20 most popular dog breeds in USA
Siberian Husky originate in eastern peninsula of Russia (Photo: Adobe Stock)
helloBARK! staff
By helloBARK! staff
Updated on June 24, 2019
Fact Checked This article was fact checked by one of our writers on March 14, 2019.

Nearly 90 million people own a dog in the United States.

That’s over one quarter of the American population that have a dog as a pet.

Officially, the American Kennel Club has recognised 202 different breeds of dog.

However, there are some “breeds” that have not yet secured AKC status, while many are mixes or rescue dogs.

When you think of popular dog breeds, the Golden Retriever, the Boxer and German Shepherd will quickly come to mind.

But there are some surprise inclusions in the AKC’s list of most popular dog breeds.

Without further ado, here is helloBARK!’s breakdown of the most popular breeds in the USA.

20) Shih Tzu

Another dog that has earned a glowing reputation for being an ideal lapdog is the Shih Tzu. The only Asian representative in the top 20, Shin Tzu means “lion dog”. These dogs were bred to be house companions and don’t require a lot of exercise.

19) Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are the 19th most popular dog in USA (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are the 19th most popular dog in USA (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are often described as the quintessential lapdog. They rose to popularity in the 17th century under Charles II. They come in four different colours: Princes Charles, Blenheim, Ruby and Tri-Colour.

18) Pembroke Welsh Corgis

Pembroke Welsh Corgi (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Pembroke Welsh Corgi (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Thought to have been brought to Wales by the Vikings, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is perhaps best known for their association with Queen Elizabeth II. The British monarch no longer has these dogs but they remain popular as ever.

17) Miniature Schnauzers

Schnauzer at the park (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Schnauzer at the park (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The smallest member of the Schnauzer family, the Miniature Schnauzer is at number 17 on this list. They don’t shed a lot which makes them a potential option for those who suffer from an allergy to dogs. They’re a clever dog that is relatively easy to train.

16) Australian Shepherds

With beautiful coat colours and striking eyes, don’t be fooled by the Australian Shepherd’s name. They’re origins came be found in the Basque country in the northern region of Spain and part of France. They did make an appearance in Australia but ranchers in California helped to make the breed popular.

15) Doberman Pinschers

The third German breed to feature in the top 20 most popular breeds in the USA, the Doberman Pinscher have a reputation for being loyal and fearless dogs. They’re muscular, fast, and powerful, which makes them ideal dog for the army and the policy. The AKC say on their website that “a well-conditioned Doberman on patrol will deter all but the most foolish intruder”.

14) Great Danes

Often described as gentle giants, the Great Dane is ranked 14th in the most popular dogs in the USA. These dogs can be as tall as 32 inches and weight as much as 175 pounds. While they have a kind and sweet nature, the Great Dane are protective of the home and make good guard dogs.

13) Dachshunds

The Sausage Dogs are much loved in the United States despite their reputation taking a hit during World War I and World War II. These dogs may be small but they have big personalities. Their coat can common in a variety of different colours and lengths.

12) Siberian Huskies

Siberian Huskies are sociable dogs (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Siberian Huskies are sociable dogs (Photo: Adobe Stock)

One of the most striking dog breeds in the world, the only surprise is the Siberian Husky isn’t further up this list. Earning fame for their sled-pulling ability, the Siberian Husky arrived in Alaska from the eastern peninsula of Russia at the turn of the 20th century. The breed has great variety: all colors from black to pure white are allowed with a variety of markings on the head. They have almond-shaped eyes that are blue, brown or both.

11) German Shorthaired Pointer

Considered to be one of the best hunting dogs in the world, the German Shorthaired Pointer’s popularity has continued to soar in the past decade or so. The breed was created in the 1800s to help humans looking to hunt birds. They have an enthusiastic nature. The GSP are known for power, speed, agility, and endurance, according to AKC’s website.

10) Boxer

Boxer learns some new commands (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Boxer learns some new commands (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Boxers are often described as the complete package. These dogs have a noble and powerful appearance. With their muscles emphasised by a tight-fitting coat, the Boxer is one of the most striking breeds. However, they’re also considered great family pets. While Boxers are bright and playful, they’ve also got a reputation for being patient and protective dogs.

9) Yorkshire Terriers

Yorkshire Terrier (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Yorkshire Terrier (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Often seen as a dog perfect for the elderly given their low maintenance, it’s no surprise to see the Yorkshire Terrier on this list. While they’re seen as great lapdogs since Victorian times, the Yorkshire Terrier was initially used to hunt rats and other vermin. Yorkies require moderate exercise at a steady pace, which makes them perfect for those who can’t walk long distances.

8) Rottweiler

Believe it or not, the Rottweiler is the eighth most popular dog in the USA. Often stereotyped as fierce dogs, Rottweilers can weigh in excess of 100 pounds. However, the AKC writes on their website that Rottweilers are “a gentle playmate and protector within the family circle”. They’ve been consistently in the top 10 most popular dogs since 2014.

7) Poodles

Poodle's are the second smartest dogs in the world (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Poodle’s are the second smartest dogs in the world (Photo: Adobe Stock)

You may be surprised to learn that the Poodle is the second-most intelligent dog in the world. They were used to retrieve small animals from the water during hunting expeditions. They come in three sizes: standard, miniature and toy. Their colours are either black, white, or apricot. The Poodle has a coat that doesn’t shed a lot, so they’re better suited for people who are allergic to dogs.

6) French Bulldogs

Modern Family may have played a role in the soaring popularity of these dogs. Ranked ninth in terms of popularity back in 2014, the French Bulldog has moved up three places. Stella is Jay’s beloved dog on Modern Family and her personality shines through. Given their small size and distinctive appearance, the French Bulldog is ideal for those who live in apartments or with limited space. The AKC describe them as a “dog of few words” as they don’t bark a lot.

5) Beagles

The Beagle is a member of the Hound family (Photo: Adobe Stock)
The Beagle is a member of the Hound family (Photo: Adobe Stock)

A Hound dog, the Beagle is immediately recognizable for their big brown eyes, alert ears and pointed tail. With an average lifespan of 10-15 years, the Beagle love the company of humans given they worked in packs during hunts in the 18th and 19th century. Often described as merry, Beagles are a favourite for families with older children who can be educated on how to treat this breed. Their distinctive howl makes them good watch dogs.

4) Bulldogs

A member of the non-sporting group, the Bulldog are a memorable dog breed for their trademark faces. With their furrowed brow and low-hanging chops, there can be no mistaking a Bulldog. The breed were thought to have been created by King John of England in the 13th century. Perhaps that partly explains why the Bulldog has long been seen as a symbol of patriotism for England.

3) Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever at the park (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Golden Retriever at the park (Photo: Adobe Stock)

In at number three is the faithful Golden Retriever. One of the USA’s best loved pets, these beautiful dogs were created in Scotland to function as gun dogs. Nowadays, the Golden Retriever is a much-loved family pet. Like the Labrador and German Shepherd, they can help to improve the quality of life for those suffering with a disability, while they can help search-and-rescue teams. They’re consistently ranked third in the most popular dog breeds.

2) German Shepherd Dogs

German Shepherds were first created in 1899 (Photo: Adobe Stock)
German Shepherds were first created in 1899 (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The German Shepherd Dog has earned a glowing reputation for their services to humans. Their athleticism and obedience has earned them a place in the army and police force. The German Shepherd Dog is the third-most intelligent dog in the world. So it’s no surprise the German breed have excelled as blind eye dogs and service animals. Nearly five per cent of dogs registered with the AKC are German Shepherds.

1) Labrador Retriever

Labrador retriever playing outside smile in green park (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Labrador retriever playing outside smile in green park (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The Labrador Retriever is one of the best known dogs in the world, so it’s hardly a surprise that these dogs rank number one. Hailing from Newfoundland where they worked as water dogs, the Labrador Retriever are famous for their friendly nature, loyalty to their owners and outgoing nature. The Labrador Retriever comes in three different colours: yellow, black, and a luscious chocolate.