Most Popular Dog Breeds In America—Ranked

Every year, the American Kennel Club publishes a list of the nation’s most popular dog breeds, based on their registration numbers in every state. Obviously, everyone’s favorite dog is the one curled up on their lap, lying at their feet or racing around their yard. But you want to know what other people love, right?

The list of the most popular dog breeds for 2019 was released on May 1, 2020. Check it out, and see if you think these breeds deserve their ranking.

35. Chihuahua

The Chihuahua is perhaps the ultimate small dog with a big personality. Actually, make that a huge personality. This breed, from the AKC’s toy group, needs to be trained or it will try to rule the roost. Whether you opt for the long-haired or smooth-coat version, one thing’s for sure, this pup will keep you entertained.

34. Vizsla

The vizsla, which originates from Hungary, is a beautiful dog with a distinctive red coat. It looks elegant, but it’s built for hard work. The vizsla’s popularity slipped slightly from 2018, when it was ranked 31st, but the AKC says this breed is getting more popular with U.S. dog owners all the time.

33. Border Collie

The border collie needs a lot of time and energy from its owner in order to thrive – but it more than repays them with its intelligence, obedience and unfailing affection. It’s known for its “herding eye,” an intense gaze that perfectly symbolizes its work ethic. It’s hard to imagine these beautiful dogs falling off the list of America’a favorite breeds anytime soon.

32. Mastiff

The mastiff is one of the canine world’s largest members, but inside that rather cumbersome body is a gentle, sweet nature. There are several different kinds of mastiff but all of them are beloved by their fans for their character. If you’re committed to training this big dog, you’ll be rewarded with unshakable loyalty and dedicated companionship. And, it has to be said, a fair amount of drool.

31. Pug

What’s cuter than a pug? This cheeky charmer, popular across the world, could never be mistaken for another breed. That wrinkled brow, the expressive eyes, the endless pursuit of mischief … those are only three of many, many reasons pugs are consistently ranked among the AKC’s most popular breeds.

30. Cane Corso

According to the AKC, “cane corso” roughly translates from Latin to “bodyguard dog,” which reveals a lot about this breed’s protective instincts. As well as being a great guard dog, cane corsos are known to be intelligent, highly trainable and adaptable. Another large dog, it can weigh more than 100 pounds.

29. Miniature American Shepherd

Like many of the most popular breeds, the miniature American shepherd is known for its easygoing nature. It shares many characteristics with the Australian shepherd, but comes in a much smaller package – their average weight is 20 to 40 pounds. Nonetheless, it puts many larger breeds to shame when it comes to energy and herding ability, in case you have any sheep that need to be kept in line.

28. Cocker Spaniel

The cocker spaniel was bred as a hunting dog, but has become one of the world’s best-loved breeds. At a height of about 14 to 15 inches, it’s the AKC’s smallest sporting spaniel. Some owners keep the coat long and silky, while others go for a shorter look. This breed is cuter than cute, either way.

27. English Springer Spaniel

Just edging above its cocker cousin on the list, the English springer spaniel is happy, obedient and highly trainable. This breed needs company and doesn’t cope well with long stretches of time alone. So make sure the affection and attention it gives is a two-way street.

26. Brittany

If you’re a highly active person, you’ll meet your match in the Brittany. Smaller than a setter but larger than a spaniel, this breed is up for anything – running, hunting, and all dog sports. Its trademark high-set ears show it’s always raring to go.

25. Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland sheepdog, aka the “Sheltie,” is a smaller cousin of the collie. From the remote Shetland Islands of Scotland, the Sheltie is an intelligent, fast learner and an agile herder. It also makes an affectionate, sweet family dog who’ll be more than happy to curl up on a lap after a busy day outdoors.

24. Pomeranian

The tiny Pomeranian is one of the world’s most popular toy breeds. Known for it’s fox-like face and fluffy coat, it makes a great watchdog and is known to be easy to train. The Pom will get on well with children as long as they’re not too heavy-handed – these pups can weigh as little as 3 pounds, after all.

23. Bernese Mountain Dog

Strong and calm, the Bernese mountain dog’s mission in life is to please its owner. This breed can weigh up to 115 pounds and reach a height of 27.5 inches, but it has a soft center. Sweet and placid, the Berner is known for being particularly gentle with kids. Plus, they are simply gorgeous animals.

22. Havanese

A popular choice for urban dog owners, the sociable Havanese puts a smile on the face of everyone it meets. It makes an excellent watchdog but is also happy to be the joker of the family. One of its most distinctive features is its silky coat, which is commonly corded or clipped short.

21. Boston Terrier

The bright, lively Boston terrier stands out from the pack with its tall, pointed ears and tuxedo jacket. Unsurprisingly, this city-named breed makes a great urban pet. Always well-mannered, it’s also known as the “American Gentleman.”

20. Shih Tzu

Another little dog with a big personality, the Shih Tzu always has a sweet expression — and a love of mischief. These diminutive dogs may have been bred to live inside China’s royal residences, but they’re happy to be wherever their human family is, and they’re particularly fond of children. A long-haired Shih Tzu needs a great deal of grooming, but many owners keep their locks clipped short.

19. Doberman Pinscher

If you want a brave, loyal working dog, the Doberman pinscher deserves a place on your shortlist. Its short, glossy coat may be red, blue, black or fawn, with rust markings. Hailed as one of the world’s finest protection dogs, the Doberman needs plenty of exercise and free play, plus lots of mental stimulation to keep its mind sharp.

18. Miniature Schnauzer

The miniature schnauzer is small but sturdy, fearless but never aggressive. Highly adaptable and very easily trained, this breed can thrive in a city apartment or in a country with endless room to run, as long as it has its favorite humans by its side. Family definitely comes first to the miniature schnauzer.

17. Great Dane

The Great Dane may tower over you when it stands on its hind legs (as it would most people), but it’s a real gentle giant in the canine world. Like many large dog breeds, it’s known to be incredibly patient with children. The Dane’s coat comes in various colors and patterns, such as the black and white patchwork pictured, which is called “harlequin.”

16. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a toy spaniel – not a sporting spaniel like the Cocker and the English Springer. At an average puppy price of $7,300, the “cav” is one of the most expensive dogs, but devotees of the breed will tell you they’re worth every cent. Not only is it incredibly pleasing on the eye, it has an even temper, a gentle grace and is small enough to curl up on your lap.

15. Siberian Husky

The Siberian husky is a hard worker, bred to pull sleds in northeastern Asia. But it also has a mischievous side, and will want to be at the center of all family fun. Its most distinctive physical characteristic is its piercing, almond-shaped eyes, which may be brown, blue or sometimes one of each.

14. Boxer

The boxer has been one of the most popular dogs in the U.S. for a long time, thanks to its well-rounded personality, strong work ethic and elegant athleticism. This breed is known for being especially patient with children but is protective of all members of its human family. Training a boxer takes time and dedication, as it’s a natural chaser and, as a puppy, will run wild at any given opportunity.

13. Australian Shepherd

An intelligent herding dog, the Australian shepherd has close ties to the cowboy lifestyle. But it actually comes from Europe, where it was bred near the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. Its exuberant (some may say hyper) nature makes it best suited to experienced dog owners. You certainly won’t find it on our list of the most easygoing pups!

12. Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire terrier, aka “Yorkie,” is a tiny toy dog with a colorful history. It started as a ratter in mines and mills of England, before upper class Victorian ladies discovered it and provided laps for it to curl up on for several hours a day. A top choice for city dwellers, the Yorkie is bossy and brave — a true Terrier.

11. Dachshund

Friendly and feisty, the dachshund has an appealing, sociable personality and a unique appearance. Its long back and short legs have earned it the nickname “Sausage Dog.” As you’d probably expect, it’s not a breed that’s built for running but it still needs regular exercise, mainly to keep its muscles strong enough to support its back.

10. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The affectionate, amicable Pembroke Welsh corgi made it into the AKC top 10 for the first time ever in 2019. A popular herding breed in several countries, the Corgi is probably best-known for being a firm royal favorite. England’s Queen Elizabeth has owned Pembroke corgis since 1933 — her first was named Dookie.

9. German Shorthaired Pointer

A true people-pleaser, the German shorthaired pointer (also known as “the perfect pointer”) will do anything for its owner. This breed is highly trainable and always full of energy, making it a demanding yet rewarding pet. Consistent, positive training and lots of love will get the best out of a GSP.

8. Rottweiler

It may not have the warmest reputation, but Rottweiler owners across the U.S. and beyond will have a long list of reasons the “Rottie” makes a great family dog. For starters, it’s loving and loyal, keen to protect and happy to play. Provided a Rottie is well bred, well socialized and trained, it can bring nothing but pleasure.

7. Beagle

With its soulful eyes and long, floppy ears, the beagle is the most popular hound dog in the U.S. But there’s much more to it than an adorable face. This breed is clever and curious, and can have a stubborn streak, which makes early training a wise move.

6. Poodle

The remarkable poodle may be the most misunderstood breed of all. Proof that you shouldn’t judge a dog by its curly socks and big hair, it’s a proud, smart and loyal companion. And that fluffy coat is relatively non-shedding, making it a great choice for people with allergies.

5. Bulldog

The bulldog (also known as the British bulldog or English bulldog) may look like a mean machine, but underneath all those wrinkles and that downturned mouth is a dog with a kind, courageous heart and an adaptable nature. It may be an easygoing breed, but it’s not lazy — it will enjoy the regular moderate exercise it needs, alongside a carefully monitored diet to maintain a healthy weight. Despite weighing up to 50 pounds, the bulldog will always want to settle down on your lap.

4. French Bulldog

The French bulldog is a miniature version of its British cousin, but with large ears that are more like a bat’s ears than a dog’s. It’s a breed that has become extremely popular in the past few years. The “Frenchie” is a quiet breed that’s not prone to barking, but is still an alert companion and will let you know if something’s not right. Extremely adaptable and with low exercise requirements, it’s the ideal dog for a novice owner.

3. Golden Retriever

Consistently ranking high on the AKC’s list, the golden retriever is a friendly, enthusiastic Scottish gundog. This breed excels in search-and-rescue work and as a canine companion for people with blindness or vision impairment. And as a family pet, it’s eager to please, fairly easy to train and has an infectious zest for life.

2. German Shepherd

The German shepherd, an intelligent herder, is generally considered “dogkind’s finest all-purpose worker,” according to the American Kennel Club. As a family pet, it’s the complete package: gentle, loyal and watchful. And its courage and confidence makes it the top choice for police departments and military outfits all over the world.

1. Labrador Retriever

The Labrador retriever has been the most popular dog in the U.S. for a staggering 29 years running. Active and outgoing, the Lab gets on with everyone – both in human and canine form. To stay strong and happy, it needs lots of exercise – it will run, swim and play fetch for hours.

For more adorable dog reading, check out our lists of the most expensive breeds, the biggest breeds, smallest breeds and the most chilled-out breeds in the world.