There are plenty of obscure dog breeds out there, but some breeds just rise to the top more than others. These dog breeds are so popular that almost everyone in the world has heard of them, seen them, or lives with them. In fact, if you ask a stranger to picture a dog in their mind, chances are good it will be one of these breeds. The most popular dog breeds in the world can be found in dog shows, in homes, and even as hard workers in all kinds of fields. Here are the most popular dog breeds in the world and some of the reasons they’re so famous.
You may remember the Beagle breed from the film Shiloh, or you may recognize the most famous Beagle ever, Snoopy, the dog from the Peanuts comic strip. If you take one look at a Beagle, it’s easy to see the appeal. They have adorable, puppy-dog eyes, floppy ears, and soft features. And they have a very friendly personality to match. But most of all, they have powerful noses. They’re scenthounds, which means they were bred to rely mostly on their sense of smell to hunt. They are still used for this purpose today.
In fact, all of these traits make them the perfect choice for working in airports around the world. They’re friendly and cute, so they don’t intimidate people, and they have great sniffers, which helps them detect contraband, even in a crowded airport. This began in 1984 when the U.S. Department of Agriculture started using Beagles to detect illegal food products being brought into Los Angeles International Airport. The Beagle was so successful that the “Beagle Brigade” still patrols 20 international airports and points of entry into the U.S. today!
The Poodle held the title of most popular breed in the United States for almost 20 years. While they may seem prim and proper to those who have only seen the fancy-hairdo-wearing pups from dog shows, those familiar with Poodles know just how friendly and loyal they can be. And that fancy hairdo may be for show today, but it once served an important purpose. Poodles were originally bred to be waterfowl hunters. Their fur would be cut short in places to prevent being caught by underwater debris, but was left long around the joints and organs to protect the dog from cold water.
Their biggest asset is their intelligence. Circus performers recognized their talent for learning tricks, and their fur was perfect for styling into a visual spectacle for shows. These days, Poodles continue to dazzle audiences with their obedience and agility feats, which earn them high honors in many dog shows. Their friendly nature, intelligence, and “hypoallergenic” status makes them highly sought-after for interbreeding with other dogs, leading to the rise in popularity of breeds like the Goldendoodle.
The German Shepherd owes his popularity, at least in part, to the dog who saved Hollywood, Rin Tin Tin. But the German Shepherd has kept his status as one of the ten most popular breeds in the United States with its ability to be trained to do just about anything. They work as assistants to the disabled, police dogs, military dogs, therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs, contraband sniffing dogs, and herding dogs among other jobs.
German Shepherds are loyal, sometimes to a fault, and must be socialized early on to be friendly to other dogs and humans. But they make excellent guard dogs for this reason. They are naturally suspicious, so if an intruder breaks in to a German Shepherd’s home, he’s likely to have a hard time getting away without some teeth marks. The German Shepherd’s reputation as an intelligent, trainable dog with a strong sense of loyalty makes it a favorite as a worker dog and as a regular companion.
The Bulldog may have one of the most unique looks in the world of dogs. Perhaps it is their easily recognized appearance that draws it such popularity. Or maybe it’s their friendly, albeit lazy demeanor. In fact, it’s this good nature that separates it so strongly from the ancestors they originate from. The Bulldog was bred in England from Mastiff dogs for the purpose of bull baiting, which was a bloody, vicious sport that involved the dog biting the nose of a bull and shaking it. Eventually the sport was outlawed, and the Bulldog lost its purpose as a working dog.
Rather than let the Bulldog fall by the wayside, patient breeders selected only the kindest, most pleasantly-tempered members of the breed to reproduce. So the Bulldog we have today has none of the vicious tendencies of its forefathers. Still, their unique body structure causes joint and respiratory problems. They tend to be overweight and lazy, they snore, they have excessive gas, and they’re sensitive to extreme temperatures. Even with all these problems, they are one of the most beloved and popular breeds in the world. Their looks may be both their biggest asset and their biggest downfall.
The Labrador Retriever is the most popular breed in the United States. And if you’ve ever met a Labrador Retriever, it’s easy to see why. They’re incredibly friendly and loyal, great for families, and perfect companion dogs. In fact, they’ve been made famous by art, books, and movies, like Old Yeller and Marley & Me. But a good natured personality isn’t the Labrador Retriever’s only strength. They were bred to be working dogs. It won’t take you long to notice that Labrador Retrievers love the water. That’s because they originated in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, where they accompanied fisherman and helped with work on the ship. The loyal Labrador would haul in nets, fetch ropes, and catch fish that got off the hook.
Labradors may not be helping fishermen as much today, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t working dogs. Labrador Retrievers are employed as assistance dogs for the disabled, therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs, and hunting companion dogs. Their intelligence and pleasant demeanor make them great at working with humans. The only job they’re not so talented at is being watchdogs. They’re too friendly, even to intruders. But their loving nature and adaptability make them the most popular dog breed in America.