America’s Most Popular Dog Breeds

Source: chaoss /

20. Shih Tzu
> 2017 rank: 20
> 2016 rank: 20
> 2007 rank: 9

Shih tzus originated in China many centuries ago. Although diminutive in size, they take their name from the Mandarin word for lion. They began appearing in the United States after World War II, when veterans brought them back to America, and they were recognized by the AKC in 1969. They have a long flowing coat and a proud bearing. Among their owners are Queen Elizabeth II and pop star Miley Cyrus.

Source: olgaIT / iStock

19. Miniature Schnauzers
> 2017 rank: 18
> 2016 rank: 17
> 2007 rank: 11

In the United States, the miniature schnauzer is treated differently from other schnauzer breeds in that it is not classified as a working dog and is judged as a terrier. It is intelligent and alert, which makes it a good watchdog, and it excels in obedience trials and agility competitions. The miniature’s eyebrows and beard make it easily recognizable.

Source: Bigandt_Photography / iStock

18. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
> 2017 rank: 19
> 2016 rank: 19
> 2007 rank: 25

This breed has been popular since the days of King Charles II in the 17th century. It is small for a spaniel and goes through its puppy stage slowly, staying frisky even when older. It also has big eyes and a big heart.

Source: OlgaOvcharenko /

17. Doberman Pinschers
> 2017 rank: 16
> 2016 rank: 15
> 2007 rank: 21

The Doberman pinscher was first bred in Germany in the mid-1800s by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, a tax collector. He wanted a dog to protect him in his sometimes dangerous line of work. As well as being one of the smartest breeds, the Doberman ranks high in obedience and trainability. This makes the animal popular with police and military forces around the world.

Source: RalfWeigel / Getty Images

16. Great Danes
> 2017 rank: 14
> 2016 rank: 14
> 2007 rank: 23

The Great Dane was developed in Germany as a boar hound, its long ears often left shredded by the sharp tusks of the wild boar. Today’s great Danes lead much less hazardous lives and can make for great pets. They are dependable, patient, and friendly. But as their name implies, they are huge. Standing on its hind legs, a great Dane can be taller than its owner and weigh up to 200 pounds.

Source: Ksuksa / Getty Images

15. Australian Shepherds
> 2017 rank: 17
> 2016 rank: 16
> 2007 rank: 33

The Australian shepherd is a very cosmopolitan dog. It started out in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain, was brought to Australia to herd sheep, and then became popular with U.S. ranchers, who thought it originated down under — hence the name. It is an intelligent breed with a strong herding instinct and work ethic. The Australian Shepherd is closely associated with the cowboy lifestyle.

Source: SVPhilon / iStock

14. Siberian Huskies
> 2017 rank: 12
> 2016 rank: 12
> 2007 rank: 24

Bred as a sled dog, the Siberian husky is known for its endurance. Huskies have a great work ethic and love to run, preferring that to walking. In fact, the husky is so energetic that it has to be kept leashed or it will run away. In 1925, a relay team of huskies and other sled dogs saved Nome, Alaska, from a diptheria epidemic by running for five days to bring medicine to the town.

Source: Laures / Getty Images

13. Pembroke Welsh Corgis
> 2017 rank: 15
> 2016 rank: 18
> 2007 rank: 22

The Pembroke Welsh corgi is popular with English royalty as well as American pet owners — it’s Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite. The corgi is a working dog, strong and athletic. And despite its little legs, it excels at many sports. The corgi is an easy pet to have, and its weatherproof short coat needs little maintenance.

Source: Liliya Kulianionak / iStock

12. Dachshunds
> 2017 rank: 13
> 2016 rank: 13
> 2007 rank: 7

The dachshund was developed in Germany centuries ago to hunt badgers — its short legs and long body make it good at below-ground work. The dachshund is intelligent and should be kept busy or it will get bored. It comes in miniature or standard size and can have a smooth, wirehaired, or long-haired coat.

Source: Moires / Wikimedia Commons

11. Boxers
> 2017 rank: 11
> 2016 rank: 10
> 2007 rank: 6

Although it was recognized by the AKC in 1904, the boxer did not really gain popularity in the U.S. until after World War II, when returning soldiers brought the dogs home with them from Europe. Its popularity may also have received a boost when actors Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were given one as a wedding present.