These Are the Most Popular Dog Breeds in the U.S.

Did your pup make the cut?

For 31 years, the most popular dog breed in the United States was the Labrador Retriever, according to The American Kennel Club. But in 2022, for the first time ever, the French Bulldog unseated the reigning champ and became the country’s most popular dog breed. (The AKC determines which breeds are most popular by looking at their registration stats, aka how many dogs are registered by official breed clubs.) Though 2022 is the most recent year this AKC data is available, global search numbers and pet care databases from 2023 confirm this massive popularity spike for French Bulldogs. So, should you jump on the Frenchie train? Let’s discuss.

Meet the Expert

Julie Burgess is a Certified Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) at She has a decade of experience working with and training all kinds of breeds. Burgess owns and operates Julie’s Canine College, a virtual dog training center, and has more than 20 years of experience as a certified vet technician.

What to Consider Before Choosing a Dog Breed

Just because French Bulldogs are super popular doesn’t mean they’re right for you. Getting a dog is a big decision. You should do just as much research on which breeds best suit your lifestyle as you would for any huge addition to your household, like a car. Six kids and frequent road trips? You might not want to invest in a Volkswagen Beetle—or a testy Chow Chow.

Burgess says the biggest factors to consider when choosing a specific dog breed are activity level, size, grooming needs and your personal experience with dogs.

  • Activity Level: “This applies to you and the breed you choose,” Burgess says, adding some high-energy breeds can cause problems if they aren’t exercised properly. This could look like a German Shorthaired Pointer becoming destructive if left alone or without exercise for too long. It could also mean resenting your dog for begging you to play fetch at 6 a.m. every morning. Be honest about activity needs to keep all parties happy. 
  • Size: “If you live in an apartment, it’s not a good idea to get a large breed dog, like a Golden Retriever, a German Shepherd or a Greyhound,” Burgess says. Large breeds often need lots of room to move around, both indoors and outside. Apartments and condo buildings without yards may not cut it.
  • Grooming: Some breeds absolutely require regular grooming, either by you or a professional, which costs money and time. Burgess says Schnauzers and Poodles are among breeds who have long leg and facial hair that needs consistent trimming. “If you don’t have the financial resources to take them to a groomer regularly, consider a different breed,” Burgess says.
  • Experience: Breeds with strong personalities are not ideal for first-time dog owners, says Burgess. “Northern breeds, such as Huskies and Malamutes…need structure and training,” she says. “If they don’t receive these things, they can be destructive and stubborn and tend to assert themselves as the leader of your household.”

Beyond these factors, think about whether or not this dog will be raised alongside children. Some breeds love kids and others are better-suited for adults—or at the very least, kids who are taller than the dog and know how to play safely. Will your kids’ sports schedules take away from dog park time in a detrimental way? Will the breed be content tagging along on family outings?

Individuals and seniors should also consider the time commitment they are able to make to a dog. Retirees may have more time during the day for walks and playtime, while young adults working full-time may need to hire dog walkers to ensure their pups get proper exercise.

What Is the Most Popular Dog Breed in the U.S.?

The most popular dog breed in the U.S. right now is the French Bulldog. The AKC’s statistics show there are more French Bulldogs registered than any other breed in their database. Even city-specific data shows Frenchies in the number one spot across the country. This change came after 31 years with Labrador Retrievers reigning supreme.

The United States Census Bureau says more than 80 percent of Americans live in cities. Plus, two-thirds of U.S. households have dogs. It’s possible that French Bulldogs snuck past Labs in popularity because Frenchies make better apartment pets. Bred as companion lap dogs in France back in the 19th century, they are well-suited to smaller spaces, in both size and temperament.

Plus, Winston the French Bulldog winning Best in Show at The National Dog Show in 2022 certainly didn’t hurt.

MarketWatch came to the same conclusion as the AKC last year. Looking at PuppyFinder ads, MarketWatch determined French Bulldogs were the most popular breed in the U.S., with 32 percent of all puppy ads focusing on the breed. No other type of dog even came close.

Other breeds that have consistently been ranked in the AKC’s top five most popular breeds in recent years include Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Poodles and Bulldogs. Many of these breeds are large, athletic dogs, though it seems like Americans can’t get enough of that signature Bulldog mug.   

French Bulldogs are also popular beyond the U.S. We Love Doodles, a group that covers stories on all types of dogs, especially Poodle combos, says its study on “50 Most Popular Dog Breeds in the World 2024” found Chihuahuas and French Bulldogs were the most popular breeds on Earth. The organization based their findings on global search data and Instagram hashtag counts. Both Chihuahuas and Frenchies had more than 1 million global searches and more than 50 million hashtags. Pugs came in third, which again suggests dog lovers in apartments want small companion pups.

The 20 Cutest and Smallest Dog Breeds for Itty-Bitty Apartments, Easy Airplane Travel and More

The Most Popular Dog Breeds in the U.S.

1. French Bulldog

  • Height: 11-13 inches
  • Weight: 22-28 pounds
  • Personality: affectionate, even-tempered
  • Activity Level: low
  • Shedding Factor: moderate 
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Ah, the French Bulldog. The current most popular dog breed in the U.S. If you ask The French Bulldog Club of America, they’ll tell you they’ve been big Frenchie fans since 1897. They’ll also tell you these companion dogs are lively, sweet and even-tempered. French Bulldog parents, who include celebs like Gabrielle Union, Reese Witherspoon and Lady Gaga, will find these pups are ideal apartment pets, easy to groom and train well with proper motivation (positive reinforcement and treats). As brachycephalic breeds, Frenchies shouldn’t exercise too intensely in hot weather or be left alone near pools, as they are more prone to drowning. With their giant ears and inquisitive expressions, it’s no secret these small dogs have risen to such heights in recent years.

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2. Labrador Retriever

  • Height: 21-25 inches
  • Weight: 55-80 pounds
  • Personality: outgoing, fun-loving
  • Activity Level: high
  • Shedding Factor: high
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Despite their new No. 2 ranking, Labrador Retrievers are still incredibly popular dogs. This is probably because they make excellent family pets—they’re social, friendly, eager to please, energetic, loving and loyal. Labs were bred as water dogs in Canada to help hunters retrieve game. They developed into highly intelligent, intuitive dogs who thrive in the company of their human families. They excel at therapy work and love to learn games and tricks. The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc. calls Labs “the breed that does it all,” and that pretty much sums it up.

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3. Golden Retriever

  • Height: 21-24 inches
  • Weight: 55-75 pounds
  • Personality: friendly, devoted
  • Activity Level: moderate to high
  • Shedding Factor: high
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Perhaps one of the most recognizable dogs around is the Golden Retriever. Whether you’re lured in by their silky, long golden coats or bright smiling faces, it’ll be their friendly dispositions and devotion to their families that keep you coming back for more. Bred in Scotland as a versatile hunting dog, these pups are athletic and energetic. They train well (but require consistency when it comes to commands) and get along swimmingly with other pets and kids. They’re ideal for families or anyone looking for a social butterfly of a dog who will make friends wherever they go. Just be sure to invest in a lint roller or ten, because Goldens shed like crazy.

4. German Shepherd

  • Height: 22-26 inches
  • Weight: 50-90 pounds
  • Personality: loyal, confident
  • Activity Level: high
  • Shedding Factor: high
  • Life Expectancy: 7 to 10 years

One of the many German dog breeds on our list, German Shepherds are loyal, serious and intimidating dogs. This is why they have extensive work history as police, service and guard dogs. If you’re thinking about adding a German Shepherd to your family, consider their temperament. While they are devoted protectors and love their families, they lack the friendliness that comes with say, Golden Retrievers. German Shepherds tend to be more aloof and focused on tasks at hand (the curse of a working breed who needs a job to do). Training early and often is essential to well-behaved German Shepherds.

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5. Poodle (Standard)

  • Height: 15 inches
  • Weight: 40-70 pounds
  • Personality: intelligent, active
  • Activity Level: high
  • Shedding Factor: hypoallergenic
  • Life Expectancy: 10-18 years

Poodles are smart, athletic dogs who learn quickly, bond well with family members and have lots of energy. The biggest challenge with a Poodle may be grooming their hypoallergenic coats. Great for allergy sufferers, Poodle coats require diligent brushing every single day. Some people opt for short coats to avoid matting fur, but even that may require frequent trips to the groomers. Poodles thrive in active households (they love agility and obedience training) and, according to the Poodle Club of America, may even make great hunting companions.


6. Bulldog

  • Height: 14 - 15 inches
  • Weight: 40 - 50 pounds
  • Personality: protective, sweet
  • Activity Level: low to moderate
  • Shedding Factor: moderate
  • Life Expectancy: 8-10 years

Though there are tons of Bulldog breeds out there, the classic Bulldog hails from England and makes a sweet, protective companion pet. Much larger than their French Bulldog counterparts, standard Bulldogs require a little extra living space and may be more stubborn when it comes to training. Similar to Frenchies, Bulldogs require extra care when it comes to their shortened snouts and muscular builds. Prone to overheating and hip dysplasia, it’s important to keep up with annual vet visits to ensure your Bulldog stays healthy and happy. 

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7. Rottweiler

  • Height: 22-27 inches
  • Weight: 80-135 pounds
  • Personality: confident, loving
  • Activity Level: moderate
  • Shedding Factor: moderate
  • Life Expectancy: 9 to 10 years

The American Rottweiler Club says that although these dogs make excellent guardians and loving companions, they aren’t for everyone. “Because of the Rottweiler’s size, strength and protectiveness, owning a Rottweiler carries a great deal of responsibility and commitment,” the ARC says. Basically, these are powerful dogs who require lots of training and socialization to ensure both their safety and the safety of others (including other pets). In fact, while they love playtime, getting too rough with a Rottweiler can lead to aggression. Lead and train with love, positive reinforcement and consistency and you’ll set everyone up for success.  

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8. Beagle

  • Height: 10-15 inches
  • Weight: 15-30 pounds
  • Personality: friendly, doting
  • Activity Level: moderate
  • Shedding Factor: moderate
  • Life Expectancy: 10-15 years

Beagles are vocal sweethearts who do best when surrounded by family members, including other pets. They are hound dogs bred to hunt in packs, so this makes total sense. Friendly and playful, Beagles do have high prey drive and love tracking scents, so on-leash walks are the best practice when out and about. Finally, Beagles may have the best puppy dog eyes we’ve ever seen. Who can resist that face? Maybe this is why they are so popular among dog people in the U.S. 

9. Dachshund

  • Height: 8-9 inches (Standard), 5-6 inches (Miniature)
  • Weight: 16-32 pounds (Standard), up to 11 pounds (Miniature)
  • Personality: curious, affectionate
  • Activity Level: moderate
  • Shedding Factor: low
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 16 years

Charming and affectionate, Dachshunds also tend to believe they are giant watchdogs. Unafraid to bark at strangers or intruders to protect their favorite people, these small but mighty dogs are actually quite energetic and need regular exercise. However, you’ll have to be careful not to let them overexert themselves on stairs or furniture, because they could get hurt easily due to their hot dog shape. Dachshunds definitely have an independent streak, so establish commands and ground rules early. Then, get ready for loving, dedicated snuggles.

10. German Shorthaired Pointer

  • Height: 21-25 inches
  • Weight: 45-70 pounds
  • Personality: friendly, active
  • Activity Level: high
  • Shedding Factor: moderate
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

Another German breed, these medium-sized dogs make excellent pets for active people and families because they have energy to burn and love being included in group activities. The AKC notes German Shorthaired Pointers definitely have minds of their own and can become destructive if left alone too long, so games and tricks that exercise their minds are just as important as physical fitness. But grooming is a cinch! 

11. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

  • Height: 10-12 inches
  • Weight: 28-30 pounds
  • Personality: playful, affectionate
  • Activity Level: moderate
  • Shedding Factor: high
  • Life Expectancy: 12-13 years

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are the Corgis without tails, the ones with the cute little bums that seem to waddle back and forth on walks. It’s unclear why Pembrokes are so much more popular than Cardigan Welsh Corgis (the ones with the tails), as both breeds are affectionate, even-tempered and intelligent dogs. In any case, the Pembroke Corgi is a herding breed, which means they bond well with their humans and need lots of time to run around freely during the day.

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12. Australian Shepherd

  • Height: 18-23 inches
  • Weight: 40-65 pounds
  • Personality: smart, A=athletic
  • Activity Level: high
  • Shedding Factor: seasonal
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Highly intelligent, highly athletic and sort of high maintenance, Australian Shepherds require lots of outdoor time and play. Do not expect Aussies to sit idly around the house all day. They want to chase animals in the yard, go for runs and be included in your activities. Training early is key to a successful Aussie-human relationship. In fact, the AKC says, “One of the most frequent reasons Aussies end up in rescue situations is owners couldn't (or wouldn't) constructively channel the breed's boundless energy through training.” Get ready to work hard on a bond that will last a lifetime with these ultimately adoring companions.

13. Yorkshire Terrier

  • Height: 7-8 inches
  • Weight: 7 pounds
  • Personality: affectionate, lively
  • Activity Level: moderate
  • Shedding Factor: hypoallergenic
  • Life Expectancy: 11-15 years

Possibly the tiniest dog on our list, the Yorkshire Terrier is a small breed with a big personality. If you want to keep their hair long, they’ll require some daily grooming on your part. You can also have them professionally trimmed on the regular for short coats. Bred to be companion animals, they will love you tons and “protect” you from strangers by barking. They also live a long time and while they need and enjoy exercise, a few brisk walks each day may suffice, depending on the dog.

14. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

  • Height: 12-13 inches
  • Weight: 13-18 pounds
  • Personality: affectionate, friendly
  • Activity Level: low to moderate
  • Shedding Factor: low to moderate
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

A notoriously adaptable breed, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are relatively calm dogs who make excellent pets for all types of folks (seniors, singles, families) in all types of locales (cities, farms, suburbs). Some Cavs even enjoy agility or course training, if you’re into it. One thing to be aware of: They were bred as hunting dogs, so their prey drive is strong. If they smell something interesting, it may be hard to convince them to forget it, so walks on-leash are best.

15. Doberman Pinscher

  • Height: 24-28 inches
  • Weight: 60-100 pounds
  • Personality: intelligent, alert  
  • Activity Level: high
  • Shedding Factor: high
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

Considered a noble working breed, Doberman Pinschers hail from Germany and are superheroes in many ways. Their intelligence and alertness make them excellent police dogs, and their obedience (when trained and socialized early on) and loyalty make them terrific therapy dogs. For sure not a breed for novice dog owners, Dobermans require lots of exercise and attention, but the payoff is worth every second.

16. Boxer

  • Height: 21-25 inches
  • Weight: 50-80 pounds
  • Personality: active, playful
  • Activity Level: high
  • Shedding Factor: low to moderate
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

Another brachycephalic breed, Boxers are active, playful, high-energy dogs who should be kept away from pools due to an increased drowning risk. They also love their families and enjoy being in on the action, making them great with kids. However, Boxers can become very protective and should be trained in commands that ensure you can call them back if they get overprotective. Ideal living situations for Boxers are big houses with lots of yard space (fenced in, of course).

17. Miniature Schnauzer

  • Height: 12-14 inches
  • Weight: 11-20 pounds
  • Personality: friendly, obedient
  • Activity Level: moderate
  • Shedding Factor: hypoallergenic
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 16 years

Unlike the Standard and Giant Schnauzers, Miniature Schnauzers are more manageable when it comes to size. These hypoallergenic dogs do require extra grooming; a professional trim every month or two is necessary to keep them in tip-top shape. At home, they are affectionate family dogs who love to learn and play. Yes, they will bark at strangers if they think their families are being threatened, but it’s just their way of proving their devotion.

18. Cane Corso

  • Height: 23-27 inches
  • Weight: 90-130 pounds
  • Personality: smart, sweet, protective
  • Activity Level: moderate to high
  • Shedding Factor: low to oderate
  • Life Expectancy: 9-12 years

Do you want a giant, intimidating dog everyone will stare at? How about a confident protector? A dog who is definitely sweet but also needs lots of socialization to ensure good manners out in public? Say hello to the Cane Corso. These are ancient guard dogs who are smart yet fierce, so they require solid training and will learn commands quickly. They are also enormous and can grow up to 130 pounds. Make sure you get them outside for regular exercise so they don’t become destructive.

19. Great Dane

  • Height: 28-32 inches
  • Weight: 110-175 pounds
  • Personality: Ppatient, friendly
  • Activity Level: moderate
  • Shedding Factor: low
  • Life Expectancy: 7 to 10 years

Another giant breed on our list: the Great Dane. These gentle giants are more lanky than Cane Corsos but typically grow taller and weigh more. Early life with a Great Dane puppy is really important. Their bones are growing and until the age of two they shouldn’t be over-exercised. That stage is also the time to establish boundaries and good manners, as they will be harder to control when they are fully grown. Some Danes are good with small kids, while others might see toddlers as annoying tripping hazards, so think carefully if you have small kiddos.

20. Shih Tzu

  • Height: 9-11 inches
  • Weight: 9-16 pounds
  • Personality: cheerful, loving
  • Shedding Factor: low
  • Activity Level: moderate to high
  • Life Expectancy: 10-18 years

Ideal in small spaces and for just about any family situation, Shih Tzus are goofy little dogs who love to lounge. Definitely get ready for some play time, but don’t worry about running laps with one of these cheerful dogs. They get along well with kids and tend to enjoy other pets. Like Yorkies, you can have a Shih Tzu professionally trimmed for a shorter coat, or let it grow and brush it frequently to prevent matting. You’ll likely need to clip their fur into a top knot to keep it out of their eyes if you go this route, so accessorizing may also become part of your routine.

How Consistent Is Breed Behavior?

Burgess has worked with many breeds over many years, both as a trainer and a vet tech. When it comes to breed behaviors, she says purebred dogs are pretty consistent. Her own shepherd mix is very loyal to one person and tends to get upset easily over what seem to be trivial things, both of which are typical of shepherds.

Some other examples that stick out to Burgess are Huskies, who tend to get upset quickly and take a while to calm back down, and Boston Terriers, who can be difficult to house train. “Many Boston Terriers that I’ve worked with take between one and a half to twice as long to potty train as other breeds,” Burgess says.

Does this mean you shouldn’t get a Husky or a Boston Terrier? No! It just means you should know what you’re getting yourself into so you can best prepare for a new dog.

Of course, behavior consistency wavers if you adopt a mixed breed dog or a rescue who’s a combination of many breeds. In fact, Rover, the world’s largest online marketplace for pet care, surveyed its users last year and found that 60 percent of pet parents have mixed breed dogs. Rover’s insights show that the most important thing people look for in a breed is family-friendliness, followed by how cuddly, loyal and intelligent a breed is.

While these traits are important, it’s wise to consider Burgess’ points above, too. Also, dogs are individuals. Breed traits can definitely prepare you for the new pet in your life, but your role in their behavior cannot be understated.

“One of the things that can help unwanted behavior traits is to ensure your dog gets enough mental and physical exercise,” Burgess says. “A tired dog is a better-behaved dog, even when circumstances aren’t ideal for them.”

The bottom line is choosing a dog breed is an important step—don’t take it lightly. “Doing your homework is crucial to your and your future dog’s success,” says Burgess.

Adopt vs. Shop

The Rover survey showed that while 22 percent of pet parents seek out specific breeds when dog shopping, more than 80 percent will still get a dog if their top three breed choices aren’t available. This basically means we love dogs more than we care about breed.

If you’re dead set on a breed, make sure you use reputable breeders who put puppy health and safety first. If you’re able to adopt from a shelter, we think that’s the ideal choice. But again, it’s all about what’s best for your family. 

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Sarah Ashley is a Chicago-based freelance journalist. She has covered pets for PureWow for six years and tackles everything from dog training tips to the best litter boxes. Her...