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Most Popular Dog Breed


Most Popular Dog Breed- Dogs are the most popular pet, occupying 49 million households, according to the United States Census Bureau.

And just because these friends are furry, it doesn’t make the love pet owners have for them any less than what they feel for human family members. In fact, The Pew Research Center found that 51% of pet owners view them in the same light as any human in the family.

Because of the deep connection with our four-legged friends, it’s no wonder that the pet industry has grown over the years.

The APPA National Pet Owners Survey has tracked pet ownership since 1988, when the rate was 56%.

Today, it stands at 66%, seeing 10% growth since the survey began.

With that, we’ve seen increased spending on pets across all areas, from insurance to food to toys and everything in between.

We know Americans love pets, but which breed is most popular?

We uncovered that during our study, in which we analyzed more than a quarter of a million data points to find the favorite dog breed in each state.

This study goes hand in hand with exploring the top cities for dog owners across the United States.


Highlights from APPA National Pet Owners Survey Across the U.S.

It’s clear that the Chihuahua is the most popular breed in the United States, but even more so in the South.

Look at the map from our study, and you’ll see it’s a favorite in every southern state except for Florida, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware.

Moving north, the upper northeast loves the Golden Retriever as this breed takes the top spot in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

Many midwest states also share a love for the Golden Retriever, as it’s the most popular breed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska, Michigan and Ohio.

The west shows more variety, with California loving the French Bulldog, the Goldendoodle being a favorite in Idaho and Utah, and the German Shepherd being the stand-out breed in Montana and Wyoming.

Here are some other interesting finds about favorite dog breeds across the U.S.:

  • 4% of dogs in the country are Chihuahuas, but they’re most populous in New Mexico, accounting for 7% of all pets in the state
  • Vermont has the most Golden Retrievers, followed by New Hampshire and Maine 
  • German Shepherds and Chihuahuas claim 16% of all top 5 spots across the country
  • German Shepherds represent approximately 3% of the breed in each state


Most Popular Dog Breed Chihuahua

The Chihuahua is a Mexican breed of toy dog.

It is named for the Mexican state of Chihuahua and is among the smallest of all dog breeds.

It is usually kept as a companion animal or for showing.

Likenesses of Chihuahua-like dogs decorate the artifacts of lost civilizations around the world.

Trading among ancient cultures was more widespread than commonly assumed, so it is no surprise that similar dog types took root in far-flung places.

How the Chihuahua type first came to the peoples of Mexico, however, is a secret of prehistory.

We do know that when the Toltecs held sway in Mexico about a thousand years ago, their breed of choice was the Techichi, a larger, heavier ancestor of today’s Chi.

The famous bandleader Xavier Cugat did much to popularize Chihuahuas in the 1940s and 50s.

More recently, these natural performers stole the show in “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” “Legally Blonde,” and “Sex and the City.”

The minor-league baseball team of El Paso, Texas, is named the Chihuahuas.


Most Popular Dog Breed French Bulldog

The French Bulldog is a French breed of companion dog or toy dog.

It appeared in Paris in the mid-nineteenth century, apparently the result of cross-breeding of Toy Bulldogs imported from England and local Parisian ratters.

In the mid-1800s, a toy-size Bulldog found favor in some English cities, including Nottingham, then a center for lace making.

The toy Bulldog became something of a mascot for Nottingham’s lace makers.

This was the height of the Industrial Revolution in England, and such “cottage industries” as lace making were increasingly threatened.

Many in the lace trade relocated to northern France, and of course, they brought their toy Bulldogs with them.

By the end of the 19th century, the Frenchie’s popularity had spread across Europe and to America.

The breed was tougher sell in England.

The Bulldog was a national symbol, and it rankled many Englishmen that their age-old rivals, the French, would dare adapt it to their purposes.

American devotees of the early 1900s contributed to the breed by insisting that the bat ear, as opposed to the “rose ear,” was the correct Frenchie type.

It is by this distinctive feature


Most Popular Dog Breed Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is a Scottish breed of retriever dog of medium size. It is characterized by a gentle and affectionate nature and a striking golden coat.

It is commonly kept as a pet and is among the most frequently registered breeds in several Western countries

The most important name in the early history of the Golden Retriever is Dudley Marjoribanks, the first Lord Tweedmouth, who developed the breed in the Scottish Highlands during the reign of Victoria.

For the 50 years between 1840 and 1890, Tweedmouth kept scrupulous records of breedings effected to create an ideal gundog for use at his Guisachan estate in the Highlands, Inverness-shire, Scotland.

Tweedmouth wanted a dog suited to the rainy climate and rugged terrain of the area, so he crossed his “Yellow Retriever” with a breed that is now extinct, the Tweed Water Spaniel. Irish Setter and Bloodhound were also added to the mix.

The Golden was first seen at a British dog show in 1908, and good specimens of the breed began arriving in America, by way of Canada, at about the same time.

Sport hunters appreciated the breed’s utility, show fanciers were enthralled by their beauty and dash, and all were impressed by the Golden’s sweet, sensible temperament.

The Golden Retriever was admired from the beginning of its history in America, but the breed’s popularity really took off in the 1970s, the era of President Gerald Ford and his beautiful Golden named Liberty.


Most Popular Dog Breed German Shepherd

The German Shepherd, also known in Britain as an Alsatian, is a German breed of working dog of medium to large size.

The breed was developed by Max von Stephanitz using various traditional German herding dogs from 1899.

It was originally bred as a herding dog, for herding sheep.

The German Shepherd Dog (Deutshe Schäferhund) descends from the family of German herding dogs that, until the late 19th century, varied in type from district to district.

GSDs became popular in the United States in the early 1900s, thanks in part to the adventures of canine movie stars Rin-Tin-Tin and Strongheart.

The GSD is among those German breeds, the Dachshund is another, that suffered from anti-German sentiment during and after the world wars.

In World War I–era Britain, the breed was referred to as the Alsatian, a name many British dog lovers still prefer.

With the rise of modern livestock management and the decline of herding as a canine occupation, von Stephanitz shrewdly promoted his breed as an ideal K-9 worker.

The GSD is today the preferred dog for police and military units the world over.


Most Popular Dog Breed Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is a toy dog or pet dog breed originating from Tibet and believed to be bred from the Pekingese and the Lhasa Apso.

They can adapt well to different situations.

Due to their highly independent nature, they are not considered as a very obedient breed.

When you own a Shih Tzu, you own a little bit of Chinese history. Imperial breeders in the palace of the Chinese emperor developed the Shih Tzu (meaning “lion dog”) centuries ago from Tibetan breeding stock.

The breed is most likely the product of crosses of two even older Sino-Tibetan breeds, the Lhaso Apso and the Pekingese.

The breed remained hidden behind palace walls, virtually unknown to the outside world, until the1930s.

Breed clubs formed in Peking and later England further refined the breed, not without much debate among fanciers as to proper type.

The Shih Tzu entered the AKC Stud Book in 1969.

Since then, the Shih Tzu has been one of the most popular toy dogs here and in the United Kingdom.

And they still treat their owners, no matter who they might be, like royalty.

Owners as diverse as Queen Elizabeth II and Miley Cyrus have succumbed to the Shih Tzu’s exotic charms.


Most Popular Dog Breed Goldendoodle

The Goldendoodle is a designer dog created by crossbreeding a Golden Retriever and a Poodle.

First widely bred in the 1990s, they are bred in three different sizes—each corresponding to the size of Poodle used as a parent.

The Goldendoodle, a beloved crossbreed combining the intelligence and friendliness of the Golden Retriever with the hypoallergenic qualities of the Poodle has its origins interwoven with the careful breeding practices and vision of many passionate individuals.

Poodle-Golden Retriever crosses have been discovered sporadically throughout the last few centuries, but the exact moment of this breed’s inception remains a mystery. In the late 1990’s, a few dedicated breeders emerged to actively promote this innovative crossbreed.

By 2014, membership was stagnant though Goldendoodles continued to rise in popularity.

Rhonda Hovan, member of the Board of Directors of the AKC Canine Health Foundation, offered a suggestion during her seminar at the very first GANA Educational Conference: a breeder apprentice program whereby novice breeders could gain valuable mentorship and guidance from more experienced GANA breeders.

Once the program was established, membership increased significantly.

By the beginning of 2024, GANA proudly has more than 150 member breeders committed to the development of Goldendoodles.

Over 38,000 dogs are registered in the pedigree database. 


Most Popular Dog Breed Yorkshire Terrier

Beneath the dainty, glossy, floor-length coat of a Yorkshire Terrier beats the heart of a feisty, old-time terrier. Yorkies earned their living as ratters in mines and mills long before they became the beribboned lapdogs of Victorian ladies.

The Yorkshire Terrier is a compact, toy-size terrier of no more than seven pounds whose crowning glory is a floor-length, silky coat of steel blue and a rich golden tan.

Don’t let the Yorkie’s daintiness fool you. Tenacious, feisty, brave, and sometimes bossy, the Yorkie exhibits all the traits of a true terrier.

Often named the most popular dog breed in various American cities, Yorkies pack lots of big-town attitude into a small but self-important package.

They are favorites of urbanites the world over.

Yorkies are long-lived and hypoallergenic (the coat is more like human hair than animal fur), and they make fine little watchdogs.

This is a true ‘personality breed,’ providing years of laughs, love, and close companionship.

The Yorkie’s home region was a center of mining as well as textile making, and many Yorkies were employed in coal mines as exterminators.

The turning point in breed history came in 1886, when the Kennel Club (England) granted the Yorkie recognition.

With this splash of publicity, the Yorkie became fashionable as a ladies’ companion.

And, as the Yorkie’s popularity among the fashionable increased, its size decreased to better meet its new job description: adorable, amusing companion sitting in the lap of luxury.

Yorkies were first seen in America in the 1870s, and the AKC recorded its first Yorkie, a female named Belle, in 1885.


Most Popular Dog Breed American Pit Bull Terrier

The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) is a dog breed recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) and the American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA), but not the American Kennel Club (AKC).

The American Pit Bull Terrier is a dog breed recognized by the United Kennel Club and the American Dog Breeders Association, but not the American Kennel Club.

It is a medium-sized, short-haired dog, of a solid build, whose early ancestors came from England.

Pit Bull Terriers fill the role of companion dogs, working dogs, athletic sport dogs (weight pulling, French Ring Sport, Top Dog), police dogs, and therapy dogs.

Pit Bull Terriers also constitute the majority of dogs used for illegal dog fighting in America In addition, law enforcement organizations report these dogs are used for other nefarious purposes, such as guarding illegal narcotics operations, use against police, and as attack dogs.


Most Popular Dog Breed Pit Bull

Pit bull is an umbrella term for several types of dog believed to have descended from bull and terriers

The American Staffordshire Terrier, known to their fans as AmStaffs, are smart, confident, good-natured companions.

Their courage is proverbial.

A responsibly bred, well-socialized AmStaff is a loyal, trustworthy friend to the end.

AmStaffs are stocky, muscular bull-type terriers standing 17 to 19 inches at the shoulder.

The head is broad, the jaws well defined, the cheekbones pronounced, and the dark, round eyes are set wide apart.

AmStaff movement is agile and graceful, with a springy gait that advertises the breed’s innate confidence.

The stiff, glossy coat comes in many colors and patterns. AmStaffers describe their dogs as keenly aware of their surroundings, game for anything, and lovable ‘personality dogs’ around the house.

AmStaffs like mental and physical challenges.

They are highly trainable, as their many forays into showbiz suggest.

When acquiring an AmStaff, there’s only one way to go: Do your homework and find a responsible AKC breeder.

The well-bred AmStaff of today is a more mellow fellow than his pit-fighting ancestors and has long been a great American favorite.

In 1903, an AmStaff named Bud was along for the ride on America’s first cross-country auto trip (the subject of the Ken Burns documentary ‘Horatio’s Drive’).

Petey, in the old ‘Our Gang’ film comedies of the 1930s, was an AmStaff, as is Tige, the dog in the Buster Brown Shoes logo.

America’s most decorated American war dog was an AmStaff named Sgt. Stubby, a K-9 of World War I who counted three U.S. presidents among his admirers.

Most Popular Dog Breed Labrador Retriever (Black)

The Labrador Retriever or simply Labrador is a British breed of retriever gun dog.

It was developed in the United Kingdom from St. John’s water dogs imported from the colony of Newfoundland, and was named after the Labrador region of that colony.

The sweet-faced, lovable Labrador Retriever is one of America’s most popular dog breeds, year after year.

Labs are friendly, outgoing, and high-spirited companions who have more than enough affection to go around for a family looking for a medium-to-large dog.

The sturdy, well-balanced Labrador Retriever can, depending on the sex, stand from 21.5 to 24.5 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 55 to 80 pounds.

The dense, hard coat comes in yellow, black, and a luscious chocolate.

The head is wide, the eyes glimmer with kindliness, and the thick, tapering ‘otter tail’ seems to be forever signaling the breed’s innate eagerness.

Labs are famously friendly.

They are companionable housemates who bond with the whole family, and they socialize well with neighbor dogs and humans alike.

But don’t mistake his easygoing personality for low energy: The Lab is an enthusiastic athlete that requires lots of exercise, like swimming and marathon games of fetch, to keep physically and mentally fit.

The Kennel Club (England) recognized the Lab in 1903, and the AKC registered its first dog of the breed in 1917.

Labs topped AKC registrations for the first time in 1991 and reigned as America’s favorite breed for 31 straight years.

Most Popular Dog Breed

American dog owners share a unique bond with their furry friends; they aren’t just pets but family members.

The bond is evident when you see everything from Goldendoodle Christmas ornaments to Pitbull coffee mugs in stores and online shops in every corner of the country.

Let’s explore the heart of this connection – the most cherished dog breeds in the United States.

These breeds aren’t just pets; they’ve become integral parts of our lives.

Topping the list of our most beloved dog breeds are the Chihuahua (#1), French Bulldog (#2), and Golden Retriever (#3).

While this list has a ton of variety, many commonalities amongst the top 25 breeds exist.

From the Miniature Daschund (#13) to the Miniature Schnauzer (#16) to the Miniature Poodle (#25), we love our small dogs and the unique traits they have compared to their full-size relatives.

We’re also not surprised to see the Labrador Retriever in all color combinations make the top 25 – Black (#10), Yellow (#14) and Chocolate (#22). Its counterpart, the Golden Retriever, makes the top 5 at #3 on the list.

Our 360 Reviews team analyzed 811,798 data points from a third-party pet insurance industry partner fall of 2023.

The 800,000+ data points analyzed included dog breeds (including hybrid breeds) and state residence, which was filtered by state and ranked to show the most popular dog breeds in each state.

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