Though labs, shepherds and great Danes are wonderful house companions, we've defined "House Dogs" as those who are seldom suited for life outdoors. Such dogs tend to be toy, terrier and non-sporting varieties--both mixed and purebred. Check out ten of the nation's most popular indoor pooches.
Mixed Breed Dogs
Without a doubt, the most popular dog in the U.S. is the mixed breed; more than half of the 78 million dogs owned in the U.S. are not registered as purebred dogs and fit in this category. They come in all shapes and sizes, and many look identical to their registered purebred brothers. When it comes to dog ownership, most Americans are not picky about papers.
Based on statistics published annually by the American Kennel Club, Yorkies are still at the top of the heap for little house dogs even though these scrappy purse-puppies fell from second to fifth place in the AKC standings for 2011. Known for their feist and energy, they demand a lot of attention. Many Americans, though, find their adorable face, diminutive size and loyal devotion very endearing.
Also known as English bulls or British bulldogs, these grumpy old men of the dog world were originally bred in the British Isles as bull fighters with enough ferocity to take on animals many times their own size. Today, bulldogs are most noted for their gentle and calm temperament. The bulldog has been in the top 10 for popularity since 2005, according to the AKC statistics, and was in fifth place for 2011.
Poodles were a favorite of the French and Spanish court. In the 19th century, troupes of poodle acts toured Europe demonstrating their intelligence and agility. In the U.S., poodles were the most popular breed from the 1960s until the1980s, holding first place for 23 consecutive years in the AKC standings. In the 2011, poodles ranked eighth.
An ancient breed developed in China around 600 A.D., this short-nosed, longhaired beauty was the pampered pet of royalty. This dog is tiny, but tough, and requires a lot of maintenance. Unless given a terrier cut, the long fur of his face needs to be tied in a top-knot. Despite his less than fuss-free reputation, the shih-tzu stayed in the top 10 in the AKC standings, from 2006 to 2011 when he dropped to 11th.
Like the other schnauzer breeds, miniatures originated in Germany.These dogs are highly intelligent and very reliable, but they don't handle criticism well. They are most easily trained when given positive reinforcement rather than reprimands. Though not generally high maintenance, their hairy faces do need frequent trims. Miniature schnauzers were twelfth in the AKC standings for 2011.
The smallest of all dog breeds, Chihuahuas were developed in Mexico. They are truly "living alarms" with a persistent bark that is much bigger than their bite. The breed's popularity increased when they appeared in TV commercials and movies in the 1990s.These fun little yappers with their big personalities were 14th in the AKC standings for 2011.
Also known as the pom pom, this toy breed has a lively personality and superb watchdog abilities. They not only have a loud bark, but they're also pretty good at being able to tell friend from foe. Although they are descendants of Icelandic sled dogs, Pomeranians need to be kept inside. This breed was listed 17th in the 2011 AKC standings.
The Boston terrier's history can be traced back to 1865 when coachmen in England crossbred their employers' English terrier and bulldog. The sire to this breed was called Hopper's Judge. Boston terriers are lively and need a lot of play time.These clever little canines are devoted, low-maintenance companions, but they can be stubborn. Boston terriers were 22nd in the 2011 AKC standings.
Pugs are one of the oldest breeds dating back thousands of years. These often willful, always funny little Charlie Chaplins of the canine world are very tuned into their owner's moods.Their short, fine, smooth coat is low maintenance, but their face wrinkles need a daily wipe down. Pugs fell from the top 20 to 26th place in the AKC 2011 standings.
By Jenny Newberry
About the Author
Jenny Newberry, a former teacher with 25 years of experience, is a professional writer and photographer and holds a B.S. and a M.Ed. in elementary and special education from the University of South Alabama. She is also a history buff, praise and worship pianist, pet enthusiast, avid crafter and hobby gardener.