, Maltipoos, and Sheepdogoodles. The AKC, a governing body for many dog ​​shows, does not currently recognize any of these breeds. But AKC spokeswoman Brandi Hunter said fans of the poodle mix had been asking questions about what the recognition would entail.

A key requirement is to articulate an ideal for the breed, in order to achieve some consistency.

“Predictability is one of the things that draws people to purebred dogs,” says Hunter.


Last year, the rarest breed was the Norwegian Lundehund, still rare in the United States. The little dogs have extra toes and an unusual flexibility that once helped them scale Norwegian cliffs to hunt puffins nesting in narrow crevices.

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AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File

A Norwegian Lundehund, a relatively rare breed in the United States, competes in the non-sporting group at the 142nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City, February 12, 2018.


Rankings often don’t change much from year to year, but they do change over time. Eight breeds, from the low Pembroke Welsh corgi (#11) to the towering Great Dane (#17), have entered the top 25 since the turn of the century.

Some have made Olympic leaps in popularity. French bulldogs, now No. 2 and a common sight from television commercials to cosmopolitan streets, ranked 71st in 2000. The cane corso, which only gained recognition in 2010, has since dropped from 51st to 21st.

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AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File

A French bulldog named Reba waits to enter the ring at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York, February 16, 2015.

The imposing mastiff-style cane corso dates back centuries to rural Italy as a farm guardian who also pulled small carts and hunted wild boar. Its versatility lives on, says Anthony Simonski, who has owned or bred corsi (that’s the proper plural) that compete in agility, dock diving and other sports and have appeared on TV shows and music videos.

Although dogs are protective, “it’s not about being mean — it’s about understanding your job,” says Simonski, of Acworth, Georgia.

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AP Photo/John Minchillo, File

Ledous, a cane corso, has his ear scratched during the Breed Mates meet at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Feb. 10, 2018, in New York City.

Simonski has owned corsi since 1998 and is married to Cane Corso Association of America President Rebecca Simonski. He has mixed feelings about their growing popularity, believing that they attract questionable breeders.

“There’s a side to you that goes, ‘Oh, my God, the cat is out of the bag.’ But the real issue is what people do with that cat once it’s out of the bag,” he says.


Some animal rights activists say dog ​​breeding itself is a problem. They argue that fanciers focus more on the appearance of dogs than their health, and that the promotion of pure breeds ends up fueling puppy mills and tying up other dogs in shelters.

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AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File

German Shepherd Rumor poses for photos after winning Best in Show at the 141st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, Feb. 15, 2017 (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

The AKC says it and its affiliated breed clubs advocate for and invest in dog health, including through an AKC-affiliated foundation. The club also argues that breeding well done has a purpose: to produce dogs with known traits, from size to the ability to sniff, that match different human needs and lifestyles.

New purebred registrations, which are voluntary, have increased 45% in a decade, the club says.

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AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, file

Molly, a 13-inch beagle from Bangkok, Thailand, waits in the bench area to compete at the 140th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on February 15, 2016 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.