8 Most Popular Dog Breeds

The 8 Most Popular Dog Breeds

Our little furry friends were first domesticated thousands of years ago, and over the years, they have evolved to become those companions we feel deserve our utmost love and care. Some Americans actually love their pups way more than their lovers.

Well over 300 breeds of dogs exist in the world today, according to Psychology Today. And they come in various types, common ones being companion dogs, working dogs, hunting dogs, guard dogs, and herding dogs.

In the last couple of years, a few dog breeds have become popular due to different reasons. Some, like the German Shepherd, become more popular after they starred in several movies in which their exceptional attributes mostly stole the show.

Well, whether you plan to get yourself a pup or simply want to know what the popular dog breeds are, this guide is for you. Go ahead and check it out.

1. Labrador Retriever

popular dog breeds

The Labrador retriever, who many simply refer to as the Lab or Labrador, has for 26 consecutive years reigned as America’s most popular dog breed. Among the many things that make these breed a great family pet is their friendliness, outgoing nature, and activeness. They are also pretty cute.  

Weight: Male- 65-80 lb., Female – 55-70 lb.

Height:  Male- 22.5 ″ -24.5 ″, Female- 21.5 ″- 23.5 ″

Life expectancy: 10-12 years

Origin

Labs began their journey to popularity in the early years of the 19th century. Around this time, English nobles who were visiting Canada spotted them and when they went back to England, they brought the fine specimens of the breed along.

Later on, the British breeders refined the breed and also standardized it. In 1903, the Kennel Club (England) recognized and registered it. The American Kennel Club (AKC) did so 1917.

Besides being gun dogs, Labradors were historically used by fishermen, thanks to their natural instincts as retrievers. Over the years, their roles have grown. Other than being family pets, they are used by law enforcement agencies for detection and screening purposes and as therapy dogs.

Appearance, Behavior, Personality, & Habits

Labrador retriever’s physical qualities and temperament are what set it apart. They are medium-sized dogs with a short, dense, and weather resistant coat that makes them great retrievers.  The coat comes in black, yellow, and luscious chocolate.

Thanks to their physical qualities, eagerness, and intelligence, Labs perform pretty well at nearly all dog sports, from tracking, field trials, and rally to agility and obedience.

Other unique physical things the Lab has include a clean-cut head, a wide back skull, and a thick, tapering ‘otter’ tail, which plays a huge role in making the dog a better swimmer.

Most Labradors are friendly, not just to humans, but to other dogs as well. On top of that, they are easier to please, intelligent, high-spirited, and trainable.

Their willingness to please is part of what makes them great search and rescue dogs and valuable when it comes to disability assistance.

In this article, the American Kennel Club lists lots of other attributes that make the Lab really special and popular.

Also important to mention is that Labs really love food compared to other dog breeds. This has been a subject of study and not too long ago, Mental Floss shared a scientific explanation for that. What’s unfortunate about this love for food is that it has made the breed more prone to getting overweight. 

Caring for Labs

Seeing that Labs are more prone to obesity, you should really feed them a balanced and nutritious diet and also carefully watch their weight level. Also remember to give them dog food that is recommended for their age and stage (puppy, adult, and senior). PetMD has suggestions on what foods are good for your dog.

Even though they are healthy for the most part, labs can be prone to several illnesses, including heart disorders, eye disorders, elbow & hip dysplasia, bloat, just to mention but a few. As a pet parent, educate yourself about this conditions, and occasionally take your pooch for health tests.

Give your Labrador occasional baths as well. Don’t forget to brush their teeth regularly and to keep the nails trimmed.

As for exercise, make your Lab do what it does best: swimming and retrieving. Let them also take part in dog sports or hunting trips. If your lab fails to get enough exercise, he/she will likely engage in destructive or hyperactive behavior.

Bearing in mind that Labs are highly-spirited, strong, and energetic pets, puppy training classes and early socialization are vital. Expose them to different situations, places, and people while she’s still young and later on, have them undergo obedience training. This way, they’ll grow into better adults.

Favorite environment

Labradors do well in most living environments, apartment living included. As for climate type, they can survive almost everywhere. However, they perform better in temperate climates.

Watch this video below by the American Kennel Club to learn more about the Labrador dog breed.


2. German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd Dogs (GMD) are popular not just in the US but the world over and for good reasons. First, they are intelligent and capable of performing just about any job a dog can do. Their courage and confidence also set them apart.

popular dog breeds

Rin Tin, a German Shepherd pup that was found in a battle zone during the WW1 starred in over twenty warner bros films. That was during the 1920s and 30s, a period that marked the dog’s climb popularity.

According to the Presidential Pet Museum, even former US president, John F Kennedy, owned a German Shephard. It was named “Clipper”.

Weight: Male- 65-90 lb., Female – 50-70 lb.

Height:  Male- 14 ″ -26 ″, Female- 22 ″- 24 ″

Life expectancy: 7-10 years

Origin

Until late 19th century, GMDs didn’t exist. What existed were German herding dogs and each district in Germany had their own unique variety.

Around the same time, Max von Stephanitz, a German cavalry officer, embarked on a mission to create an ideal German herder. Together with other like-minded breeders, he crossbred various varieties, particularly from the central and northern districts and developed the first generation of German Shepherds.

The German Shepherd Club of America reports that in the following years, Von and friends promoted and refined the breed and even co-founded a club devoted to the German Shepherd breed.

Even though the German shepherds were primarily herding dogs, their versatility has enabled them to double up in other roles including in the military, police, search and rescue missions, disability assistance, and of course as the furry friend everyone wants to keep.

Appearance, Behavior, Personality, & Habits

In addition to looking strong and well-muscled, the German shepherd dog is a bit longer with a relatively shorter height and athletic body.  All of these attributes combined explain why the dog is characteristically strong, agile, flexible, and able to take long and elegant strides.

Also, unlike the other breeds we’ve looked at so far, the GSD has a double coat. Whereas the outer coat is dense and either slightly wavy or straight, the inner coat is simply thick.

As for the hair, most breeds are either red and black or tan and black in color. Other variations include all-white, all-black, and blue.

Besides being loyal, the German breed has amazing courage and confidence and they are pretty easy to train for different tasks. Their friendliness is evident in the fact they so fond of children.

In the video below, you can see the various ways German Shepherds have been able to protect children.

Evidently, a German Shepherd pooch isn’t afraid to put its life on the line when it comes to defending those they love.

However, due to their reserved nature, they don’t make companions immediately, but once they do, their loyalty is unquestionable.

Something else worth mentioning is they tend to be a bit aggressive towards other dogs. Plus they hate being alone for long. Naturally, they thrive on having a task to do.

Caring for German Shepherds

Just like with other breeds, ensure you have a special diet for your pup, the adult dog, and the senior pooch. And bearing in mind that all of them are strong and energetic, the food definitely has to be the type that meets their dietary needs. PetCareRx has an elaborate guide on what to feed your GSD.

Given the fact that they shed throughout the year, German Shepherd dogs should be brushed several times a week to get rid of loose hair and minimize hair buildup where they live.

Like most breeds, this German breed is prone to major health issues such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, and also minor conditions like bone inflammation, cardiomyopathy, skin allergies, cataract, just to name but a few.

To keep them from these problems, have a vet do routine checkups on them. It would also be better if you also educate yourself about those conditions.

As we mentioned earlier, German Shepherds hate being idle; they are built for action. What this means is they have lots of energy they need to spend and one way to help them to do that is through daily exercises. Should you ignore this, be prepared to deal with a furious buddy and to endure constant barking, chewing, and digging.

Lastly, have them undergo puppy training classes, continuing obedience training, and early socialization. Expose them to your family’s activities as well because they love being around people they love.

The GSD club of America offers more advice on how to train and raise your German shepherd on their website.

Favorite environment

Thanks to their versatility, German Shepherds can do well in both outdoor and indoor spaces as well as in cool or temperate climates.

Here’s a video review of the breed of the American Kennel Club.

3. Golden Retriever

popular dog breeds

In 2017, AKC ranked the Golden Retriever third among the most popular dog breeds in the US. What’s more, former US presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford both had Goldens named Victory and Liberty respectively.

Well, several things make them special, top amongst being their friendly nature, followed by devotion and intelligence.

Weight: Male- 65-75 lb., Female – 55-65 lb.

Height:  Male-23 ″ -24 ″, Female- 21.5″- 22.5″

Life expectancy: 10 -12 years

Origin

Dudley Marjoribanks, the 1st Lord Tweedmouth, is credited with developing the Golden Retriever breed. He did this between 1835 -1890.

In an effort to develop an ideal gundog perfect for his estate in Scotland and which could handle the rugged terrain and rainy climate of the area, Dudley crossbred several dog breeds.

The Golden Retriever Club of America notes that he kept on cross-breeding, doing it better every other time until he was able to create a consistent breed of exceptional retrievers.  The breed was refined later on after Tweedmouth’s time and this brought forth the famous Golden retriever.

The breed came to light in 1908 at a British show and it spread to other areas including America and Canada, around the same time.

They were a sport hunter’s favorite at the time, thanks to their great retrieval skills. Today, they are adored by families, and also used in disability assistance, search and rescue, and detection.

Appearance, Behavior, Personality, & Habits

The Golden Retriever is a tough-looking medium-sized pooch with a unique dense gold-colored coat from which it derives its name. The coat comes in various shades of gold.

Also noticeable is the broad bead, string neck, short ears, straight muzzle, feathery tail, all of which define the breed’s uniqueness. The same features also give the Golden Retriever a powerful and smooth gait and balance.

In an interview with Jessica Perry Hekman, a genomics specialist, it came out quite clearly that Golden Retrievers are special, first due to their to their looks and the fact that they all act in a similar manner. They are also quite faithful, obedient and easy to train.

And just as the dog’s name suggests, they also excel in the act of catching things and carrying them around in their mouth. They are also natural athletes, which enables them to perform well in dog sports like competitive obedience and agility.

Outdoors, they are quite playful and active, and indoors, they remain calm, an attribute that makes them a favorite breed for most families.

Many pet parents also admit to the breed’s instinctive love of water, a fact that makes them great friends at the pool during summer days.

However, the gentle and friendly temperament means they are unsuited to being professional guard dogs. 

Caring for Golden Retrievers

Raising a Golden Retriever requires special care and attention. This is because they grow really rapidly in the period between four and seven months and this makes them prone to bone disorders. One way to keep them from growing rapidly is by feeding them a high-quality diet that is low in calorie.

Also feed them a diet that is appropriate for their age (pup, adult or senior). PerCareRx shares more information on what to feed your Golden Retriever.

Given that, in year, Goldens shed their coat once or twice, it’s best to brush them several times a week just so that the dead hair won’t end up in other places. Also, bathe them and brush their teeth regularly and always keep their nails trimmed.

Like every other sporting dog breed, your golden will require enough regular exercise. Take them for a walk, long runs or have them accompany you on your bike ride. Not forgetting to mention dog sports or hunting trips.

When it comes to training, puppy training classes and early socialization are a great place to start. Expose them to people, places, and situations. Obedience training is also necessary. All these activities will play a role in grooming your Golden Retriever into an awesome adult.

Health-wise, Goldens are generally healthy. However, just like most breeds, they are prone to specific health conditions such as hypothyroidism, pigmentary uveitis, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, eye disorders, heart diseases, just to name but a few.

To keep them safe, have them tested and checked by a vet at least weekly for infections.

Favorite Environment

Golden Retrievers do well in most environments, thanks to their eager-to-please attribute. Whether it’s an apartment or one of those large living spaces, they will fit in perfectly.

In 2017, Dogumentary TV prepared a mini documentary about Golden Retrievers. You can watch it below.

4. The French Bulldog

popular dog breeds

Frencies, as many like to call them, have emerged as one of the popular small-dog breeds adored by many, especially city dwellers, celebrities, and those in need of a cute furry companion.

This year, they took the top spot as New York’s top dog breed. They also claimed the top position in other cities like Los Angles, West Palm Beach, San Francisco, and Honolulu.

Celebrities, from Dwayne Johnson, Madonna, John Legend and his wife Chrissy Teigen to Lady Gaga, Hugh Jackman and many others have all been spotted severally in the company of this rare breed.

Frencies, as many like to call them, have emerged as one of the popular small-dog breeds adored by many, especially city dwellers, celebrities, and those in need of a cute furry companion.

This year, they took the top spot as New York’s top dog breed. They also claimed the top position in other cities like Los Angles, West Palm Beach, San Francisco, and Honolulu.

Celebrities, from Dwayne Johnson, Madonna, John Legend and his wife Chrissy Teigen to Lady Gaga, Hugh Jackman and many others have all been spotted severally in the company of this rare breed.

Weight: Under 28 lb.

Height:  11″- 13″

Life expectancy: 10 -12 years

Origin

Midway into the 19th Century, a miniature bulldog became a favorite of many in several cities around England, including Nottingham, which at the time was a lace-making capital.

Thanks to the industrial revolution, the lacemakers from this city, together with their miniature bulldogs, relocated to the northern side of France.

Eventually, the little bulldogs become a popular breed in the country’s countryside and as years went by, they were crossbred with other breeds, leading to the now-popular bat-ear breed. A new name, Bouledogue Français, was assigned to the breed.

English breeders, however, were annoyed at this new development, insisting that the rose-ear is the correct Frenchie type.

Frenchies began to thrive in France and as the 19th Century came to an end, the breed’s popularity had already spread across Europe and in the US. Americans firsts saw the breed in 1896 during the Westminster Kennel Club show and contributed to the ear controversy by arguing that the bat ear was the right Frenchie type.

According to Wikipedia, after England banned blood spots, Bulldogs become ‘unemployed’ making the breed switch from being a sporting dog to a companion dog.

Today, they remain among the best companion dog breeds.

Appearance, Behavior, Personality, & Habits

The first impression of the French Bulldog is that of a small-medium sized pooch with a muscular body, seemingly heavy bones, and a smooth coat. The coat can be found in several colors, including black, white, fawn, and brindle.

The dog’s hallmark attributes are its bat-shaped ears together with the big square wrinkled head, the gentle skin around the shoulders, and low center of gravity.

Frenchies always look curious, alert and interested, which can be attributed in part to the bat-ears. Also, they don’t bark much, but with the attributes we’ve just mentioned, expect them to be great watchdogs. They can also be quite protective of those they love and their home too.

Frenchies don’t discriminate as well, thanks to their friendly disposition. The American Kennel Club lists several reasons why they are irresistible companions.

Whether you are single, married or have a huge family, they will fit in just perfectly. They are also good with children. On top of that, they get along well with other animals and enjoy it when they make new friends.

Even though they love to play, this breed would rather spend their day relaxing on the couch. However, since they thrive on human contact, they should not be left alone for long periods.

The French Bulldog Club of America shares a lot more about this breed on their website in relation to behavior, personality, and habits.

Caring for French Bulldogs

Frenchies are vulnerable to obesity, a condition that can mess up their physical structure and expose them to serious health issues. Pet parents should, therefore, watch the breed’s weight level and calorie intake.

Other health issues they are exposed to include breathing problems and eye disorders, both of which result from overeating. Not forgetting to mention spinal conditions, allergies, orthopedic conditions, and the Brachycephalic Syndrome, a pathological condition.

In order to keep them safe, the owner has to take them to a vet for routine checks and also learn about the proper diet for this type of breed. And since they can’t swim, they should not be left near a pool, tub or body of water.

Unlike the breeds we’ve looked at, the French Bulldog breed doesn’t require lots of exercises because their energy level is relatively low. However, the least you can do is walk your pooch dog for about 15 minutes a day or engage them in canine sports like obedience and rally. This will help to keep their weight at a proper level.

Take care not to expose them to humid or hot temperatures as this puts them at risk of a heatstroke. Learn more about this condition from PetMD.

Another thing about the French Bulldog is that the dog’s smooth coat doesn’t shed much thus, brushing them on a weekly basis is enough to keep them looking neat and healthy. Don’t forget to trim their nails and brush their regularly.  

Puppy training classes and early socialization are recommended in helping the breed develop good behavior and grow into great adults. Unlike the other breeds. Frenchies carry a huge personality, meaning the amount of training required to develop them into civilized adults will be more than the usual.

Favorite Environment

French Bulldogs don’t require a lot of space; they function well in small dwellings or apartments and are great for the city life. Just ensure that the surrounding is cool, air-conditioned, and comfortable. Being susceptible to heat exhaustion means they can hardly stay outside when it’s hot.

The video below by the American Kennel Club gives a summary of this breed.

5. Boston Terrier

It’s pretty easy to tell that the Boston Terrier is a special American dog breed just by looking at its name. Because of their tuxedo-resembling coat and gentle nature, the breed has been nicknamed the American Gentleman.

popular dog breeds

The Boston Terrier looks pretty much like a tiny French Bulldog, but there’s a lot that makes them different, from the color and size to the purpose and looks.

Also, unlike other “Terriers”, this particular breed belongs to the non-sporting group and is relatively more famous as a companion breed.

Weight: 12-25 lb.

Height:  15″- 17″

Life expectancy: 11 -13years

Origin

In the 19th Century England, when blood sports were still a popular activity, terriers would be crossed with bull-type breeds to create breeds that would do well in ratting contests and pit fighting.

According to the Boston Terrier Club of America, Judge, a 30-pound cross between the white English Terrier (now extinct) and a bulldog was created around this time in Liverpool. It was a muscular dog that was later sold to William O’Brien, an American who took the dog to Boston where his new dog home was based.

It wasn’t long before O’Brien sold Judge to Robert. C. Hooper, a fellow Bostonian. The dog was later named ‘Hooper’s Judge”. All Boston Terrier breeds descended from Hopper’s Judge.

Hopper, later on, bred his muscular pooch to Burnett’s Gyp, a tiny white female dog belonging to Edward Burnett, a resident of Southboro, Massachusetts. The two begot a breed named Well’s Eph.  

Well’s Eph begot Tobin’s Kate who begot several other breeds. Well, thanks to selective breeding, Judge was transformed into an attractive companion dog with refined temperamental and physical attributes.

The Massachusetts State Legislature recognized the Bull Terrier as the official state dog in 1879. Ten years later,  Bull Terrier Club of America was established.

Bull Terrier Fanciers didn’t like the fact this breed was often named Bull Terriers and so, soon after the establishment of the Boston Terrier Club of America, the breed’s name was officially changed to Boston Terrier, a name that honored the dog’s origin.

In 1893, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed.

Appearance, Behavior, Personality, & Habits

Besides their characteristically stylish ‘tuxedo’ coat, Boston Terriers have a short tail and head, smooth coat, strong limbs, and a compact short body. These qualities convey an impression of strength and determination.

Other physical attributes include a square-head, short muzzle, and large round eyes, from which you can read their curiosity and kindness. Their tuxedo-resembling coat can be black, white, dark brown or brindle.

Even though they were first bred to be fierce pit fighters, Boston terriers can only show this quality when their territory is invaded, mostly by an unfamiliar dog.

But most of the time, they are simply this extremely intelligent and playful affectionate companions who love to be around people, including kids, and to share a bed or sofa with them.

They are also friendly to other pets, especially fellow Boston Terriers. However, when around strangers, they tend to be shy.

Training them is pretty easy as well, thanks to their keen intellect and a tendency to learn new things. To keep them sane, make sure they don’t get bored or unsupervised for long periods of time, because, just like most of the breeds, they will end up barking constantly, digging, and doing lots of other undesirable things.

Caring for the Boston Terrier

Unlike other breeds, the American Gentleman is more susceptible to atopic dermatitis, a skin condition that results from allergies. PetCareRx shares more about this condition on their website, including what foods to avoid.

Also, some Boston Terrier pups are more prone to obesity unless the pet parent serves them proper dog food that is also appropriate for their age.

Next, keep your Boston terrier indoors or in cool surroundings most of the time because they don’t tolerate heat so well. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take them for exercise.

Activities like a brief leash-led walk or playing with them outside is vital as it will help to keep them sane, active, and healthy. If possible, let them take part in canine sports like flyball or obedience or any other activity where they can channel their energy.

To raise them into well-behaved and civilized adults, expose them to puppy training classes and early socialization. Make use of training incentives as many of them are quite sensitive and mostly thrive on praise and warmth. 

As for their coat, it only requires minimal care. Brushing them once or twice a week is enough to remove the dead hair and keep them looking neat and healthy. Bath them occasionally as well and don’t forget to keep their nails well-trimmed.

Generally, Boston Terriers are healthy but like most breeds, they are prone to specific health conditions like allergies, eye disorders like cataracts, stenotic nares, patellar luxation and elongated soft palate.  Other health issues like seizures, deafness, corneal abrasions, and demodicosis are also likely to occur.

Having a vet run several tests occasionally would help to keep the dog safe from these conditions.

Favorite Environment

Boston Terriers do so well in apartments or just any place where they are given adequate shelter and protection from excess heat or humidity.

Animal Planet shares more about this breed in the video below.

5. Beagles

Of the popular dog breeds adored by Americans, Beagles take the sixth position. Worldwide, they have been ranked at position eight

If not for their calm temperament, size, and pleading expression, dog enthusiasts will mention their hunting skills and friendly disposition as the reason they would own or want to own the beagle.

Wikipedia mentions that Beagles have been portrayed in popular culture since the Elizabethan times. That includes in paintings, literature, and very recently in films, comic books and television.

popular dog breeds

What’s more, according to the Presidential Pet Museum, Former US president Lyndon. B. Johnson owned three beagles.

All of these facts just how popular and loved the Beagles are. Note that there are two major Beagle varieties distinguished by height.

Height:  Type A – Under 13 ″ Type B- 13″- 15″

Weight: Type A- Under 20 lb. (Under 13 ″), Type B – 20-30 lb. (13″- 15″)

Life expectancy: 10 -15 years

Origin

Beagle’s true origin has remained debatable to date. For example, the name of the breed remains a mystery to many.  Whereas historians and other experts insist the name is derived from beag, a Gaelic word meaning little, other scholars believe Beagle comes from be’geule, a French word for the sound made by hounds while hunting.

The National Beagle Club of America reports that small-pack hounds were used in England to hunt hare and rabbit long before the arrival of Roman legions in 55 B.C. By the time the 16th Century came to pass, the majority of English men had huge hounds which they used to track deer and smaller hounds used for tracking hares.

Those smaller hounds are the breed from which the modern beagle descended from. Hunters in England preferred the Beagle over larger pack hunters when it came to hunting mostly because one could keep up with the smaller hounds on foot while hunting. No horse was required.

Beagles first made their way into America following the end of the civil war.  It wasn’t long before rabbit hunters took notice.  In 1885, the American Kennel Club registered Blunder, the first Beagle breed.

To this day, Beagles are a favorite in North America due to their hunting skills while the rest of the world simply loves them due to their loyal companionship and an exceptional sense of smell.

Appearance, Behavior, Personality, & Habits

As we saw earlier on, the only distinguishing factor between the two major varieties of the Beagle is the height. That aside, both varieties are compact, hardy, and small in size. In fact, you can easily carry them to the hunting place where they can scamper into a thick underbrush looking for a target while enjoying protection from their coarse coat.

Their nose is a crucial part of their anatomy given that the beagle is a scent hound. We also can’t fail to mention their big brown eyes, dangling houndy ears and a lovely face, all of which endear them to dog enthusiasts.

Beagles are available in different exciting colors like red, lemon, tricolor, and white.

Among the hound group, beagles are the friendliest. They generally get along well with humans as well as other animals. Also, being pack hunters is the reason why they are fond of exploring outdoor spaces and are very enthusiastic about trailing.

What makes them a great family companion is the fact they are lovable, loving, cheerful, and very tolerant. The fact that they primarily used to hunt in packs explains why they love company and are generally tolerant.

On top of that, they are clever, curious, and energetic, and often require lots of playtime.

Caring for Beagles

Keeping your Beagle healthy begins by feeding them a diet that is appropriate for their age and ensuring that the food itself is of good quality.  You can borrow a few lessons from PetCareRx’s diet guide for Beagles.  Watch their calorie consumption and weight level as well because they are prone to obesity.

Beagles are highly social dogs and so, they are at their best when they are in the company of humans or other animals. That includes during exercise or play time. You can take them on leash-led walks or romping in a spacious area like a park or yard. Take care not to leave them alone because they tend to get destructive when left unchecked.  

To keep your beagle looking neat, healthy and vibrant, occasionally brush their short and close coat to get rid of loose hair and minimize hair buildup around your home. During winter, the coat gets a little heavier so, expect plenty of shedding during spring.  

Remember to trim their nails regularly and as for bathing, don’t do it too often unless it’s really necessary. 

Beagles are known to be a healthy breed. However, there are several health conditions that specifically affect the breed. Some of them include patellar luxation, epilepsy, glaucoma, hypothyroidism, chondrodysplasia, cherry eye, just to name but a few.

The breed is also prone to deafness, umbilical hernia, cataract, demodicosis, and hemophilia A, all of which are minor ailments.

To keep them safe from such conditions, have your vet do routine tests.

Just like with most of the breeds, puppy training classes and early socialization are necessary. Use treats during training and keep your training tactics less harsh.

Favorite Environment

The beagle can survive in outdoor spaces and in temperate climates provided you give them a bedding and warm enclosed shelter.

MonkeySee sums up the basics of the Beagle breed in the short video below.

6. Bulldog

In 2017, the American Kennel Club ranked Bulldogs as the fifth most popular dog breed in the US. Even though they were primarily bred to be fierce and tough, the modern breed is a loving, gentle, and friendly canine yet still courageous and resolute. All these factors combined make Bulldogs great companions and watchdogs.

The majority of breed clubs refer to this breed as Bulldog. However, sometimes you’ll notice them being called English or British Bulldogs. The reason behind this is to make it easier to distinguish them from other bulldog breeds like the American Bulldog or French Bulldog.

popular dog breeds

Among those who once owned the Bulldog include two former US Presidents.  There’s also a long list of celebrities who’ve never shielded away from expressing their love for the English Bulldog.

Weight: Male- 50 lb., Female – 40 lb.

Height:  14 ″ -15 ″

Life expectancy: 8 -10 years

Origin

The America Kennel Club reports that bulldogs first come into being during the 13th Century England. They were created for bullbaiting, a sport in which staked bulls fought with a pack of dogs.

The breed of that time had huge jaws and was incredibly brave, ferocious, and almost impervious to pain.  Later when England banned blood spots, another sport, pit-dog fighting, was born.

The new sport required more quicker and animated dogs and so, gamblers crossed their fiery bulldogs with terriers. The result was breeds like Staffordshire Bull Terrier and lots of other Bull Terrier breeds, some of which are still available today.

Having noticed that the Bulldog was facing extinction, the Bulldog Club of America reports that Bulldog fanciers started to transform the breed from a fighter to a companion. This went on until they finally developed the breed we see today. AKC recognized the breed in 1886.

During WW II, the Bulldog was likened to Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister at the time, partly due to his defiance of Nazis. Actually, in England, the breed is a national symbol while in America, several institutions, like Yale University, University of Georgia, and U.S. Marine Corps, have adopted the bulldog as their mascot.

Appearance, Behavior, Personality, & Habits

The English Bulldog is medium-sized and comes in a smooth and glossy coat available in various colors like white, yellow, red or a combination of several of them. The limbs are noticeably sturdy, shoulders wide, and the ears relatively small.

Other prominent physical features include a furrowed brow, undershot jaw with chops hanging on either side, scrunched up nose, and rolling gait. Most of these features were passed along from the first breeds. All of them played a role in making the bulldog a great fighter.

Bulldogs also have a characteristically low center of gravity, a feature that was pretty useful during the time they had to fight bulls and crawl very close to the ground so as to evade the horns.

The modern Bulldog is patient, devoted, obedient, and more often willing to please. Part of what makes them excellent family pets is their affection for children. Most of the time they will be friendly to strangers but other times, they will be politely reserved.

Little Bulldogs tend to be frisky, but the adults and seniors are mostly quiet and a bit phlegmatic. Sometimes they can be stubborn, but this is compensated for by the fact they are sensitive and easily remember what they’ve learned.

Caring for Bulldogs

Your bulldog deserves to be fed top quality food up to two times a day. Make sure the food is appropriate for their age. Don’t forget to serve them fresh water daily as this will assist to avoid dehydration.

Still on foods, PetCareRx has a list of foods you should not feed your Bulldog. In the event you are unsure what or how much food you should give your pooch, please consult a vet.

Minimal coat care is required for the English bulldog except for the facial wrinkles and the folds in the tail region, both of which should be cleaned daily to keep dirt or rubbish from building up in them. As for the coat, brushing them several times a week is fine.

When fully grown, Bulldogs will need more than an hour of exercise. But don’t expect them to jog or walk long distances. In fact, they love to spend their time relaxing on a sofa or just next to their owner’s feet. For the sake of their safety, keep them away from pools, stairs, and places with excess heat and humidity.

If you really have to spend your time in the sun with them, make sure you’ve applied enough dog’s screen lotion on their skin.

Due to their short head, noses, and snout, narrow waist, and wide torso, Bulldogs are prone to a wide range of health issues like respiratory problems, bloat, eye disorders, teeth and skin problems.

Other major health conditions they are vulnerable to include a ventricular septal defect, canine hip dysplasia, stenotic nares, keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), shoulder luxation, elongated soft palate, and internalized tail.

If you notice your bulldog displaying any unusual signs, please consult your vet. You might also want to check out this extra advice about the breed’s health from the Bulldog Club of America.

Bulldogs respond so well to training if it’s patient and persistent. Puppy training classes are recommended plus early socialization. Erich Letendre, a dog training expert, shares more on how to train a bulldog in this video.

Favorite Environment

Throughout the day, English bulldogs are more often inactive, especially if the temperature climbs up as the day goes on. Heat makes them so comfortable, and therefore, one has to monitor the temperature closely and adjust their living environments accordingly. Generally, they do well in a house or apartment. 

Here’s a short video from Animal Planet about the English Bulldog.

7. Poodle

Poodles stand out in many ways. First, they have been ranked the second smartest dog breed just behind Border Collies.

Second, they have scooped top honors in plenty of conformation shows. For example, in 2007 and 2010, they were winners at the World Dog Show. Other shows where they’ve won include the Westminster Kennel Club Show and at Crufts.

At first, Poodles acted as aids for duck hunters and also as water retrievers. Today, they have proven themselves not just skillful in lots of activities and dog sports, but also as a people-friendly pooch.

popular dog breeds

Poodles are available in three varieties: standard, miniature, and toy. The Poodle Toy come into being in the early 1900s and it was first bred in the US.

Height:  Standard– Over 13 ″ Miniature- 10″- 15″

Weight: Male Standard- 60-70 lb., Female Standard– 40-50 lb. Miniature – 10-15 lb.

Life expectancy: Standard: 10 -13 years Miniature: 13-15 years.

Origin

To date, the subject of Poodle’s origin is still under discussion. In France, they refer to this breed as the Caniche and it’s believed that they descended from the French Barbet dog.

There’s also the argument that Poodles originated in Germany where they primarily acted as duck hunters and actually got their present name. Pudel, a German word that means “to splash about” is thought to be the source of the breed’s name.

Standard Poodles made great retrieving water dogs in their early years, thanks to their swimming ability, exceptional intelligence, and the crisp and curly coat, which protected them from harsh elements.

The need to make Poodles better retrievers drove hunters to shave their legs, tail, and neck while leaving the hips, chest and leg joints coated for protection purposes.

However, due to their numerous fine qualities, it wasn’t long before the breed found other duties. French noblemen were the first to express their love for the finer Poodles of the miniature and standard varieties. It wasn’t long before all of Europe took notice as well, with many admiring the breed for their trainability and showy looks.

Of the non-sporting dog breeds, the Standard Poodle is the only that is eligible for the American Kennel Club Retriever Hunting Tests.

Poodles are skillful in tracking and herding and perform well as assistance dogs. In dog sports, they are great circus performers. They also excel in obedience and agility.

Appearance, Behavior, Personality, & Habits

Apart from the differences in height, weight, and size, the different pool varieties are squarely built and athletic with a visibly light and springy gait. Expect to come across various colors, including grey, solid blue, silver, cream, apricot, and brown.

Their hypoallergenic coat is curly and dense and they spot a long muzzle and round skull. The rounded tufts on their tail tip, hips and legs and tail are called pompons.  

In the early years, the clips were only used for functional and ornamental purposes. A lot has changed since then. The clips acceptable for Show Poodles include sporting, continental, puppy, and English saddle.

Standard Poodles are known to be quite playful, which explains why when left alone, they get so sad and lonely. Nevertheless, most times they are active, eager, and will carry themselves proudly.

And despite being shy with strangers, this standard variety gets along well with people they know and are incredibly friendly to children. On top of that, they are obedient and love to swim and run.

The miniature variety tends to be loyal to a single person and is known to be shy with unfamiliar faces, leading to some barking a lot. However, they are friendly with fellow dogs, pets, and children. What’s more, they are obedient, responsive, playful, and easy to please.

Thanks to their keen intelligence, all poodles are pretty easy to train. This is part of the reason why they excel at performance sports like agility and hunt tests.

Caring for Poodles

When it comes to diet and nutrition, Poodles need to be fed food that is appropriate not just for their age, but size and activity level. If unsure how to go about this, you can talk to your vet. Also, check out this Poodle diet guide prepared by the diet experts over at PetCareRx.  

In order to remain active and sane, Poodles need plenty of socialization, in addition to mental and physical exercises. Varieties like the standard Poodles need extra physical exercise, besides walks and play sessions. That includes swimming.

Daily brushing will be required for show Poodles, but for those with shorter coats, brushing them one or two times a week is enough.

For this particular breed, their hair doesn’t fall during shedding. It gets stuck in the adjacent hairs leading to matting. Thus, taking the dog for a pet clip every 4-6 weeks to remove the hair is necessary.

The majority of Poodles are known to live longer and healthier lives. However, like every other breed, they are not immune to health issues.

The standard variety of Poodles mostly suffer from major conditions like Addison’s disease, gastric torsionsebaceous adenitis, and canine hip dysplasia,

Miniature Poodles, on the other hand, are prone to health issues like glaucoma, Legg Perthes disease, progressive retinal atrophy, patellar luxation, and trichiasis.

The major health issues both varieties are exposed to include epilepsy, cataract, entropion, cataract, and distichiasis.

To identify these conditions, have your vet run several tests on your Poodle regularly.

Favorite Environment

Provided you take good care of them, Poodles can do well in almost any environments. They perform particular better where there’s lots of human companionship.

In this video, the American Kennel Club sums up pretty much everything you would want to know about Poodles.

8. Rottweiler

Rotties, as dog enthusiast like to call them, are large and powerful dogs with a past dating back to Roman military dogs. Being great guard dogs and lovely family companions has earned them a great reputation.

popular dog breeds

Generally, they are courageous, confident, and loyal, a fact that has endeared to most Americans, especially those from Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and Missouri, where Rottweilers are the most searched for dog breed.

Weight: Male- 95-135 lb.|Female – 10-100 lb.

Height:  Male- 24 ″ -27 ″ |Female- 22 ″- 25 ″

Life expectancy: 9-10 years

Origins

During the time when Roman legions marched to the remote corners of the earth trying to conquer the world, they brought herds along as food. In order to guard and move the herd, the army realized they needed tough and durable dogs.

Using Asian mastiffs as the breeding stock, they would later end up with a breed from which the modern Rottweiler descended from.

For hundreds of years, the Romans had to battle with German tribes based off the northern borders of their empire. Dogs were brought to these borders to fight these tribes. Eventually, the dogs ended up as foundation stock for most German dog breeds.

Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, Roman drover dogs were assigned new work at Rottweil, a castle town in Germany. Here, they moved herds to the market from pasture, gave protection to those involved in the moving, and also earned the name Rottweiler Metzgerhund, which means Rottweil butchers’ dog.

When railroad rattle cars were developed in the 1800s, Rottweilers role in transporting livestock ended, but they found a new role as police dogs and personal protectors. They would also be utilized in performing several heavy-duty tasks.

As years went by, their roles grew. Today, they are also used as therapy dogs, family pets, and in search and rescue missions.

Appearance, Behavior, Personality, & Habits

Besides being characteristically large, Rottweilers are long, compact, and robust. These attributes explain for their agility, great strength, and endurance, which enables them to function as great guard dogs, cattle herders or perform any of the many roles that require such attributes.

Their imposing strength is emphasized further by the short, dense and coarse black coat with well-defined rust to mahogany markings. The male type tends to be more massive with visibly heavier bones than their female counterparts.

Usually, Rottweilers are fiercely devoted to those they love and they will put their life on the line for them. This inherent protectiveness makes them a favorite for the police and military as well.  

Well-bred Rotties can get along well with children. However, due to their natural instinct to herd and strong prey drive, it’s advisable to supervise them when they are around children.

When around unfamiliar faces, they are shy and they tend to get a bit aggressive when introduced to other dogs or pets.

Also more important to mention is that Rotties need constant training as they grow up so that they can be able to offer appropriate protection.

Above everything else, Rottweilers are intelligent, loving, and always willing to work.

Caring for Rottweilers

The dietary needs of Rottweilers vary based on age and the diseases they are prone to. To learn more about how to feed your dog, get in touch with your vet.

Generally, the food has to be of good quality. Some, like, dog treats, must be served in moderation. Watch their weight level and calorie consumption.

Only minimal coat care, say weekly, is needed to remove the dead hair. However, when it comes to bathing, this should be done regularly. The same to brushing their teeth and trimming their nails.

Since Rotties are athletic, muscular, and quite energetic, daily exercises recommended. Take them for long walks, jogs, swimming, romping, or have them take part in an energetic play session. This will also help to keep them fit and healthy.

To make them less stubborn and aggressive, obedience lessons and socialization are recommended. Please don’t be rough to them during training as they might not respond well to that.

Health-wise, Rottweilers are generally healthy. To keep them safe from health issues like hip dysplasia, eye disorders, and heart problems, have potential dams or sires tested before breeding. Also, have your vet do few exams and tests to check out for allergies and conditions like cancer, osteosarcoma, elbow dysplasia, gastric torsion, and hypothyroidism.

Favorite Environment

Rotties can survive pretty well in cold surroundings but not in hot weather. Therefore, they should mostly be kept in outdoor places where they have good shelter and the climate is cool.

Watch this video by Animal Planet to learn more about Rottweilers.

Other dog breeds that have withstood the test of time and have made into the popular list prepared yearly by the American Kennel Club include:

  • The Yorkshire Terrier
  • Boxers
  • Pointers – German Shorthaired
  • Dachshunds
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgis
  • Great Danes      

Summary

From our list, it’s pretty clear that the most popular dog breeds today are those that are intelligent, friendly, lovable, and able to act as guardians. These qualities, plus the unique attributes each breed has, endear them to most people.

The popularity of these breeds also stems from the fact that each has something different to offer. For example, if you are out for looks, ‘the American Gentleman’ Boston Terrier will blow you away with its tuxedo-resembling coat. A German Shepherd or a Rottweiler would be a great choice if you want protection.

Put simply, there’s always a dog among these popular dog breeds able to fulfill our different needs.

Something else every pet parent should not is that diet and nutrition matters a lot for every dog breed.  Quality dog feed will help your pooch to stay healthy and free from diseases. That’s why it’s important to be aware of foods your dog should never eat.