There are hundreds of dog breeds in the world and while certain breeds are classics that will always be popular, others rise and fall in popularity based on trends and pop culture. A number of factors—like maintenance needs and trainability—usually play a part in a dog's popularity, too.
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The beautiful boxer is an affectionate, loyal family dog that has been popular for many years. Despite its history as a fighting dog, the breed has developed into a gentle, playful companion with no trace of aggression. This dog breed typically gets along very well with kids when properly trained. However, boxers like to jump up and can forget their size from time to time, so training is a must. Though the boxer can be a goofy clown, it has a serious side when it comes to protecting loved ones.
Height: 20 to 24 inches
Weight: 55 to 70 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Stocky, muscular, powerful body; square, blocky head with undershot jaw and short muzzle; short coat with fawn and brindle as standard colors, standard markings include a black mask, black mask with white markings, and white markings
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The Yorkshire terrier is a favorite among fans of small dog breeds. Nicknamed the Yorkie, this is the quintessential "purse dog," rarely touching the ground and often seen with a bow in its hair. However, make no mistake: This is not a wimpy dog. The Yorkie makes up for its small stature with a huge personality. Believe it or not, this breed can be quite the watchdog, vocally alerting you to the goings-on around the house. At the end of the day, the Yorkie is not a working dog but more of an affectionate companion.
Height: 8 to 9 inches
Weight: 5 to 7 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Petite stature; standard color combinations are black and gold, black and tan, blue and gold, and blue and tan; long, straight, and silky coat
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The Rottweiler is a loyal and protective companion that sometimes gets a bad rap. This large dog may seem intimidating to some, but most Rottweilers are loving and gentle towards their loved ones. Training and socialization are the keys to a well-behaved and happy Rottweiler. These powerful dogs can be difficult to manage without structure. Despite sometimes being called a "dangerous breed," this is an unfair label; this dog is a loving and loyal canine which may be why the Rottweiler has become more popular.
Height: 22 to 27 inches
Weight: 80 to 130 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Large, muscular body with a rugged short, somewhat coarse but shiny black coat with clearly defined rich tan facial markings
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The poodle is another memorable dog breed with a rich history as a favorite of the aristocracy. Poodles have also been known as entertaining performers. Possibly due to its fancy haircut and "frou-frou" appearance, many people don't realize that this is a highly intelligent dog breed. Perhaps one reason the poodle is so popular is that it comes in three sizes: toy, miniature, and standard. Much to the delight of their enthusiasts, the smaller varieties are known for their longevity.
Height: Standard: 15 inches; miniature: 10 to 15 inches; toy: 10 inches and under
Weight: Standard: 45 to 70 pounds; miniature: 15 to 18 pounds; toy: 5 to 9 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Curly, dense single-layer coats that may be one of many solid colors, including white, black, grey, brown, and apricotContinue to 5 of 10 below.
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The popularity of the French bulldog has soared in recent years. It is not surprising once you get a look at the breed. These are adorable, playful, affectionate dogs that, as adults, continue to look like puppies. Their extra-large ears and cute wrinkles make them irresistible to many people. Their compact size and sturdiness are great features for those who love small dogs that are not too delicate.
Height: 11 to 13 inches
Weight: 19 to 28 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Sturdy, compact dog breed with a large head, short snout, and bat-like ears
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The lovable beagle is an energetic hound that has an affinity for children and family life. Vocal to an almost comical point, the beagle can carry on quite the canine conversation, especially with its signature bay. The breed is small to medium in size but is sturdy, robust, and able to keep up with the rest. The beagle also has a nose for mischief but in the most endearing way. Plus, that amazing nose can be put to work sniffing out other kinds of trouble, specifically bombs and drugs at airports and similar checkpoints.
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The increasingly popular bulldog shares ancestry with the boxer. Yet, also like the boxer, time has turned this former fighting dog into a gentle canine companion. The bulldog is known for its stocky frame, extremely sturdy build and overall "tough guy" appearance. This is probably why the breed is commonly used as the mascot of sports teams. When you get to know a bulldog, you'll discover that the breed is quite affectionate.
Height: 14 to 15 inches
Weight: 40 to 50 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Medium-size dog that has a thick-set body with straight, short, fine-textured, smooth coat colored red, white, fawn, or fallow (pale brown); short-muzzled head is massive and square; broad shoulders and chest with thick, sturdy limbs
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The golden retriever is a loyal and affectionate family dog with a big heart. With an eager-to-please attitude, this breed is often found working as a service or assistance dog. The golden is also a wonderful therapy dog with its eternally happy disposition. Plus, this breed seems to have written the book when it comes to befriending children, making the breed a perfect match for family life. Goldens have been very popular dogs for decades.
Height: 21 to 24 inches
Weight: 55 to 75 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Sturdy, muscular, medium-sized dog with a lustrous gold coat with a broad head, friendly and intelligent eyes, and short earsContinue to 9 of 10 below.
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The German shepherd has always been an extremely popular dog breed. This hard-working, loyal dog is probably best known for its skills as a protection animal, police dog, and search-and-rescue hero. However, this serious and diligent dog breed has a softer, goofier side. Perhaps that is why the breed is still quite favored as a companion animal. One thing is for certain: It will watch over and defend your home and family. Don't let its tough exterior fool you, though. This breed is affectionate and playful with its loved ones.
Height: 22 to 26 inches
Weight: 60 to 100 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Large, athletic build with a double coat, comprised of a thick undercoat and a dense, slightly wavy or straight outer coat with tan and black or red and black coloring
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It should come as no surprise that the Labrador retriever has been the most popular dog in the United States for decades and for good reason. This energetic, fun-loving retriever has "family dog" written all over it. Loyal and affectionate, the Lab wins over the hearts of just about everyone it meets. For over 200 years, the Lab has been treasured for its loyalty, intelligence, and athleticism. The breed is often seen working as a service animal or gun dog but remains a favorite among those looking for an all-around canine companion.
Height: 21 to 24 inches
Weight: 55 to 80 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Medium to large-sized sturdy, athletic build; smooth, water-resistant coats; otter-like tail; a clean-cut head with a broad skull, powerful jaws, and friendly eyes
Breeds to Avoid
If you are interested in getting one of the most popular dogs, then there are a few dogs that are on the opposite end of the spectrum that you likely want to avoid. Some of the least popular dogs right now include hunting dogs like the American foxhound, English foxhound, the harrier, and Norwegian lundehund. These dogs need a lot of exercise and stimulation. Other dogs that are unpopular are those that require a lot of maintenance and leave a mess when they shed, such as the Finnish spitz, Otterhound, Cesky terrier, and Chinook.