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Top 10 Dog Breeds in the USA​ 2021

Dogs have been our companions for a very long time. Since then, certain breeds gained huge popularity in many countries. They were bred for different purposes and found their way into our homes.

Find out if your dog lands among the most popular dog breeds in the United States on this top 10 list.

In case you’re thinking about getting a new dog, this can also be of help to you either cause you can see what other people are buying (especially as a beginner perhaps) and on the other hand, it’s your chance to swim against the current.

I am very glad to see my dog at spot 8 as Rottweilers have become quite rare in Germany because of the strict regulations here.

10. Boxer

The German Boxer is a crossbreed from the Old English Bulldog and the “Bullenbeißer”.

The Bullenbeißer was used for hunting deer, boar, and bears and has become extinct in the early 1900s. The hunters sent out the dogs to catch and hold the prey until their arrival.

The origin of the name “Boxer” is still not clear. The name clearly originated in Germany and may come from the first registered boxer ever.

The Boxer is a great large dog breed for apartments if exercised physically and mentally.

9. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers come from the historic county Yorkshire and were originally bred to hunt rats. They were a mixed breed created from the Paisley Terrier, Maltese and Scotch Terrier.

In the 1940s, the popularity of the breed significantly dropped. ‘Smokey’, a very famous Yorki from World War II, spread the awareness for the breed and brought it to life again.

8. Rottweiler

Rottweilers originate from the German city Rottweil and were called the “Metzgerhund” (butcher’s dog).

They were used to herd livestock, pull carts with meat to the markets, and guard the butcher’s money on the way back.

They were also used in World War I & II as messenger, guard, and ambulance dogs.

Today, they’re right up there with the German Shepherd and Malinois when it comes to military and police work.

They’re also great at Schutzhund activities and tracking. The occasional Rottie can be found in therapy work too. Not to mention their popularity as family guardians.

Read this controversial opinion on the Rottsky if you want to dive deeper.

7. Poodle

Poodles are very smart and popular water dogs. They also originated from Germany like the Boxer and Rottweiler.

They are available in three different sizes: the Standard Poodle, the Toy Poodle, and the Miniature Poodle.

While the Standard Poodle was used as a retriever and gun dog, the Miniature Poodle’s purpose was to sniff out truffle.

6. French Bulldog

To create the French Bulldog, several Toy Bulldogs from England were crossbred to achieve a small rat hunting dog for ratters in France.

With rising popularity, they received the classy sounding title Bouledogue Francais and became a fashionable companion choice.

As Terriers were bred into the equation, the Bulldogs developed their unique looking ears and, of course, their fearless and bold character.

Fun fact: In 2019 the Dutch government prohibited the breeding of dogs with too short muzzles, like the French Bulldog and Pugs.

5. Beagle

Beagles are famously known for their superior hunting skills and a whole form of hunting (beagling) was named after them. The breed exists for over 2,500 years and mainly originated from Great Britain.

Beagles have been in the top 10 dogs list for over a decade and they are much more popular in the US and Canada than the UK.

4. Bulldog

The English or British Bulldog is a national icon of the UK. Their unique and strong appearance has surely changed from 1500 until today.

The Bulldog got his name from a now illegal sport called “bull-baiting”, where a bull was tied to an iron stake and the dogs should repeatedly attack with the goal to immobilize it.

3. Golden Retriever

As a retriever dog, they were bred to carefully retrieve birds and ducks that have been taken down by hunters on land and in water.

This breed originated in Scotland and is now used for nearly any purpose, including duck diving, guide and service dogs.

2. German Shepherd

Another breed that has its origin in Germany and as their name suggests, their purpose was to herd sheep and cattle.

Today, they are perfectly trained military and police dogs where their intelligence and working abilities are highly appreciated.

Make sure you can provide such an active and intelligent the physical and mental stimulation that he needs before bringing one into your life.

1. Labrador Retriever

For 27 years, the Labrador Retriever has been on this list. Similar to the Golden Retriever, they can be seen performing nearly any task and are America’s favorite pet dog. They are also very popular in the UK and Canada.

Coming from Newfoundland, they first emerged as the St. John’s water dog which became extinct in the 1980s.

Let me know in the comments which breed is your favorite and what dog do you have at home? I will be an all-time fan of the Rottweiler!

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About Danielle
I am the founder of PawLeaks where I share weekly tips on dog training and behavior. Sharing a passion for dogs and helping owners to solve problems through understanding canine behavior and modification is my number one goal.

Bruce Wager

Wednesday 15th of July 2020

I've had a dog, larger dog s in my life for 60 years. Thought some of them were very smart. Until my last dog, a German Shepherd. By comparison none of the others were smart. Though he was purebred, he was a backyard dog. Raised from just a family who had a breeding pair. Never have I've seen a more intelligent, loyal dog. He would respond by things I did not ever teach him. He was large and thinner than what you'd expect, even at 100 pounds. Maybe because we did 15 miles a day on the trails and a couple more hours playing retrieve in the water and what I called Beny lacrosse on land. He was very gentle around family and friends. He was definitely on guard with a first time person. Especially cops, who was my friend and also had a shepherd. Something about there authoritative attitude, body language I think. That all worked out fine. So the main draw back was he shed. Constantly. Two times a year you would wonder why he had any hair left. How do you think a purebred Rottie would compare?? As you said, a mix is hard to predict.


Wednesday 15th of July 2020

Hey Bruce,

interesting story - German Shepherds and especially Malinois can be really intelligent. My Rottie nearly doesn't shed on her raw diet and the coat's very shiny. That being said, during shedding season (twice/year) she definitely sheds more but I'm sure it's still far less than what your GSD shed (also depends if he was short- or long-haired). A quick brush twice a week should suffice.

Although the Rottie is my personal favorite breed, they definitely are different than a GSD. Let me know if there's anything I can help you with and make sure to check my breeder guide or adoption guide if you're getting a new pup.

Cheers, Danielle


Sunday 29th of September 2019

I love Rottweiler and have my own blog dedicated to the breed!


Tuesday 2nd of July 2019

I always wanted to get a Golden Retriever!


Wednesday 29th of May 2019

Amazing information that you provide on this blog!


Thursday 30th of May 2019

Thank you!


Wednesday 29th of May 2019

I always love to learn more about breeds, I think it is so interesting!


Thursday 30th of May 2019

Yeah, I love it so much too!