There’s no doubt about it: Americans love their dogs. In fact, many of them love them more than their partners. A 2019 survey carried out by organic dog treat company Riley’s Organics showed just how close pet parents are to their canine kids: According to the results, 52% of respondents admitted to kissing their dog more than their partner, and 52% of these said they would rather sleep in bed with their dog than their partner.
But what dog breed is most likely to get lavished with kisses and bedtime cuddles? Without a doubt, it’s the ever-popular Labrador retriever. It’s been the top dog in the U.S. for … well, basically forever. According to American Kennel Club data, practically ever state loves the Lab the most. Only five states prefer other breeds: it’s the German Shepherd Dog in Florida, Indiana and West Virginia; the Beagle in Kentucky; and the French Bulldog in Hawaii.
However, the American Kennel Club numbers are based on the dogs that are registered in each state. There’s another way of ranking the nation’s top breeds, and that’s by looking at internet searches. Joybird analyzed Google Trends and American Kennel Club data to find out which breeds are the most searched for in each U.S. state. While there were a few recurring favorites, others may be more of a surprise!
Alabama: Shih Tzu
Alabamans can’t get enough of the shih tzu, an affectionate, lively breed with a long history. According to the American Kennel Club, their “under the table” ancestors existed in China as early as 1,000 B.C. They were probably sent to Chinese royalty from neighboring Tibet – what an adorable gift!
If you’re looking for a large, substantial dog, you can’t go wrong with a bloodhound. Just ask Alaskans – it’s their most searched-for breed. Standing 23 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weighing up to 110 pounds, it’s strong and powerful. But it’s also incredibly friendly and sweet, making it a good family pet.
Arizona: Shih Tzu
The shih tzu is also hugely popular in Arizona, where they may or may not be referred to as “chrysanthemum-faced dogs.” This is because the hair on their faces grows in every possible direction. If you own a shih tzu, it’s important to keep the hair on its snout clipped short to keep it out of your pup’s eyes.
Arkansas: Basset Hound
The eternally laid-back, charming basset hound is an agreeable addition to many Arkansas homes. It enjoys nothing more than following a scent; according to the American Kennel Club, only the bloodhound has a more meticulous nose. However, this isn’t a particularly active breed and will enjoy lounging on the sofa for long periods.
California: French Bulldog
French bulldogs (“Frenchies”) are irresistible to Californians, and who can blame them? This breed is playful, easygoing and protective. Despite its name, it’s not actually from France. According to American Kennel Club, it comes from Nottingham, a city in England, where it was a companion to lace makers. But when the Industrial Revolution took hold in England, many lace makers relocated to France and took their dogs with them.
Colorado: Golden Retriever
Ranking third on the American Kennel Club list of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S., the golden retriever is a friendly, faithful companion to many. In Colorado, this sturdy gun dog is top of the list. On Feb. 3, 2019 – International Golden Retriever Day – more than 100 goldens and their owners gathered to celebrate in the town of Golden, which is west of Denver, Colorado’s biggest city.
Connecticut: Siberian Husky
The Siberian husky didn’t make the top 10 of 2018’s top dog breeds, but it can enjoy the top spot in Connecticut. One of the most active dog breeds, it’s known for its striking appearance (those eyes are mesmerizing) and its strong work ethic. According to the American Kennel Club, the husky was developed as a working sled dog over thousands of years by the Chukchi people, who lived in the Siberian peninsula of northeast Asia.
The Akita only ranks 47th on the American Kennel Club list of the top dog breeds of 2018, but a few states would argue against that, including Delaware. Before this breed had an official name, it was known as a “snow country dog.” It comes from the rural mountains of Japan, where it was a hunting dog. There is even a museum in Odate devoted to the Akita.
Floridians love their Maltese dogs, and the state has several clubs dedicated to the feisty little cutie. An affectionate lap dog that originated in Malta, this breed is known for its floor-sweeping coat. The breed standard for the Maltese is “a toy dog covered from head to foot with a mantle of long, silky, white hair.”
The Maltese may look incredible with a long, flowing, silky coat, but it’s just as cute with a “puppy cut.” Despite the name, this style can be worn by a dog of any age – it simply means a shorter coat, clipped to a uniform length. Given its popularity in Georgia, there are bound to be Maltese with both styles in large numbers.
The miniaturized version of the spitz-type sled dogs of the Arctic, the Pomeranian is a hit in Hawaii. This petite pup measures only 6-7 inches (at the shoulders) and typically weighs no more than seven pounds. But it’s got a big personality – there’s never a dull moment when you have a Pom in the house.
In the canine world, there’s nothing quite like a bloodhound’s wrinkled face, drooping ears and thoughtful eyes. It certainly goes down a treat in Idaho. This is an active breed, so daily exercise is key – but it should be kept on a leash during walks as his natural instinct to follow a scent could overpower any commands.
The robust Rottweiler may get a bad reputation (some municipalities have outlawed the breed, and some insurance companies won’t provide coverage), but it’s a big hit across many U.S. states. The Rottie is one of the most loyal dog breeds, and is lovable and easy to train. Owners in Illinois can count on their mutt to be an excellent guard dog.
Rotties are also known for their skills as therapy dogs. In 2015, Wynd, a therapy Rottweiler owned by Renice Zimmerman, won the Award for Canine Excellence in Therapy. She was a therapy dog with The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors as well as Hampton Veterans Hospital and Suffolk Humane Society’s BARKS reading program. Dog lovers in Indiana definitely know the worth of this breed.
Iowa: Golden Retriever
There are many possible reasons Iowans love golden retrievers. This breed is outgoing, loyal and fairly easy to train. If you enjoy spending time outdoors, the Golden is your perfect canine companion – it will run, swim, fetch and play for hours.
Yet another state of Rottweiler lovers is Kansas – in fact, the Rottie fan club has members all over the U.S. In 2018, it was the 8th most popular dog nationwide, according to the American Kennel Club. The Rottie is believed to descend from the herding dogs of ancient Rome, where they tended livestock for the Roman legions as its soldiers conquered new lands across Europe.
Bloodhound owners in Kentucky might be pretty familiar with the inside of the vet’s office. This breed is known for eating anything and everything, and its low-hanging ears are prone to infection. It’s important to check the Bloodhound’s skin wrinkles every day for any signs of irritation, and wipe them with a warm, wet cloth if necessary.
Louisiana: Saint Bernard
The famously watchful Saint Bernard is a firm favorite in the southeastern state of Louisiana. The “gentle giant,” who originated in the Swiss Alps, is loved throughout the world for being a wonderful family dog and is very patient with children. A Saint is always happiest when it’s spending time with its human companions.
The adorable pug, with its distinctive squashed snout and expressive eyes, is the top Googled dog in Maine. This breed was once the favored lapdog for Chinese emperors, which explains why it doesn’t need much exercise. If given the choice, this low-energy dog breed will probably favor snuggling on its owner lap over running around outside, which makes obesity a concern.
Maryland: Bichon Frisé
The American Kennel Club describes the bichon frisé as one of the world’s great “personality dogs” – and the state of Maryland agrees. Its white, low-shedding coat may it a winner for those with allergies (although no dog is truly hypoallergenic), and it’s an efficient watchdog. The icing on the cake is its laid-back charm. Basically, it ticks all the boxes.
Massachusetts: Golden Retriever
Yet another state of golden retriever lovers is Massachusetts, where goldens have plenty of beaches, forests and fields to explore. As a sporting breed, it needs plenty of daily exercise, and enjoys long runs and bike rides. However, it’s important to check with your vet before strenuous activity to make sure your golden’s bones and joints are in good shape.
Famous Rottie owners include Bruno Mars, Hayden Panettiere, Leonardo DiCaprio and A-list couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. In fact, the Smiths have owned several Rottweilers. Pinkett Smith’s first pup was named Indo, then she got another one from a friend. “Will was given two Rottweilers from Jay Leno,” she told Cesar’s Way in 2015. “Now all four were under my leadership — Indo, Gracie, Zhaki, and Tyson.”
Minnesota: English Springer Spaniel
The people-pleaser of the dog world, the English springer spaniel is a loyal companion for many Minnesotans. Great with kids and other dogs, the Springer was originally bred to be a hunting dog. According to the American Kennel Club, it was used to “flush” or “spring” game. This means it chased birds, forcing them to fly into the sky to give hunters a good target.
There’s no mistaking the dachshund – its long, low body sets it apart from its contemporaries. Expect to see plenty of these dogs in Mississippi, as it’s the state’s most-searched for breed. Although it’s not built for distance running or any other strenuous activity, it’s got plenty of energy and loves to play. It’s also a great watchdog, with a bark that’s bigger than its size.
More Akita lovers can be found in Missouri, where the breed might take pleasure in the state’s annual 20-inch snowfall average during the winter months. According to the American Kennel Club, the Akita has webbed toes to make walking on snow by easier (by distributing their weight more effectively). Their front dewclaws act as mini ice picks, just in case they need to climb out of icy water.
Montana: Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois may be a dog breed you haven’t heard of, but that’s not the case in Montana, where it’s the firm favorite. Confident, intelligent and hard-working, this breed thrives when it gets plenty of exercise and time with its owner. If you love to run, bike or hike (in Montana or elsewhere), the Malinois is your ideal companion.
Nebraska: Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Nebraskans prefer a compact house dog to any other type, as evidenced by their love for the Pembroke Welsh corgi. This breed may be small, but it’s strong! It’s also fearless and vigilant, which makes it a great watchdog.
Nevada: Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland sheepdog, affectionately known as a “Sheltie,” is the top-ranking dog in Nevada. It certainly has plenty going for it, including agility and excellent herding abilities. According to the American Kennel Club, the Sheltie is smart and easy to train, which explains why it’s often used as a medical alert dog, service dog or therapy dog.
New Hampshire: Golden Retriever
Like their neighbors in Massachusetts, New Hampshire dog owners love golden retrievers. As with all breeds, it’s a good idea to socialize and train a golden pup early. By introducing a young dog to a wide range of people, places and situations between the ages of seven weeks and four months, you give it the best chance of becoming a well-adjusted, well-mannered adult, says the American Kennel Club.
New Jersey: Maltese
The tiny Maltese (it weighs less than seven pounds) is top of the list for dog owners in New Jersey. It makes a great family pet, as it’s an alert watchdog that’s always willing to impress on the agility course. It is also a relatively low shedder. To get the best from a Maltese, the American Kennel Club recommends consistent, rewards-based training.
New Mexico: Shih Tzu
Along with all the New Mexicans who adore the shih tzu, celebrity fans of the breed include Nicole Richie, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Colin Farell, Bill Gates and even Queen Elizabeth II, per the American Kennel Club. It’s no surprise, considering how loving — and lovable — this little dog is. Life with a shih tzu is guaranteed to be full of fun.
New York: Havanese
The super-cute Havanese is tough to resist – just ask New Yorkers! Their top-ranking breed, the national dog and only native breed of Cuba is sweet and playful, with a spring in its step. With moderate exercise needs, either indoors or out, the Havanese is perfect for those Big Apple city dwellers.
North Carolina: Shih Tzu
The American Kennel Club ranks the shih tzu as the 20th most popular dog breed in the U.S., but it’s No. 1 in North Carolina. As with all breeds, grooming is important. While many shih tzu owners keep their dog’s hair long, the breed looks just as cute with a short style.
North Dakota: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The gentle, graceful Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a current favorite in North Dakota, and it’s a great choice. This toy spaniel breed is extremely adaptable, meaning it enjoys either city or country life. In fact, it’s happy to do whatever its owner does, provided it gets plenty of attention and affection.
Rottweilers need a moderate amount of daily exercise to stay fit and healthy and love walking, swimming and trotting. This athletic, muscular dog is always willing to do its share of hard work, including on the farmlands of Ohio, where it’s the No. 1 breed. According to the American Kennel Club, Rottweilers are quick to learn to cart and are masters in herding and tracking.
Oklahoma: Basset Hound
Basset hounds may be more on the “couch potato” end of the activity scale, but they’re actually incredible hunters. In fact, their natural ability to hunt is one of the reasons the American Kennel Club launched Basset Hound Field Trials in 1937. In these events, dogs run in packs of two or more after a rabbit or hare (but never actually catch their prey). The trials take place all over the country, including Oklahoma, where the love for the basset hound is strong.
Oregon: Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Oregonians’ favorite dog breed has a very famous fan. Queen Elizabeth II has owned at least 30 Pembroke Welsh corgis over the decades, until her last one (Willow) reportedly died in 2018. According to Vanity Fair, the Queen was so attached to Susan, one of her earliest corgis, that she took Susan on her honeymoon with her after she married Prince Philip in 1947.
The love for the Rottie in Pennsylvania is clear. “Whether you live in the city or the country or somewhere in between, a Rottweiler can make a great pet anywhere. They are intelligent, loving, protective creatures that are good watchdogs, wonderful companions, and true friends,” write Morrisdale, Pa. couple Dusty and Casey Shaw on their official breeding website, Shaws Rotties. Provided a Rottie is well-bred and properly raised, it will be a calm, confident, courageous companion, says the American Kennel Club.
Rhode Island: Portuguese Water Dog
Have dog lovers on Rhode Island been inspired by former President Barack Obama? He has two Portuguese water dogs, Bo and Sunny, and their introduction to the White House made the breed a talking point. Presidential connections aside, this dog is affectionate, smart and easy to train.
South Carolina: Boxer
There are endless reasons to fall in love with a boxer – just as the people of South Carolina have. This dog, whose history goes back as far as 2500 B.C. to the ancient Assyrian empire, has been one of the top breeds in the U.S. for many years. If you have a Boxer, you have a loyal companion for life.
South Dakota: Boston Terrier
Known as “the American gentleman” in the dog world, the Boston terrier may well be popular in its namesake city, but it’s even more of a hit in South Dakota. Bright and friendly with impeccable manners, it makes a great urban pet. However, it still needs regular exercise and will love playing outdoor games and taking part in agility and obedience training.
Tennessee: Yorkshire Terrier
The petite Yorkshire terrier (“Yorkie”) is top of the list in Tennessee. It also made the top 10 of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. in 2018 and is loved throughout the world for its quirky personality. Despite being small enough to fit into a handbag, it’s not just a dog for the ladies. Celebrity Yorkie lovers include Bruce Willis, football star Brett Favre, Justin Timberlake, Orlando Bloom and Johnny Depp.
Texas: French Bulldog
French Bulldogs have a huge celebrity fan base. Martha Stewart often features her Frenchies on her blog, and Lady Gaga, Zach Braff, Hugh Jackman and Hilary Duff have also owned French Bulldogs. Duff just happens to be from Texas, where the Frenchie is the most popular dog.
One of the most recognizable dog breeds in the world, the poodle is the favorite in Utah. It’s also No. 7 on the American Kennel Club’s list of top dog breeds in the U.S. From the “Continental Clip” to the “Sporting Clip,” its curly coat offers many grooming options. Active and highly trainable, the poodle is much smarter than its appearance may suggest.
Vermont: Bernese Mountain Dog
If you want a strong, sturdy pet, look no further than a Bernese mountain dog. It’s one of the hardest-working breeds, but there’s a lot more to it than its ability to help out on the farm. The Bernese is no threat to humans (despite its imposing stature) and is especially sweet with children, which explains why it’s the No. 1 dog in Vermont.
She may not have been born in Virginia, where there are Akita lovers aplenty, but the author and political activist Helen Keller is credited with bringing the first Akita into the U.S. in 1937. Reportedly, she was inspired by the legendary Hachiko, the loyal dog who became famous around the world for waiting nine years at a train station for his dead owner to come back to him.
Washington: Siberian Husky
Clearly, Washingtonians aren’t scared of the challenge of owning a Siberian husky. This breed is extremely athletic and energetic, meaning it needs lots of exercise to live a happy, healthy life. The husky is also good at escaping, so it should never be allowed off the leash in unfenced areas. Microchipping is also a wise move!
West Virginia: German Shepherd
The German shepherd is No. 2 on the list of top dog breeds of 2018, but it’s No. 1 for the people of West Virginia. Described as “dogkind’s finest all-purpose worker” by the American Kennel Club, it’s confident, courageous and reliable. A loyal protector and a great family dog, it’s also valued as a police and military dog.
Wisconsin: Bichon Frisé
Perhaps bichon frisé owners in Wisconsin appreciate this breed’s interesting history. According to the American Kennel Club, the bichon began its modern development on Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. Thereafter (sometime in the 13th century), it associated itself with European nobles in Spain, Italy and France. King Henry III of France was such a fan that he reportedly carried a few whenever he traveled in a tray-like basket suspended by neck ribbons.
The so-called “Cowboy State,” Wyoming is known for its Old Faithful geyser and the world’s first national park (Yellowstone) — and now, a love of Rottweilers. Despite its working history as the “Butcher’s Dog of Rottweil,” which dates from when Rotties protected and moved German cattle herds from cattle to market, one of the most endearing qualities of this breed is its goofiness.