Adopting a dog into your family is an exciting venture. A dog is loyal, affectionate, and always willing to be a part of the family. With so many breeds to choose from, deciding which dog to bring home can be overwhelming. Each dog breed varies significantly, requiring different levels of responsibility. This article discusses the top breeds of dogs listed by AKC popularity ranking to make your choice a little easier.

5 Most Popular Breeds of Dogs

1: The Labrador Retriever

a large beautiful Labrador dog

Labs have held the #1 AKC popularity ranking for 26 years in a row. They are a well-rounded, exuberant and easy for novice and experienced owners to raise. Originally from Newfoundland, the Labrador retriever traversed through swamps and water to fetch downed birds. You can still see the lab’s ancestral roots by his obsession with playing fetch and water games.

Before making a purchase, you should know that there are actually two types of labs: an English or show lab, and an American or field lab. The field labs are lean, very active, and highly intelligent. The show labs have a stouter composition and laid-back personality. Despite each type’s short coat, a lab is not among the large dog breeds that don’t shed.

2: The German Shepherd Dog

a German Shepherd dog with its tongue out

The second spot on the list of most popular breeds of dogs securely belongs to the German shepherd dog. Due to their keen intelligence and desire to please, the German Shepherd is one of the most popular police and military dog breeds.

German Shepherds are fiercely loyal and will usually reserve affection for their pack members and are known for a gentle disposition with young family members. Your German Shepherd will be quick to alert you of any strangers and will protect your family with his life.

As a working breed, the Shepherd needs a lot of stimulation to stay away from destructive habits; this includes mental and physical stimulation. He will require a large back yard and plenty of exercise. Begin training as soon as possible. A German Shepherd is a herding dog, bred to be confident and make decisions independently. Training and socialization at an early age can curb his instinct to assume the role of pack leader.

3: The Golden Retriever

a Golden Retriever dog's profile

This breed is quirky, cuddly, and ready for a good time. The golden retriever loves everyone and will happily greet visitors with his favorite toy. Descending from a line of English hunting dogs, the Golden Retriever is intelligent and quick to please. A retriever’s combined affection and intelligence place it among the most popular breeds of dogs.

The Golden Retriever is an active breed that requires a lot of exercise to curb destructive habits, such as digging and chewing. Your golden retriever should be walked daily and have regular playdates. A golden retriever’s personality ranges from dog to dog, though most tend to mellow by two years.

Until then, keep an eye on your pup’s interactions with younger family members. Like the lab, golden retrievers have the tendency to be over-exuberant with smaller children.

4: The Beagle

a small cute Beagle dog

Beagles tend to approach life like a child: endlessly curious, shamelessly affectionate, and without an off-switch. These dogs are somewhat small, growing to about a foot and 3 inches and weighing up to 25lbs. The beagle’s nose makes up for his lack of stature. Established in 1885, the Beagle was originally used as a hunting dog. The beagle is still a valuable hunting asset in modern times, often joining the ranks of police dog breeds.

The beagle’s compact size and loving personality make them a great choice for homes with smaller children. Keep an eye on your belongings, though. A beagle’s curious personality can get him into a lot of trouble. Make sure to give your beagle plenty of daily exercise to keep him from exploring too much.

Like many working breeds of dogs, Beagles are not recommended for a first-time owner. Beagles are also not a good choice for apartment life or a clustered neighborhood. Their characteristically loud howl can easily make enemies with your neighbors and landlord.

5: The Yorkshire Terrier

a tiny Yorkshire terrier puppy

Although ranking seventh on the popular breeds of dogs list, it would be remiss not to include the Yorkshire Terrier in this article. The Yorkshire terrier has been a favorite for two hundred years. Though it was originally bred to hunt the rats and mice of Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Terrier quickly became the favored lapdog of the local nobles. With flowing locks and delicate features, the Yorkshire terrier looks like it was born for this role.

These dogs are small, only growing to about 9 inches and weighing only 5lbs, but they have a big attitude. Yorkshire terriers aren’t afraid to stand up to guests, the mailman, or any big dog they pass on the street. Yorkshires love exercise. If your terrier is walked every day, he can be a great dog for an apartment.

A Yorkshire terrier’s locks require a lot of work to stay beautiful. Plan on regularly brushing and cleaning your dog’s hair, as well as regular visits to the groomer. Despite this, the Yorkshire terrier a favorite among small dog breeds that don’t shed much. If you’re looking for a hypoallergenic dog, this breed can be a regal alternative to the Maltese or Poodle.

Putting It All Together

The question still stands: what is the best dog breed for me? The Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, and golden retriever are intelligent, friendly breeds of dogs that are easy to train but require a lot of exercise. The Beagle is a compact dog that requires a lot of affection and open range. The Yorkshire Terrier is a tiny breed suited for a life of luxury. Inevitably, your choice depends on your family dynamic and lifestyle. Do you own any of these breeds of dogs? Please share your experiences!

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