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The 20 Most Popular Dog Breeds in the Country

This is going to be a fun list to read, since it features your usual lovable suspects and some cutie-pie surprises, too!

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The results are in!

Rover, an on-demand dog-walking and dog-sitting service, was curious to find out which dog breeds are the most popular. And we bet you’re curious now, too! So, how did they arrive at these results? They examined dog-breed data from more than half a million pet parents in America and came up with the 20 most popular dog breeds, as of 2019. Did your favorites make the list?

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Mixed breed

Mixed breeds might not be able to trace their ancestral lineage, but does that really matter when their sweet, adorable eyes are looking up at you or when they’re covering you in doggy kisses? That’s what we thought. Whether you’re looking for a lap dog, a jogging partner, or an all-around-great family dog, a mixed breed is a lovable blend of everything you’re looking for. Mixed breeds in shelters long to find forever families, but it’s not always a simple process for a dog to make the leap from the shelter to a new home. Here’s what shelter dogs wish you knew—and why this information is essential.

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Labrador Retriever

You probably see Labrador Retrievers everywhere—in town, on the trail, at the beach, and at the dog park. You might even see them working as rescue, guide, and therapy dogs, jobs that seem tailor-made for them. They’re happy and outgoing and love to retrieve balls, frisbees, and just about anything you toss out—especially if it means jumping into the lake to retrieve it. Labs often top these most-popular lists because of their great nature; they’re the family members who get along with everyone and are some of the best dogs for first-time owners. They are blissfully content to cozy up to one family member or plop down in the middle of the kids sprawled out on the floor. A Labrador Retriever is basically an oversized lap dog…but not quite as big as these massive and mellow dog breeds.

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A teensy-weensy cutie, the Chihuahua tips the scales at around six pounds (or less!) and is around eight inches tall. But this small breed packs a gigantic amount of personality in its dainty body. Speaking of that personality, it actually depends a lot on the particular Chihuahua’s genes. Some may have come from a long line of mild-mannered and mellow dogs, while others have ancestors who are a little more bossy and boisterous. Mild or a saucy, a Chihuahua will be your biggest fan. They’ll stick to you like glue 24/7, bestowing lots of affection, fun playtime, and eternal devotion—especially if you buy them these things on every dog’s wish list.

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Golden Retriever

“Hopelessly devoted to you” is what the Golden Retriever’s profile might say if it had one. Golden Retrievers love their humans and have reservoirs of empathy and compassion that keep on giving, making them the ideal family pet and therapy dog. They’re notorious for being friendly, outgoing, goofy, relaxed, eager to please, playful, and intelligent, to boot! As a matter of fact, the first three winners of the AKC Obedience Champion title were Golden Retrievers. Here’s how dog trainers harness all of that intelligence and turn it into positive behavior.

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German Shepherd

Words we associate with German Shepherds: intelligent, protective, athletic, versatile, and active. Now let’s add a few more you might not know about. For starters, scent-driven. German Shepherds are highly valued K-9 members of the police force and detect drugs and bombs with their sniff-sleuthing skills. And another word that will be more relevant to your life: devoted. These dogs show 100 percent unconditional love to their human families and pet siblings. And did we mention how gorgeous they are? Check them out in this list of the 50 cutest dog breeds as puppies.

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Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkie is the poster pup for the terrier breed. It has the hallmark trademarks of being feisty, tenacious, and gutsy in spades. Back in the day, Yorkies started as working-class dogs, bred to hunt rodents. By late Victorian times, Yorkies became a fashionable lapdog for proper English ladies. They’re a bit aloof with strangers and make great watchdogs. Yorkies are alert and lively and happily communicate by barking. If you prefer a dog who is quieter, take a look at this list of dogs who don’t bark too much.

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Shih Tzu

Resistance is futile when you lock eyes with a Shih Tzu. They draw you in by somehow being sweet, cheerful, and slightly mischievous all at once. You won’t even care that these pups are constantly trying to divert your attention back to them because they are so darn cute. Shih Tzus are famously great with kids and love to entertain and be entertained with games and tricks. When it’s rest time, you can assume that if your lap is empty, a Shih Tzu will soon occupy it.

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The peppy and headstrong Dachshund has a tail-wagging honor that you might not know about. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), a Dachshund named Waldi was the official mascot of the 1972 Olympics. Even more fascinating, the Olympic marathon route was in the shape of a Dachshund! While these dogs will never run a marathon (or even run down the block, for that matter), they do love to hunt and dig. As far as companions go, they tend to be a one-person kind of dog and are content to snuggle in tight on the sofa or burrow under your blanket.

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Boxers are loyal and alert companions, and they are very protective of their humans. They’re playful and gentle with kids, and they tolerate dogs they know but might not be all that keen on dogs they don’t. Boxers thrive with pet parents who are willing to put in the time for consistent obedience training. It’s not that Boxers aren’t intelligent; it’s that they can be stubborn and sensitive. Boxers also like to stay busy, so keep them mentally challenged with puzzles and toys, take them on long walks, and make playtime active.

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Golden Doodle

What do you get when you mix a Golden Retriever with a Poodle? A Golden Doodle, which happens to look like a ridiculously adorable teddy bear. When you consider the smart, playful, easygoing natures of both parent breeds, this relatively new designer dog is a delightful combo. A number of pet parents in the Windy City think so, too. Rover also dug up the most popular breeds in cities across the United States, and the Doodle ranked number one in Chicago. If you think the Doodle is irresistibly cute, check out these adorable mixed breeds you’ll also want to bring home.

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Originally bred to hunt in packs, the Beagle has always loved to be around other dogs. Today, they love to be around people just as much and are ideal family pets. They’re playful and have a nose for fun and adventure—literally. Once they get a whiff of something interesting, they take off after it and will likely ignore your calls to come back. They also tend to be vocal and bark or bay frequently, sniffing out a “story” and alerting everyone to what they find. Maybe that’s why they ranked the second most popular dog in Washington, DC. By the way, here’s the real reason dogs howl and bay.

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One reason people love poodles? Their cute, curly locks of hair. Yep, hair. Poodles have hair, which may help lower allergic reactions in some people. We’re not going to sugar-coat it for you—those curly Qs aren’t without maintenance. Poodles require brushing and combing every other day and a clipping every six weeks. But hey, they are one of the smartest breeds on the block, as well as eager to please, playful, and loving. They also come in three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy (which weigh between six and nine pounds). Here are 13 pocket-sized pups to “oooh” and “aaah” over.

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Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd isn’t actually from Australia. It’s a long story, but the gist is that the Basque people of Europe brought them to Australia (and, later, to California) to herd their flocks of sheep. Aussies still love to herd things and need creative and active outlets to keep them busy and out of trouble. That’s exactly why active pet parents love Aussies. They’re a tireless partner for playtime and adventures. Just don’t make these puppy training mistakes or you might regret it later.

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Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky always gets that second look. It carries itself in a dignified and confident manner, yet is totally approachable with its inviting and friendly eyes. By the way, their eyes can be brown or blue, or they can have one of each. They’re high-spirited and adventurous, and they need lots of mental and physical stimulation. One issue: The same soft and dense coat that keeps them warm in cold climates (which they love) also sheds a lot. But they are super clean and don’t emit any “doggy smells” like some other breeds.

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At first glance, the Maltese appears to be a sweet and cuddly lap dog, but underneath that silky fur coat is a little firecracker, too. Even though the Maltese is small, averaging around five pounds, it’s got a hefty amount of boldness and curiosity. It’s not uncommon for a Maltese to challenge much larger dogs. They have a bit of a stubborn streak with humans, but they can quickly learn these easy dog tricks, especially when yummy treats are given as a reward.

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American Pit Bull Terrier

Pet parents in Baltimore, Charlotte, and Atlanta are smitten with their American Pit Bull Terriers (APBTs). According to Rover, APBTs are the number one dog breed in these cities. The American Pit Bull Terrier was officially recognized by the United Kennel Club back in 1898. Pitties, as they are affectionately known, are good-natured and have a boundless enthusiasm to please; they are also loving, loyal, and impressive service dogs. Plus, you can’t resist their trademark cheerful smiles. Did you know that many pit bull “facts” are totally wrong?

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The Pug wouldn’t snarl at you for calling it a lap potato. Pugs are proud of their noble ancestral role of sitting on the laps of Chinese emperors. Yet they would be quick to point out that they were (and still are) prone to breaking palace protocol and having a little mischievous fun as the court jester. Pugs are lively, spirited, and love everyone they meet. Speaking of love, these dogs love food so much that they’re likely to sneak it every chance they get—including foods that are poisonous. Here’s how to know if your dog has food poisoning.

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French Bulldog

You had us at salut (that’s hello in French) with your adorable little wrinkled face and bat-like ears. But there’s so much more to the Frenchie than its good looks: Frenchies are all-around lovers of their people, new people, and other animals. They’re also dogs of few words—or, more accurately, few barks. As an alert four-legged guard dog, it will let you know if someone is at the door, but it will usually communicate with you nonverbally and show affection with licks and little shimmies. We love the Frenchie’s face, but flat-faced and short-nosed breeds need special care in the summer heat. And if you own one, you should be intimately familiar with these 11 signs your dog is suffering from heatstroke.

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It’s surprising how much energy and affection are rolled up in seven pounds of fluffy furball goodness. Poms are part of the Spitz family, which means they have built-in features that protect them from cold weather like thick coats and bushy tails, which help keep their body warm when they’re all curled up—next to you. Unlike its larger Spitz cousin, the Siberian Husky, the Pom doesn’t like the cold and wouldn’t mind being carried in cozy dog bag, with its cute little fox face peeking out. Keep learning and find out why dogs have tails in the first place—bushy or not.

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Border Collie

The Border Collie is not a breed for someone who wants a lap dog. This is a stellar, competitive athlete of the canine world who dominates obedience, agility, and herding contests. The Border Collie will be your steadfast and affectionate companion in athletic adventures as long as it has plenty of mental and physical stimulation. Without that, Border Collies become frustrated and destructive. Here’s how much exercise Border Collies and other dogs need every day.

Lisa Marie Conklin
Lisa Marie Conklin is a Baltimore-based writer who writes regularly about pets and home improvement for Reader's Digest. Her work has also been published in The Healthy, HealthiNation, The Family Handyman, Taste of Home, and, among other outlets. She's also a certified personal trainer and walking coach for a local senior center. Follow her on Instagram @lisamariewrites4food and Twitter @cornish_conklin.