The Most and Least Popular Dog Breeds

While some breeds of dogs are always popular, others fall in and out of fashion.

Posted Mar 03, 2015

SC Psychological Enterprises
Source: SC Psychological Enterprises

The latest data on the popularity of various dog breeds, based on the American Kennel Club (AKC) registration data has just been released. The mainstream media will doubtless cover this event the way that they always do, focusing only on the top 10 breeds. Thus you will hear it trumpeted that the Labrador Retriever has done it again, holding the number one spot on the most popular list for the 24th consecutive year and that this continues the longest reign of any breed as America's top dog. The media will probably also emphasize that the Bulldog has crept up in the top 10 list, now reaching number 4 in popularity for the first time, and that this is the highest ranking in the history of this breed. You will also probably hear that the French Bulldog has now made it into the top 10 for the first time in nearly 100 years while the Dachshund was knocked out of the top 10 this year for the first time since 1985, slipping to number 11.

I doubt that many journalists will note that, over a long period of history, at least six out of the top 10 breeds are almost always predictable. You can always find a pair of full-sized family-friendly dogs (Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers) and a pair of dependable guard dogs (most typically German Shepherds and Rottweilers), plus the elegant and intelligent Poodle and the endearing, lovable and apartment sized, Beagle. Most of the "action" in terms of dogs rising and falling into and out of the top 10 list deals with the remaining four open slots.

This focus on just the 10 most popular dogs ignores a lot of interesting information. It  leaves people who care about Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, Shih Tzu's, Pomeranians and other breeds that never make it to the top 10 without any data about where their dogs ranked in terms of popularity. Such dog lovers are without any information about trends for their chosen breeds which might answer the question "Is my favorite breed of dog increasing or decreasing in terms of popularity?" Therefore I thought that it might be useful to give you the full list of the rankings all all of the breeds of dogs registered by the AKC. I also thought that it might be useful to give you some comparison data so that you can see the trend over the past five years in terms of each breed's popularity ranking.

Just to give you a quick idea as to what the data shows, we find a number of dogs have increased in popularity by more than 10 ranks over the past five years. The greatest gains have been made by a number of breeds that might not be well known to the public, such as the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, and Anatolian Shepherd Dog. But other breeds that have also increased in popularity by 10 or more ranks include more familiar breeds such as Australian Shepherds, Newfoundlands, Border Collies, Shiba Inus, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, Samoyeds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Flat-Coated Retrievers, Keeshonden, and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers.

However some breeds of dogs have taken a major hit in terms of their popularity. Three relatively unfamiliar breeds of dogs have dropped more than 60 ranks over the past five years, specifically the Bluetick Coonhound, Norwegian Buhund, and Pyrenean Shepherd. However a number of well recognized breeds of dog have also sunk 10 or more ranks in terms of their popularity including the Pug, Chihuahua, Chinese Shar-Pei, Pekingese, Parson Jack Russell Terrier, Black and Tan Coonhound  as well as the Brussels Griffon, Silky Terrier, and Japanese Chin.

Why certain specific breeds rise or fall in terms of their popularity, while others remain constant is a mystery — but it does make for great cocktail party conversation. In any event, for your edification here is the full list of all of the 178 dog breeds registered by the American Kennel Club ranked in terms of their popularity over the past five years.

Breed                                                    2014          2013         2009

Labrador Retrievers                                                  1                   1                   1

German Shepherds                                                   2                   2                   2

Golden retrievers                                                       3                   3                   4

Bulldogs                                                                      4                   5                   7

Beagles                                                                       5                   4                   5

Yorkshire Terriers                                                        6                   6                   3

Poodles                                                                       7                   8                   9

Boxers                                                                          8                   7                   6

French Bulldogs                                                          9                   11                 24

Rottweilers                                                                 10                 9                   13

Dachshunds                                                               11                 10                 8

German Shorthaired Pointers                                  12                 13                 16

Siberian Huskies                                                       13                 14                 22

Doberman Pinschers                                                14                 12                 15

Great Danes                                                              15                 16                 21

Miniature Schnauzers                                               16                 17                 11

Shih Tzu                                                                      17                 15                 10

Australian Shepherds                                               18                 20                 28

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels                              19                 18                 25

Pomeranians                                                             20                 19                 14

Shetland Sheepdogs                                                21                 21                 18

Pembroke Welsh Corgis                                          22                 24                 26

Boston Terriers                                                          23                 23                 19

Chihuahuas                                                                24                 22                 12

Havanese                                                                   25                 25                 32

Mastiffs                                                                       26                 26                 27

Brittanys                                                                     27                 30                 30

English Springer Spaniels                                       28                 28                 29

Maltese                                                                      29                 27                 20

Cocker Spaniels                                                       30                 29                 23

Bernese Mountain Dogs                                          31                 32                 39

Pugs                                                                           32                 31                 17

Vizslas                                                                        33                 34                 42

Weimaraners                                                             34                 33                 31

Collies                                                                        35                 35                 38

Newfoundlands                                                         36                 37                 46

West Highland White Terriers                                 37                 36                 36

Rhodesian Ridgebacks                                          38                 39                 48

Border Collies                                                          39                 44                 52

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers                                  40                 43                 49

Basset Hounds                                                         41                 41                 34

Papillons                                                                   42                 38                 37

Bichons Frises                                                         43                 40                 35

Bullmastiffs                                                               44                 40                 42

Akitas                                                                       45                 45                 50

Shiba Inu                                                                  46                 46                 65

Cane Corso                                                             47                 50                 -

Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers                               48                 51                 62

Bloodhounds                                                            49                 48                 43

Saint Bernards                                                         50                 47                 45

Portuguese Water Dogs                                         51                 49                 60

Bull Terriers                                                              52                 52                 57

Alaskan Malamutes                                                 53                 57                 58

Australian Cattle Dogs                                            54                 58                 67

Whippets                                                                  55                 59                 61

Airedale Terriers                                                      56                 56                 59

Chinese Shar-Pei                                                    57                 54                 47

Scottish Terriers                                                       58                 55                 51

Belgian Malinois                                                      59                 60                 81

Miniature Pinscher                                                   60                 53                 33

English Cocker Spaniels                                         61                 62                 66

Dogues de Bordeaux                                               62                 65                 69

Chinese Crested                                                       63                 68                 55

Dalmatians                                                                 64                 64                 75

Lhasa Apsos                                                              65                 63                 54

Samoyeds                                                                  66                 67                 76

Cairn Terriers                                                             67                 61                 56

Chow Chows                                                              68                 70                 63

German Wirehaired Pointers                                   69                 71                 74

Irish Wolfhounds                                                         70                 73                 84

Irish Setters                                                                 71                 72                 73

Italian Greyhounds                                                     72                 66                 68

Great Pyrenees                                                         73                 69                 64

Wirehaired Pointing Griffons                                    74                 80                 108

Old English Sheepdogs                                            75                 78                 79

Cardigan Welsh Corgis                                             76                 75                 83

Staffordshire Bull Terriers                                          77                 79                 77

Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs                                 78                 74                 101

Bouviers des Flandres                                              79                 82                 85

Pekingese                                                                   80                 77                 53

Giant Schnauzers                                                       81                 83                 89

American Staffordshire Terriers                                82                 76                 70

Border Terriers                                                            83                 81                 82

Basenjis                                                                       84                 85                 88

Keeshonden                                                                85                 86                 102

Tibetan Terriers                                                           86                 88                 96

English Setters                                                            87                 91                 94

Standard Schnauzers                                                 88                 90                 99

Brussels Griffons                                                         89                 84                 72

Flat-Coated Retrievers                                               90                 94                 106

Japanese Chin                                                            91                 87                 71

Anatolian Shepherd Dogs                                          92                 93                 115

Wire Fox Terriers                                                         93                 96                 95

Norwich Terriers                                                           94                 89                 98

Afghan Hounds                                                            95                 95                 91

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers                         96                 97                 110

Gordon Setters                                                            97                 105               97

Silky Terriers                                                                98                 92                 78

Borzois                                                                         99                 99                 90

Norwegian Elkhounds                                              100               103               105

Leonbergers                                                              101               98                 -

Russell Terriers                                                         102               102               -

Welsh Terriers                                                           103               104               103

Boykin Spaniels                                                        104               121               92

Schipperkes                                                              105               109               93

Belgian Tervuren                                                       106               108               109

Rat Terriers                                                                107               -                    -

Treeing Walker Coonhounds                                    108               101               -

Neapolitan Mastiffs                                                    109               111               113

Toy Fox Terriers                                                          110               107               100

Parson Russell Terriers                                             111               100               87

Spinoni Italiani                                                            112               117               119

Pointers                                                                       113               114               114

American Eskimo Dogs                                            114               110               118

Bearded Collies                                                         115               112               116

Tibetan Spaniels                                                        116               106               111

Belgian Sheepdogs                                                   117               119               120

Fox Terriers (Smooth)                                                118               116               123

Irish Terriers                                                                 119               123               132

Black and Tan Coonhounds                                       120               113               86

Black Russian Terriers                                                121               118               130

Kerry Blue Terriers                                                       122               126               121

Miniature Bull Terriers                                                  123               125               125

Bluetick Coonhounds                                                  124               128               44

Norfolk Terriers                                                            125               129               122

Briards                                                                          126               127               127

Welsh Springer Spaniels                                            127               124               136

Salukis                                                                          128               115               112

Tibetan Mastiffs                                                            129               132               131

Manchester Terriers                                                     130               120               117

Field Spaniels                                                               131               140               137

English Toy Spaniels                                                    132               135               129

Australian Terriers                                                         133               122               124

Bedlington Terriers                                                        134               137               135

German Pinschers                                                        135               130               146

Xoloitzcuintli                                                                   136               139               -

Clumber Spaniels                                                          137               131               128

Affenpinschers                                                               138               143               133

Beaucerons                                                                   139               152               148

Icelandic Sheepdogs                                                   140               142               -

Greyhounds                                                                  141               148               140

Redbone Coonhounds                                                142               133               41

Lakeland Terriers                                                        143               134               138

Petits Bassets Griffons Vendeens                            144               138               134

Pulik                                                                             145               136               149

Irish Water Spaniels                                                   146               141               150

Entlebucher Mountain Dogs                                     147               155               -

Plotts                                                                           148               149               126

Irish Red and White Setters                                     149               145               80

American English Coonhounds                               150               146               -

Scottish Deerhounds                                                151               165               142

Swedish Vallhunds                                                    152               147               147

Ibizan Hounds                                                            153               151               144

American Water Spaniels                                        154               144               139

Kuvaszok                                                                   155               150               141

Glen of Imaal Terriers                                               156               167               158

Curly-Coated Retrievers                                          157               163               145

Pharaoh Hounds                                                       158               160               152

Lowchen                                                                    159               154               143

Portuguese Podengo Pequenos                            160               153               -

Dandie Dinmont Terriers                                          161               168               151

Komondorok                                                              162               159               154

Sealyham Terriers                                                     163               158               157

Polish Lowland Sheepdogs                                     164               157               153

Chinooks                                                                    165               156               -

Norwegian Buhunds                                                 166               166               104

Finnish Lapphunds                                                   167               171               -

Finnish Spitz                                                             168               170               160

Sussex Spaniels                                                       169               162               159

Canaan Dogs                                                            170               164               156

Skye Terriers                                                             171               161               155

Pyrenean Shepherds                                               172               169               107

Otterhounds                                                               173               172               161

American Foxhounds                                               174               176               162

Harriers                                                                      175               173               163

Cesky Terriers                                                           176               174               -

English Foxhounds                                                   177               177               164

Norwegian Lundehunds                                           178               175               -

Stanley Coren is the author of many books including: The Wisdom of Dogs; Do Dogs Dream? Born to Bark; The Modern Dog; Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses? The Pawprints of History; How Dogs Think; How To Speak Dog; Why We Love the Dogs We Do; What Do Dogs Know? The Intelligence of Dogs; Why Does My Dog Act That Way? Understanding Dogs for Dummies; Sleep Thieves; The Left-hander Syndrome

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