List of Dog Breeds
It is widely known that dogs are one of the most rewarding, interesting, active, and engaging pets that are possible to have and that’s why a whopping 44% of American households own one. Whether you live alone, as a couple, or have a family, there is a lot to be gained from having a dog around the house. What’s great about dogs is that there are so many wonderful breeds to choose from, each with their own characteristics and traits, so you can find the perfect fit for you. It is important to consider your chosen breed’s personality very carefully before committing to owning a dog because, if you are not well matched, then you could both suffer unnecessarily.
When considering the most suitable dog breed, you should first consider the fundamentals such as the amount of exercise the dog requires on a daily basis, and whether this fits in with your schedule, as well as the dog’s temperament, as well as if it matches what you’re looking for. If there are children in your life, then it is important to understand how well each dog breed will take to children, and the same goes for other dogs or animals that it may encounter on a regular basis.
The size of your future dog is important, as the size of your home will make a big difference to whether or not you have the space to care for a large dog. You should also be mindful that large, heavy dogs are able to overpower small or elderly humans—whether they mean to or not. Finally, the dog’s appearance and grooming requirements can also be taken into consideration, although personality should hold a much greater weight in the decision-making process than looks.
In this article, we take a look at America’s top 20 dog breeds, according to the American Kennel Club.and explain their characteristics, personalities, and care requirements in order to help you make the best choice about which dog is right for you.
The Labrador Retriever is easily the most popular dog breed among American pet owners and not just thanks to Marley and Me. These dogs make great companions as they are friendly and lovable, outgoing in new situations and around new people—and are great playmates.
Labradors are highly affectionate, which makes them great family pets, and they bond well with other dogs. They also make excellent gun dogs and even those who are purely domestic pets still love to run, fetch, and swim. Due to their kind temperament and highly-intelligence, this breed is one of the prime breeds chosen to train as rescue dogs, seeing dogs, and assistance dogs for the disabled.
Labrador Retrievers do, however, require a lot of exercise and should go for one or two long walks on a daily basis to keep them active and healthy. They can vary in weight between 55 and 80lbs. and have an average life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. Labrador Retrievers come in three colors which are all incredibly popular, including yellow, black, and chocolate.
The German Shepherd dog is loved up and down the country as one of the most intelligent and courageous companions. This breed is incredibly eager to please and will form an almost unbreakable bond with their human family, doing anything to protect them—even by putting their own life on the line.
Their undying loyalty, quick-thinking, and ability to learn many complicated commands is what makes the German Shepherd a common choice for working dogs in the military and police force. However, despite their bravery and courage, they are also gentle family pets that make a loving addition to the home.
German Shepherds are a very athletic breed and are at the higher end of the exercise requirements scale. They should be walked and exercised regularly to appease boredom and to stop them from acquiring any naughty or destructive behaviors. They can vary in weight between 50 and 90lbs. and have a relatively short life expectancy of 7 to 10 years.
Similar to their Labrador cousins, Golden Retrievers are well-loved in the States and make friendly, loyal, and intelligent companions. The two breeds are commonly mistaken for one another, but the easiest way to tell them apart is by the Golden Retriever’s longer coat, which requires more regular brushing.
Originally bred as a Scottish gundog, they are outstanding hunters and retrievers and are still used for gundog activities today. They also serve incredibly well as guide dogs and, as part of a search and rescue team, tracking down people in need.
Golden Retrievers are eager to please their owners and love being trained and following commands. Thanks to their intelligence, it is possible to train a Golden Retriever to do a wide variety of complicated tasks. They make great family pets and are generally a very sociable breed.
Ranging from 55 to 75lbs., they are fairly large and athletic. They enjoy accompanying their owners on long hikes, runs, and bike rides to burn off energy and due to their gundog instincts. They also enjoy swimming and fetching as a favorite pastime. Similarly to Labrador Retrievers, Golden Labradors have an average life expectancy of 10 to 12 years.
Although they have always been popular companions, the French Bulldog has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, taking them from 9th to 4th place in the overall rankings. With their adorable features, easy-going temperament, and playful nature, it is easy to see why more and more of us are choosing a French Bulldog as an addition to our families.
At under 28lbs., French Bulldogs resemble a small bulldog; however, their large, upright, bat-like ears are their stand-out identifying feature. They make great watchdogs as they are alert and intelligent but also don’t bark much,unlike other more yappy breeds.
French Bulldogs generally don’t require much exercise to stay healthy—just one or two short walks a day will suffice. However, they are prone to obesity and breathing issues caused by their short, squashed faces. To keep them comfortable, these dogs shouldn’t be walked in particularly hot or humid weather and cool areas should be available for them to rest. When properly cared for, French Bulldogs have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years.
One of the great things about French Bulldogs is that their personality is adaptable to their environment, making them great for singles, couples, and families. If you’re looking for a dog that won’t leave lots of fur around the house, then French Bulldogs are a great option thanks to their short coat and minimal shedding.
Bulldogs are loved by many for their stocky build, docile and friendly personality, and their loyal companionship. Larger than French Bulldogs, Bulldogs weigh between 40 and 50lbs. and have a shorter life expectancy of 8 to 10 years.
Bulldogs are known and recognizable for the loose, droopy skin, which hangs around their chops and gives them a slightly sullen but endearing expression. Although they are docile, these dogs are not lazy and still require moderate exercise with medium to long walks at least once a day to keep them happy and healthy. Bulldogs are prone to obesity. Therefore, as well as regular exercise, their diet should also be monitored to keep them in the best of health.
Like French Bulldogs, Bulldogs can develop breathing problems in uncomfortably hot or humid weather. It is advisable to keep them indoors during the hottest periods of the day and offer them a cool or air-conditioned space to sleep and/or relax.
Sadly, these lovable dogs have a history of being bred for fighting and blood sports but, with the hard work of dedicated trainers and breeders, they have now evolved to be mellow, children-loving family pets.
Beagles are one of the best-known hunting dogs and were bred to hunt for hours on end in large packs. For this reason, they have boundless energy and love having company at all times. A Beagle companion is generally happy, friendly and curious; their playfulness and spirit mean that it is important to keep an eye on them and stop them getting up to mischief.
To avoid boredom, Beagles require plenty of daily exercise and playtime, otherwise, they can develop undesirable behavior. Not only are they the most popular hound dog among American pet owners, they have an incredibly long history as a breed of choice and can be traced back to English pack-hounds hunting rabbits in 55B.C.
Beagles can have three different colorings: lemon, red and white, and tricolor. Their coat is short and sheds minimally throughout the year, which is great for house-proud owners. What’s more, they are very good at keeping themselves clean and do not have a bad doggy odor, so minimal grooming and occasional baths are enough to keep them fresh and clean.
Poodles are arguably one of the most distinctive dog breeds there are, which is largely due to the intricate and impressive Continental Clip, which is used by Poodle owners showing them at dog shows. Generally, Poodle owners prefer to keep their dog’s famously curly fur in a simple sporting clip, which follows the outline of their body and makes the required daily brushing an easier task. It is advisable to allow professional groomers to trim your poodle, instead of attempting to do it yourself.
Despite their excellent show skills, Poodles were originally bred as hunting dogs. They are highly intelligent, eager to please their owners and are easy to train. They also have high energy levels, which means they require a lot of activity and exercise each day, so may not be suitable for all owners. Poodles particularly enjoy swimming and playing fetch, as well as long walks and jogs with their owners.
If you or your family suffer from allergies, then Poodles are a good choice, as their coat does not shed at all. It does, however, need to be brushed at least once a day to prevent matting. Standard Poodles (not miniature or toy) weigh between 40 and 70lbs. on average and have a much higher life expectancy range than many dogs at 10 to 18 years.
Although Rottweilers might look intimidating and are known for being confident guard dogs, they are also incredibly gentle and loving family companions. Traditionally a working breed, Rottweilers are very strong which is, in part, thanks to their heavyweight of anywhere between 80 and 135lbs. Rottweilers’ impressive muscles are shown through their short black coat, which requires minimal maintenance of a weekly brush and an occasional bath to keep them clean.
Rottweilers can be great family pets and, as long as they are well trained from an early age, their territorial instincts can be positively channeled so that they are never unduly aggressive. Rottweilers are eager to please their owners and incredibly intelligent which makes training them easy. One of the most important things to remember with this breed is that they are sociable dogs who enjoy plenty of company. Rottweilers do not do well when left alone or unattended for long periods of time and can become destructive due to frustration.
When it comes to exercise, Rottweilers need to go for long walks every day; however, they do not require quite the same level of extensive exercise as breeds such as German Shepherds do. When well cared for, the average life expectancy of Rottweilers is around 9 or 10 years.
The Yorkshire Terrier, or ‘Yorkies’ as they are affectionately known, are a small breed, weighing in at just 7lbswith a long, glossy coat that looks more like impeccably styled human hair than fur. For this reason, they appear to be dainty and calm… but looks can be deceiving.
Yorkshire Terriers are, in fact, full of confidence and character, with a feisty personality, a tomboyish attitude, and a funny, playful, and enthusiastic outlook on life. Yorkshire Terriers were originally bred to catch rats down the old Yorkshire coal mines in England—their small size and go-get-‘em attitude made them a perfect fit for this job. However, as the mines closed down and they were required less and less, they developed into a popular lapdog.
Due to their small size, Yorkshire Terriers don’t require a great deal of exercise, just one or two short walks a day is enough to keep them fit and healthy. They love to play so fetch is a great way to keep them entertained and enjoy their fun-loving personalities. While these dogs are eager to please their owners, they can be rather stubborn and difficult to train. Due to their feisty confidence and larger than life characters, Yorkshire Terriers should be socialized and introduced to lots of different people and situations from an early age, in order to encourage a calm and well-mannered behavior.
Pointers (German Shorthaired)
Pointers are a stunning working dog breed, with a distinctive coat which comes in either solid liver (reddish brown color) or liver and white in speckled patterns. These gun dogs were bred for their endurance, spending long days in the fields helping their owners to hunt and retrieve prey.
Thanks to their history, the breed is powerful, agile, and fast and for this reason, they are at their happiest when enjoying vigorous exercise and putting all of their abilities to good use. Adequate exercise for Pointers is a long walk at least twice a day, combined with other sports such as running, swimming, and agility. If you already spend a lot of time outdoors and are looking for a companion, then a Pointer could be the perfect breed for you.
Thanks to their great work ethic, Pointers are eager to please and easy to train, they respondparticularly well to positive reinforcement, and enjoy receiving plenty of love and praise from their trainer and/or owner. They’re loving family dogs that make a great companion and form strong bonds with their humans.
Their medium-length coat is relatively simple to groom, Pointers need a simple brush every few days to keep them looking their best and to help reduce shedding around the home.
Boxers are well-known for being a fun-loving, playful breed that loves being part of a family and isparticularly good with children. They make rewarding pets as they are both loyal and affectionate while still being highly intelligent and alert. Their alertness and loyalty contribute towards making them fearless defenders—they make great watchdogs and protectors.
To encourage a good temperament and to harness their protective behavior, Boxers should be socialized with plenty of different humans and dogs from an early age. Weighing in at between 50 and 80lbs., they are a muscular breed and their short, tight-fitting coat shows their power and strength in all its glory. Their high energy levels mean that they should be taken for a long walk at least once a day, but should be kept on a leash at all times. Although Boxers love children, they can easily overpower them when excited and on a leash, so it is important that they are walked by a strong adult who can handle them confidently.
To keep Boxers clean, their short coat should be brushed once or twice a week. Generally, they keep themselves very clean and only need to be bathed occasionally to keep them smelling fresh.
Siberian Huskies are one of the most recognizable dog breeds around, thanks to their unique features and history. Bred to be sled dogs in the Arctic, Huskies are widely used in packs to pull sleds and light loads across vast expanses of snow and ice. Their coats can be a combination of black and ice white while some of them also have piercing blue eyes.
Despite their thick fur, Huskies’ coats need surprisingly little maintenance, as they generally keep themselves very clean. Their coat should be brushed once a week and the undercoat will need raking out during warmer seasons.
Siberian Huskies are of a medium size and weight between 35 and 60lbs. Because they are used to working and living in a pack, Huskies get on well with other dogs and enjoy being part of family life. If you already have a dog in your home, then a Husky puppy would settle in well as a new addition. Huskies are energetic and love to play but they need a secure place to run in the garden, as they can’t resist chasing after small animals.
There’s no doubt that Dachshunds are one of the most popular dog breeds in the country and are loved by so many thanks to their friendly personalities, fun-loving spirit, and, most of all, their unique and iconic shape. With a big head, long body, and tiny legs, Dachshunds are lovingly nicknamed ‘Sausage Dogs’ due to their remarkable resemblance.
Despite their small size, Dachshunds have a big personality, a contagious energy, and a love for life that makes them a great dog to have around. They love to play but, due to their unique shape, Dachshund owners must be careful not to let them participate in dangerous activities such as jumping, climbing or distance running, which can be harmful to their spines. This means training them not to jump onto furniture or attempt to climb the stairs.
Dachshunds come in both standard and miniature breeds and can have smooth wirehair and longhair coat types. Longhaired Dachshunds require brushing once or twice a week to keep them neat, whereas smooth hair and wirehair Dachshunds simply need an occasional brush and a wipe to keep their coats clean. The average life expectancy of Dachshunds is between 12 and 16 years old.
Although the name Great Dane might be misleading in the sense that these dogs are, in fact, German (not Danish), one this is for sure: they certainly are great. Great Danes are widely recognized as the world’s largest dog breed. On average, they are around 32 inches tall at the shoulder, but they can grow to be much taller and the world record is 44 inches. When stood on their hind legs, Great Danes are taller than most people. They’re also as heavy as they are tall and can tip the scales at anywhere between 110 and 175lbs.
Although Great Danes are admired by many, it takes a skilled and knowledgeable owner to properly care for one, due to their imposing size, weight, and unique needs. For exercise, they require a long walk once per day; however, due to their long legs, the average human walking pace is too slow to keep up with a Great Dane’s. For this reason, jogging is the best way to allow your Great Dane to walk at a speed which is comfortable for them.
These gentle giants have a very sweet nature and are alert home guardians. With a Great Dane guarding your home, it is unlikely that they will ever need to defend you, as the sheer sight of them is enough to turn most intruders back the other way. Great Danes are sociable people pleasers and make new friends easily. Their health needs can be challenging to care for and the average life expectancy of a Great Dane is lower than many other breeds, at 7 to 10 years.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis
The popularity of Pembroke Welsh Corgis can undoubtedly be linked to one of the most famous dog fans in the world: Queen Elizabeth II. The British Monarch’s love of the breed has seen her have several Pembroke Welsh Corgis at any one time, solidly since 1933, and with their big personalities and adorable appearances, it is no wonder that she is so fond of them.
These small dogs stand at around 10 inches high at the shoulder, but their larger-than-life personalities certainly make up for what they lack in height. Their muscular legs also make them quick and agile, meaning that they can keep up with dogs twice their size.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are affectionate and enjoy companionship and spending time playing and exercising with their human families. They’re also intelligent, alert, and respond well to training. Due to their small size, they are well suited to different types of homes.
Their coat can be red, sable, fawn, black and tan, and can also have white markings. Their short tails and fluffy rear ends are adored by many dog lovers for their cute factor, although this breed also has a purpose other than to be adorable, they are one of the most popular breeds for herding cattle in Wales.
If you’ve never seen a Doberman in real life, then you might recognize them from films, usually accompanying an intimidating looking bad guy. Dobermans are known for their power and their fearless loyalty, they make outstanding protection dogs and will willingly put their life on the line to protect their owner. This is arguably no better guard dog than a Doberman.
Weighing in at between 60 and 100lbs., Dobermans are very muscular, and their short coats show off every muscle, coming in either jet black, blue, red, or fawn with some rust markings. Although they do not need to be bathed often, a daily brush is best to keep their coat shiny and clean. Dobermans are also distinctive for their large, upright ears that show their alertness; these ears need extra cleaning attention and should be wiped clean every few days to stop irritation and infection.
Dobermans require long daily walks, runs, or hikes in order to release some of their natural energy; however, it is also essential that they are provided with a large, securely fenced area outside where they can run around and continue to exert their energy. As naturally very powerful and active dogs, this level of exercise is vital for both their physical and mental well-being.
Australian Shepherds are one of the few breeds to have been introduced to the United States from Australasia; however, their name is slightly misleading due to the fact that this breed actually originated in Europe, near the Pyrenees Mountains where they were a working dog, used for herding sheep for shepherds.
It wasn’t until the early 1800s that they made it to Australia and they were then introduced to Californian in the late 1900s, with the first owners mistakenly assuming that they were native to Australia.
When Australian Shepherds were introduced to California, they were bred by cowboys for their herding abilities, working on the rodeo circuit and are, therefore, closely associated with the cowboy way of life. Thanks to this strong work ethic and herding heritage, Australian Shepherds have an irresistible impulse to try and herd just about anything that moves. For this reason,they need an owner who can keep up with their boundless energy and offer plenty of exercise and space for them to run around.
Their coat is fairly long so requires regular brushing.And, although some people believe that their tails have been docked for the appearance, this was in fact bred into the dog to help them avoid injury when working on farms and additionally to identify them as a working herding dog. These smart, hard-working, and energetic dogs have a good average lifespan of 12 to 15 years.
Miniature Schnauzers are, in many ways, an ideal family dog and are more popular than both the giant and the standard Schnauzer breeds, which rank as the 80th and 90th most popular dog breeds, respectively. The Miniature Schnauzer breed weighs anywhere between 11 and 20lbs. and has a relatively long life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.
Dogs of this breed are friendly, outgoing, bright, and very trainable. They were also bred to be good all round-farm dogs and ratters, which makes them tough, fearless, and hard workers.
Many dog owners have a fondness for Miniature Schnauzers,thanks to their bushy beards and eyebrows, which give them the resemblance of a grumpy, yet loveable old man. Despite looking refined and elderly, Miniature Schnauzers are, in fact, very upbeat, energetic dogs that love being part of a family and are very good with children. Their good nature also means that they are very easy to train and generally obedient.
Their wiry coat comes in three colors: salt and pepper, black and silver, and solid black. They have a top coat and an undercoat so, in order to look their best, they require frequent brushing—although they are a low-shedding breed, which is great for keeping the house fur-free. Miniature Schnauzers look their best when trimmed by a professional, due to the different lengths of their coat around their body.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Spaniels may well be one of the most popular types of dogs overall, as there are many different separate breeds of Spaniels originating from across the world. However, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the most popular of them all, and the only kind to feature in the top 20 most popular dog breeds.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was bred in England during the Victorian era and was a favorite of the British royalty and aristocracy. Their soft, silky coat comes in four distinct colors: Blenheim, tricolor, black,and tan, as well as ruby. Each of these four color patterns has in the past been directly associated with a different noble family of Britain.
Nowadays, these beautiful-looking, sweet, and gentle dogs are a well-loved family friend and are a popular choice for a wide range of owners, whether they are single, a couple, have children and even other pets. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s adaptable nature means that they will easily adjust to different types of living environments and can even adjust their activity levels accordingly. This means that they will gladly enjoy long walks and plenty of playtime each day, but can also be suited to a more sedentary lifestyle if they are homed with an elderly or more time-constrained owner.
Their large round eyes give them an endearing and loving expression, which is reflective of their graceful and refined personality. Having been bred by crossing standard spaniels with toy breeds, these are small dogs weighing in just 13 to 18lbs. on average.
This small and beautifully groomed breed is perhaps one of the best looking of them all and are certainly crowd pleasers and loved by many. Shih Tzus have long, soft, and elegant fur when they are fully grown and have a striking resemblance to fluffy teddy bears when they are puppies.
Unlike many of our top 20 most popular dog breeds that were bred for working purposes, Shih Tzus were bred specially to spend their days in palaces among royalty, acting as well-mannered and strikingly beautiful lapdogs. For this reason, they are used to a life that is mostly lived indoors and is well suited to apartments or small homes. Their energy levels are among the lowest of our top 20 breeds and, despite their playful and outgoing personalities, they are also incredibly happy to spend most of their day sitting in your lap and receiving cuddles from loving admirers.
Due to their long fur, Shih Tzus require daily brushing, preferably with a good quality wire brush to make it through all of their fur and to keep it in good condition. To protect their eyes, the long fur on their head is usually tied up in a top knot (often with a bow for added cuteness) or is trimmed short. Most Shih Tzus are also trimmed by a professional dog groomer, who knows how to keep their coat looking at its best while keeping the dog comfortable and happy. The life expectancy of Shih Tzus can vary quite a lot, from anywhere between 9 and 16 years.
Summary: Any Man’s Best Friend
Whether you spend your life outdoors and are looking for a trusty companion, want a happy-go-lucky family pet that will enjoy evening strolls, are looking for a powerful guard dog, or want a small lapdog, you can find your perfect new best friend with the wide range of dog breeds that are available. While Retrievers, both Labrador and Golden, make some of the most popular pets across the states, there are endless possibilities of different personalities and characteristics available with other breeds, meaning that each home can find their perfect match.
If you want to get fit and are looking for the most energetic dog to keep you on your toes, then Pointers are a great choice thanks to their boundless energy. If you can handle their needs and love a larger-than-life companion then you are sure to fall in love with the gentle giant Great Danes. If you have small children, then Boxers or Miniature Schnauzers may well be your breed of choice. Alternatively, if you live a quiet lifestyle and are looking for a dog that will enjoy that environment, then a Shih Tzu or Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will gladly keep you company.
The most important thing to remember when considering all of the different breeds is certainly the dog’s needs above your own. Sadly, many dog owners do not spend enough time considering the conditions that are required to keep a dog happy and well behaved, which can lead to bad behavior and dogs ending up in rescue shelters unnecessarily. Once you have chosen your perfect dog, it is also important to find out what type of training they are best suited to, and training them as young as possible, so that you can go on to have long, happy lives together.
A family’s pet dog is one that will never be forgotten and will enhance a loving home in many different ways. With so many fantastic breeds to choose from and so many lovable characteristics, it is no surprise that nearly half of all homes in the United States choose to keep a dog and maintain their position as man’s best friend.