There are plenty of obscure dog breeds out there, but some breeds just rise to the top more than others. The five dog breeds on the list below 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 families, 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. They also 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 mixed breeds like the Goldendoodle.
3. German Shepherd Dog
German Shepherd Dogs owe their popularity, at least in part, to the dog who saved Hollywood, Rin Tin Tin. However, GSDs kept their status as one of the ten most popular breeds in the United States with their 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. That said, they make excellent guard dogs for this reason. They are naturally wary. If intruders break in to a German Shepherd’s home, they’ll 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 them 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 their good nature that separates them 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 their 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 Bulldogs we have today have none of the vicious tendencies of their forefathers.
Still, their unique body structure can cause joint and respiratory problems. They tend to be overweight and low energy, they snore, they have excessive gas, and they’re sensitive to extreme temperatures.
Even with all these issues, they are one of the most beloved and popular breeds in the world. Their looks may be both their biggest asset and their biggest challenge.
1. Labrador Retriever
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 fishermen and helped with work on ships. 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 still 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. However, their loving nature and adaptability make them the most popular dog breed in America.
Is your dog one of these popular breeds? Why do you think they’re so beloved by people all over the world? Let us know in the comments below!