Yellow lab rolling around in the grass with their tongue out.

Most popular dog breeds in America

Written by:
April 14, 2023
Tara Lynn and Co // Shutterstock

Most popular dog breeds in America

Choosing a loyal companion is one of the most important decisions a pet owner can make. Each year, the American Kennel Club tracks dog registrations to see which breeds are the most popular in the United States. For 31 years straight, since 1991, the Labrador retriever topped the list. But now, a new breed has overtaken the #1 spot—and no, it's not a Golden retriever.

Stacker used the American Kennel Club's 2022 rankings, released on March 15, 2023, to compile the 100 most popular breeds out of the total 199. Data for last year's rankings come from the 2021 edition, released in 2022. The AKC only analyzes data dealing with purebred, registered breeds, so sadly, your sweet mixed-breed pal isn't counted in the final tally. Still, the list includes a great variety of dogs, from tiny lap dogs and mighty hunters to prime show dogs and companions for royalty. The sheer amount of breeds that are ranked is a reminder of the diverse taste of dog owners in America and the many different types of pups that we love.

Several obvious factors create a breed's national popularity year in and year out: ideal size, maintenance, hypoallergenic coats, disposition, temperament, and of course name recognition. If you are looking for your first dog for companionship in a city apartment, easy choices are reliable, compact French bulldogs or Boston terriers. Choosing the first family dog for small children and ample backyard space make retrievers or Labradors a traditional option.

From centuries-old dogs bred for royalty to familiar faces used in duck hunting and fox intimidating, there's a dog out there for everyone. If you need proof, then look no further than the 100 different breeds that complete this list of the most popular pooches.

#100. Norwegian elkhound

- Last year's rank: #100 (no change)

Norwegian elkhounds are believed to have a history that dates back to the Viking era. These dogs are known for their tracking skills, and can sometimes be found on search and rescue teams.

#99. Gordon setter

- Last year's rank: #113 (up 14)

Gordon setters were among the first nine registered dog breeds in the U.S. in 1878. The largest (and today the rarest) of the setters, the Gordon is likely to get along with every member of the family—including your cat. Due to the breed's rarity, finding a reputable breeder close by may be a challenge.

#98. Bouviers des Flandres

- Last year's rank: #101 (up 3)

In many European countries, the bouviers des Flandres is considered an ideal police dog. However, they have their share of fans stateside as well—one of the most famous of which is former president Ronald Reagan.

#97. Brussels griffon

- Last year's rank: #97 (no change)

This uncommon little breed is often confused with the Yorkshire terrier, but the Brussels griffon is very much its own dog. Perhaps best known to people from the movie "As Good As It Gets," the Brussels griffon loves snuggling, and—believe it or not—climbing, cat style.

#96. Pekingese

- Last year's rank: #94 (down 2)

Imperial China took their love for Pekingeses seriously. In fact, if you were caught stealing one, it was an offense punishable by death. While that part of their history is intense, their time in the palaces of China made them the lovable lap dogs they are today.

#95. Border terrier

- Last year's rank: #91 (down 4)

Border terriers were bred to hunt small game; they don't make good pets for households where hamsters or gerbils reside for that very reason. However, if you're looking for a competitive breed, you can't do better than these wiry dogs. Border terriers have been known to annihilate the competition in Earthdog trials.

#94. Standard schnauzer

- Last year's rank: #96 (up 2)

These cute pups were actually bred to seek out vermin—and their trademark whiskers serve a purpose. The fur would mat together to prevent rats and other small animals from biting them while they were on the hunt.

#93. English setter

- Last year's rank: #98 (up 5)

The class of English gentleman who loved hunting is responsible for this breed. English setters have gorgeous speckled coats, a height of around 25 inches tall, and a reputation for getting along with everyone.

#92. Chow chow

- Last year's rank: #80 (down 12)

Like the Chinese shar-pei, the chow chow has a trademark blue tongue. Cat lovers who are thinking about adopting a dog would do well to consider this breed since they are considered the cats of the canine world. Just like feline friends, chow chows tend not to care much about their owner's needs and prefer to do their own thing.

#91. Basenji

- Last year's rank: #87 (down 4)

Depictions of basenjis were found carved in the Great Pyramid of Khufu, proving these curly tailed pups have a long history. Whether they're popping up in works of art or drawing lions out of their lairs in Africa, this breed is nothing short of dynamic.

#90. Keeshonden

- Last year's rank: #95 (up 5)

In the 18th century, the Keeshond was the dog of the Dutch Patriots Party. However, these days, they're perhaps best known for their "monocle" markings that make them look as if they're wearing glasses.

#89. Irish wolfhound

- Last year's rank: #85 (down 4)

This breed is so old that it has its own motto. In ancient Rome, Irish wolfhounds were said to be "gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked." The dogs came by the motto naturally, as the fierce dogs were big game hunters who could easily take down elk.

#88. Dogo Argentino

- Last year's rank: #89 (up 1)

Muscular and athletic, the dogo Argentino was originally bred to hunt large animals, including pumas, which required agility and strength. Like the name implies, this dog's origins are in Argentina. Today, the dogo Argentino breed is making inroads with Americans, who like the dogs for their loyalty and excellent companionability.

#87. American Staffordshire terrier

- Last year's rank: #81 (down 6)

They may be large, but American Staffordshire terriers are gentle in nature. In fact, they're known as "nanny dogs" thanks to the breed's ability to be patient and nurturing toward children.

#86. Lhasa apso

- Last year's rank: #84 (down 2)

The Lhasa apso is considered sacred in Tibet, the dog's country of origin. Many Tibetan people believe the dogs play a crucial step in the reincarnation process and that before a priest could be reborn as a human, he would first be reincarnated as a Lhasa apso.

#85. Rat terrier

- Last year's rank: #86 (up 1)

Yes, they hunt rats—but these little dogs are also born stars. Between starring in Shirley Temple films and inspiring documentaries, this is one breed with more than its share of devoted fans.

#84. Coton de tulear

- Last year's rank: #83 (down 1)

The coton de Tulear was once the official dog of Madagascar, and only royals were allowed to own the breed. Thanks to their affable personalities, the breed has grown in popularity.

#83. Greater Swiss mountain dog

- Last year's rank: #78 (down 5)

The greater Swiss mountain dog is a working dog blessed with a tri-color coat beloved for its great strength and adaptability. These animals love activities and will happily go hiking or learn agility tricks.

#82. Boykin spaniel

- Last year's rank: #90 (up 8)

These dogs were bred in South Carolina specifically to ride with hunters on small boats in order to hunt game. As a result, Boykin spaniels are loyal energetic and love to be around people.

#81. Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever

- Last year's rank: #92 (up 11)

In the 17th century, these Nova Scotia retrievers were often used to lure ducks for hunters. As sporting dogs, these retrievers need plenty of exercise to burn off their excess energy each day.

#80. Chinese crested

- Last year's rank: #77 (down 3)

These little dogs are neither fully hairless nor of Chinese origin. The Chinese crested are thought to have originated in Africa, but the dogs came to be popular as ratters on Chinese ships which earned them their name. The breed is notably fluffy for being supposedly hairless and requires a bit of routine grooming to keep its unique look tidy.

#79. Anatolian shepherd dog

- Last year's rank: #88 (up 9)

Some Anatolian shepherd dogs guard sheep in Namibia as part of the Livestock Guarding Dog Program. Their presence there has also had the added benefit of protecting cheetahs from being shot by farmers since the big cats are afraid of the dogs.

#78. Dogues de Bordeaux

- Last year's rank: #70 (down 8)

This big, drooling breed has an equally large heart. While they can strike an imposing figure, these gentle giants make excellent therapy dogs.

#77. Biewer terrier

- Last year's rank: #82 (up 5)

Recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 2021, the Biewer terrier (pronounced like "beaver") is known for its fun-loving, whimsical personality. Known for carrying around toys in their mouths, this breed is the first to be recognized as a purebred as a result of a genetic study.

#76. Lagotto Romagnolo

- Last year's rank: #79 (up 3)

There is only one purebred breed of dog recognized for its truffle-finding skills, and that breed is the lagotto Romagnolo. The dogs are used all around the Italian countryside to find delectable fungi.

#75. Staffordshire bull terrier

- Last year's rank: #75 (no change)

Like other bull terriers, this breed was originally bred to fight. However, these dogs have happily transitioned into loving companion dogs in the modern day.

#74. Old English sheepdog

- Last year's rank: #69 (down 5)

Disney loves this long-haired breed. Not only did an Old English sheepdog star in "The Shaggy Dog," animated versions of the breed appeared in "The Little Mermaid" and "101 Dalmatians."

#73. Russell terrier

- Last year's rank: #72 (down 1)

Russell terriers, Jack Russell terriers, and Parson terriers all originated from the same dedicated breeder, the Rev. John "Jack" Russell. What makes the Russell terrier a bit different is the breed's short stature; the dog was bred with short legs to make it easier to carry on hunts.

#72. Miniature pinscher

- Last year's rank: #76 (up 4)

Contrary to popular belief, the miniature pinscher is not a miniature Doberman pinscher. In fact, they're far more closely related to the Italian greyhound and terrier breeds. These little dogs are known for being a tad bit stubborn, but they're perfect for people who love active pups.

#71. Irish setter

- Last year's rank: #71 (no change)

Americans' love for Irish setters may have started with a dog named Elcho, the first Irish setter to become a show dog stateside. Elcho is believed to have fathered 197 puppies.

#70. Cairn terrier

- Last year's rank: #74 (up 4)

The Cairn terrier holds a special place in pop culture history. One little pup named Terry took on the role of Toto in "The Wizard of Oz," ensuring that the breed was forever immortalized on the big screen.

#69. Great Pyrenees

- Last year's rank: #63 (down 6)

King Louis XIV's court loved this breed so much that they were declared the royal dog of France. Despite their upper-crust fans, the dogs were actually bred to watch over flocks at night. As a result, even today they're considered nocturnal.

#68. Chinese shar-pei

- Last year's rank: #64 (down 4)

A devoted dog lover named Matgo Law made it his mission to save these wrinkly pups from extinction. When owning pets became a luxury in Communist China, Law made a plea for other countries to help him save the breed. After Life magazine picked up the story, the Chinese shar-pei became an in-demand breed stateside.

#67. Alaskan malamute

- Last year's rank: #68 (up 1)

These furry pups were bred to haul cargo across frozen terrain, but they're now happy to be companion animals. The malamute is a large, caring breed that makes an excellent family pet.

#66. Soft-coated Wheaten terrier

- Last year's rank: #66 (no change)

Soft-coated Wheaten terriers stand as high as 19 inches and weigh up to 40 pounds. Famous for what has come to be known as the "Wheaten greetin'," an incredibly crazy display of affection upon welcoming their owners home, these exuberantly playful pups were originally bred as farm dogs expected to herd livestock, hunt down potentially destructive pests, and protect their owners' homes from perceived threats with a signaling bark. Today, they make fantastic family pets due to their exceptionally outgoing personality and reputation for playing well with kids.

#65. Airedale terrier

- Last year's rank: #62 (down 3)

The largest of all the terrier breeds, the Airedales were instrumental in World War II when they served as messengers and ambulance dogs. Don't be fooled, though—they may be the largest terriers, but they possess just as much energy as their smaller counterparts.

#64. Bull terrier

- Last year's rank: #61 (down 3)

Thanks to its distinctive look, the bull terrier has a history of being the spokesdog for famous brands. Notable members of the breed include Target's Bullseye and Bud Light's Spuds Mackenzie—who, despite being a ladies' man in the commercials, was actually a female named Honey.

#63. Italian greyhound

- Last year's rank: #73 (up 10)

In the past, Italian greyhounds were the favorite dogs of aristocrats. When you take into account their sleek look and love of being in their owners' laps, it's easy to see why so many people fall for this breed. Italian greyhounds aren't just terrific snugglers, they're also extremely fast and can run up to 25 miles per hour.

#62. Cardigan Welsh corgi

- Last year's rank: #67 (up 5)

Despite not being Queen Elizabeth II's preferred breed of corgi, Cardigan Welsh corgis have been around longer than their Pembroke cousins. These reliable little animals are farm dogs at heart, and they're right at home working with livestock or keeping mice out of the barn.

#61. Bullmastiff

- Last year's rank: #56 (down 5)

Originally bred to be guard dogs, the bullmastiff is muscular and fearless and makes a great family companion. Possibly the most famous bullmastiff in America is Butkus, Sylvester Stallone's pet, who appeared in the movie "Rocky" when they couldn't afford a trained movie dog.

#60. Scottish terrier

- Last year's rank: #58 (down 2)

Scottish terriers were all the rage in the United States during the 1930s. They even charmed President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose Scottie, Fala, was called the "most photographed dog in the world."

#59. German wirehaired pointer

- Last year's rank: #59 (no change)

These wirehaired dogs can hunt during any season and on almost any terrain, which helped increase their popularity over the years. Whether diving into a lake or running through tall grass, this breed will seldom allow its prey to get away.

#58. Giant schnauzer

- Last year's rank: #65 (up 7)

Giant schnauzers demand respect, but once they have it, they will make exceptional guard dogs. They're also keen workers that thrive on tasks, even one as simple as fetching your shoes.

#57. Wirehaired pointing griffon

- Last year's rank: #60 (up 3)

This breed has webbed toes for swimming, but they're also adept pointers. Wirehaired pointing griffons were specifically bred for their versatility as hunting dogs.

#56. St. Bernard

- Last year's rank: #53 (down 3)

Anyone who grew up in the 1990s may be compelled to call their St. Bernard Beethoven thanks to the breed's starring role in the family film franchise of the same name. That 1992 movie and its subsequent sequels displayed St. Bernards as slobbery-yet-loyal beasts, but that is an improvement over their portrayal in 1983's horror flick "Cujo." In reality, St. Bernards are large, friendly, and hard-working dogs famous for their Alpine rescues of lost and injured hikers.

#55. Akita

- Last year's rank: #52 (down 3)

Originally known simply as snow country dogs, Akitas hail from the mountainous region of Japan where they were used to track and hunt wild boar, deer, elk, and bears. Author and activist Helen Keller is said to have brought the breed into the U.S. in 1937, and Akitas have since become known for their remarkable loyalty. The most famous Akita in history is Hachikō, a dog that waited for its owner for more than nine years after his death. Their most recognizable features are their webbed toes and curly, plush tail.

#54. Whippet

- Last year's rank: #57 (up 3)

Like greyhounds, these quiet dogs are also quite fast. The sporting breed was a favorite among textile workers in the 1900s, many of whom are responsible for introducing the sleek dogs to America.

#53. Samoyed

- Last year's rank: #55 (up 2)

Samoyeds are true descendants of the wolf. The howls of this breed actually sound like singing, and when they're in a group, they appear to be harmonizing.

#52. Chesapeake Bay retriever

- Last year's rank: #48 (down 4)

Chesapeake Bay retrievers were originally used to hunt and retrieve ducks in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay. Today, the dog remains a hunting breed that is also known to be an ideal companion for people across the U.S. Chessies are generally less friendly than Labrador or golden retrievers and are best suited to those with a commanding presence who prefer a protective hunting companion over an obedient pet.

#51. Papillon

- Last year's rank: #54 (up 3)

Called papillon thanks to its butterfly-like ears, this toy breed isn't big on lounging. Papillon owners should be prepared to spend a great deal of time playing with and exercising their energetic pups.

#50. Bloodhound

- Last year's rank: #50 (no change)

The exact origins of the "sleuthhound," as the breed is sometimes called, are unknown. Bloodhounds became popular during medieval times, and the "blood" part of their name means "of aristocratic blood" due to princes and other noble church members owning packs of these dogs. Bloodhounds are known for their droopy, wrinkled features and their distinct sense of smell, which can often help law enforcement locate criminals and missing persons.

#49. Dalmatian

- Last year's rank: #49 (no change)

The spotted Dalmatian has been long associated with firefighters—and for good reason. These hardworking pups used to work well with horses in the days before fire engines and would run ahead of firefighters to clear a path as they made their way to the scene. When firefighters transitioned from wagons to trucks, the breed adapted with them.

#48. Australian cattle dog

- Last year's rank: #51 (up 3)

Australian cattle dogs have a dash of dingo in them, as well as a bit of dalmatian. This makes the breed at once terrific at herding and deeply loyal.

#47. Bichon frise

- Last year's rank: #47 (no change)

Bichons frises love to be the center of attention. They are highly trainable and easily perform new and exciting tricks. In fact, this breed's knack for entertaining originally earned it a spot in the circus. Today, the breed is considered the ultimate companion thanks to its cheerful demeanor and cloud-like white fur coat that makes the dog resemble a child's toy. Because of their exceptional affection, these dogs are also prone to separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time and heartbreak if subjected to scoldings or harsh training.

#46. Portuguese water dog

- Last year's rank: #44 (down 2)

The most famous Portuguese water dog owners in recent history are the Obamas. The family's pups, Bo and Sunny, no doubt contributed to the breed's 2016 spike in popularity.

#45. West Highland white terrier

- Last year's rank: #46 (up 1)

Although small in size and quite cuddly looking, West Highland white terriers have very high energy levels and are unlikely to settle for being someone's lap dog. Commonly called Westies, the dog was originally bred in Scotland to hunt foxes, badgers, otters, and rats. A West Highland white terrier has long served as the mascot for the Caesar Pet Food company, while the breed has most recently been prominently featured in the 2018 comedy "Game Night" starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams.

#44. Weimaraner

- Last year's rank: #40 (down 4)

Weimaraners are said to have been developed by German aristocrats who crossbred bloodhounds with German and French hunting dogs. Once used in big-game hunts tracking bears, deer, mountain lions, and wolves, Weimaraners have since evolved into canine sidekicks that want to be with their owners all of the time. Because of this shadowing characteristic, the dogs earned the nickname "gray ghosts." Weimeraners' hunting instincts have not completely disappeared, as the dogs are still happy to chase and kill anything resembling small prey—including mice, birds, cats, and even small dogs.

#43. Shiba inu

- Last year's rank: #42 (down 1)

The shiba inu (Japanese for "brushwood dog") is a very independent breed. Because of this, the dogs are next to impossible to train; however, what they lack in obedience, they make up for in loyalty. After the 2004 Chūetsu earthquake, a shiba inu helped rescue workers locate her elderly owner who had been trapped beneath the rubble. The ordeal was adapted into a movie called "A Tale of Mari and Three Puppies." Shiba inus are also known to frequently groom themselves similarly to cats and emit piercing screams when they are unhappy or afraid.

#42. Newfoundland

- Last year's rank: #45 (up 3)

Newfoundlands are known to be sweet-tempered with watchful eyes. Perhaps that is why author J.M. Barrie chose one to be the nursemaid dog Nana for Wendy, John, and Michael in "Peter Pan"—just one of many representations of the breed in pop culture. Newfoundlands were originally bred as working dogs, pulling nets out of the water and hauling wood from the forest for their working-class owners. They have since earned their place in the home, enjoying a slower lifestyle with the occasional physical activity, especially swimming.

#41. Rhodesian ridgeback

- Last year's rank: #41 (no change)

Rhodesian ridgebacks are most easily recognized by the naturally occurring ridge found along their spines, for which they have been dubbed "the dog with a snake on its back." This breed has also been commonly referred to as "African lion hound," thanks to the dog's history of distracting lions for big-game hunters in Africa. Rhodesian ridgebacks need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to satisfy their active, energetic, and protective instincts.

#40. English cocker spaniel

- Last year's rank: #43 (up 3)

During a period from the 1930s until the 1950s, the English cocker spaniel was the most beloved dog breed in America. While they've never quite reached that level of popularity again, these sweet animals remain a favorite among pet owners.

#39. Collie

- Last year's rank: #38 (down 1)

Known for their sheep-herding abilities and outstanding loyalty, collies are considered to be very compassionate, intelligent dogs. This breed is easy to train, protective of its family, and excellent with children. Although there have been many collies featured in pop culture over the years, the most recognizable one is Lassie, a canine character that has been the subject of multiple television series and major motion pictures (and one of only a few animal actors to have its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame).

#38. Maltese

- Last year's rank: #39 (up 1)

Maltese have been around through the ages. Its exact origin is unknown, but the breed is believed to have been developed in the Ilse of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea and representations of it have shown up in early Greek, Roman, and Egyptian cultures. Typically weighing less than 7 pounds, Maltese are known for their long white coats that give them an elegant appearance. This, paired with the dog's uncanny athleticism, make this breed a favorite at show competitions.

#37. Mastiff

- Last year's rank: #35 (down 2)

Mastiffs are descendants of ancient Molossers, which are said to have originated in Tibet or northern India where they were used to guard flocks against predators. Mastiffs are considered one of the world's largest breeds, standing about 30 inches tall and weighing 120 to 230 pounds. A 342-pound mastiff named Zorba earned his status as the world's heaviest dog, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Although their massive size makes them immediately intimidating, these dogs are surprisingly patient and affectionate, just as the kids in the 1993 movie "The Sandlot" discovered.

#36. Basset hound

- Last year's rank: #34 (down 2)

Basset hounds' most recognizable trait is a toss-up between their droopy puppy dog eyes and ear-piercing howls. The breed is also known for its keen sense of smell, second only to bloodhounds. Basset hounds have been frequently featured in pop culture, including several Walt Disney animated films and an array of television series such as "The People's Choice," "Columbo," and "The Dukes of Hazzard."

#35. Pug

- Last year's rank: #33 (down 2)

Pugs' history goes back 2,000 years when they were developed to serve as refined pets for emperors of China. These dogs are clowns at heart and love to be the center of attention, which is not hard to pull off thanks to their big eyes, wrinkly faces, curly tails, and tongues that often stick out for all the world to see. Pugs snort, snore, and wheeze and cannot tolerate high heat or extreme exercise.

#34. Chihuahua

- Last year's rank: #37 (up 3)

The Chihuahuas are much more than Taco Bell's former spokesdog. These small dogs have very big personalities and perhaps even bigger hearts. Chihuahuas develop exceptionally strong bonds with their owners, a quality that has contributed to the phenomenon of young women carrying the breed around in their purses wherever they go. Standing between 5 and 8 inches tall and weighing at most 6 pounds Chihuahuas are naive about their small stature and are considered to be one of the world's best watchdogs thanks to their alertness and proclivity to bark at suspicious activity.

#33. Vizsla

- Last year's rank: #32 (down 1)

Vizslas were initially introduced to the U.S. in 1950 when one was smuggled out of Communist Hungary. Magyar hordes first used them as hunting dogs before being bred to serve as pointers and retrievers for Hungarian nobles. They have since earned the nickname "Velcro vizslas" due to their desire to stay close to their owner. Vizslas are very active dogs with a strong sense of smell, qualities that have made them great at competitions drug detection and search-and-rescue.

#32. Belgian malinois

- Last year's rank: #36 (up 4)

Most commonly associated with police work, the Belgian malinois is known for its exceptional tracking abilities. These dogs can detect odors, hunt down suspects, and find injured persons in search and rescue missions better than most other breeds. Because of this, these dogs are used by the U.S. Secret Service to guard the White House grounds. The breed's popularity rose after one appeared in the 2015 family film "Max," but it is important to remember that these dogs require plenty of stimulation and exercise, or they may develop destructive and neurotic behaviors.

#31. Miniature American shepherd

- Last year's rank: #30 (down 1)

Miniature American shepherds resemble Australian shepherds, just on a smaller scale. Whereas their larger counterparts measure about 18 to 23 inches tall at the shoulder, miniature American shepherds stand 14 to 18 inches tall. These dogs were selectively bred in the 1960s from small Australian shepherds in the U.S. rodeo circuit to further reduce their size. Their small size and intelligence make them popular picks for travelers and those who frequent livestock shows—especially for their portability and reliability in herding.

#30. Border collie

- Last year's rank: #31 (up 1)

Border collies, such as the one featured in the family film "Babe" and its sequel "Babe 2: Pig in the City," originated in the hilly border country between Scotland and England. Their trademark "herding eye" made them excellent for controlling flocks of sheep, a task for which they are still commonly used today. In addition to sheep herding, border collies are great competitors in agility, flyball, flying disc, and other dog sports. Border collies are ideal fits for owners with active lifestyles.

#29. Cocker spaniel

- Last year's rank: #29 (no change)

Contrary to what Disney's "Lady and the Tramp" would have you believe, cocker spaniels do not and should not eat spaghetti. Easily identified by their big puppy dog eyes and their long, lush ears, cocker spaniels are the American Kennel Club's smallest sporting spaniel and stand at just 14 or 15 inches tall at the shoulder. They are also exceptionally easy to train and very affectionate companions that are gentle with children, the elderly, and other pets. It is important to remember that in addition to being lovers, cocker spaniels are also hunters—and very athletic ones at that.

#28. Brittany

- Last year's rank: #27 (down 1)

Brittanys get their name from the area where they were developed hundreds of years ago: the westernmost region of France. They are primarily bird dogs, hunting anything and everything covered in feathers. Brittanys tend to be hyperactive and are therefore best paired with owners who can match their boundless energy with plenty of physical stimulation. Their exceptional exuberance also makes Brittanys quality companions for children—albeit only those big enough not to get trampled by the dog during one of its bursts of enthusiasm.

#27. Shetland sheepdog

- Last year's rank: #28 (up 1)

Shetland sheepdogs were once described as miniature collies since they resemble that breed, albeit on a smaller scale, although they come in a variety of unique markings. Commonly called Shelties, Shetland sheepdogs originated in the Shetland Islands, which is also where Shetland ponies and Shetland sheep got their start. These dogs integrate very well into families but can be wary of strangers and therefore have been known to be loud barkers. These qualities make Shetland sheepdogs excellent watchdogs.

#26. English springer spaniel

- Last year's rank: #26 (no change)

The English springer spaniel's name is derived from the way in which the dog "springs" at game to flush it out for hunters. These dogs are typically bred as either hunting dogs or show dogs, but never both. One thing they all excel at, though, is pleasing their owners and becoming valuable members of a family—including those with children and other pets. These dogs cannot resist a long walk, a friendly game of fetch, swimming, or anything else that provides quality time with their people.

#25. Havanese

- Last year's rank: #25 (no change)

Havanese' name is derived from Havana, the capital city of Cuba, where the breed began in the 1800s as a lapdog for aristocrats and wealthy planters. This history of pampering has imprinted upon the breed a reputation for being spoiled rotten, as these house dogs stick to their owners like glue, crave lots of attention, and become anxious if left alone for too long or exiled to the backyard. However, this also makes Havanese people pleasers that are easy to train and teach agility tricks.

#24. Boston terrier

- Last year's rank: #23 (down 1)

Boston terriers' roots are said to begin in England, where someone crossbred a bulldog with the now-extinct white English terrier for the purpose of pit fighting. That dog, which was sold to an American and brought in the late 1800s to Boston, Massachusetts, is believed to be the common ancestor of all true Boston terriers. Despite these origins, the breed would rather show affection than aggression. The dog's black-and-white, tuxedo-like pattern—paired with its great manners—have earned the breed the nickname "The American gentleman."

#23. Pomeranian

- Last year's rank: #24 (up 1)

Pomeranians are popular among celebrities and are descendants of full-size sled dogs, which likely explains their excessive energy level. In addition to featuring the vigor of a big, athletic dog, this breed is rarely intimidated by strangers and other animals.

#22. Bernese mountain dog

- Last year's rank: #20 (down 2)

Bernese mountain dogs are originally working dogs from Swiss farmlands, where they were bred to herd cattle and pull carts. Sometimes referred to as "Berners," these dogs have been known to pull up to 10 times their body weight. Bernese mountain dogs tend to become very attached to their owners (especially children) and can express a great deal of affection. For that reason, these dogs make excellent therapy dogs. Because of their large size and hauling capabilities, Bernese mountain dogs make ideal companions for hikers as they don't mind pulling the extra weight of a backpack or other supplies.

#21. Siberian husky

- Last year's rank: #19 (down 2)

Siberian huskies were originally developed by the Chukchi people in Siberia as working dogs to pull heavy sleds over long distances. They were introduced to the U.S. in the early 1900s when they began to compete in Alaskan sled races and have since been featured in films like "Snow Dogs" and "Eight Below." Siberian huskies are pack dogs that are particularly independent and difficult to train but still very affectionate. It is especially important to have a properly fenced backyard for this breed, as Siberian huskies are highly athletic and known to be serial escape artists.

#20. Shih tzu

- Last year's rank: #22 (up 2)

Translated from Chinese to English as "lion dog," shih tzus were originally bred in China to serve as lapdogs for royalty. Centuries later they have not forgotten their pampered roots. Shih tzus live for naps on the laps of their owners. This breed is among the friendliest in the world, constantly showing affection and always eager to make new friends of the two- and four-foot variety.

#19. Great Dane

- Last year's rank: #17 (down 2)

Possibly best known for their fictional counterparts Scooby-Doo and Marmaduke, this giant breed's physical size is matched only by the size of its heart. Commonly standing as tall as 32 inches at the shoulder, Great Danes are often referred to as the "Apollo of dogs." They are gentle giants with very affectionate personalities who sometimes seem to be oblivious about their size as they enjoy cuddling up on owners' laps. However, while Great Danes are tender to their family members and other friendly individuals, these dogs will not hesitate to protect loved ones if the need arises.

#18. Cane corso

- Last year's rank: #21 (up 3)

Also known as Italian mastiffs, the cane corso was originally bred as a guard dog that could also hunt wild boar. Usually standing at least 28 inches tall and weighing more than 100 pounds, the muscular appearance of this dog may be in and of itself enough to ward off intruders. Cane corsos do not typically demonstrate their affection for their owners or their families through requests for attention or touch—they communicate their love through "woo woo woo" sounds and snorts.

#17. Miniature schnauzer

- Last year's rank: #18 (up 1)

Miniature schnauzers are possibly most recognizable for their bushy beards and eyebrows, features that protect their faces from the vermin they were originally bred to hunt. These dogs still perform pest-control duties and are instinctively curious about mice, gerbils, and even small birds—so they may not be the best dog for families with small pets.

#16. Boxer

- Last year's rank: #14 (down 2)

Boxers are probably best known for their wrinkled worrisome faces. Don't let those sad expressions fool you—these dogs are exceptionally playful and full of energy. These qualities have earned boxers the honor of being occasionally called the "Peter Pan of dogs," an especially appropriate title since they have one of the longest puppyhoods in the world and do not reach maturity until they turn 3.

#15. Doberman pinscher

- Last year's rank: #16 (up 1)

Doberman pinschers have a reputation for being sleek guard dogs, especially in films like "Hugo," "Resident Evil," and "Beverly Hills Chihuahua." They were originally bred to be such in Germany during the late 19th century. That said, these dogs have proven themselves to be much more than the sinister attack dogs that pop culture continues to portray them as. While they remain great guard dogs, they never look for trouble on their own and typically only attack when defending their family from perceived threats. Dobies are actually very loving companions who view themselves as their families' protectors.

#14. Cavalier King Charles spaniel

- Last year's rank: #15 (up 1)

Cavalier King Charles spaniels were named in honor of King Charles I and his son, King Charles II, European nobility who were especially fond of toy spaniels. Standing 12 to 13 inches tall and weighing just 13 to 18 pounds, these spaniels are one of the larger toy breeds—not that this fact stops them from wanting to cuddle up on their owners' laps.

#13. Yorkshire terrier

- Last year's rank: #13 (no change)

Yorkshire terriers are descendants of dogs that were used to hunt rats in coal mines, textile mills, and factories of England during the Industrial Revolution. Today, Yorkshire terriers' beautiful, floor-length silky coats have made the dogs favorites among fashionistas. It's important to note that Yorkshire terriers have short tempers and tend to nip when anxious or annoyed.

#12. Australian shepherd

- Last year's rank: #12 (no change)

Contrary to what their name suggests, Australian shepherds originated in the U.S. during the 1840s. Nicknamed "Aussies," these shepherds are among the smartest and most loyal of any dog breed. It is not uncommon for Australian shepherds to outsmart their owners, so it is best to keep the minds of these dogs occupied with various household tasks like bringing in the newspaper. Aussies are also one of the most versatile dog breeds in the world, excelling at herding, obedience, agility, and even rodeo events.

#11. Pembroke Welsh corgi

- Last year's rank: #11 (no change)

Do not allow the Pembroke Welsh corgis' short legs to fool you—they are one of the most effective herding dogs in the world. But while they have proven themselves to be hard workers, these dogs are also extremely affectionate and outgoing, with regal personalities that lend themselves to pampering.

#10. German shorthaired pointer

- Last year's rank: #9 (down 1)

German shorthaired pointers were originally bred in Germany during the late 1800s as a dog that would instinctively perform a variety of hunting-related duties. The breed's name is partially derived from the arrow-like stance the dog exhibits while locating prey. German shorthaired pointers' high energy makes them good company for long hikes, while their strong work ethic and desire to please make them all-around excellent additions to any family.

#9. Dachshund

- Last year's rank: #10 (up 1)

Dachshunds have many nicknames including "wiener dog," but their name actually translates from German to English as "badger dog." That's because this breed originated more than 300 years ago to hunt badgers (and even fight them to the death). Their incredible sense of smell, paired with their short legs and long bodies, made these hounds the perfect little exterminators of burrowing critters.

#8. Beagle

- Last year's rank: #7 (down 1)

The beagle is said to have been derived from an old French word that translates into English as "gaped throat." That is likely because beagles bark, howl, and bay—especially when their uncanny sense of smell picks up something that intrigues them. Their noses have about 220 million scent receptors, which is exponentially more than humans' roughly 5 million scent receptors.

#7. Rottweiler

- Last year's rank: #8 (up 1)

Rottweilers have a history of being hard-working dogs. Originally bred in Germany to drive cattle to butchers and pull carts filled with meat, Rottweilers were later used as police dogs before eventually settling into their current jobs as very reliable guard dogs. They have an uncanny natural instinct to protect their owners, families, and homes and have earned a reputation for being aggressive and ferocious in their defense methods. But when properly trained and socialized, Rottweilers can be quite loveable and even forget that they are entirely too big to be lap dogs.

#6. Bulldog

- Last year's rank: #6 (no change)

Much like the one featured in the 2002 comedy "Van Wilder," bulldogs tend to be quite flatulent. Originally bred to fight bulls for sport, this breed has made a place for itself in homes where they can essentially be couch potatoes and a constant source of amusement for families.

#5. Poodle

- Last year's rank: #5 (no change)

Originating in Germany as duck retrievers, poodles have since earned a reputation of royalty due to their success at show competitions and meticulous hairdos. While many poodles live relatively luxurious lives and develop superiority complexes as the alpha of a family, poodles are also extremely intelligent and capable of learning a variety of tasks and tricks.

#4. German shepherd

- Last year's rank: #4 (no change)

The German shepherd may be the most versatile dog breed, as it has made a name for itself in a variety of industries including law enforcement, the military, search and rescue, herding, and drug detection. These dogs tend to become very attached to their owners and are therefore affectionate and prone to separation anxiety if left alone for long periods.

#3. Golden retriever

- Last year's rank: #3 (no change)

Golden retrievers may very well be the all-American dog, especially if you consider their frequent appearances in movies like "Air Bud" and television series like "Full House." But before coming to the U.S., golden retrievers were bred in Scotland for the purpose of retrieving game for hunters. While they can certainly still perform those duties, golden retrievers are now more prone to retrieving their owner's newspapers and slippers. Goldens are exceptionally easy to train but are among the least effective guard dogs, thanks to their highly affectionate instincts.

#2. Labrador retriever

- Last year's rank: #1 (down 1)

Labrador retrievers originally hail from Newfoundland, where they were bred to be waterdogs that could help hunters retrieve ducks and fishermen pull in nets. Their "otter tails" assist them with these tasks by acting as powerful rutters. This breed is one of the most frequently portrayed dogs in movies and on television, with appearances ranging from "Family Guy" and "Lost" to "Old Yeller" and "Marley and Me." The breed was also the first to grace the cover of Life magazine and a U.S. postage stamp.

#1. French bulldog

- Last year's rank: #2 (up 1)

French bulldogs' trademark feature is their erect bat ears, but this breed has a lot more going for it than its bulldog-like face in miniature size. This dog is among the most affectionate of breeds, although its attachment issues can manifest as possessiveness. It's imperative to socialize this breed as much as possible.

Trending Now