Choosing a new dog is an exciting prospect, and the chance to bring a fabulous four-legged friend into your family and home. But selecting the ideal breed for your lifestyle can leave you spoilt for choice or perhaps a little unsure as to which dog is best for you. If this sounds like you, then why not take some inspiration from the ten breeds that are currently topping America’s most popular dogs list.
Each year the American Kennel Club releases its most popular dog breeds, based on how many registrations they have received during the year. While the reliable Labrador Retriever scoops the top spot – the number one dog breed position it has held since 1991 – the remainder is a surprisingly diverse range of fantastic breeds that may also make the perfect pooch you have been looking for.
So, if 2020 is the year you are planning to welcome a new canine member into your household, then the following top dog breeds all come with excellent references!
Top traits: Loyal, loving, intelligent and friendly
It is easy to see why the Labrador Retriever has held onto the top dog top spot for the past 28 years – these versatile, friendly and loyal dogs make wonderful family pets and are a joy to love and care for. With their intelligence and highly trainable attitude, Labs also make fantastic service, guide and therapy dogs, and if you like an animal with a good work ethic, they can also be excellent game hunting companions. Medium to large sized and with a solid, athletic build, Labs are hardy and energetic, loving nothing more than to hang out and play with his humans, big or small. Originally bred to be a working dog, Labs were historically a fisherman’s helper, hauling nets and retrieving catch from the water and they thrive on activity and human interaction. But they are also gentle and kind-natured and can become the most wonderful furry best friend for children. They can be food monsters and they do need around an hour of exercise each day to balance their energy levels, but they are great fun and easy to train, making them the US’s most popular dogs.
Top traits: Hardworking, protective, affectionate and loyal
Intelligent, protective and with those distinct furry ears, the German Shepherd has long been associated as a police or service dog but these large furballs also make fantastic pets. Also known as the Alsatian, the German Shepherd is a natural herder and will be devoted to their family. And their tough exterior hides an altogether softer and playful side. The German Shepherd breed is also remarkably versatile and can turn its paw to a host of jobs, from the military and service, to therapy and guide dogs, as well as obedience and agility. Despite their size, German Shepherds love children and will willingly tolerate other pets, making them a loyal and fun addition to a family as well as a solo adult home. However, there is no getting away from the fact that GS are large, energetic dogs so they need daily physical and mental exercise to deal with all that exuberance and are best suited to an active home. Without companionship and stimulation, they can also get bored and frustrated but give your GS the attention and love they deserve, and you will get it back, ten-fold.
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Top traits: Handsome, sociable, kind and eager to please
With their stunning good looks and an adorable personality, the fact that the Golden Retriever is yet again near the top of America’s favorite dog breeds should come as no surprise. Similar in size to the Lab and sharing many personality and traits, the Goldie is set apart by its luxurious longer coat and stunning golden color ranging from light to an almost coppery gold. The Golden Retriever was bred to retrieve game and so loves a job to do, whether that’s accompanying you out hunting or playing catch the frisbee with the kids on the lawn. They are also loyal and their tolerate, kind yet fun personality make them perfect family pets. And for the busy family, the highly trainable and obedient attitude of the Goldie is a real plus! However a watchdog they are not as they are big softies and will most likely make friends with strangers rather than being on high guard dog alert. Golden Retrievers also make a good choice for first-time pet owners; however, they do need a lot of exercise and have a tendency to get bored if left alone for long periods of time.
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Top traits: Playful, affectionate, sturdy and easy to care for
If you are looking for an active, bold and cheeky pooch that doesn’t need excessive amounts of daily exercise, the French Bulldog could well be the breed for you. With their oversized bat-like ears and even bigger personality, the Frenchie is no shrinking violet, yet he also loves nothing better than snuggling up on the sofa with his favorite human. Increasingly popular for city or apartment living, the French Bulldog is a larger smaller dog that has a nicely compact size but is also robust and full of fun. Specifically bred as a companion dog, the Frenchie is a natural-born clown and will keep you endlessly entertained with his goofy personality and loving nature. This is a breed that will fit into any home, is great with kids and thanks to the short coat and average exercise needs, is easy to care for and even easier to love! The shortened snout does bring some of the breathing issues associated with such breeds, but otherwise, the Frenchie is overall a healthy, robust little dog which is pretty vocal so you will always know they are in the room. However, they are still relatively rare so be prepared to put your name on a waiting list to welcome a Frenchie into your home.
Top traits: Curious, loveable, even-tempered and fun-loving
Snoopy’s real-life cousin, the Beagle is a popular family pet for a reason – not only are they super-cute, they have the fun, caring and active personality to match and are wonderful companions for kids of all ages! There is something endearing about the floppy-eared, big-eyed Beagle and they really are one of the happiest, laid-back breeds you can find. And they love nothing better than hanging out with their human pack. Scent hounds, the Beagle is incredibly tuned into their surroundings, which does mean they are best kept on a long lead when out walking. And they are exceptional escape artists, so a secured back yard is a must. But for the effort, you get a loving, curious, playful medium-sized dog that can more than keep up with an active family life and will become your little one’s best friend for life. They can be a tad stubborn, but early and consistent training can smooth out these wrinkles, leaving you with an adorable furry friend that is easy to care for and even easier to love.
Top traits: A solid, sociable softie that loves cuddles and attention
Sturdy and with a squished cute face that belies his tough guy persona, the Bulldog is a surprisingly affectionate and loving dog that’s also an easy to care for, cuddle-monster. Medium-sized and with an athletic, thick-set body, the Bulldog was originally bred to drive cattle and will thrive in a home which offers space, both indoors and out. Their exercise needs are medium, but they do like some high-intensity action, so would make fantastic daily jogging buddies. Personality-wise, the Bulldog is sweet and will smother you with affection once he gets to know you. And while he does look a tough cookie, the Bulldog is also a bit of a softie and loves nothing better than cuddling up with his human on the sofa. Their gentle nature also makes them good for children and he will lap up their fuss and attention but as with most dogs, they benefit from early socialization and consistent training.
Top traits: An elegant, intelligent breed that loves to entertain
They may seem to be a little high maintenance, but the Poodle is an elegant, clever and playful pooch that looks stunning but is more than happy to rough it with a fun session with the kids. Available in three sizes – standard, miniature and toy – there is a Poodle for most homes and lifestyles, from smaller apartment living to family home with plenty of outdoor space. Renowned as show dogs, there is something ‘frou-frou’ fancy about the breed, but they were actually originally bred as retriever dogs, returning ducks to their hunting owners. Today, they are a favorite on the showing scene and are also consistently popular as family pets. Their coat may look high maintenance and while a regular grooming schedule is needed, their coat is minimal shedding, making them a good choice if you have allergies in the family. Poodles are also highly affectionate, sociable and easy to train, so are a good choice for new pet owners or families with younger children.
Top traits: Loving and loyal, the Rottie will devote himself to his family
Don’t let the size of this substantial breed put you off, the Rottweiler is a remarkably loving dog that with early training and a consistent home life will make the most affectionate and loyal pets. Yes, they are muscular, powerful, have a reputation as guard dogs and can weigh up to 130 pounds but the Rottie loves his humans and will thrive on companionship, stimulation and love. Increasingly popular as pets, the Rottweiler has also proved himself as a working dog and were one of the earliest breeds to serve as police and military dogs. They can also work well in the family home and with their loyalty make excellent companions and watch dogs. Rotties certainly have their soft side, which can only be enhanced with plenty of attention and the key to a well-behaved and contented Rottweiler is effective training and socialization. Rotties crave exercise and mental stimulation so do require a significant investment of time and attention but if you have an active household that can also offer plenty of love and cuddles, the Rottweiler could well be the dream dog for you.
Top traits: Feisty, loving little dog with a huge personality
As one of the most popular small dog breeds, it’s no surprise to find the diminutive Yorkie consistently in America’s top dog list. A perfect size for apartment living, the Yorkshire Terrier also makes a fun companion for both children and more senior citizens. Originally bred to catch vermin in Victorian era clothing mills, today the Yorkie is the perfect ‘purse dog’ but underneath all that cuteness, he’s no lapdog push-over. He has a large personality that belies his size, and boy does this cheeky chap like to let you know about it! Yorkies are known to be vocal and will tell you everything that is going on, inside and outside the home and his fun, feisty personality will keep you endlessly entertained. As you would expect for a toy dog, his exercise needs are minimal, but he does like to go out and have fun – almost as much as he likes to hang out with you on the sofa! And while he doesn’t shed, his coat needs regular care and attention and will need trimming to keep it tidy and in tip-top shape.
Top traits: Gentle, playful goofball that is devoted to his humans
Despite being originally bred as a fighting dog, this long-limbed goofball is as daft and as affectionate as they get, and are loving, gentle and playful additions to the family home. With their short muzzle and floppy jowls, the Boxer has a delightfully unique face that just adds to its clown-like personality and with this dog, you will never be short of entertainment! The Boxer is also a fun pet for children however, they are larger dogs that can forget their size and love to jump up, so early training is a must to keep their exuberant personality in check. Boxers are very intelligent despite their goofy attitude, but they can also be a little stubborn, so a consistent home life is essential to ensure all the right boundaries and rules are in place. However, the Boxer will keep that playful pup mentality well into their adult years so as long as they get enough exercise and attention, you are sure to find that life will never be boring with your new pet.
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The Final Word
When choosing a new dog, its popularity should just be one of many factors you take into consideration. More importantly, you need to consider your living arrangements and the size of the home you can offer a new pup or adult dog. The breed’s energy levels, temperament and exercise needs must also be taken into account, as well your own lifestyle, health, and family needs. Getting the right match of breed to fit ensures you are able to give your new pet exactly what he needs to be a happy, healthy member of your family!