The American Kennel Club’s Top 10 Dogs

Every year, the American Kennel Club (AKC) ranks the most popular dog breeds in the United States. In February 2012, the organization developed its list of top 10 dog breeds for 2011, and that list contained a few surprises.

Not surprisingly, the Labrador Retriever remains at Number 1, as it has for more than 20 years. Staying steady at Number 2 is the German Shepherd. What did surprise many people is that the Beagle nudged its way into third place, displacing the Yorkshire Terrier; the Yorkie dropped to the fifth position. Also moving up the list is the Golden Retriever, taking the fourth slot; the Golden was at Number 5 in 2010.

Below is the ranking of the top 10 dog breeds in America in 2011, according to the AKC. The organization uses registration statistics to gauge dog breed popularity.

  1. Labrador Retriever
  2. German Shepherd Dog
  3. Beagle
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Yorkshire Terrier
  6. Bulldog
  7. Boxer
  8. Poodle
  9. Dachshund
  10. Rottweiler

american kennel clubAccording to the AKC, larger dogs are gaining in popularity, as noted by the placement of Labs, German Shepherd Dogs, Goldens, Boxers and Rottweilers. The Rottie replaced the much smaller Shih Tzu for the 10th spot; the little Shih Tzu was Number 10 in 2010 and had been among the top 10 most popular dogs since the year 2000. However, in 2011, the fluffy little breed did not make the top 10 dog list by AKC registration standards.

Still residing among top 10 dogs are the Poodle and the Dachshund. These breeds remain popular, but they switched rankings between 2010 and 2011. These breeds, like many on this AKC list, are working dogs; whether hunting, performing search and rescue, servicing the disabled, or clearing a farm of vermin, the  of most of the breeds on the AKC’s top 10 popular dog breeds is that of work.

A complete list of AKC’s most popular dog breeds, including statistics for 50 U.S. cities, is available at

Do these breeds directly line up across America?  According to Vetstreet, in the Huffington Post, yes and no. In a survey of American cities, some of the AKC’s most popular dog breeds are certainly also favored in several of the largest cities in the U.S.; however, many of the smaller breeds are more popular in urban America.

For example, according to Vetstreet, the Chihuahua is the most popular breed in Phoenix and Los Angeles, and the Shih Tzu holds that position in Washington DC and Seattle. Breeds that did make the AKC’s top 10 most popular throughout the United States are also popular in several American cities. For example, the Labrador Retriever is the highest ranking dog breed in Charlotte, North Carolina and in Denver, and the German Shepherd is top dog in Dallas and Chicago. The pint-sized Yorkshire Terrier makes the grade as New York City’s most popular dog.

No matter what list you look at, all top 10 dog breeds have one thing in common: they offer great companionship to people!

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