Most Popular Dog Breeds in the United States

By Betty Lewis

Your dog doesn't care if he wins a popularity contest, but if he's a purebred, you may be curious to see how he fares in the American Kennel Club's annual registration statistics. Only dogs recognized by the club are counted, meaning if your dog's a mixed-breed, he's not considered. If your pup's a Labrador retriever, he's been the top dog for more than two decades.

The Big Three

A German Shepherd is standing outside.

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In 2013, the Labrador retriever was named the most popular purebred dog for the 23rd consecutive year by the American Kennel Club. It appears he's firmly entrenched in his No. 1 spot, possibly because he's so popular with families. He's a devoted, intelligent dog who is adaptable to the hectic lifestyle in a busy home. The German shepherd followed the Labrador, possibly for the same reasons: intelligence, devotion and ability to play nice. The golden retriever, possessing the same desirable traits, rounded out the top three. The three breeds maintained their top status into 2015, according to the AKC's website.

Going Smaller for Four, Five and Six

Beagle puppy playing fetch on the grass.

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In 2015, the AKC's website noted the bulldog as the fourth most popular dog, up a notch from the previous year. While he's affectionate and gentle, he has an obstinate side, making him challenging to train. The fifth ranked beagle can be similarly challenging to train, as he's a curious, energetic character, but he's great with kids, making him a welcome addition to many families. Coming from the toy group, the little Yorkshire terrier is the sixth most popular dog. His popularity may be due to his trainability, his energetic nature, his low shedding coat or his high cute factor.

Poodles and the Boxer

White poodle frolicking in the grass.

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The fact that the poodle comes in three sizes -- toy, miniature and standard -- doesn't hurt his popularity, however, it's more likely that he's the seventh most popular breed because he's simply a great dog. Intelligent, amenable and devoted, this breed has been popular for decades. The boxer's jowly face would make you think this dog in eighth place is a stern fellow, but in fact, he's a playful, gentle guy, qualities valued by just about every family.

The French Bulldog Makes His Appearance

A french bulldog puppy.

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The French bulldog was the 58th most popular dog in 2002 and has steadily risen through the ranks, becoming the ninth most popular dog according to the AKC's website in 2015. This smart, playful little dog took the dachshund's spot in the top 10 with his arrival. The rottweiler rounds out the top 10 according to the AKC's website. He carries an imposing figure that runs counter to his usual loving nature.