The 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds
Since their domestication, dogs have been bred for thousands of years to produce the most popular dog breeds. Although we are not yet sure where our beloved Fidos and Rovers originated from, the different dog breeds of today run from a gamut of sizes, shapes and temperaments. The breeds are selectively and purposefully created whether for usefulness or their cuteness.
The American Kennel Club announces a yearly list of the most popular dog breeds. Some are shuffled around but many are mainstays including the following breeds below:
1. Labrador Retrievers. These athletic dogs originated from Newfoundland and were the best friends of fishermen, helping them to pull nets and catch escaped fish, earning them their retriever status. Labs come in yellow, black, and chocolate coat colors. Apart from being excellent co-workers, they are well loved for their stable temperaments, affection and playfulness.
2. German Shepherds. A staple for the police and military, these excellent guard dogs came from a mix of herding and farm dogs in Karlsruhe, Germany. From their origins of guarding and herding sheep, this breed’s strength and intelligence made them popular with the police and military. They are prized for their obedience, loyalty and protectiveness.
3. Yorkshire Terriers. Affectionately called Yorkies, these dogs are part of a toy breed and can weigh somewhere between 4 and 7 pounds. They originated in England and are named for the city of Yorkshire. They were initially bred to catch rats in clothing mills during the 19th century. Once a working-class pet, the breed has now enjoys being a favorite among the upper-class.
4. Golden Retrievers. The Golden Retriever hails from Scotland where Lord Tweedmouth, who wanted a skilled retriever suited for the Scottish climate, crossed his yellow retriever with the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel. These medium-built dogs became a hunting companion during shooting parties, helping to retrieve ducks and other waterfowl. The Golden Retrievers are prized for their intelligence, allowing them to fulfill many roles including becoming seeing eye dogs, hunting dogs, drug detectors and search and rescue dogs. Golden Retrievers are friendly and eager to please but do have a tendency to roam due to their instincts as hunting dogs.
5. Beagles. This breed is so beloved that Charles Schulz made him the endearing protagonist of the Peanuts Comics – Snoopy. Although other beagles wouldn’t imagine gunning after the Red Baron, they are well-known for their hunting acumen. While the larger hounds tracked deer, the smaller ones, such as the beagle, would sniff out rabbits. It is often thought that their name is derived from the French term “be’guele” referring to their baying when on the hunt for game. Beagles are well-loved for their intelligence and cheerful temperament. Rather than hunting, they are now employed as detection dogs.
6. Boxers. This breed got its name for its tendency to get up on its hind legs and “box” with its front paws. They were developed in Germany in the 19th century as fighting dogs as well as hunting dogs. The boxer is medium-built with a smooth coat. Although they were originally fighting dogs, dog owners soon learned just how loving and faithful this breed can be. They are especially fond and affectionate of children.
7. Bulldogs. Adorable and loveable, not many would know that the bulldog had rather dark origins. In fact, it got its name for its reputation of being able to wrangle with bulls. They were used for bull baiting in the British Isles so they had to be ferocious and tough. When bull baiting became illegal, the breed almost became extinct. Today, the breed has become a loving companion dog.
8. Dachshunds. These dogs were first bred in Germany in the 1600s and were bred to be both fearless and lengthy so they could dig and burrow in pursuit of vicious badgers. In fact, their name is German for “badger dog”. When they came to America, Dachshunds hunted prairie dogs. Two sizes of dachshunds exist today: standard (weighing 16 to 32 pounds) and miniature (11 pounds and under).
9. Poodles. You might be surprised to know that the frou-frou poodles of today were not bred to be fluffy toy dogs, but rather an athletic hunting dog. They were first bred in Germany as a water retriever and even its hairstyle was utilitarian, helping them to move more efficiently through the water. The poodle comes in three sizes: the standard size is the oldest kind; the miniature poodle and the toy poodle. Toy poodles were often kept as pampered pets, notably during the reign of King Louis XVI.
10. Shih Tzus. This breed originated from China and its name means “lion dog” as they were bred to resemble the lion in traditional oriental art. The Shih Tzu is a toy breed, standing no more than 26 centimeters. The Shih Tzu was cherished by Chinese royalty and was a popular house pet during the Ming Dynasty.
When choosing the best breed for you, take temperament, size and environment into consideration. Which ever of the popular dog breeds you choose, remember that each canine is unique and individual.
The last word on popular dog breeds?