These are the most popular dog breeds—including a perennial favorite at number one

The American Kennel Club just released its list of most popular dog breeds and the labrador retriever reigns supreme for the 31st year

Dog in nature
(Image credit: Hillary Kladke)

All dogs are cute—but are some more popular than others? According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), yes. The registry of purebred dog pedigrees just announced its annual list of popular breeds and it turns out that everyone still loves the labrador retriever.

Although the most expensive dog breed to own is actually the poodle, the labrador retriever tops the list in terms of popularity.

"With their loving, outgoing personality and eager-to-please attitude, it’s no surprise that the lab has been able to continue its record-breaking run as the most popular breed in the U.S.," said AKC executive secretary Gina DiNardo during a virtual press conference. "As always, we encourage people to do their research to make sure they are not just getting a purebred dog, but most importantly a well-bred dog from a responsible breeder.”

Developed in the United Kingdom from fishing dogs that were imported from the colony of Newfoundland (that's not a Canadian province!), the labrador was named after an eponymous region of that colony. Its life span is between 12 and 14 years and, although it was originally bred as a hunting dog, it's now mostly kept as a companion.

Dog in nature

(Image credit: Mike Linnane / 500px)

To come up with the annual ranking, the AKC looks at its own registration data from the previous year. 

Last year, in particular, it noticed that, overall, preferences haven't shifted much from 2020.


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Rounding out the top is the instantly recognizable French bulldog, the affectionate golden retriever, the German shepherd dog (also known as Alsatian, it is actually a relatively modern breed), and the poodle (a breed of water dog that is divided into four varieties based on size).

Some surprises within the ranking are worth mentioning, including the fact that poodles made the top five for the first time since 1997 and the Biewer terrier made its debut at position 83.

  • Labrador retriever
  • French bulldog
  • Golden retriever
  • German shepherd dog
  • Poodle
  • Bulldog
  • Beagle
  • Rottweiler
  • German shorthaired pointer
  • Dachshund
  • Pembroke Welsh corgi
  • Australian shepherd
  • Yorkshire terrier
  • Boxer
  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel
  • Doberman pinscher
  • Great Dane
  • Miniature schnauzer
  • Siberian husky
  • Bernese mountain dog

Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers culture, entertainment, food, fashion and travel news. Anna’s words have appeared on Time Out New York, the Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Us Weekly, Bon Appetit and Brooklyn Magazine, among other outlets.