When picking out your next furry family member, consider the pros and cons of choosing a breed from the American Kennel Club’s list of most popular dogs for the United States. Here are a few things to remember when choosing a popular dog breed:
Vets can easily recognize problems in familiar breeds.
Owners can easily find supplies, foods and medications.
Trainers are most likely familiar with behavioral concerns for standard breeds.
Research and information is plentiful for popular dogs.
The breed can be expensive, especially from reputable breeders.
Over-breeding to keep up with demand can cause serious health issues.
Many "popular" breeds end up as rescues because the owners didn’t do their research before jumping on the bandwagon.
At any rate, here is a countdown of the most popular breeds in America for the last three years.
- Boxer. Those adorable, droopy faces and their rambunctious, childlike behavior make the Boxer a fast favorite. They are a fine, medium to large-size family pet, but need lots of exercise and play time to wear them out and keep them out of trouble. This breed needs minimal grooming, but they do slobber and are quite gassy.
- Rottweiler. Unfortunately, this breed is now recognized as a danger (through no fault of their own, just poor pet ownership), even though they can be as lovable as a kitten. They are strong, masculine and can handle pain well, which makes them ideal for service dogs or guard dogs. They are fiercely loyal to their families and love training sessions. The breed is susceptible to hip problems, so regular vet checks are a must. They can also get fat fast, so watch their diet and no table scraps!
- Poodles. This breed comes in many shapes, sizes and colors. Specialized grooming is a must to keep the coat healthy and in good control. The Wags Club offers specialized dog grooming for this particularly prissy breed.
- Yorkshire Terrier. These little pooches are perfect for small space living. They’re loved for being lap dogs. Their coat requires regular grooming, but they are hypoallergenic, meaning they don’t shed and give off very little dander. They can live to be 13 to 15 years old with proper care.
- French Bulldog. These easygoing, bright and sociable "Frenchies" are a favorite of large families and single owners. Even though they are popular, a good breeder may have a waiting list. They can live up to 12 years or more.
- Beagle. Loyal and hardworking, these pups are a favorite among hunters and families alike. Beagles love to hear themselves sing and howl, so be prepared for some vocal shows. They don’t like being alone, and can be stubborn if not properly trained. They love high energy activities and are one of the friendliest breeds to own.
- English Bulldog. Their short stature, huge heads and droopy features make this adorable breed an all-time favorite. They are high maintenance, and require special attention to their skin and diet to avoid outbreaks of hot spots or sores. Bulldogs don’t tolerate the heat well and are pretty docile. They are loving with their family and make good parents for their small litters.
- Golden Retriever. Initially bred as a hunting and game dog, this breed has quickly become a favorite of families due to its friendly, loving nature and intelligence. They do require grooming and shed quite a bit. They can gain weight easily so regular exercise is a must. This breed also loves agility and obedience games.
- German Shepherd. Noted for its usefulness as a K-9 cop or service dog, German Shepherds are hard-working, intelligent and incredibly loyal. They are easy to train and are good with kids, but they do shed quite a bit and require lots of high energy exercise. A similar breed is the Belgian Malinois, which is picking up popularity, as well.
- Labrador Retriever. This breed has been ranked in the top three of all breeds for nearly 25 years. Outgoing, friendly and intelligent, the Lab makes an excellent family pet or working dog. They need lots of exercise, regular grooming or brushing and a closely-monitored diet to avoid weight gain. Because of their popularity, make sure to choose a reputable breeder to avoid potential health problems.